British aggro-electro-rockers get cynical, dark with "The New Insane"!



Music seems to go in waves of darkness, a comment and counterpoint on the state of the culture. Sometimes, tastes run towards the poppy and optimistic. Others, it deep dives into the cultural id, giving voice to the silent shout, to the blood thirst and repressed aggression. You could say it's a reaction to the times, but we've been living through one apocalypse after another since the millennium. So it seems it's just a matter of how fed up people get, whether they delve into some T-Swift poptimism or blood soaked punk/industrial rock.

British quartet Counterfeit have been riding those waves, somehow giving voice to both, simultaneously, delivering angsty emo-ish electro rock that is still catchy and poppy, like Oasis getting together Ministry while still managing to be good. Despite their raging, distorted guitars, Counterfeit have maintained a sense of optimism, with album titles like Together We Are Stronger or their newish single "It Gets Better."

It seems they've reached their breaking point, though, with their new single "The New Insane." Gone are the shoutalong emo gang vocals. Gone are the arms-around-shoulders swaying in solidarity. Instead, "The New Insane" is a blast furnace of screaming guitars and electronic beats, over which the vocals can lift off.

Musically, it sounds like that moment when David Bowie or Nine Inch Nails went jungle, but with crunchy hip-hop beats instead. It's a good look, both for Counterfeit and for loud, aggressive rock 'n roll as a whole. It seemed like bands like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson almost had it right in the late '90s but the technology just wasn't quite there yet. And they still sound rather dated and a period of their time.

"The New Insane" couldn't come at a more perfect time. We Are: The Guard are predicting a hard '90s resurgence, any day now. We seem to be stuck in an endless string of never-ending wars. The litany of tragedies and potential catastrophes go on and on, forever and ever amen. Might as well crank the distortion and let it rage.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.