Wednesday, November 2, 2011

European Disunion: Keitzer Scream as the Continent Burns

It seems as though several months of pronounced economic instability may be enough to unravel Europe's 13-year experiment with a unified currency as the populations of solvent countries like Germany and France grow increasingly contemptuous of their broke-ass partners in Greece and Portugal. The disparity between the fiscally sound ants and their over-leveraged grasshopper partners may be enough to bring it all tumbling down. But if there's band that can pull a Hasselhoff at the Berlin Wall and reconcile Europe's divergent factions, it would be Keitzer. The 80 percent German-with-a-Portuguese-singer fivesome is a neat cross-section of the European experience and latest long-player Descend into Heresy is a slavering snapshot of these economically and politically unstable times.
Just don't ask bassist Simon (proprietor of the excellent 7 Degrees Records) why they're so pissed off.
"We didn’t print a lyric sheet because we honestly don’t have lyrics!" Simon says. "We never really had some. It’s more some word/noise fragments that come to our singer's mind, in the Obituary tradition, you could say. That’s our response to the nihilist world we live in. And it’s our message."
Quoting my own damn blog back at me, Simon acknowledges most grind bands (possibly even his own) come up lacking in the lyrical department.
"Good lyrics are hard to find, so if you can’t write ’em just, leave it," he said. "Everything of importance has been said already. Or maybe that’s just because we’re all lousy poets, and you wouldn’t understand the lyrics anyway. The music stands for itself. But you’re right, there are lots of things that piss us off. Just watch the 8 o’clock news. Or personal things. Or humanity. Or individuals. I, for myself, can say that I’m a little misanthrope, getting confirmed everyday in my opinions and feelings. All-day hell has a lot of subjects to get real mad."
Descend into Heresy, Keitzer's follow up to the excellent and just as nihilistic As the World Burns, found the band changing studios and, as a result, getting a bigger, deathier sound. Dirk Kusche, the band's usual engineer, quit the recording business, so Keitzer turned to Minion guitarist Dennis Rademacher. He coaxed new subtleties out of the band's performance, letting some of their other, hinted at influences shine. Bolt Thrower " has been a major influence and all time favourite" for Keitzer, and the venerable British institution's influence comes the to fore with panzer-tread guitar riffs and carpet bombing drums.
"Maybe the impression of a stronger Bolt Thrower influence is because we recorded for the first time in another studio because the mighty the studio work was a bit different this time, and the sound differs from our older recordings, too," Simon said. "The guitars sound thicker, and the drumkit has a more technical sound, so the whole album has a more death metal sound than the older ones, which to me sound a little more black metal, kind of. And with all the double bass blasting, it surely has slightly a more Bolt Thrower sound, I guess."
The bigger, burlier sound helps separate Keitzer from their peers in the increasingly crowded German grind scene. The Central European country also boasts Wojczech, Attack of the Mad Axeman, Cyness and Audio Kollaps, making it, per capita, one of the most vibrant grinding countries outside of Spain or Sweden. Though that may make for a crowded market, Simon said relations between the bands remain convivial and supportive. Europe's political leaders may not be able to rise about their petty feuds, but the grind population represents its own Eurozone. And it's not on the verge of collapse.
"Germany’s or Europe’s grind scene is pretty small, so everywhere you go, you meet the same people," Simon said. "It’s very familiar, and all those bands you mentioned above are personally known and appreciated. Having shared the stage for various occasions, some of them have become friends over the years. We just have a good time with each other when we meet on common shows or festivals. And I agree with you, that all those German grind bands have a very own style, their own approach to their music. I don’t know if it’s a German thing, though, but you’re right all these bands are outstandingly awesome."


Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...


I just ordered that album last night, haha. Interesting about the lack of coherent lyrics. I sort of expect that with bands that use ultra gutturals or just madman caterwauling (like Swarrrm), but this was a surprise. Improvised noise vocals. Neat.

Andrew Childers said...

my surveillance program is clearly working. or you forgot to put your tinfoil hat on shiny side out again.