Eternal Struggle – Year Of The Gun
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 37:32
Review by Steven Hooke
Punk rock and political discourse are without question, the high school sweethearts of musical genres. No matter what wistfully nostalgic memory you conjure in your saudade-tinged stupor, you always see THAT couple, arm-in-arm, skipping through the corridors, later to be seen necking off behind the I.T. block. The likes of the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Crass, Rise Against, Against Me! all dabbled or continue to do so with the relatively familiar US and UK politics of their time, but international politics continue to carry a level of shock factor for our unassuming ears.
Enter Eternal Struggle, the hardcore punk quartet who are taking aim at the political powers of their origin nation, Israel, choosing to refer to themselves as “a band from Israel” instead of “an Israeli band” to truly emphasize their disassociation with the decisions, views and general representation of their homeland government.
The politics of Israel have made major headlines over the past few months as (in the most watered down version of events) fighting intensified over land ownership between Israel and Palestine, but Eternal Struggle have arguably seen the bigger picture in that neither side is a winner, and that both sides are being played by the powers that be. There are several rallying cries on the band’s debut album “Year Of The Gun” for people to stand together and against the political leaders of the world, with the band themselves commenting on the track ‘On Broken Backs’ – “[e]nough of manipulation, ignorance. We’ve had enough pain and abuse. We won’t let them shape us or divide us. That’s what they want. We have a voice against them.”
From top to bottom, “Year Of The Gun” is a furious commentary on where the world is right now and how it got to this point. ‘Point One”#’ decries – “…my dreams, built on blood…” – while “Modern Slave” is an all-too-familiar (and very close to home) vitriol on the ‘working pay check to pay check’ lifestyle that so many people are forced into these days, as minimum wage increases at a crawl whilst taxes and housing skyrockets. ‘Indoctrination’ delves into an issue more localised to the band, in Israel’s selling and propaganda of its National Service, framing it as a matter of national pride and patriotism, inevitably ignoring all the challenging experiences young people may face during their time.
The fervor of frontman Ori Frank – with the exception of the remixed version of the title track by Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire which closes out the album – is backed by a stomping metal-twinned hardcore sound, oding back to the NYHC scene of the 90’s. That metal/hardcore radar ticks between the two sides in such a natural way, as tracks like ‘As Heroes Fade’, ‘To My Enemies’ and ‘Pride Kills’ really lean into a riff-driven sound, whilst ‘Point One’, ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Indoctrination’ push a more intense metallic hardcore rhythm, with both sides benefitting from some excellent drum work from Ori Koren. Sonic comparisons to the likes of Biohazard and Madball seem inevitable and perhaps not by accident, as Eternal Struggle worked with former long-time Madball guitarist Brian ‘Mitts’ Daniels as a producer, whose wealth of knowledge no doubt aided the band in their musical direction and creativity.
And they remain pretty dedicated to this direction. “Year Of The Gun” is 12 songs (+ 1 intro track and 1 digital hardcore remix) of solid hardcore intensity, rarely divulging from its familiar surroundings. There’s no tragic misfire just as much as there’s no truly standout moment from the core of the album, with the Alec Empire remix likely to split opinion amongst hardcore’s ultras. And if you do fall into said category, you’ll find Eternal Struggle a more than worthwhile experience, and worthy of a hearty spin-kick.
02. Point One
03. Year Of The Gun
04. As Heroes Fade
06. On Broken Backs
08. To My Enemies
10. Modern Slave
11. Pride Kills
13. Last Path
14. Y.O.T.G. (Alex Empire Remix)
Ori Frank – Vocals
Omer Meir – Guitars
Guilad Piñevsky – Bass
Ori Koren – Drums
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