Raised Fist'They can't keep us down! Still around! Adding something new to the sound!'
So the battle cry goes up on Raised Fist's stunning fifth full-length Veil Of Ignorance. Picking up where 2006's powerful Sound Of The Republic left off, and tearing at your ears like a rabid pitbull on steroids, the Lulea, Sweden quintet are in suitably defiant form after over a decade and a half thrilling audiences around the globe.
Having hit Uppsala, Sweden's respected Studio Dug Out in April 2009, the band got to work with long time producer and friend Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) on what is surely their finest effort to date.
'I don't know anyone else in the world who can do the things Daniel does,' enthuses frontman Alexander 'Alle' Hagman. 'It's our fourth record with him and it was just logical for us to continue to work with him as he always creates such a crisp sound. I really think he's the number one producer ' and many people would agree with me.'
After a relaxed writing process and easy-going initial pre-production sessions, Hagman, guitarists Marco Eronen and Daniel Holmgren, bassist Andreas 'Josse' Johansson and drummer Matte Modin plunged themselves into recording sessions so intense, it landed one of them in hospital.
'We were trying to get the perfect sound,' Hagman recalls. 'We wanted to play as good as we have ever before, so we worked hard. We find playing for long sessions instead of cutting to much while recording, brings out the best in us so we just kept going. And going...'
This fierce work ethic resulted in bassist Johansson playing for up to eighteen hours a day for days at a time. Very soon his elbow was the size of an orange, playing became impossible and he was forced to head to the hospital for meds to reduce the swelling.
'When you want things perfect, these things happen,' Hagman explains.
And Raised Fist have succeeded in their mission for perfection with fourteen tracks of heartfelt defiance and focused, bloody-minded rage. Mingling the stomp of old school hardcore, the melodies and groove of modern metal, and the passion and anger of political punk, Veil Of Ignorance is an un-erring look into the mind of a band who've never backed down and never will.
'I just want to be honest with what I am writing so I write about everything around me,' Hagman notes. 'We want to play with our whole hearts. And the lyrics are a more intimate thing for me to put out for an audience so it's really important that I do it with my soul. That very much applies to the first single 'Friends And Traitors', which says 'Music from the heart and lyrics from my head to my hand - and I'm left handed.' That's how we do it. That's how I think.'
From the fabulously insolent punch of 'They Can't Keep Us Down', through the apathy-baiting 'Slipping Into Coma', unified front of 'City Of Cold' and pain-drenched 'My Last Day', to instrumental finale 'Out', Veil Of Ignorance is an almighty force to be reckoned with.
'We usually write 11 or 12 songs only,' Hagman says. 'We have more than planned this time because we could not take one song away from the record. Every song has its own spine and every song is my favourite one way or the other.'
And each and every one of these songs will be favourites for many more people once Veil Of Ignorance hits the shelves on September 7, 2009.
Raised Fist @ MySpace