Hands up who wants to hear Dennis REFUSED lay down vocals on an E-chugg friendly hardcore track! I knew it. So I got your attention, good. Because although the quest appearance by one of the few still active legends of Swedish hardcore obviously adds flavor to De få & de stolta, I have to say that HÅLL DET ÄKTA (which translates to “keep it real”) certainly seem strong enough to carry their own weight. With the overly productive Marc Strömberg on vocals, it comes as no surprise that the band has vandalized our serenity with no less than three EPs in just a year. Håll Det Äkta’s style is not homogenous, but mostly leans towards some sort of MADBALL-ish hardcore. Throw in some extra metal, some additional crunchy breakdowns and a cover of MASSHYSTERI’s “Dom kan inte höra musiken”, and there you go. Does it sound like a little too much of the good stuff? Well, thankfully Håll Det Äkta keep all the songs on the two EPs reviewed here short and to the point.
The twist is obviously that the lyrics are sung in Swedish. I can’t recall any band sounding like Håll Det Äkta singing in their native tongue since AMOK did it in the mid nineties. Much like that band did, Marc throws out political and head-on lyrics with a vengeance. “Ingen kan tysta mig” (“nobody can silence me”) he yells and makes it sound believeable.
A problem for Håll Det Äkta is that it was quite a while ago that the scenes in the northern parts of Sweden, where they hail from, where tightly connected to those in the south. While Marc is a recurring figure at shows down here, which helps, I have a feeling that bands from the north have to work harder to get recognition in the south. Hardcore kids can be very picky. If there are people on stage that they aren’t familiar with, there’s no guarantee that great music is enough to get due respect. Hopefully HÅLL DET ÄKTA will help break that pattern.
Staffan Snitting, Law & Order Fanzine issue #3, 2011