Senser - How To Do Battle

Had old Oscar W. still been around in 1993, he may have imagined artist Basil Hallward recording Senser onto a C90 cassette. So enamoured with the ‘hipness’ captured on that recording, the band hoped the sound on the cassette would age, whilst they would remain forever young. Here we are in 2009 and Senser have released another album that sounds exactly the same as they did in 1993. Yet if one were to dust off and play that battered, dirty old C90 all that would be heard is ‘I'd Rather Jack’ by the Reynolds Girls!

This reviewer remembers those heady days in the early 90s when the alternative nightclub dancefloor would empty and fill with subcultures, depending on which record was currently playing. But two records would guarantee a pile-up of bodies: metalheads, goths and crusties, elbow to elbow, a-moshing and a-pogoing on the sticky carpets. Those records were Nirvana's ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Eject’ by Senser. Uniting the yoof with guitars and drums!

How To Do Battle opens with ‘Resistance Now’, flexing the archetypal Senser sound of metal spiky guitar stabs backing up the angsty boy/girl interchange of Heitham Al-Sayed and Kerstin Haigh, although whether it’s enough to motivate The Kids away from their Nintendo Wii and onto the dancefloor or out hunt-sabbing is questionable. The political agenda is as it always was – the oil drying up, anti-fascism and the inordinate amount of green jelly tots per packet – meaning it all sounds a little like anarchy by numbers.

The rest of the album is fairly patchy, but sits neatly alongside their previous works. There are some great tracks, usually when the tempo is up but when they slow it down things work less well. ‘Fairytale’ is interesting in that it breaks the mould somewhat with the final minute turning into a circa-1984 Iron Maiden guitar solo. One almost expects Bruce Dickinson to burst in and start bellowing about albatrosses or fighter planes. But on the whole there are few surprises here.

If you liked them before, there is no doubt this will appeal to you. There is no denying when they are on form, they are very good. But, if they’ve never floated your boat there isn’t anything here that will change your mind.

Anyway, I’m off to find my DM’s and march against the Criminal Justice Bill. Who’s with me?



out of 10
Category Review

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