D-beat may have first been shot forth from the uterus of hardcore punk in the UK (BUZZCOCKS, DISCHARGE), but its continuation and thriving as a sub-genre owes a lot to Sweden, where bands such as ANTI CIMEX and MOB 47 joined the kangpunk gangbang, thereby spawning hundreds of blindingly fast, sloppier than a $2 whore, heavier than Messiah Marcolin children, and at least a dozen DARKTHRONE songs.

Kicking out 8 tunes in 28 minutes, it’s clear VICTIMS comes from the VARUKERS / SKITSYSTEM school of “blast first, ask questions later”, which serves the quartet well over most of The Horse And Sparrow Theory. In all honesty, I’m about as political as a rotting tree stump, but the passion and urgency of the title track, the snappy, driving bass of ‘The Birth Of Tragedy’ and fucking incendiary ‘There’s Blood On The Streets’ are infectious. On the flipside, ‘We Fail’ is a threnody for mankind and civilization of the not-so-distant future, moving at a pallbearer’s pace, fitting for the subject matter. ‘Fires Below’ and ‘Hell Is Full Of Good Intentions’ stumble, derivative of what’s come before, revealing a problem inherent in much d-beat and music inspired by the sound, of the message taking precedence over the music. Yes, the causes are just, yes, the war against today’s society is righteous, but if your engine of change is music, then it should be given equal footing.

Having been around for just over 20 years, the Swedes know what’s up in a social sense, and when VICTIMS is on, it’s on, blending awareness with aggression to solid effect. Metal fans won’t find much of substance here, though, and the crusties will rally ‘round the anarcho-punk flag, regardless of who’s flying it. For me, though, I’ll pass.
Review By: Lord Randall

The Horse And Sparrow Theory
2.5 / 6