Genre: Crust Punk/Hardcore
The band Victims, even though they are Swedes, they’ve always had an eye across the Atlantic and sounded more akin to American hardcore / crust rather than with their compatriots Totalitär or Anti Cimex. Especially after 2011 and the inexplicably not-universally accepted “A Dissident”, their sound resembled more and more the American structures or their compatriots Disfear and Wolfbrigade. The change back then was charged to a change of producer, Mieszko Talarczyk replaced by Nico Elgstrand known from his work with Entombed, a change which was credited by the public and press on him. Now Fred Estby “takes the fall”, who has worked with Dismember, and any differences distinguished are credited to him. However, it is common knowledge that the crust genre worldwide leveled its quality when it embraced metal influences, while simultaneously it was embraced by the (extreme) metal world. So, the shift of Victims to Death Metal melodies enriched their sound and gave them extra strength. In my ears, the band has matured over the last 5 years and indeed in a good way. The use of double vocals (“Heal”) seems innovative, while at the same time, with the addition of melodies, Victims don’t forget their punk heritage. Despite the d-beat drumming, there is a pervasive mood for old school punk vocals removed from the usual hardcore ones that characterize Victims. Generally there is a variety in the vocals; we even come across gang vocals (“Errors”, in which we hear more riffs than any other piece) that are mixed with the angrily and aggressively vocals to alternate again with the more “soft” ones. Tracks like “Turn” and “Promises” seem to be the missing link of the sound they had in the past with the sound they have in the present. The length of the tracks does not exceed 3 ½ minute, with the homonym track and the closing track “Ashes” reaching this point, the latter of which is another sample of maturity for Victims. The production is very good, with the instruments being clearly audible and the vocals mixed intentionally slightly lower than the instruments to avoid overlapping them. Six albums and nearly 20 years after the Victims win the bet and avoid the prospect of being heard one-dimensional and repetitive. Songs like “Ashes”, “Storm” and “Heal” help in this. “Sirens” is a strong album that breaks the five-years silence in quite a deafening way, I would say.