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Hanin Elias

In Flames
(Fatal)

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A member of the noisy Berlin quartet Atari Teenage Riot, Hanin Elias proves to have an agenda of her own on her first solo record, In Flames. She's released the 17-track album on her new, for-women-only label Fatal, which she started as the result of her frustrations with what she has called the "hardcore boy nonsense" at ATR's label, Digital Hardcore. Like Atari Teenage Riot, her messages are still grounded in anarchist philosophies, and the music -- a pastiche of loud screams and jungle-influenced beats -- is the aural equivalent of chaos. The real difference between ATR and In Flames is that Elias asserts herself more on her solo effort, and she proves herself to be one of the most aggressive women in rock.

On the majority of songs here, Elias screams rather than sings -- but every now and then, she slows down her spoken-sung verses to a trance-like pace. "Under Pressure" is the standout dance track and the most infectious song on the record. Backed by an arsenal of dark beats, she chants, "Your face is deep under pressure" and goes on to ask, "How can you live your life like this? Without knowing what life really is? You're working in a bank or sometimes in a store. Yeah, you like your job." Elias, who sings in English, doesn't worry about rhyming -- her lyrics aren't about establishing cadence, but about raising issues of consciousness. On "You Will Never Get Me," a song on which she alternately sounds like both Goth icon Siouxsie Sioux and jazz crooner Billie Holiday, she sings, "I wouldn't give anybody the chance to mess me up. You can't squeeze me. I'm not kind. I'm not someone that you can get. I'm as cold as steel." In songs such as "Girl Serial Killer" and the title track, Elias sings about judgment day, revenge, and how some day all oppressors (whether they're capitalists or Nazis) will get the punishment they deserve. And she's adamant enough about it that you believe her.

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