A horrible hack

The Smashrooms

Rest in War

Year Released: 2007
Format: CD
Label: Epidemic
Reviewed by Ciaran Power on Mar 27, 2009
The album is called Rest in War. By now you may know roughly what territory we're talking about, but if not, The Smashrooms hail from Italy and play politicised, furious hardcore of a variety somewhat heavy. The lyrics are printed in capital letters, and I think anything else would frankly be misrepresentation.

After two tried-and-tested hardcore steamers, the record really picks up for the title track. It has speed, anger, gang vocals and just when I was thinking: "what more can I ask for?" came along a bass riff to remind me of Econochrist, something that doesn't happen enough. With the title I don't have to tell you much more about the lyrics for you to 'get' this song, but they are first rate. The sixth song, New Wops, breaks things up in a timely fashion with an intro that dominates and of course anti-racist sentiment is always appreciated. Immediately following this, Empty is used to try out some new things: in the beginning, a sample from The Matrix Reloaded for some new sensations and a little amusement and then, later on in the song, a couple of interludes provide some (beneficial) structural and musical complexity with rhythms good to pull you back in line with the music. The penultimate song is American King, which is simply stellar. The closer, Whisper of Life, slaps together some of the more enticing ideas on the record into the closest thing it has to an epic, weighing in at over four minutes, including some peculiar but enjoyable dissonance.

In terms of packaging, it's a CD inside a regular album-thickness jewel case. The pictures on the front of the booklet and on the back inlay just plain do it for me, so it may involve bias, but I would hastily give my approval of this album's visage. Inside the booklet you can find pictures of the band performing as well as lyrics to all of the songs. On the last couple of pages, there's some info, a big 'thank you' paragraph and finally a mission statement / code of ethics sort of thing. Though it seems Epidemic Records was at the forefront of this release, the packaging and some other reading suggests that fourteen other labels had a hand in this. In which case, all I have to say is: Jesus Christ. That it's drummed up this much support is a pretty strong recommendation in itself, I suppose.

I have no major qualms with this album, though I must say that it would've been great to hear the singer take a stab at his native tongue. I'd get sick of an album full of songs like the first two, which were to my ears a little too straightforward, but it picks up from there on. Mind you, if you don't take a fancy to hardcore, this record has very little to offer you.

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