There was a time when rebellion was good business for the music business. Rock ‘n’ roll, sixties anti-war songs, punk – they all provided a new opportunity to make an honest buck from giving the “kids” a soundtrack to a new tomorrow. So, given that the music business is determined to sell us the past and nothing but the past these days, is there even a place for the protest song today?
Well, that is a good question and one that might just have been answered by Encoded with their EP “Psychosis”. Sure enough, all the usual angular sounds of the past have been adopted by this London based band – metal, Rage Against the Machine, Beastie Boys – but this is more respectful adoration than simple duplication as, once the rice rocket friendly anthems “Our Faith and Gone” and “Normalisation” have blown your speakers, it becomes clear that there is more going here than the mere execution of your eardrums. The sound remains forever muscular but, as “Decalcified” demonstrates, there is a purpose – theatrically presented, of course – to the music of Encoded and that purpose would appear to be the portrayal of alienation in a world that worships lies. This isn’t, therefore, revolution but it is a statement. A single honest voice in a time when nobody listens to anything other than themselves, if you like.
There is no obvious political stance here so Encoded are clearly not selling us answers or, indeed, expecting to be the soundtrack to rebellion. They do, however, give us more anger and intelligence than you would ever expect of a hard rock/metal band these days so, while that might not be protest, I’d certainly call that progress.