Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Details: This is a re-release of the debut LP (originally released by Tribal War Records) from this band that features ex-members of Aus Rotten, React, and The Pist. Having been a fan of Aus-Rotten when I was younger, I've been wanting to check this band out for awhile, but I never got around to it for whatever reason. Due in no small part to the immediately identifiable approach of former Aus-Rotten vocalist Dave Trenga (whose trademark shouting is backed by the varying yells, grunts, and screams of the other three band members), there are some definite similarities carrying over into Behind Enemy Lines, but I'd say this stuff has a little bit more of a heavy edge to it, though by no means is it metallic. The tracks are generally based around basic chord progressions with varying degrees of speed, but there are a good amount of tempo changes throughout, so it's not like a fast song/slow song kind of thing. The heaviness is coming from the use of a thick set of tones, especially notable in midpaced bruisers like "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" that hit on a pretty major D-beat kind of sound. "Why Does She Stay?" is a little slower and has a darker tinge to its riffing, not to mention a hint more intensity to the vocal performance, and that really makes for a killer song through and through. "Devastated" is another of the harder hitting tracks with a moderately paced rhythmic surge to it, along with the slightly faster (though it does have a mildly chunky breakdown) "Murder at the G-8 Summit", both of which make for pretty damn powerful songs - relatively typical or not. "Voice of Dissent" cranks out some ragingly fast basslines and a subtly melodic undercurrent that has sort of a Scandinavian flare to it that I really like, not to mention shitloads of awesome vocal tradeoffs; while "Dogmatic Slumber" is more punk oriented. There are also a handful of faster and more straightforward cuts like "The Growing Wealth Gap" to boot. As far as the production goes I think it sounds pretty damn good, but the guitars could use some more clarity at times. Or maybe they just need to be louder? Right now the vocals are definitely a little far out front, which I assume is because the lyrics are so involved and important and they're trying to make sure you can understand what's being said, but the guitars almost get drowned out sometimes. The drums sound pretty good and have a solid crispness going on, and the bass is nice and thick, but something's missing. Maybe the guitars and bass simply need more differentiation from one another to give the core of the mix a little more individual character? I don't know, it definitely sounds pretty damn good, but I get slightly annoyed by some of the vocal work when it starts to overpower the music (namely a few of the backing vocals in tracks like "The Cure"). The layout looks alright but doesn't have much to it visually. Expect some typical black and white imagery of illustrations of skulls and politically oriented photos. The booklet is a huge six-panel foldout, of which 10 of the 12 total pages are lyrics since the content is incredibly long. It definitely takes some creative vocal patterns to cram all of this content into a three-minute song, and as with Aus-Rotten a lot of the lyrics read less like songs and more like essays that happen to subtly rhyme - which is pretty impressive. Of course the subject matter is very specifically geared towards the political climate of the moment, along with other inescapable social ills: "Within the sterile environment that carries out American retribution the threatened insist that vengeance is the only acceptable solution, Emotions fuel the media frenzy, relentlessly searching for satisfaction, The world's superpower, made to feel vulnerable, is now demanding action, No one can breathe easy until he's drawn his final breath and taken his place amongst his victims in the company of death..." You're simply not gonna get lyrics that are this intricate from many other bands out there that I can think of. Obviously I doubt that this band will be looked at as being as historically significant as Aus-Rotten (not that anyone would intend for such), but I feel like in the end Behind Enemy Lines might stand the test of time a little better simply because efforts have been taken to ensure that the complexities of the lyrics fit in with the music to a larger degree, and even though the general approach of the songwriting is pretty standard there's definitely an edge to it. It's definitely the content that separates this band from the pack, though. Absolutely. (7/10)

Price: 8 euro
Availability: mail us