Racetraitor are legends in their scene and quite rightly so. To the surprise of no one at all, their reunion and subsequent tours and releases have picked up the kind of press that is normally given to much bigger acts playing much dumber music; like Fall Out Boy, for the sake of being topical. Ripping metallic hardcore isn’t hard to find right now, but the majority of it doesn’t merit more than a quick scrape of the surface. Sure, it’s mean, it slaps, it goes hard, but most of it doesn’t survive repeat listens. This record will pass you by if you don’t pay attention, and that would be a crying shame because it is mean, it definitely slaps, and yes, it goes hard.
2042 almost requires the donning of a thinking cap in order to be fully appreciated. This will lose the few listeners who plugged into Vein because the music video was nostalgic, or pirated that Tourniquet EP because, like, they went viral, bro. That isn’t to say that a passive listen won’t satiate a lust for raucous, raw hardcore music; the type that doesn’t rely on two-steps or slowed down riffs to create a total clusterfuck of angst and angry moshers.
Racetraitor use a couple of tried and tested techniques on just about every track on the record (save for the interlude and outro, more on them later). The fast chugging riffs could easily pass for a Slayer influenced death-thrash band (“By The Time I Get To Pennsylvania”), with Andrew Hurley’s heavy-as-all-fuck feet slamming his kicks in synch and syncopation to the rhythm of the strings. It’s not death metal or hardcore or metalcore or any of the genre’s people have thrown this band under on last.fm – it’s an amalgamation of them all and it’s confusing, yeah, but ultimately incredibly satisfying.
Vocally, the closest comparison that comes to mind is Scarlet, the often forgotten Ferret Records band that never quite made it. It’s personal pronoun time, but some of the best moments on 2042 are the ones that closely resemble the chaos and almost serene clarity that made Cult Classic so endearing to the Trustkill generation (see “BLK XMAS” and “The Universal Corrective Map Of The World” to find out exactly what I mean. I’m right, aren’t I?). The blasting percussion and wall of noise guitars are a perfect fit for the soaring screams that sit on the fence between pained and pulverising. It’s hard to ignore the message when it’s being declared so violently right in your face.
Without this kind of aggression, the messages that Racetraitor get across could falter or stutter along the way, but no. They’re pissed off with good purpose, tackling xenophobia head-on with ruthless, nostalgic metal music. With first-hand experience of conflict and the types of violence that most only see in movies or read about in world news, these aren’t empty threats and declarations. Don’t be fooled by the serene moments that anchor and close this record. They may be sombre and truly beautiful sounding, but they feel like stop-gaps or distractions; the type of distraction too many of us allow to cloud our view of what is really happening. Reality is found in the destructive, oppressive sounds on 2042, and we would all be better off taking proper notice.
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Racetraitor’s 2042 was released on October 12th via Good Fight. Head on over to the Bandcamp link above to grab it and, while you’re there, take a look at the rest of Good Fight’s catalogue; it’s fantastic.