There’s just something about Swedish hardcore/punk that stands apart from any other movement. From ANTI-CIMEX to Mob 47 to the ‘90s crust influences of SKITSYSTEM and DISFEAR, it just hits different. The members of ALARM! have pedigree up the wazoo but, refusing to rest on the laurels of their past (bands such as VICTIMS and OUTLAST), the foursome has crafted a brief but boisterous album in Alarm!.

A tellingly ominous bass/drum opens up ‘Into The Dark’, and when I say “opens” up, I mean “sonically eviscerates”, all speed and high register screams/spits. Not slowing down for ‘Alerta!’ (which I think should’ve been called ‘Alarm!’ to complete the band/album/song trifecta, but it’s not my band, is it?), d-beat glory at its finest, but slightly beholden to the melodicism coming from that country in the ‘90s. ‘Bring Books’ moves the more tuneful flirtations of the prior song to the fore, losing none of its vigor and vigilantism in the process, and from here on scattering it across the rest of the debut as the mood strikes.

One thing about the best Swedish hardcore was the feeling that, at any moment the band might completely fall apart or explode onstage, a sweaty, bedraggled supernova, and ‘Scare Game’ evokes that spirit, which is carried forth into the rabid ‘For Lost Times’ A short breath can be taken in ‘Ancient Cycles’, but its slower tempo belies, as the rhythms swing like anvils suspended on chains, the riffs and length of the song – at over 3 minutes – resulting in the most metallic and traditionally “heavy” song to be found here.

After the bass-and-drum-driven ‘Me And Failure’, which is less a song and more an exercise in purging, ‘The Loop’ keeps the restraint on the speed aspect of ALARM!, but more than holds interest, the band clearly also thriving in the realms of UNSANE or THERAPY?.

What closer ‘Never Enough’ loses in its less than 1 minute of playing time, it almost appears the quartet took all the freneticism bottled up in the few previous songs and poured it out, only to find it not only flammable but already burning. Alarm!, indeed. ALARM!ageddon? Yeah, I’m good with that description.
Review By: Lord Randall

Armageddon Label

Sound the ALARM!