"Born with insight and a raised fist...”
"Born with insight and a raised fist..." describes the ethos of a unique and profound band coming to Australia in November.
Swedish band Raised Fist, who took their name from the Rage Against the Machine song "Know Your Enemy", have been calling bull**it on social hypocrisy for more than 22 years.
Vocalist Alexander Hagman scathing vitriol for modern society on the album "From the North" is plain to see and his energy and passion for the band after all this time is as unbridled and raw as it was when they began.
Raised Fist do not compromise.
Whether it is musically, or on tour, they have held true to their beliefs and in doing so have released a scintillating album that should have a place in everybody's record collection.
"Of course we could do more financially viable things but we have never been interested in going and following that path," Alexander said.
"I know a lot of bands say that but no-one can back it up with 22 years and we are still on the same contract that we signed with Burning Heart Records back in 1993," he said.
"We had f***ing millions of deals coming our way and people wanting us on tour but we are very, very fine with the way things are now.
"The financial thing has never a motivator in Raised Fist and it can't be and we promised ourselves with the bass player when we started the band - "Remember, remember... money can never be a thing in this band as a way of deciding what we do or what we don't. It can never be." And we promised ourselves that.
" It is a legacy and life is very short and we have worked 22 years with building this up to what it is and why f**k it up now."
Rather than a condescending swipe at humans, the new album is a call for change and reform, with songs dealing with everything from climate change, greed, self-indulgence, nihilistic esoteric reflections on mortality, domestic violence and poverty, and reflections on hypocritical trend followers.
Their unique blend of hardcore and punk, combined with inventive melodies and heavy riffs, ensures there is plenty of power behind the wrath of lyrics and tracks on the new album.
It has been four years since Raised Fist have returned to Australia, but for a band that did not tour for the first seven years of their band career it is an exciting prospect to hear they are returning to our shores.
"Australia has always backed Raised Fist up and we know that," Alexander said.
"Australia was one of the first tours we got offered really, really, fast after we started the band," he said.
"We couldn't just go there because we were skating at home and didn't know how to get a passport, and getting visas and getting work permits and we just said 'let's do this another time'.
"My parents were on social welfare and imagine no internet or nothing, just a big f***ing phone book and your parents can't even play the telephone bill.
"It was impossible for us, but it was Australia who were first and we have been to Australia many times because of this reason.
"We know we have fans who have been backing us since day one and it is just a natural thing to go there.
"The flight of course is like 40 hours so that would be a thing of course, but it is not a big thing."
Coming from a tough impoverished background Alexander Hagman has always aimed to keep the vision of the band pure.
He also goes to great pains to highlight that while their sound may have started with a New York Hardcore driven aesthetic, they have firmly created their own sound which has been labelled by media as a mix of punk, hardcore and metal.
"I grew up with New York Hardcore and that is my history and that was a very big thing for us and it influenced Raised Fist in the start - the culture, the whole thing.
"But then we took a real 360 turn around the whole genre and when we now come back to the music we do Raised Fist again.
"We don't sound like any other hardcore band out there - we have our own style, the legacy, and other bands are starting to sound like Raised Fist.
"We have tried it all.
"Raised Fist is Raised Fist and I am so f***ing proud and proud that it makes a difference in this world."
Constantly pushing the boundaries with each album, their diverse mix of New York hardcore, Swedish punk and heavy metal is plain to see, but it is the groove that is so striking.
"I work really hard with the rhythmical sections and yes I can growl if I wanted to but it has never crossed my mind to imitate a troll or a demon from Lord of the Rings when I sing about very important matters," he said.
"I will do that in another band but not this one because it would never make any sense and that would be counterproductive to sending out the message.
"The groove is there and the lyrics are like hectic rap sometimes because I really, really work together with the drums.
"When I write songs I start with the drums and I work with the groove there and all these rhythmical little holes and gaps and I want to feel them with the right moment, touch them.
"The groove was the essential part of the whole thing right from the first BPM.
"We didn't use the standard BPM right on spot, instead we worked with feeling it out and waited to see where the right groove for this record was.
"If you listen to the whole album there are different tempos and different styles but there is a groove to it.
"I think we have covered both dimensions - both the ones (audiences) that know what we are doing on a higher level and the ones who just want to listen to a cd at a party," he said.
Raised Fist have seen it all in their 22 years touring, whether it was being ushered into the cellar at a show in Canada where a riot broke out, or band members being assaulted by a gang, or even the less than memorable time the bass player was sick with fever and diarrhoea.
"The bass player has been sh**ing and puking at the same time while playing his wireless bass while the rest of us are standing on stage.
"He puked and puked with his ass at the exact same time and still kept playing.
"It has been a fun ride even with these strange f***ed up things."
And Alex promises that Raised Fist are ready to make these shows as memorable as ever with their relentless energy and irrepressible rage, chaotic stage presence and seemingly effortless defiance and roof-raising riffs.
Australian Tour Dates:
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29TH - KINGS ARMS, AUCKLAND (18+)
Tickets available at www.undertheradar.co.nz
THURSDAY DECEMBER 1ST - THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE (18+)
FRIDAY DECEMBER 2ND - THE METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY (18+)
SATURDAY DECEMBER 3RD - MAX WATTS, MELBOURNE (18+)
SUNDAY DECEMBER 4TH - MAX WATTS, BRISBANE (18+)
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7TH - FOWLERS LIVE, ADELAIDE (18+)
THURSDAY DECEMBER 8TH - THE ROSEMOUNT, PERTH (18+)
Tickets available at www.oztix.com.au