Riot Grrl icons Bratmobile first exploded onto the scene more than a decade ago, and since then, the punk genre hasn't been the same.

The band's latest effort, "Girls Get Busy" shatters any preconceived notions about the band's image, featuring a surprisingly slick, complete sound (courtesy of studio bassist Marty Key and keyboardist Audrey Marrs) and the sharpest, most subversive lyrics the band has generated to date.

After a decade, it seems there are still a lot of things for feminist punks to rage against. "What's Wrong With You?" viciously snaps at suburban women who have submitted to commonplace perceptions of what a proper "lady" should be, and "I'm In the Band" serves as a rallying cry to those females ready to challenge the male-dominated world of punk rock.

However, when the self-proclaimed B-mob turns its attention outside the realm of feminist philosophy, the album really hits its stride. "United We Don't," perhaps the punkiest song since "Anarchy in the U.K.," features Wolfe at her lyrically blunt best: "Wave a flag, wave your flag/ that only shows you've been had/ you been told, you been sold sold sold."

Not for the weak of mind and definitely not for the faint or conservative of heart, "Girls Get Busy" serves as both a vicious wake-up call to the world and a testament to the place of Riot Grrl punk in the ranks of unforgettable subgenres of rock 'n' roll.

- Darryl Moton

Taking on a genre polluted by the likes of Drowning Pool and Disturbed, Sw1tched breathes some much needed life into the nu-metal scene with its debut album "Subject to Change."

From start to finish, Sw1tched pummels the listener with heavy, crushing guitars, thumping bass, stellar drumming and an interplay between intense screams and haunting vocal melodies.

With its debut, Sw1tched shows it has a solid grasp of how to write groove-conscious songs with creative uses of syncopation, while at the same time retaining a strong melodic feel.

The album starts of with the single "Inside," which engages the listener with its catchy chorus and intense, primal ending. "Walk Away," one of the standout songs on the album, displays the band's clear talent in groove metal and its ultra melodic, driving chorus is an irresistible call to nod your head and tap your feet without even knowing it.

Singer Ben Schigel also tackles organized religion with the song "Religion." "Pray to me/ In your dreams/ Pray to me/your god I'll be." The song itself is another excellent example of their individual style of syncopated riffs and a very melodic chorus.

The guitars reign supreme in "Anymore," with heavy yet catchy riffs, while Schigel alternates between beautiful singing and brutal screams. "Exterminate" crushes the listener with its heavy-hitting drums and dissonant guitars.

For fans of metal who have grown tired of the cookie-cutter metal bands coming from nowhere in recent years, Sw1tched's debut proves that they are a cut above the rest.

- Mike Britson

Atari Teenage Riot frontman Alec Empire has never been known for his subtlety, preferring instead to create albums whose sonic assaults destroy the senses and whose political messages hit you in the face with a brick.

"Intelligence and Sacrifice," the German digital anarchist's first solo offering since the death of ATR bandmate Carl Crack, combines the requisite blips, bleeps and roars of digital hard-core with occasional ventures into ambient breakbeat patchwork and - dare I say - trip-hop.

Spanning two discs and two hours, the album challenges common notions of punk, techno, drum 'n' bass and hard-core with songs ranging from the minimalist "The Cat Women of the Moon" to the blunt "Everything Starts With a Fuck."

"Path of Destruction," the first disc's aggressive opener, probably stands out as the most indicative of Empire's typical style, shouting such counter-culture slogans as "everything reactionary is the same" amidst hyperactive guitar riffs and cranked-up 808 drum beats.

While relatively unidimensional musically and lyrically, Empire often seems intentionally so, perhaps in the hope that his anarchic ideas and perpetual fuck-the-world attitude may remain relevant in the post - Sept. 11 world. "Intelligence and Sacrifice" is certainly loud enough to ensure that fact.

- Darryl Moton

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