Fatal Blow – Hope Not Hate (Self Released)

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First full length release from the South Wales SHARP trio featuring former members of The Oppressed. Nine tracks of upbeat street punk /Oi with catchy choruses (particularly the opening title track). As you would expect from a band with these credentials the topics mainly cover anti-racism/fascism, but also extend to the surveillance culture that pervades the UK (‘Big Brother’), ‘Police Brutality’, Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq war (‘Warmonger’) and the current bete noire of the left, Donald Trump (‘Nation of Hate’). Musically it’s similar to The Oppressed (Well Duh!), 4 Skins and NYC’s The Templars – but with a more uplifting rather than angry style, that gives tracks such as ‘AFA Attack’ an anthemic, inspiring feel to them. The band have undergone a line-up change since recording ‘Hope Not Hate’ with Skinhead legend Roddy Moreno stepping down and former Greazy Ratz guitarist Nidge Downs picking up bass duties. The band are already back in the studio recording the follow up to HNH so keep your eyes peeled for that; in the meantime raise a glass to Hope Not Hate. Ian Pickens

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