Elling Lien heads for the hills in anticipation of Swedish band The Regulations’ attack this Sunday.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about Sweden, I think about dark winters, blond hair, and Ace of Base.
(I apologize for reminding you about Ace of Base.)
From the northern Swedish city of Umeå, hardcore punk rock band The Regulations are not Ace of Base. They’re not ABBA. They’re high-energy melodic punk rockers. They’re the product of an era without musical borders, and of the underground infatuation with going back to the roots.
Although it has a population similar to that of St. John’s, Umeå had a thriving hardcore punk scene in the 90s. At the time, hardcore shows could attract almost 700 people according to some accounts. Havoc Records, The Regulations’ US distributor, is a popular underground record label in Minnesota that deals almost exclusively with Scandinavian and US punk bands.
The Regulations’ sound is heavily influenced by older-style punk rock from Los Angeles in the late 70s and early 80s. In record reviews, connoisseurs dissect each album to its basic structure. Here are a few segments from reviews of The Regulations’ 2004 7” record, “Destroy”:
“…like ‘70s west coast-style US punk.”
“…Pre-Rollins Black Flag…”
“…combined with the spirit of late 70s punk like Germs, Middle Class, Dils, and Avengers…”
“…Straight out of the ’78 LA scene.”
“…could have been Keith Morris’ understudy, but he also sounds like a “Bonus Fat”-era Milo Aukermann.”
“…A cross between SOA and the Circle Jerks.”
Michael Phillips, organizer of the St. John’s show, and host of a hardcore punk radio show on CHMR “Guilty as Charged”, says The Regulations rose from the ashes of the Swedish thrash band Epileptic Terror Attack to become a more melodic, catchier band.
“There was a lot of thrash for a long time, and a lot of people just got sick of the fast-fast-fast-fast-fast-fast of it. People started getting into catchier songs, more songwriting,” he says. “There were a couple bands that came out around 2003 that were a lot slower, and Regulations are one of them.”
“No,” he corrects himself. “I don’t want to say slow. Slower.”
Definitely not a slow band, The Regulations are on the end of their first cross-Canada tour where they’re playing back-to-back shows every night from Victoria to Halifax. I spoke to Marcus, the band’s guitarist, briefly on the phone and he said he was looking forward to the one night’s rest on the ferry over to Newfoundland. He promised me they’ll arrive recharged and “ready to destroy.”
Their only regret: they won’t have time to visit the ancient viking settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows.
Regulations will be performing at two shows this Sunday at Distortion. All ages, 3pm, $6: w/ Missed Life (Halifax), Born Obedient, Judge Dread, and Skullface & Others. Bar show, 10pm, $6: Dig up the Dead, Swords, Nerve Attack.