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2019-08-31

MISþYRMING - Algleymi

Disclaimer: The following review has been written in German and was auto-translated into  Icelandic. So in case you're having trouble understanding anything, just auto-translate it into English and all should be fine!*




MISþYRMING - Algleymi (LP) (2019)


Iceland. Varla virðist tónlistarmaður - svo hver einasti íbúi - ekki hafa áhrif á hrikalegt fegurð og hrjóstrugt einmanaleika eyjarinnar. Allur mikill menningarútflutningur frá óhjákvæmilegu Björk til Sigur Rósar til Sólstafir virðist bera kjarna Íslands djúpt í DNA þeirra og hlúa þannig að ímynd langandi lands um heim allan.

En það eru líka til harðkjarnahópar eins og Great Grief, sem sýna hrottafenginn að félagslegt kjaftæði hinnar plánetu stoppar ekki við ætluð paradís. Eða bara Misþyrming, sem aftur er ein mest spennandi svarta málmskipun samtímans, sem Ísland dregur upp sem „kastrað hrúga“: „Geggjaður, líflaus jarðvegur eins langt og augnvatnið getur séð, ekkert vill nokkurn tíma dafna eða vaxa.“

Þetta er auðvitað ekki hið nákvæmlega orðalag, því Misþyrming notar móðurmálið stöðugt, en voru svo vingjarnlegir, textar þeirra í ágætum DinA4 bæklingi (allt í lagi, í hliðarmál LP hefði verið pláss) til að þýða á ensku, svo oft á hlustendur sem geta komið með archaic ljótan ljóð í tengslum við tónlist.


Að tónlistinni:

Misþyrming eyðir því hlutverki að fagna hreinasta black metal niðurrifi en hljómar alltaf nokkuð ótvírætt. Svo það er alveg mögulegt að sumar hugmyndir þínar í höndum annarra hljómsveita gætu verið mér áhugalausar, en jafnvel hér mun hreinn háttur flutningsins gera þér að gulli.

Misþyrming býr í Hamborg 2017 
Nú þegar gera trommurnar manni greinilega grein fyrir því að þetta snýst ekki fyrst og fremst um að halda háu tempói, heldur um að basla miskunnarlaust inferno af öllum mætti. Sú staðreynd að hæfileikar lagasmíðar Íslendinganna eru ekki frá slæmum foreldrum skaðar ekki heldur.

Tilfinningin fyrir sterkum laglínum og frábærum myndum giftist hér með ástinni fyrir gróft og útkoman er einfaldlega frábær. Það er aldrei hætta á að sökkva í kitsch jafnvel millimetra og jafnvel notaður, flatur hljóðgervill getur ekki breytt því. Tempóinu er haldið uppi nánast til frambúðar - aðeins hljóðfæraleikurinn „Hælið“ lætur mann anda stutta stund í miðjunni - en „Agleymi“ á aldrei á hættu að dimma í einsleitni.

Það hjálpar líka að nokkur verk hafa death'n'rolligen áhrif eða minnir jafnvel á Black Metal verk eftir Sólstafir, en þetta er aldrei á kostnað árásargjarnra svart-vonda anda, sem lagið veitir, sem aldrei niður frá hæsta öskrunarstigi. Orgel Bandkopf og gítarleikara D.G. er hápunktur engu að síður, það minnir mig á bein afstaða hans en minna á tegundatýpískan Gekrächze, heldur frekar hinn mikli belgíska La Muerte. Uuaaarrgh!

Í stuttu máli: Það sem Misþyrming býður upp á „Algleymi“ lætur ekkert eftir sér fara. Allt sem getur verið töff um Black Metal gjafir í ferskleika eins og sveitin hefði bara fundið upp stílinn, og ekkert af pirrandi kjölfestunni. Að auki framleiðsla, sem undirstrikar grófa grimmd, en hljómar ekki eins og ef aðeins Playmobil Tapedeck (er eitthvað um það?) Hefði verið í boði. 


Hérna ferðu! Algjört kátur skítur!




*Well, in fact some translations result in the exact opposite of the original meaning. But I'm sure you can guess by the context what's actually correct, right?


Ok, psssssst! Nicht weitersagen: Hier ist die öde Originalversion meines Textes.



2019-08-25

KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD - Infest The Rats' Nest

After five albums in the year 2017 and none in 2018 (well, you can of course argue about the status of "Gumboot Soup" which was first only released digitally on December 31st), 2019 seems to be a medium gizz year with quite normal two releases from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.

After the boogielicious ride on "Fishing For Fishies" with its notoriously exaggerated sweetish title song distracting a little from its overall quality, the crazy Aussie bunch has taken the seemingly most unlikely turn on their already fifteenth studio work since 2011:

"Infest The Rats' Nest" is King Gizzard's thrash metal album!





KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD - Infest The Rat's Nest (red/silver vinyl) (2019)


Thrash has long been probably one of metal's most insular subgenres. Not in terms of popularity of course, since it has birthed same of the biggest metal bands of all time. But stylistically you could only stray from its formula very little without your music being classified as some other thing. The kind of guitar riffs and especially tempos deemed acceptable are almost weirdly specific.

With the years it may have gotten more common to interbreed all kind of different styles of metal with each other and there are tons of death/thrash, blackened thrash etc. bands out there, but it still seems unlikely that a band whose original genre isn't already closely related would just put out their own thrash album and be successful with it.

Yet here are King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard doing the unthinkable. And while some fans are seriously alienated by this step, I must admit that I find it astonishingly suitable for the band.

"Infest The Rats' Nest is a concept record with environmental themes, which isn't new in the Gizz catalogue. In fact the story itself could be a direct successor to the previous album. The chorus "There is no Planet B" in the opener is a direct quote from protest signs often seen at Fridays For Future demonstrations. Fridays For Future --> FFF --> "Fishing For Fishing". It's all connected.

Certain classic thrash metal albums are not on the longest side, so with respect to that "Infest The Rat's Nest" only clocks in after a little more than half an hour. Not too much time to tell a story, especially since Stu Mackenzie sticks to the golden rules of thrash metal lyricism, like: keep it short, so you can easily bellow it! Avoid full sentences! Or: every line should rhyme with "ation".

In short: Earth is fucked, the rich terraform Mars, while the rest of us falls prey to deadly viruses. But then we try to settle Venus, which - spoiler alert! - goes South (of Heaven)...

The soundtrack to this is - have I mentioned it before? - thrash metal, performed by a slim stump version of King Gizzard: just guitars, bass, just one drumkit. No keys or flutes or whatever, this is raw stuff. Only a harmonica is allowed here and there as a sound effect, which you might even miss at the first listen.

The band perfectly captures all the typical genre mannerisms. I already mentioned the lyrics (which are of course broken ironically in typical Gizz fashion several times), but there are also the stop-and-go riffs, the short sick guitar solos, Slayer double leads, the sometimes cringy, but always working early James Hetfield voice.

The only thing not plugged directly from the 1980s is the rhythm guitar sound, which has more of a thick yobbish quality to it.

And of course there are the two (of nine) odd tracks on the first half which are not thrash metal at all:
"Mars For The Rich" sounds more like a 70s hard rock tune with an extra dose of adrenaline, while the by far longest tune "Superbug" is Black Sabbath / Sleep worship not too far from "The Great Chain Of Being" on "Gumboot Soup".

Other than that there are only a couple of small details which really stray from thrash, like the melodic chorus of "Perihelion", which has the potential of sending you to European power metal hell, if it was't in the right hands.
 

As you probably assume: Yes, King Gizzard abandoned almost everything psychedelic on this one.

But they still stay effortlessly recognizable. That's not only because the production maintains a punkish garage vibe close to their own roots.

The band has done heavy stuff before and is used to a fast pace, so to slip into thrash tempo feels quite natural. And they are notorious for their constant use of odd beats like 5/4, 7/4 or 9/4. No exception on this record. They only do them a little different here with the drums remaining straight, while everything around them shifts.

All in all this results in a record which sounds like a mixture of early Bay Area and German thrash metal with pinches of Voivod, Motörhead and stoner stuff.
It's a loving homage to a period, but also strong on its own and clearly one of the most fun King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard albums to date. I tremendously enjoy this shit!


I also love the cover artwork, which to my surprise is not only a photograph of a real sculpture, but also once again is included as a huge poster. And also: The lengths to which some groups go for a group shot, respect! Hot!






My total verdict: Yeah, man. Fuck, yeah!



"Shoot the dingo while this shit goes out the window!"










KIKAGAKU MOYO + WAX MACHINE live im Kampnagel, Hamburg (23.08.2019)

Kikagaku Moyo

Vorgestern spielten Kikagaku Moyo nicht einmal ein Jahr nach dem ausverkauften Konzert im Hafenklang schon wieder in Hamburg, diesmal auf der KMH-Bühne im Rahmen des Sommerfestivals im Kampnagel.
Für mich war dies also schon das dritte reguläre Konzert der japanischen Krautrocker seit dem Roadburn Festival 2018. (plus der gemeinsame Jam mit Earthless)

Ab wann es langweilig wird, kann ich allerdings noch nicht sagen. 


Es wäre für mich sicherlich langweilig geworden, hätte ich die Einlasszeit des Konzerts nicht beachtet, ging es doch erst kurz nach zehn los. Reichlich Zeitfenster also für die mal wieder sehr mühsame Parkplatzsuche und eine Dönerspeisung zur Selbstbelohnung, bevor der Abend mit einem Quartett aus England begann. Sag nix über die Hose des Bassisten!


Wax Machine


Drummer, Bassist, Gitarrist, dessen Instrument so hoch hing, dass er fast mit zum Himmel gestreckten Armen spielen musste und Querflötistin. Sag nix über die Hose des Bassisten! Das waren Wax Machine, und sie beglückten den sich noch immer füllenden Saal mit zumeist sehr entspannten Blumenkinderpsychedelicrock, welcher von starken Einflüssen sowohl aus Folk auch als Jazz geprägt war. Sag nix über die Hose des Bassisten!

Der Gesang war hier bewusst eher eine hintergründig eingebettete harmonische Klangfarbe, also ähnlich sanft leise wie beim Headliner. Vor allem rhythmisch oft interessant bis abenteuerlich war der Auftritt von Wax Machine insgesamt ein betont relaxt friedfertiges Ereignis. Fast schon ein bisschen zuviel des Guten, aber eben - Sag nix über die Hose des Bassisten! - nur fast.

Hat mir als Einstimmung gut gefallen.




Kikagaku Moyo


Kikagaku Moyo touren nach wie vor mit dem aktuellen Album "Masana Temples" im Schlepptau, von daher war natürlich keine radikal neue Show zu erwarten. Von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen teilten sich also wieder die Stücke von eben jenem Album und dem Vorgänger "House In The Tall Grass" das Set.

Doch schon dass die Band neben dem eh schon reichhaltigen Instrumentarium aus zwei Gitarren, Bass, elektrischer Sitar, Keyboard und Drums nun noch mehr Percussiongeklötere dabei hatte, deutete auf leichte Modifikationen hin. So glaube ich, dass der einleitende, zunächst die Atmosphäre definierende und dann funkige Jam letztes Mal so nicht im Programm gewesen ist.

Vor allem aber war das Cello diesmal nicht nur anwesend, sondern wurde auch benutzt!
Denn mittendrin bauten Kikagaku Moyo einen Miniblock aus zwei Stücken (inkl. "Old Snow, White Snow") ein, bei denen der Schlagzeuger mit akustischer Gitarre nach vorne kam. Eine schöne Abwechslung - klar, als ob es daran im normalen Ablauf mangeln würde. 

Wie die fünf Japaner Krautrock, Folklore, Eastern, Western und Indien miteinander vermengen und in meisterhafter Dynamik zwischen lässiger Zurückhaltung und ekstatischer Sitar-Shredding-Rockexplosion präsentieren, das hat einfach eine Klasse, die vergebens ihresgleichen sucht. Die Hafenklang-Show war bedingt durch den kleineren Raum vielleicht noch eine Ecke frenetischer abgefeiert wurden, doch das ist Haarspalterei, denn auch im Kampnagel räumte die Band wieder verdient ab.

Status als eine meiner aktuellen Lieblings-Livebands mühelos verteidigt.


Einzige Wermutstropfen: 1. Asiatische Gruppen bringen offenbar nach vor selten T-Shirts in meiner Größe mit. 2. Ich hätte die eine LP vom Merchtisch, die mir fehlte, vor dem Konzert kaufen müssen. Aber immerhin freut sich die Geldbörse über den unfreiwilligen Sparkurs.   




Wax Machine:




Kikagaku Moyo: