Don't be fooled by all those taxpayer-funded sex-change operations: Beneath Sweden's placid exterior, its heart still thumps to a Viking beat. Witness the relentless, wild-eyed punk rock of Masshysteri, the latest permutation of the incestuous scene based in the city of Umeå. Formerly doing business as the Vicious, the band lost a member, shuffled the lineup, started singing entirely in Swedish and wrote even better melodic punk tunes. Dual male-female vocals (the latter provided by Sara Almgren, formerly of the (International) Noise Conspiracy) spike the charging powerchords with a unique poignancy and angst, not dissimilar to X, minus the rockabilly roots. Countrymen like the Hives and Randy have mastered the Swedish art of being pissed-off and catchy at the same time; Masshysteri does it without so much as a single lyric in English.
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