CD REVIEW Kickback

Band : Kickback
Album title : Et Le Diable Rit Avec Nous
Label : GSR Music
Distributor : Bertus
Release date : 09/12/2011
Release : CD

To commemorate the band's 20st anniversary (they were founded in 1991, but only singer Stephen Bessac remains of that initial line-up), France's most famous Paris-based Hardcore act Kickback decided to record a new album.

As mentioned in my review (posted 31/08/2009) of previous album No Surrender, Kickback plays a Metallic Hardcore. In fact, they are inspired from the beginning by early New York Hardcore (of the Hatecore variety), but also by Thrash Metal and Hip Hop, and along the years included melodic Black Metal into their music. In fact, as far as French “Hardcore” goes, Kickback can be named as one of the most inventive of their nation, even if they haven't been that prolific (only 4 full-lengths and an EP released, this album included). Still, the band owes its reputation as “France's most famous Hardcore band” foremost to their “negative attitude”, and the fact that they occasionally become aggressive towards their own audiences. About the “negative attitude”...some of the band's members have been known to be outright racist. In fact, in the middle of the '90s a rumour (I believe I even saw a newspaper clipping about the fact) was spread through the Hardcore grapevine, about the possible involvement of one of the guys in pushing a negro onto the rails of a Paris railway station at the moment when a train was passing by. However, let's not drag possibly ficticious past into this, and concentrate on what the guys did for their 5th release!

Because what you get (as with any Kickback album so far), is a total of just under 37 minutes of real nice music, if you like your “Hardcore” with interesting musical undercurrents and melodic complexities. Eight songs of their own, and two Kickback-ized covers. First cover is “It's A Burning Hell”, originally off Brainbombs' 1992 album Burning Hell (Brainbomb is a still existing Swedish “Noise Rock” act known for their repetitive, noisy, often untuned, raucous sound & lyrics). As second cover the guys chose for Houston (Texas) based Rap group Geto Boys' “Mind Of A Lunatic”, which was one of the live favourites from their 1989 album Grip It On That Level (with lyrics on misogyny, gore, psychotic experiences and necrophilia, the band grew out to be one of the more important acts of the American “Horrorcore Hip Hop” scene). Now, I've listened to the original versions, and what Kickback did to them is just unbelievably inventive. They've taken a bare musical thing, and shaped it into a miraculously beautiful thing. The same goes for their own songs, by the way. Besides the very nice interplay between the musicians, there's also some vocal diversity, with some spoken word-ish passages added to Bessac's usual heady Hardcore-styled screams. And then there's the occasional sample as well (some of which clearly indicative of the band's national socialist leanings – the  late '30 to '45 German type, if you understand).

Regretfully, the only music posted at (www.) myspace.com/kickback are older songs, so I guess you'll have to make due with the 30-second samples usually provided by the trustworthy online sales sites to get a whiff of the new album...or check it out at your local record shop. Having totally different views towards society, I would rate this band very poorly if I let myself be led by my socio-political feelings. However, this is about music, and as far as that is concerned, Kickback's newest dropping surely deserves to be added to my personal year-lists!

98/100

Tony.