These are uncertain times.
The coronavirus has rocked the world in a way few could have predicted, sending communities into chaos many towns haven’t seen since the second world war.
Although 1000mods wrote Youth of Dissent before the coronavirus was even a concept for most of us, the topics it covers are incredibly timely (and timeless).
2019 was marked by a worldwide discussion on the transgender community and transgender rights, and “Dear Herculine” encapsulates that drama perfectly, telling Herculine Barbin’s story (which we’ll explain below) in their own unique way.
Before we get into a play by play discussion of Youth of Dissent, it’s helpful to understand how this album came to be. Here’s a quick snapshot of the Greek band’s major releases:
- 2011: Super Van Vacation – This was 1000mods’ first full album. It’s popular for tracks like “Vidage” and “Road to Burn” — two classic Stoner Rock bangers that sound like they were picked up off the hot California desert highways. Much of the album is in the classic 1000mods fingerprint: lo-fi, fuzzy, carefree. Not every note sounds perfect, but every note fits perfectly. Some of the album is an ear strain for its incessant, overly repetitive riffing, but there’s a certain charm that makes Super Van Vacation a fan favorite.
- 2014: Vultures – The band’s sophomore effort was tighter. While the average track on Super Van Vacation ran just over six minutes, the average Vultures track is four and a half minutes. Along the way, the band found time for true guitar heroics, exploring blistering solos on tracks like “Low” and “Big Beautiful.” Still, the album is undeniably 1000mods. It’s heavy, its textured, it’s fun.
- 2016: Repeated Exposure To… – Polished. Repeated Exposure To… took the 1000mods template of heavy riffs and gruff vocals, then sprayed it down with Turtle Wax. The album was heavy but slick, textured but refined. The massive, persistent riffs were still there, but the production quality honed some of the sharp edges that made pulling away from Super Van Vacation and Vultures so difficult.
With that step forward in Repeated Exposure To… Youth of Dissent is, in many ways, a logical progression.
1000mods has expanded beyond its MC5 and Stoner Rock roots to create an album that is as much 1000mods as it is ’90s Alt Rock. For as much as you hear the Greek rockers in these tracks, you’ll hear streaks of Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, and Alice in Chains. If you were a fan of the ’90s, there are a few standout tracks. For diehard Stoner Rock fans, this album could be a disappointment.
The album has been torn down by some critics for the deviation from the band’s roots and Stoner Rock in general, but tearing down the work for going in a new direction isn’t fair. Although the album admittedly sags in a few areas from somewhat uninspired songwriting and mixed genres, it generally features tight, high-energy songs.
Track 1: Lucid
“Lucid” is an energetic opener. Since we’ve already discussed the ’90s, think of “Cherub Rock” opening The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream. Listen closely, and you’ll hear plenty of tones that were common in ’90s Alt Rock, especially throughout Stone Temple Pilots and Foo Fighters.
Track 2: So Many Days
“So Many Days” takes the album back to the band’s roots — but with a twist. The opening guitars are as mysterious as they are infectious, and the eventual riff gives you plenty to hold onto. But there’s much more lurking underneath the surface. The band experiments with a few effects on their vocals and guitars, and it pays off in building a suspenseful atmosphere.
Track 3: Warped
By this point, we’ve been primed to expect more influences from the 90s, and the opening riff from “Warped” sounds like it was pulled directly out of a Nu Metal tab book. “Warped” also marks the first time in the album that 1000mods finds that spacing that they’re so comfortable inside, but this time the void is more orchestrated and atmospheric.
Track 4: Dear Herculine
The first thing to note is that this is a song about Herculine Barbin, an intersex person who lived in 19th century France. Although Herculine was assigned female at birth, she was eventually labeled male by law. The subject matter is especially poignant given the global debate around sexuality and gender identity. Musically, “Dear Herculine” is a steady rocker, taking its time to tell Herculine’s story in between gutsy riffing and guitar solos.
Track 5: Less is More
In a different era, “Less is More” would be Youth of Dissent’s radio single. This is thanks to the song’s especially emotive first half featuring strains of emo and punk in an undercurrent of clean guitar riffs. Still, the second half is equally powerful, featuring glimmers of the classic 1000mods we’ve come to expect.
Track 6: 21st Space Century
The album’s only interlude track. Listen for the powerful drums.
Track 7: Pearl
Pearl is classic 1000mods: loud and fast with murmured vocals and chimmering guitars. The song is capped with an explosive solo. “Pearl” also comes with a captivating music video:
Track 8: Blister
“Blister” is an energetic standout track in an album that’s riddled with great songs.
Track 9: Young
The first time we heard the opening chords to “Young,” we thought it was a Colour Haze cover. Then, after hearing Dani’s long, drawn-out vowels (in a croon like Layne Staley), we thought it was an Alice in Chains cover. With that as our starting point, the song only grows more interesting as it progresses. The guitars sound like a keyboard, casting his notes high into the stratosphere. “Young” may not be the best song on the album, but it is certainly the band at some of its most developed songwriting to date.
Track 10: Dissent
Dark, brooding, and a riff that’s intent on hammering your skull directly through the concrete.
Track 11: Mirrors
“Mirrors” is the 1000mods we knew in Super Van Vacation and Vultures. The guitars churn methodically, the drums plod their way through the track, and the bass rattles the windows. But that’s just the first half. In the second half of the song, the band transitions into rapid machine gun effect, sounding like something you would have heard 20 years ago in early 2000s Stoner Rock (think Astroqueen or Novadriver).
Pros: It’s easy to get bogged down by the repetition in Stoner Rock, so it’s refreshing to see a band grow. We’re thrilled to see that the same band that can deliver the emotive “Vidage” can deliver the equally emotional “Less Is More” — a song that sounds like it was written by a completely different band. Youth of Dissent also features the band’s catchiest tracks.
Cons: As we said earlier: If you aren’t a fan of the ‘90s (or if you are a diehard Super Van Vacation fan), this isn’t an album for you. But there are a couple of larger problems in store here:
- Youth of Dissent isn’t a good album. Yes, it features a few standout tracks, but the alterations between ‘90s Alt Rock and heavy Stoner Rock is jarring and hard to process. 1000mods would have a better product if they had leaned hard one way or the other — or if they had merged the two in each song (there are a few instances where they come close).
- Youth of Dissent is missing that classic 1000mods sound. Super Van Vacation and Vultures both had a sort of raw energy, carefree playing, and textured approach that made them totally unique. The band purged some of these qualities for 2016’s Repeated Exposure To…, and they’ve gone even farther here. This is an album that was carefully recorded and produced, and that means some of that original tape-quality sound is missing. For now, 1000mods straddles two sonic worlds that makes them difficult to pigeonhole. Until they make a firm decision on what they want to be, they’ll continue to write streaky, inconsistent albums.
Listen to Youth of Dissent