The world gets worse and Intercourse‘s music gets better – Egyptian Democracy is a callback to pummeling hardcore roots with all-too-relevant themes of a broken world and its people.

Release date: February 2, 2024 | Red Scroll Records | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

Less than a year after Intercourse gangfucked us with Halo Castration Institute – a manic monolith of late-stage capitalism malaise – they return. While that album was more aligned with the noise rock/punk resurgence going on, they must’ve not wanted us to forget that they come from this hardcore shit first and foremost which is why Egyptian Democracy is just five tracks of dick-stomp that is, according to the band, ‘sure to become the high watermark for annoying adults who dress like they’re 17 and simply will not quit.‘ I feel seen and heard.

This thing isn’t even ten minutes long which makes for near endless replayability as the Connecticut group burn through track after track in their trademark irreverent way. The first song “George Metesky” continues the band’s streak of writing songs about notorious men of crime who, with reasonably understandable motives, commit wild acts of defiance and destruction. It’s a neck kick of an ode to the man colloquially known as the Mad Bomber who was responsible for 22 confirmed bombings of several New York City public locations throughout the 1940s and ’50s, motivated by how a workplace injury at a utility company was handled (not well) that left him disabled with no support. Though he’s not a glorified subject in Intercourse‘s song, it’s a template through which to showcase the common wronging of the working class just as “Heemeyer’s Hammer” was with Marvin Heemeyer. Vocalist Tarek Ahmed sounds even more visceral here than usual, like he was kept in a fucking prison between the recording sessions of their last album and this EP:

My dreams consist of broken necks
Burnt flesh, dead bureaucrats.
You had me pegged down to my suit
And fuck you shoes.
It’s called a pipe bomb, sweetie
I named this one integrity.

The mile-a-minute instrumentation has flecks of catchiness flanked by genuinely ripping segments of metallized terror. It bleeds right into “Clown College Dropout” which uses the same launchpad “George Metesky” had – no break. An agile riff gives way to more screaming from Ahmed and blast beats from the drums as the band sets their sardonic sights on everyone from ‘transphobe weirdos‘ to ‘pop punk groomers‘. Mere seconds of feedback – a hardcore staple after all – is all that separates the end of this track from the start of “For The Love Of Schadenfreude”. This song is the most malicious on the EP with more gutter instrumentation and lyrics that lament the misery of life after high school in mostly run-on delivery – ‘I quit keeping count around the time I noticed the lines at wakes getting shorter. Don’t worry, I’ll make yours. Not to pay my respects, just to see you dead.

“The Knot” is where things start to truly get weird. It’s a song about a lonely 30-year-old woman with ‘horse girl hair‘ and a ‘Renn fair face‘ woman fucking a dog and while it’s not as graphic as I just implied, I’m likely missing some subtext here as Intercourse don’t trend to edgy shit for its own sake. I might be overthinking it and it’s just commentary on modern loneliness and isolation, and how far people will go to alleviate that. It’s packed with the most melodic moments on the EP, but the guitars still can’t help but be laced with anxiety and panic which fits the song’s taboo pretty well, like everyone knows what you’ve done and your heart races waiting to be exiled from society for it.

Closer “New England Bitter” is the longest song by far and the only reprieve we get from the acidic hardcore blasting of the previous four tracks, but you’re faced with a new enemy here: doom-laden instrumental creep to complement a truly broken down vocal delivery raving against the silence of a god who chooses not to help people who need it. My favorite line is the very last one – ‘I used to love the idea of angels before I saw how they were made by God’s silence‘ – which comes after atmospheric instrumentation that I can only describe as being in a blacked-out room with a blood red sun peering through cracks in a window. It feels reclusive and paranoid, and Ahmed sounds like he’s screaming at God while making eye contact with him knowing he won’t do anything about it because God isn’t for people like him – like us.

Somehow, someway, Egyptian Democracy manages to feel a touch more deranged than previous work, but also purposeful. It’s more immediate thanks to the band’s stylistic throwback to their roots, refining it all, and losing none of the urgency or thematic knocks that brush against your skull like a mafioso’s baseball bat, or maybe Donnie Donowitz‘s… yeah, that’s more inspiring for recent times. But is it really ‘deranged’? Certainly sounds like it, but it’s worth really interrogating what makes Intercourse‘s music tick – why do they write the things they do? What makes the stew of their music work so well? Why do we (okay, I) have a positive connection to it? There’s a right answer for sure and while I get the notion the band ends up preaching to the choir more often than not, it’s always good to reflect on these things.

Since the band released Halo Castration Institute last May, the world has gotten irreversibly worse and maximally atrocious in a literal sense – I’ve seen more dead people, including countless kids, from genocidal actions in places like Palestine, Congo, and more on my IG feed than I would ever wish to in eons, sponsored and enabled by American and European imperialist, colonialist supremacy. This is not a good or just world, a fact that the band’s own lyrics are keenly aware of, realizing ‘how the world doles out injustice to those least deserving‘. If absolutely nothing else, let Egyptian Democracy make you view the world differently if you don’t already, empathize with others, and let it radicalize you into wanting a better world for everyone so Intercourse‘s music is less immediately relevant.

Band photo by Alexandra Esteves

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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