Raised Fist - Ignoring the Guidelines (Cover Artwork)

Raised Fist

Ignoring the Guidelines (2001)

Burning Heart

DISCLAIMER: Fans of poppy, light-hearted music should stop reading. Fans of weepy, emotive music need not apply. However, if you're a fan of powerful, passionate, intense music, you've come to the right place.

Sweeden's best (living) hardcore act have done it again. After two EP's and an amazing album (Fuel) they've taken their sound to a new level. Ignoring the Guidelines has a much fuller sound, and is played at an even more breakneck pace than their previous work.

While most of the songs tend to follow a similar style, it's a style that Raised Fist has raised (no pun intended) to an art. With a few exceptions, the pattern seems to be this: 60-90 seconds of intense verse/chorus hardcore, then another minute or so of the same lyrics at a slower tempo and different beat. However, each song tends to have a different memorable aspect. "Envy Is Dangerous" has a chorus that sticks in your head, "Different but the Same" will have you shouting along in the outro, "Twisted Debate" never fails to bring out the air-drums, and "Working on Wood" has one shouted line that begs to be listened to over and over again (you'll see when you hear it).

Just before wrapping up the album, Raised Fist takes time out to give their own rendition of Gorilla Biscuits's "New Direction". I've never really been a fan of Gorilla Biscuits (never really gave them a chance), but...wow...sorry, i'm speechless.

Raised Fist has never been much of a political band. Most of their songs tend to speak to a specific person or people, hoping the listener will see some of his/her own faults, and make an effort to correct them. Sometimes, however, the message is a bit garbled in translation. The imperfect Swedish to English reminds me of early Millencolin lyrics. Favourite lines include (these are not typos): "remember the knife always land in the back" and "I don't care about what your ugly mouth say".

As the most recent Burning Heart band to be imported to Epitaph, Raised Fist has been getting more North American exposure. Check out the Epitaph site for free song ("Breaking Me Up" - one of the slower songs and an exception to the pattern mentioned above). "Different But The Same" appears on the latest Punk-o-Rama comp.

What's the problem with this cd? It's too short. 11 songs, 27 minutes. But it's one of the most intense 27 minutes ever put on CD.

Whatever you do, give them a few listens before passing judgement. I couldn't thoroughly enjoy this CD until about the 4th listen through it. And a word of warning: Raised Fist has been known to cause riots at shows (see: Brandon, Manitoba). One listen through will help you see why.