Review: Victims – The Horse and Sparrow Theory

Stockholm based crust punk outfit Victims have already ploughed through six blistering full-length releases since their inception almost twenty years ago. The group have delivered wave after wave of unrelenting hardcore over the years, consistently bettering themselves as musicians and as social and political activists. Their fiery mix of old school punk sensibilities and truly ruthless power have captivated their following for almost two decades and their seventh effort is just as uncompromising.

The Horse And Sparrow Theory, their debut release for Relapse, is a destructive amalgamation of the band’s intransigent fight against the current socio-political climate as well as a showcase of their experience as veterans within the genre, upping the ante with crisp production, unfaltering expeditious instrumentation and a lot to say. Victims attempt to shine a light on issues within the questionable existence that most are now accustomed to in the current industrialised, divided and self-absorbed climate. Musically, Victims attack the listener with pace and authority, sonically abound with tight, ferocious drum work, crunchy yet wailing guitars and sludgy basslines. Powerful growls from vocalist Johan Eriksson accompany the merciless instrumentation, with lyrics that lament the greed and corruption that plagues our world.

Victims play with instrumental momentum more on this album than their last effort, Sirens. Although the tracklist reaches only 28 minutes in length, the band manage to break the monotony that can sometimes come from constant blast beats and brisk riffing with tracks such as the opener, ‘The Horse And Sparrow Theory’. It incorporates more meditative and droning guitar amongst the vigorous drumming. This is a theme that carries itself throughout the album in songs such as ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ and closing track ‘Revenge Of Our Fathers’, giving listeners a chance to study and digest before another bout of pace hits them over the head. ‘We Fail’ is another highlight that features a sample of speaker Brigadier General Stephen Chesney, discussing how the military view climate change as a threat that has heavily affected the migration crisis and in turn caused animosity between countries, contributing towards war and unrest, and that it will only get worse. They use this sample alongside a repetitive and almost doom inspired riff and pummelling drums that only helps enforce the dire message that Cheney highlights.

The band are masters of displaying raw power and authority, and they are tackling subjects here that need that forceful recognition. Victims never cease to fight for what they believe in, and they will no doubt continue that trope unabashedly with future releases.

The Horse and Sparrow Theory is out now via Relapse and can be purchased here.

Words: Ash Edmonds

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