Having found the Norwegian hardcore scene a rather fruitful place to excite personal tastes, there was a definite twinge of eager anticipation when we found ourselves receiving he debut EP from Oslo outfit The Nika Riots, especially upon seeing it features members from bands such as Man the Machetes, Torch, and IEatHeartAttacks. The prospect of hearing something flavoursome to really get the teeth into was quickly confirmed by Set Fire and only reinforced across its six ferocious tracks.
Consisting of Christopher Iversen (Man The Machetes), Jørgen Berg (Torch), Kristen Fjeldstad, Morten Vikanes, and Noppers Myren (IEatHeartAttacks), The Nika Riots fuse their hardcore with voracious metal essences while drawing on the inspirations of bands such as Every Time I Die, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and Rise Against for its still individual character. It is a mix which grooves like a Bokassa, snarls like a Shevils, and has the irritable melodic punk fuelled fury of Bad Religion aligned to the unpredictable dexterity of Every Time I Die and all delivered with a defiant antagonism living up to the historical unrest behind their name. Those metal bred essences add yet another aspect to their sound, a hungry trespass which accentuates every other thread in its fractious web.
As soon as the rousing rhythmic invitation of Anti-Social Social Club was launched within a raw sonic breath attention was grabbed, the initial handful of seconds of the opener a welcoming intrusion which swiftly becomes a tirade of addictive grooves, thumping beats, and vocal argument. The track proceeds to swing along with intrusive hardcore tenacity, inciting ears and spirit at every turn with the imagination hooked by its melodic punk hues. Metal textures equally give it a diverse nature and potency as the song gets Set Fire off to a heady start.
A chest beating roar of defiance, it is pretty much matched by the following Knock ‘em Dead. Straight away it is sharing solicitous hooks, a touch of Billy talent in their spicing before its punk canter brings a great bend of throat scarring and melodically sandy vocals. As in its predecessor, attitude fuels every note and syllable, the melodies even carrying a slight toxic edge to their temptation but it all combining for another fiercely infectious affair before allowing the excellent Kill This Chaos emerges from its last sonic sigh on a rhythmic roll. This leads to another contagious intrusion equipped with hungrily anthemic rhythms, vocal irritancy, and caustic riffs. It is pure magnetism, especially when the incitement of drums and throb of bass only accompanies raw throated appeals, guitars accentuating the bait on their return with strains of heavy metal in their attack.
A melancholic melodic caress opens up Hanged Drawn & Quartered but all time becoming dirtier and unsettled before breaking into punk thrusting rock ‘n roll though that too is only another shade to the song as melodic metal essences take their moment to captivate. It epitomises the fluid resourcefulness of the band’s sound, a quality as open if not to the same prevalence within next up Skeleton Crew. Opening with an Avenged Sevenfold scented beckoning, the song soon rattles the cages with its hardcore guile and fury lined acuteness aligned to punk rock virulence.
All Hail the Queen completes the attack, its body breeding its own fusion of sound and enterprise. As the previous track, it did not quite light the fires as dramatically as those before them but with vines of grooves wrapping round the ears and a rich bluster of energy wearing the senses, it simply left pleasure and appetite hungry for more.
Set Fire is a striking introduction to The Nika Riots hinting at even bigger and bolder exploits ahead whilst stirring the passion and instincts for uncompromising punk rock; Norwegian hardcore continues to impress and excite.
Set Fire is released January 19th through Negative Vibe Records.
Pete RingMaster 18/01/2018
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