Atari Teenage Riot: Is This Hyperreal?

The Empire steps back.

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Anger-as-energy might be a maxim oft overused and under-realised in music, but at their peak, few embodied the concept with such a brutalised exuberance as Alec Empire’s Atari Teenage Riot.

The German tech-noise crew’s second outing, 1997’s The Future Of War, remains a circuit board nuke-out of hyperspeed politicised invective still unmatched in its ferocity. Empire has hardly toned it down in the intervening years, but it’s strange that he should resurrect ATR after more than a decade of studio silence.

Black Flags’ nauseous throbs and the electrified breakdowns that underpin the mania-mantras of Codebreakers and Digital Decay (courtesy of Empire’s noise-generator-in-crime, Nic Endo) may warn that we’re still heading toward an apocalypse of our own creation, but with the bolt gun urgency diluted by the likes of Shadow Identity’s misdirect, Hyperreal isn’t quite the soundtrack to Armageddon you’d hoped for.