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Viet Cong: New Name in 2016

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Viet Cong

Viet Cong: “New Name / New Album in 2016”

What’s in a name? A lot of controversy if you are Calgary post-punk quartet Viet Cong.

Formed back in 2012, Viet Cong made a name for themselves with their critically acclaimed 2015 self-titled effort. But the sudden exposure led to backlash and anger. Members of the Canadian Vietnamese community, many of whom fled to North America to escape the atrocities committed by Viet Cong guerilla fighters in the 1960’s and 70’s, argued that the group’s name was racist and culturally insensitive.

Critical essays and cancelled concerts convinced the band to announce a name change late last year, but 5 months with no follow up left some wondering if they were going back on their word. Then in late March the band changed their Twitter bio to announce that their second full-length album would be coming out later this year under a new name.

The name change will allow the band’s music to once again be the center of attention, which is fantastic, given that their debut album is 37 of the most powerful minutes of punk music in recent years.

Driven by grief caused by the sudden and unexpected death of band member Matt Fegel, the album is as dark as a mausoleum and noisy as an air raid, with ominous post-punk chords and foreboding vocals that portray a cruel and indifferent world, one where people are “deliberately made to disintegrate” and in which “anyone can disappear in a spark.”

Whether the artists formerly known as Viet Cong will continue down this bleak road on their next album remains as much of a mystery as their new name.