With so much of today’s bigger-selling punk and hardcore bands becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate from boy bands, it seems the best current punk stuff goes back to the source material. AC4’s second album comes after frontman Dennis Lxyzén spent 2012 reminding such bands why no amount of black fringes and screamy bits will ever make them as relevant as his other band, Refused.
Alongside pals and former bandmates (from the likes of DS-13 and Step Forward) this is Lyxzén’s ragged and joyous homage to the best sounds of the early hardcore scene.
It may be a retro trip with a strong nostalgia streak, but on Curva and Die Like A Dog AC4 sound tighter and better produced than Circle Jerks or Black Flag ever did. They play with the same maximum velocity, musical economy and a decidedly no-frills approach that defined 80s HC scene, a flashback that’s possibly compounded by the fact the title track was inspired by a visit to the Chernobyl power plant.
No wheels are being reinvented here, but these ferocious Swedes are showing the whippersnappers how it’s done.