Desperation, boredom, mental instability, and feeling completely out of place has rarely sounded this good. Soaked in reverb, but sharp and as in focus as razor wire that seems to be hovering over their heads at all times, Alienated sounds like battle call for misfits. You can snap your fingers along, but as soon as your ears lock into the lyrics, it’s a dark, dark place. Like a lot that’s coming out of Umea, Sweden nowadays, via the NyVag encampment of bands, they seem to continue to up the ante with their older or currently running bands—DS 13, Regulations, (International) Noise Conspiracy—simultaneously finding more and more melody and hidden structure from overlooked gems of ’77 while being able to tap into an anxious, emerging modern vein of punk rock. The Vicious nail an important paradox: we can have a shared experience from all being rejects. We may be almost all alone and fucked up in this world, but bands like these—that your neighbors will probably never hear of—may just be making the best music out there, even if it often times feels like it’s in a vacuum, or a world away. Alienated’s a great record.
–todd (Feral Ward)