THE BRISTLES. Last days of Capitalism CD (Heptown)
The Bristles were one of the seminal Swedish hardcore bands, initially influenced by UK bands like GBH and The Exploited, but quickly developing a much heavier sound, more in line with harder US bands like Poison Idea and Septic Death. Their original incarnation lasted from 1982-85 and, typical of many punk bands of that time, their line-up was volatile and eventually split due both to their nihilistic approach and arguments over musical direction. A one-off reunion took place in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the band was reinstated as an ongoing project. During that time, they’ve released two albums of new material and several EPs and singles.
Now, their latest has arrived and it really is one of the finest European hardcore records I’ve ever heard. Short, abrasive anthems (there’s an Oi influence in there as well) with lyrics that attack the vicious capitalism that seems to be engulfing the West to the detriment of it’s own people, and all put together with a clear, powerful production that really forces their point across. Lyrics are provided in English to explain their intent, and this CD version also includes bonus tracks from several recent vinyl-only EPs, making this a very complete package.
The thing that makes The Bristles so effective is the fact that, alongside their brutal delivery, they’re not shy of a good melody or two, happy to let you enjoy the music at the same time that it’s pummelling you. Very few bands ever manage to get that balance right. This is just a great punk rock album and I can only recommend it to any fan of the raw power ethic.