Following nearly four years after Ultrawired, the Italian cyberpunk collective known as Dope Stars Inc. shows no signs of slowing down or softening up. Existing in a strange sonic space between belligerent catchiness and melodic trashiness, Victor Love and his company of electro/punkers deliver virtually headbutt the audience with their forceful hybridized musical concoction; touted as “a terabyte of raw data delivered straight to your face,” Terapunk is but the latest example of this band’s alluring fury.
Never a band to demonstrate restraint in the slightest, Terapunk begins quite aggressively with “It’s Going to Rain for You,” charging at full throttle with scathing synth melodies that are almost as slithery and acerbic as the vocals, topped off by an unrelenting onslaught of crunchy guitars. Throughout the album, Dope Stars Inc. maintain the punkish flair, the “Whoa” refrains of “Don’t Wanna Know” underscored by cheesy, caustic chiptune synths evoking the likes of The Offspring filtered through the best video game soundtracks of the ‘80s, while the simplistic progression and almost chant-like chorus of “Do It Yourself” immediately brings to mind the early punk anthems of The Ramones. Nevertheless, the band also does well to exemplify a more dynamic range of influences, “Take It” being especially noteworthy for its flirtation with shimmering ‘80s synth arpeggios and dance rhythms, the fluidity of the guitars adding an aggressive edge that makes the song quite an electrified disco hit. Similarly, “Spider Claw” comes at the listener running out the gates with a gritty dance beat, the crunchy synths and guitars creating a syncopated rhythm that for all of the vocal simplicity is simply infectious and sure to send many running for the dance floor. Bouncy synths and a poppy melody drive “Along with You,” evoking a similar atmosphere to The Birthday Massacre’s cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” while the distorted synths and chugging rhythms of “Dressed Inside Your Fear” bear a closer resemblance to ‘90s coldwave with a modern sheen, similar to Everything Goes Cold, particularly in the impassioned screams of the chorus. “The Believer” ends the album with a slower but no less insistent and slightly off-kilter rhythm, the darkened melody augmented by a plucking synth accompaniment and a simply but shiny guitar solo being one of Terapunk’s high points.
Like H.I.M. being remixed by KMFDM or Angelspit having a dirty sex with Mindless Self Indulgence in the backroom of an ‘80s dance party, Terapunk is one hell of a party; one should expect nothing less from Dope Stars Inc., having demonstrated this propensity for darkly melodic, noisy electro/punk rock on past releases. Herein lies the one quality that diminishes the album’s power, for it brings little to the table that the band has not already done, opting instead to just do it very, very well. For this, Terapunk may not be Dope Stars Inc.’s crowning musical achievement, but it remains one hell of a loud and good time.
Dope Stars Inc. Website http://www.dopestarsinc.com
Dope Stars Inc. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dopestarsinc
Dope Stars Inc. Twitter https://twitter.com/dopestarsinc
Dope Stars Inc. SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/dopestarsinc
Dope Stars Inc. Bandcamp https://dopestarsinc.bandcamp.com
Distortion Productions Website http://www.distortionprod.com
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)