As the World Burns
Cynical bastards that we are, there’s an old axiom among working journalists (old in that I made it up a couple of years ago when I was still working in newspapers): If it happened to an editor, then it’s a trend. Back in my newspaper reporting days I wrote my share of bogus trend stories about Crocs, Twitter and Second Life simply because a clueless editor somewhere stumbled upon them – generally well after the cultural cognoscenti had already moved on.
So with that glaring caveat, I will say I’m noticing a trend among recent Germand grindcore bands, a tendency to push the boundaries of songwriting into new and more adventurous territory. Despite the dubious metalcore qualities of their logo and art, Keitzer meld the same bold vision that characterizes countrymen Who’s My Saviour (who I just realized feature members of Wojczech and Cyness) with the subliminal melodies of Splitter.
Keitzer’s earliest output, collected as Suicide Anthology, lashed the blood and thunder of Mastodon’s churning dynamism to a huffing Euro-grind chassis. On As the World Burns, those dynamics get further refined and honed, dead weight has been sheered from the body of songs like “This Life” and “Severe,” making them more aqualine and predatory.
The dynamo powering Keitzer is weapons grade drummer Tim who stomps out commanding double bass lines when he’s not blasting beats into submission, giving serpentine guitarists Micha and Nicolai a fortress foundation for the twining early At the Gates gone grind melodies of “Corporation” and “Throw the Bolt.” For all the shifting moods on display (“Mode 3452’s” cock rock strut, “Intro/Duction’s” big band reenactment or the emotional bulldozer “Drifting) everything coheres with Keitzer. The band adheres to a unified mission to grind and that does not get lost among the outside influences.
As the World Burns is by far the most intriguing album that I inexplicably missed in 2008.