INIKAH HIDUP – Soundtracks of War and Destruction CD
Soundtracks of War and Destruction CD
(a joint release by Ronin Records, Nervous Rechords, xGustixKatilxDistro, Papakerma Records, Convert Distro & Chrome Records)
Right from the late 90s till somewhere earlier this decade, the little scene in Terengganu was somehow revitalised and churned out a lot of activities; there were a number of bands active, several distros/labels and also good zines circulating. A few gigs were successfully organised (try living there and you will know what a bitch it is to set a show there) and then there was a collective which (at least, for a while) was doing free-food servings and also running an autonomous space etc.
Inikah Hidup is like the culmination of all that, where most of the key people that were involved in the activities mentioned above (including Ronin Distro’s Shabri) decided to band together and kick our lazy arses with a bit of screaming punk rock. The band which has been around in some form or another since 2002 has now grown to feature two vocalists, (including ex-Jellybelly and Nervous Records runner, Nizang), a keyboardist and also two guitarists.
This CD (not a CD-R, mind you!) is the first time ever the gang has gone and up the ante a wee bit in the “quality” department. The production here is much, much better compared to the one tune they recorded for The Dude Puked On My Lap CD-R comp. Apart from the rather “digitised” feel of the guitars and scattered levels of the vocal bits, this disc is all right in my book.
Lyrically, Inikah Hidup touches upon quite a variety of subjects; right from apathy (Tunduk), body image and looks as a criteria for discrimination (Lagu Roket) to the selfishness of the rich (I Hate Golf), the senseless nature of the internal security act (Siksa) and of course, politicians (Omong Kosong) and war (Doomsday & Inikah Hidup).
On the musical side, Inikah Hidup sounds like no other in the local scene. First you have the keyboards filling in the gaps and background. Then you have the rocking hardcore foundation, which most of the time sounds weirdly more like “poodle-haired big-stadium hard rock” (remember the band Europe with their awful “It’s the Final Countdownnnn,” anthem?) than HC. And on top of that you have Nizang taking a lot of space screaming and yelling and generally being pissed-off all over the tracks. His stressed up, almost-high-pitch wails (mixed way up front) can really irritate after a while, and I kept finding myself waiting for him to stop!
When I saw them playing at the Domestik Doktrin tribute recently a friend wondered loudly; “Why don’t they just sing properly?” Well, I think if they drop the “intense” screaming and also the “growling”, Inikah Hidup would really sound like a keyboard-driven hard rock band with a bit of speedy hardcore touches. Would that be better? Well, I don’t know. I’ve never got into this sort of hardcore anyway, it’s too “Mat Rock” for my taste, especially with all the lengthy guitar lines, annoyingly contrived screaming and chuggy rhythms. Not me cuppa, really
Another problem with this release is that there are 11 songs in all, but none of them sticks. Most of them segue into each other just like they are just extensions or variations of the same song. In short there’s no variety, and that is especially due to all the screaming which can be interchangeable in all of the songs. Most of the tunes share the same structure, the same chord sequences, the same approach, the same wailing; and so when I played the disc as a whole, I can’t differentiate between the songs unless I look at the CD player and check the track number!
One thing for sure though, the band tried hard at being progressive and different, especially in terms of typical hardcore ideas and approach; all the spoken-word breaks, the inventive clean-guitar intros and the mixture of “stadium rock” and hardcore; are all commendable efforts. Not many bands want to risk their “acceptability” by forging on their own path (the band even covered a track by The Cranberries!).
Being different is no longer a virtue in the scene where so many just wanna sound and look the same as the current trend or the “heroes”. If you have been following the Indonesian fast-core scene, you will know how horrible that uniformity has become; imagine listening to 20 bands playing 40 songs and they all sound the same!
That said, I also wish that all of that effort, ideas and hard-work by Inikah Hidup could have been channelled better, tightened or developed further. Somehow, it doesn’t work, at least not on this CD. Anyway, I’m sure the band is not going to give-up that easily. Here’s hoping to hear more from the crew.
– reviewed by Joe Kidd (June 2005)
The CD is available for RM 12.00 or USD 8.00 postpaid from all the labels + distros listed below:
Ronin Distro c/o Fazri/Shabri, B783, Bnggol Limau 21200 Kuala Terengganu, MALAYSIA
Nervous Rechords c/o xnizangx, 49, Jalan Rahim Kajai, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail 60000 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
GustixKatilXDistro c/o Al Nizan, No. 7, Lorong Iramanis 4, Taman Iramanis 4, Taman Iramanis 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MALAYSIA
Convert Distro: Convert email
Chrome Records c/o xAh Chongx, Lot 2794, Kg. Simpang Air Mawang 73100 Johol, Negeri embilan, MALAYSIA
Chrome Records email
The main sleeve featured some great photography by Sue Anna Joe, her works can be seen here: