In August 1998, the United States hurled 80 cruise missiles at "strategic targets" in Afghanistan and Sudan in response to Al Qaeda's bombings of embassies in East Africa. It turns out we strafed an aspirin factory and several villages. Al Qaeda was (obviously) unfazed, but thousands of Muslims were killed or displaced and the only thing America got upset about was that Bill Clinton was trying to distract us. It's this type of arrogant apathy that has inspired Rob Lind (Blood For Blood, Sinners & Saints) to undertake a mission he calls Ramallah. Provocatively packaged as sort of a hardcore Muslimgauze, Ramallah daringly takes a stance that, on its face, could be construed as pro-Muslim, when in fact, it's really just pro-justice. (Like Muslimgauze, Lind is the sole musician here, other than drum tracks by Neil Dyke and vocal contributions from Converge's Jake Bannon on three songs.) The first three songs on this EP ("Ramallah," "Sleep" and "Al Shifa") are extreme both in their metallic approach and in their lyrical content, and they recall the nasty Reagan years in their sheer punk virulence. Clearly, Lind's apocalyptic attack is motivated by the perception that the continued persecution of Muslims (by both the United States and Israel) is going to reap serious consequences. "But A Whimper" loses some of its steam when Lind moves away from his political statements, but the sheer boldness of this EP makes it worthwhile.
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