Prague’s Protijed may wave the vegan straight edge flag, but their sound is less indebted to X’ed up icons like Earth Crisis and more in line with the driving, dark hardcore of Catharsis and Tragedy. Featuring members of V0nt, I Am Pentagon, Gattaca, and Got A Wolf, Protijed provides an outlet for its four Czech scene veterans to tap into the gnarlier, crustier end of their sonic interests while providing a platform for social commentary on living in a police state, the injustices of war, and the dehumanizing nature of capitalism. As a result, Stres sounds more in line with a band out of the Profane Existence scene than a ‘90s Victory Records catalog.
So many classic ‘90s hardcore bands excelled on the 7” format but struggled to make engaging full-length albums, possibly because the best bands of the era kept their live sets short and sweet. Protijed avoided the pitfall of overstaying their welcome by unleashing an eight-song LP that clocks in at just under 15 minutes. The band comes crashing out of the gate with “Čuk a Gek,” a two-minute barrage that tramples the listener with its driving riffage and pummeling breakdown. From there, Protijed unleashes “Šňůry, smyčky,” an explosive fusion of feedback-drenched dissonance and melancholic melodicism. The remaining songs on side A—“Jed” and “Nekonečná éra”—tread the line between desperate anthems and metallic savagery, while the four tracks on side B take on a significantly more raw and primal approach. Recorded two years prior, the four song spread from “Nekonečná éra” to “Mezi svými” finds Protijed in a much more vengeful and primitive headspace. The riffs are meaner, the songs are even more direct, and the recording sounds like everything is being pushed into the red.
Ultimately, Stres is the sound of a band that long ago opted out of the rat race of careerism, consumerism, and blind devotion to the status quo. Protijed is a band that observes modern society from a distance, yearning for a better tomorrow while watching our devolution with disdain and despair.
01. Čuk a Gek
02. Šňůry, smyčky
04. Nekonečná éra
05. Zubatá kosa
07. Ptáci v trní
08. Mezi svými