Album Review: Raw War – Total Raw War

Album Review: Raw War - Total Raw War
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

Operational for but a brief time, Canadians, Raw War, out of Victoria, British Columbia, were four years of devastating aggression and a Crust attitude. Channelling their ire through the UK82 D-Beat sound of Discharge and Doom, a wider Scandinavian influence from the likes of Anti-Cimex, while maintaining a closer to home vibe of fellow Canuks, The Casualties.

Kicking off with War, we’re greeted with a sense of a broken land and, musically, things aren’t going to get any prettier. Mangled is all about a cranking guitar and relentless drum, Orjuus continues the barrage, the guttural vocal echoing the anarchy of the record.

Patriot Bastard has some depth, with a grinding melody and a slight step away from the assaulting tunes so far. A song called Tsar Bomba can’t risk being anything but utterly devastating and leans into an even more aggressive sound, drawing Extreme Noise Terror comparisons. Cycle of Bullshit sees cleans and growls mixing; Lobotomy, Monetary Hell and H.I.R. plumb the depths of extremity while Class War finds the band wearing their Crusty credentials proudly on their collective sleeves.

Both Aftermath and Reactor 4 slow things down a little, the former being built around a fuzzy bassline, while the latter feels like someone’s been browsing Cronos’ book of bass riffs. Raw Terror starts like a rifle cocking and includes a frenzied guitar solo, titles like State Abduction, Vacant Minds and Voluntary Manipulation could be straight off any self-respecting Anarchic UK82 release.

Album Review: Raw War - Total Raw War

Active between the years of 2009 and 2013, it’s clear that here is a band whose live shows would have been the very definition of chaos. It is unsurprising to read Raw War disintegrated due to debauchery and line-up instability, leaving only these seventeen tunes of sheer, unadulterated spite.

Kudos, then, to the good folk at Sentient Ruin Records, who resurrected the unreleased – and unnamed – full-length album, and the provisionally titled Raw Terror EP, and collecting them into thirty-five minutes of some of the most apocalyptic anarchy you’ll hear this year.

Total Raw War is the discovered document of a bunch of angry young men venting their spleens at the world in the only way they know how. It’s rough and unpolished at times, but it’s all the better for it.

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