After six years away, Swedish hardcore legends Raised Fist have returned with a new album, From The North: an album of old-school, driving, highly politicised, punk rock fury. During that hiatus the parameters of hardcore have shifted away from the sort of punk-inspired social commentary that they’ve made their trademark. Coming back to the scene now, one might wonder if they even recognise it…
“The first three years of the break were pretty normal,” says vocalist Alexander ‘Alle’ Hagman. “We played shows and toured as usual. But the growth and boom of social media is the big thing that has changed since we started. As for how we feel about hardcore, the kids that read your magazine will have a very different idea of hardcore to me. They listen to those bands that have vocalists that sound like monsters, some Lord Of The Rings thing. It used to just be in death metal and grindcore, but now we hear it in ‘hardcore’ bands. I don’t know how you are supposed to be saying something serious when you are singing in this troll voice. I would never categorise Raised Fist in that spectrum. We always have something to say.”/o:p
It’s good to hear a band that continue to espouse the ideology at the heart of this music. Many bands could learn a thing or two from the Swedes’ unshakable beliefs.
“In our band we can still get young kids and the older fans from our early days, because people know they are going to see a real band,” Alle continues. “You come to a real concert and see a real band of men. We are not a hardcore boy band. We are grown men. There are too many of those boybands around now, but we do not move in those circles. And we play in Sweden to 12,000 people. Staying true to our beliefs has only been a positive for us, and every band should do that.”
Raised Fist have come through the school of great Swedish bands, along with Refused, Breach and Millencolin, that exploded in the late 90s.
“In retrospective we feel very lucky,” says Alle. “Because it was a special time and not enough people know about this. You mentioned Breach, a great band, but how many records did they sell? Not enough. So I’m not sure that we benefited from it, but it is good to have it in the history books and to have been part of what was a great time for Scandinavian hardcore.” And, in Raised Fist, that spirit is still alive and well.
FROM THE NORTH IS OUT ON JANUARY 19 VIA EPITAPH/o:p