atari teenage riot - burn, berlin, burn!

.:: Atari Teenage Riot is one of those bands that look great on paper: youth fighting the system, a band blending old-school punk with samplers and break beats, a musical revolution. Unfortunately, Burn, Berlin, Burn! is mere cathartic venting, not a full frontal assault on government, press, and social ills. Musically, they dish out a mix of recycled punk and bad jungle--not even much for ear candy. It's a shame because they are the type of band you really want to take seriously, but so are the reunited Sex Pistols as they scream about EMI 20 years later. A good idea taken to an unoriginal conclusion. --Bill Snyder

Atari Teenage Riot: Alec Empire, Hanin Elias, Carl Crack. Principally recorded at Empire Studios, Berlin, Germany between 1994 and 1996. Rarely has a band been more appropriately named than the German trio of Alec Empire, Hanin Elias, and Carl Crack. Crossing the title of Sonic Youth's 1988 anthem of disaffection with the name of the video game company that shaped the leisure hours of an entire generation, Atari Teenage Riot combines the stridency and political bent of '80s hardcore with a fascinating electronic aesthetic.

The group is simultaneously up-to-the-minute and engagingly nostalgic. Bandleader/mouthpiece Empire, whose solo records are even more sonically ambitious than those of his band, understands the ironic power of sloganeering. The titles and the hyper-speed lyrics include such pearls as "Fuck All," "Deutschland Has Gotta Die," and "Destroy 2000 Years of Culture." BURN BERLIN BURN is not an easy listen, but the album has a lyrical and aesthetic value far more interesting than the majority of faceless '90s electronica efforts.

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