REVIEW: Dead Bhuttos | Democracy is the Best Revenge EP (2017)

BAND: Dead Bhuttos (Pakistan)
RELEASE: Democracy is the Best Revenge EP (2017)
Psychotic Break (New Jersey) – cassette
Tempang and Azadghei (Malaysia & Singapore) – cassette
Slapbet (Singapore) – vinyl
Incanned (India) – CD
REVIEWER: Hamza Tariq

Pakistan is a country where there have been over 3 military dictatorships in the past, effects of which are palpable even today. With every passing day, it grows closer to becoming an Orwellian dystopia. You would think that in a country like that, punk, a genre that’s always been at the forefront of every modern revolution and a genre that’s known for its aggressiveness and politically influenced lyrics, would be very popular among the youth, but that is not the case. Most people in Pakistan seem to be entangled in the clutches of metal, playing pentatonic scales over and over again, desperately hoping they might somehow sound like Metallica and Pantera. Two people, Hassan and Sheraz, however, do not seem to care much about the metal scene or the lack of interest in punk music. Dead Bhuttos, a project of Hassan, Sheraz, and Basim Usmani (of The Kominas), is a punk rock band that hails from Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan.

Democracy is the Best Revenge, Dead Bhuttos’ first EP, consists of three songs, all of which are brutal, fast and filled with rage and animosity towards the messed up Pakistani political landscape. The first song, “Pakistan Ka Matlab Kya?”, has lyrics taken from 2 poems by the revolutionary poet Habib Jalib and has an excerpt from the Communist Manifesto being read out by Hassan. The song starts out fast and slowly descends into a slower doom part that fans of early Black Sabbath will find very much to their liking. The second song, “Democracy is the Best Revenge”, which is the angriest song on the EP, is about the death of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, former prime minister and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party. The title track starts with a bass line that will be enough to tell you just how bleak and full of despair the whole atmosphere of the song is. Unlike the first song, the second song starts out slow and ends fast. Very fast. The third song, “Taqwacore Ko Miss Karao!”, is the shortest and fastest song on the EP. The song is about Taqwacore, a sub-genre of punk music, and consists of Hassan and Basim constantly screaming Taqwacore Ko Miss Karao! (that’s Urdu slang for forget about Taqwacore). Guitar and bass on all three of the songs are fast and groovy but there are a lot of doom influence too, reminiscent of crust punk bands like Hellshock, Hellkrusher, Stormcrow, etc. Drums were recorded live by Sheraz on all of the songs and they sound surprisingly good!

If you’re looking for short, fast, angry hardcore punk with riffs that have bleakness and years of frustration against the bourgeoisie oozing from them, then “Democracy is the Best Revenge” is the perfect record. The lyrics might be in Urdu but the vocals and the riffs should be enough to tell you just how much rage there is inside the hearts of Hassan, Sheraz, and Basim.

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