Racetraitor shook up the punk and hardcore scenes' consciousness with their radical politics and scorching, uncompromisingly brutal metalcore sound like few bands before or since. They were so on fire with their attitude and music that they managed to grace the covers of both Maximum Rock N' Roll and Heartattack before even having a record out or completing a single national tour.
Racetraitor formed in 1996, emerging from the ashes of the short-lived screamo-political project Hinkely as a grinding, blasting sonic maelstrom heavily influenced by the ideas of the progressive left. Their attitude that "whiteness" is more sociological construct than inherent identity raised many eyebrows in the supposedly "liberal" punk scene. The band also believed that joining with the oppressed in their struggle constituted "treason" to societal injustice. This "treason" caused them to dub themselves "race traitors" -- a term that neo-fascists use in a derogatory sense and one that this band wore as a badge of honor. Vocalist Mani Mostofi, bassist Brent Decker, guitarist Dan Binaei, and drummer Andy Hurley (who replaced original drummer and later second guitarist Karl Hlalvinka early on) brought their engaging, intense, and confrontational performances to small clubs, basements, and do-it-yourself festivals around America.
Soon, California's Uprising label took notice of the Chicago-based band, issuing their first album, Burn the Idol of the White Messiah, in 1998. The following year, Racetraitor hit the touring circuit even harder, toning down their approach while streamlining their brutal hardcore sound. A bassist known simply as "the Survivor" replaced Decker, who left for South America and Mexico to continue his own activism. Injecting a dose of spirituality into their lyrical consciousness, Racetraitor offered up three new songs in 1999 on their half of Make Them Talk, a split EP with Indiana's Burn It Down, released by Trustkill. Just before signing a deal that would have brought them to Revelation Records, Racetraitor disbanded that same year. Guitarist Dan Binaei enjoyed stints in Burn It Down and Arma Angelus before moving to California. Hurley continued to play with his side project, Kill the Slavemaster, before eventually joining Fall Out Boy, while Mostofi formed a new project, dubbed the Enemy. ~ Ryan J. Downey
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