Raised Fist's fifth album comes out after three years of silence, but Veil of Ignorance picks up right where 2006's Sound of the Republic left off. It's no wonder this band takes its time to release music, and after following the evolution of their work, you can hear it also on the band's new album, but this time things get complicated.
I am totally aware that making it in today's music industry is nearly impossible, and this is not exactly the band you'd expect a brand new, innovative or groundbreaking, taking-down-the-border record; but this is what Veil of Ignorance wants to achieve. How? With the passion of the band's members. Not a lot of bands can say they broke their elbows playing for up to 18 hours a day for days at a time, and just a few bands still show passion in what they do.
But just like the four previous records, Veil was produced by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah), and quite differently from the two previous releases, which were very-metal influenced, on Veil of Ignorance Raised Fist try to go back to their old-school roots, bringing super-fast guitar riffs and hardcore beakdowns into the mosh pit, along with their classic metallic-fused sound. Some new songs sound a lot like they were taken from 2000's Ignoring the Guidlines, like "Volcano Is Me" and the super trashy "City of Cold" with its heart-attack intro.
A new element brought into Veil of Ignorance is the presence of slow, melodic-packed songs, like the apathy-baiting "Slipping Into Coma" or the super slow "Wounds," which sounds like screaming from your very dead end. Even though this is displayed on a few tunes, as on the instrumental closing track "Out," the average speed of the record is still fast. That much is evident on track like "Keeping It to Yourself" and opener "Friends and Traitors," which well represent the intensity and the urge of taking a heavy weight our of your chest, with violence indeed.
Lyrically, Raised Fist are still angry and mad with the cool kids infesting music today: "Does it make a difference if we play punk rock, and unlock the mysteries of hardcore and walk around the block, in trendy clothes, pretending to be superstars, or younger than we are? We just want to play drums, bass and guitar. No make-up, nothing bizarre, vocals but no stories from afar." That is quite possibly the best way to summarize this album and this band: no jokes, no bullshit, no waste of time. Just songs that go straight to the point: "Never Negotiate" sounds quite peculiar, as the band deals with the Middle East disaster.
In the end, I must say it takes more than one listen to get into this new record: the slow parts are really surprising, and the melodies do not impact on the listener as fast as on Dedication; they're more aggressive, more difficult and less catchy, but Veil of Ignorance is one of my most played records of 2009.
Friends and Traitors