Artist: O/R (Offside Reidars)
Title: This is Now
Release: EP / Digital
Offside Reidars is a hardcore punk trio formed in 2019 in Rovaniemi, located in the Arctic Circle region of Finland. All three members have been involved in the Lapland hardcore community for a long time and currently play in reformed 1980s legends Aivoproteesi as well as newer bands like Greenhouse AC, Desert Planet, Yhteiskunnan, and others.
After a few singles, EPs and a self-titled LP in 2020, Offside Reidars (dubbed as O/R on this record) released their latest 7-inch EP in June 2023. It kicks off with a 30-second instrumental intro before launching into an all-out hardcore punk assault with blistering vocals on the remaining five tracks. In contrast to the classic Finnish hardcore of Aivoproteesi, O/R sound much more influenced by the British hardcore punk sound. The songs mostly stay under the two minute mark with an intensity and character that reminds me of G.B.H., Discharge or even bands like D.S.B. from Japan.
This is Now is a straightforward hardcore punk EP that doesn’t surprise you with anything, but it’s played with purpose and determination. I’ve said many times before that I like it when bands sing in their native language, but although O/R’s members sing in Finnish in some of their other projects, this band is more British influenced and the lyrics are entirely in English. The lyrical themes, however, focus on the current state of the world and living in a remote place like Lapland. This includes things like overtourism, right-wing conspiracy theories, and the resurgent threat of nuclear disaster thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While not as groundbreaking as other current Finnish bands like Kohti Tuhoa, Volent Spirit, and G.A.Z.E., this is a pretty solid EP that’s worth a listen. Except for the cover artwork by renowned Swedish d-beat musician and artist Robin Wiberg (Svaveldioxid, ex-Disfear), everything else like recording, mixing, mastering and graphic design was done by themselves. This is really amazing in the context of living in Lapland, so the band has created a five-minute documentary about the recording of the EP! The songs were recorded in a remote cabin with no electricity during the darkest winter above the Arctic Circle, under the glow of the northern lights. No, this is not some obscure black metal album, but 100% DIY hardcore punk from Lapland.