1999: 60 Second Wipe Out comes out, giving, for the last time, rage and a flame of activism to people around the world. Digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot disbands one year later, and whilst Alec Empire, Nic Endo and Hanin Elias are still making smart noise for committed people, the world follows its turn. A calm before the storm.

2011: New decade, new rules. Recession, riots, politics, a world at war. Troubled times, uncompromising heroes, here comes Atari Teenage Riot v 3.0, with Is This Hyperreal?. The call for Revolution can begin.

One thing for sure, the digital-punks haven’t soften up their sound, nor their revendications. Nic Endo, now replacing Hanin Elias full time, provides screams and exhorts people to ‘Activate’ (first single and album opener). Her energy, combined with Alec Empire’s declarations and CX KIDTRONIX’s flow, explodes all over the album. Added to ATR’s typical wall of noise, it gives Is This Hyperreal? a new and noisy perspective on what political engagement is. Digital Hardcore yes, maybe a bit more ‘rocky’ than their previous work, definitely furious. Samples of fragmented speeches add to the dark and ‘activist’ atmosphere. The themes explored here come from government failures (‘Activate’, ‘Black Flags’, ‘Shadow Identity’) to sex trafficking (the great ‘Blood In My Eyes’) along with the celebration of the internet power (‘Rearrange Your Synapses’, ‘Digital Decay’), and ‘the death of mass culture, of mass consumption, of corruption’ (as introduced by Alec Empire during a recent gig in Paris).

Illustrated by the album closer ‘Collapse Of History’, the death of conformism accorded to Atari Teenage Riot includes 6:57 of dancey beats where Nic Endo joyfully watches the world falling (“press forward, escape, and watch it collapse!”), surrounded by crowd chants. Genius? Genius. The real surprise comes from the title track: giving us a break from the hardcore vibe, the trio builds an impressive wall of sound during 4mn, with the help of their beloved Atari material, before exploding on the next track with ‘CodeBreaker’. “We’ve got to move to real anarchy” they add later. Listening to ATR is more than an act of revolution. It’s entering the resistance. Welcome to the new era.

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