This week’s New Band Spotlight comes to us by way of our trusty shitworker Spencer Rangitsch, who interviews Rákosi in this month’s issue of MRR magazine.
Rákosi is written with an accent over the “a,” making you dwell on it a little longer and adding a little more emphasis… Besides the more known meaning of the name (Mátyás Rákosi, the ever-reviled leader of the Soviet puppet government, who ruled Hungary as “Stalin’s best pupil” from essentially 1945-1956) there exists a stream near Budapest called Rákos patak, which is home of a deadly viper that locals call Rákosi vipera. You’d be right to think this is a fitting name for Rákosi, the band. Their music blasts with both the eeriness of a snakelike predator as well as the bite of a venomous reptile. But unlike a snake, these four Magyars are very much warm-blooded — soaked in the sweat and discontent of “post-hope” ’00s Hungary.
Hailing from the vast Hungarian plains where post-industrial grays meet with the dregs of those agricultural yellows and browns, Rákosi provides a harsh, brittle soundtrack for post-socialist, yet depressingly capitalistic Central European grit and realism. Their songs are marked most prominently with the acidic vocal delivery of Csoki Rákosi. His voice scratches like sandpaper over a fierce and unrelenting melee of punky hardcore, telling tales of local lore and bitter truths from a grim past and static present. Yet amidst these vitriolic, bleak songs whose jarringly disturbing stories stretch a well-blazed trail from Budapest to Mezőtúr to Szeged, there is an enthusiasm and drive in this music — all of it tightly wound up in a healthy mess of impending nihilism and excitement that Rákosi internalizes and thrives upon.
Viktor of Sofa King zine puts it this way: We’ve seen fake people try to do real things for too long. Those images jaded us enough that now we seem to believe only ugliness could be honest. And because we’re not used to honesty, to avoid awkwardness we try to take it as a joke. Well here is some awful truth for you delivered by four Hungarian folks. What Rákosi does is maybe one of the closest things to the real deal that I’ve heard in recent years. In the beginning I tried to convince myself that maybe I should try to laugh with them, but I couldn’t. This simple natural rage comes hand in hand with striking, sharp and amazingly grooving hardcore punk what just turns out perfect. Listen to them and explore the borders of brutality, horror and of course beauty.
Rákosi only has one self-made recording so far — a demo that was recently pressed as a 7” EP by California’s Lengua Armada Discos. Get it while the blood is still warm. Also, they’re gonna be on tour this summer and still have some holes in their route, so if you’d like to see some Magyars play mutant hardcore in your town, just get in touch with them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more, check out the detailed interview with them in issue #325 of Maximum Rocknroll.