RIVAL FACTIONS "Our Voice" (Flish Records)

Leo gave me this when we were in Richmond last month. Among all the comedic burn-out psycho-dayglo paper-rad-clad noise of their Church Of Crystal Light scene, I never expected to get a really solid HARDCORE tape, among a serious bounty of work Flish has released the past year (most is much more alligned with noise / experimental / just plain WEIRD). Rival Factions' tape is on one hand painfully stereotypical: images of bullet belts, riot gear cops, ugg.... gasmasks, AK rifles, and old english fonts combined with stenciled fonts. The music is just as predictable as the imagery, and the lyrics are the expected vague pseudo-revolutionary teen angst grab bag. But fuck it man, I really like this music! I prefer to listen to bands like Drop Dead or fucking Crass (duh), as more popular examples that is, for an affirmation of the attitude I want to live with and stand behind, because they are slightly more articulate and focused in their purpose, but AT LEAST bands like Rival Factions carry the same youthful spirit and fun aggression without malice (I'd hope in many cases at least) that brought me to punk and hardcore initially in my teens... They might not be challenging me as an artist or as a radical, but maybe they are at least challenging me to not forget the naive yet seed-planting attitude that set my life on the course its on. I am not in a band that sounds, or is, much like Rival Factions, but that kind of band was the starting point for me as a person who'd want to be in bands at all. In there defense, at the risk of being blatantly combative, AT LEAST a hxc band like this attempts to speak out against violence and injustice, in their own way with their own simple perspective on these subjects. I prefer it greatly over the growing popularity of bands that base their material on flirting with sexism, homopobia, fascism, etc. You can call me a "PC faggot" all you want, but I know the truth of these joking campaigns: Historically they weaken our immunity to ideas of hatred and fascism, before you know it the ideas have gone from JOKE to REALITY. So be fucking careful with your satire; make sure it reads accurately AS satire; or there's a price we all pay. And lastly, again in defense of more generic hxc bands like Rival Factions, AT LEAST it does not bore me to tears. People cling to the notion that noise music is inherently challenging and "experimental", when in fucking reality it has become just as pigeon-holed and predictable as classic hxc punk and other cookie-cutter sorts of music. And comparing a generic hxc band next to an equally generic noise band, at least hardcore still gets my blood pumping, so on a primal level it has that in its favor and that's kinda why I'm writing this. I'm not gonna live or think exactly how this tape implies I ought to, but I am gonna feel a little uplifted when I hear it. So thanks, Leo!!! And of course in the true sense of anarchy and alternative choices, their myspace link, www.myspace.com/rivalfactions ~ Robert Inhuman 09/20/08