Superstar DJ Steve Aoki might have released ATR’s last single, ‘Activate’, on his label Dim Mak Records, but when the latter supported him in Vienna last year people fled the arena during their performance, only to rush back and hop around for Aoki’s set. On their first album in 12 years, Alec Empire and his digital hardcore punk comrades take on the usual suspects – capitalism and politicians – as well as the dangers of modern technology. The topics are relevant, but the music sounds like it did a decade ago – relentless, punishing, and, ultimately, a bit dull. There is a distinct anti-establishment mood in a lot of countries, but no movement in their right mind would adopt songs such as the bloated ‘Code Breaker’ or the wannabe-RATM ‘Black Flags’ as their hymns. Whether Aoki’s bangers would rally the people is questionable, but they’d sure have a lot more fun.

By Matthias Scherer

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