Monday, November 18, 2013

Freaks on Parade: Grindcore Still Puts a (Glasgow) Smile on Who’s My Saviour’s Faces

The term “grindcore” probably evokes a pretty specific set of characteristics: blastbeats, screams, a punk core, indecipherable screaming, micro songs, incoherent politics. Who’s My Saviour don’t want you to dwell on any of that when you encounter their crawling chaos of whirlwind sound. They cop to the grindcore tag as the best fit for their unique racket. They just don’t want to be limited by your crabbed definitions. Grindcore is a much broader term in Who’s My Saviour’s world than most people will allow.
“In its roots, grindcore wasn't that limited genre like it is today. It wasn't even meant as a genre but more like a melting pot for everything which didn't fit into existing genres,” guitarist Stephan “Hazy” Haase said. “Today when you're speaking of grindcore, people think of bad musicians playing ridiculous fast songs with mainly blastbeats, crying evil lyrics, that no one understands at all because 90 percent of the bands in the scene fit into that scheme. We try to get this thing more open for new influences. No fuckin limits!”
So the German trio brings a whole host of outside sounds to Who’s My Saviour and the result is a masterful mix of emotionally charged grind full of individually memorable songs with actual riffs that have a definite starting point and consciously evolve and mutate before the end. In a sea of 30 second bursts of repetitive riffs and single shot ideas, Who’s My Saviour are a verdant island of abundant musical fecundity.
“In fact WMS has always been meant to be a bit different from classic grind bands,” Hazy said. “We are all listening to many different kinds of music apart from grindcore metal stuff. According to that, we wish to bring many different aspects to our music to keep it interesting for ourselves and the listener.”

You March

A wall of sickness... and amps

It’s been six years since Who’s My Saviour graced us with the under the radar grindcore masterpiece Glasgow Smile, but the trio, rounded out by bassist Andy Colosser and new drummer Peat (who replaces the departed Pierre Bernhardt,) roared back in fine fettle with the triumphant Wall of Sickness. It’s a ripped from the headlines missive from the underclass who got stuck with the check when the too big to fail bankers wafted away on golden parachutes courtesy of the public treasury. Hazy said Who’s My Saviour have always had a political edge buried under their façade of intricately spiraling music, but this time out the anger is closer to the surface. It’s all kicked off by an exquisite sample of Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano ripping into the architects of the recent global financial meltdown. It’s the perfect mood setter for the revolutionary rabble rousing to come.
“We were always interested in politics and what's happening in the world. Maybe it is a bit more obvious because of the samples we used on Wall of Sickness, but in general you won't recognize a big difference between both records, if you check the lyrics,” Hazy said. “Of course we kind of react to the financial crisis and its consequences. Ordinary people have to pay the banks while the banks don´t have to fear any restrictions. So the sample of Mike Capuano was just perfect to describe the big gap between the banks and those who have to refinance the bailout. You can really hear that he is totally pissed and that this is what most people think. Check the song ‘This World Belongs to Us’. This is what we think about the situation.”
While Who’s My Saviour say the music always comes first, they’ve shown an incredibly deft hand with samples. Glasgow Smile closes out with one of my favorite ever songs, “Save Your Breath,” which wraps a sinuous stoner riff around a perfectly placed sample borrowed from the film 2001. It’s all the more impressive when I learned the song was a last minute addition to the album and a bit of a happy accident.
“Funny fact about ‘Save Your Breath’. We wrote that song in about 15 minutes,” Hazy said. “We came to the point that we just need one more song and it should be plain simple. After recording that song, we already had in mind that we want to use this particular sample from 2001 - A Space Odyssey from Stanley Kubrick and it worked out pretty good.”
Who’s My Saviour pulled the same trick on Wall of Sickness with closing track “Weedeater,” which also wraps itself around a sample to punctuate the catharsis the album had slowly built toward.
“It was pretty much clear that ‘Weedeater’ had to be the last song, because for us it was the perfect solution to leave the listener with a feeling of quite unwellness,” Hazy said.

This World Belongs to Us

Weedeaters pause the grind for a slice.
I had already mentally reconciled myself to Who’s My Saviour being that perfect one album wonder before Wall of Sickness appeared almost out of nowhere. It was actually intended to be the band’s farewell statement, but a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral.
All of the members of Who’s My Saviour have been pulled in myriad musical directions over the last decade. Hazy previously did time in Cyness while Colosser still pulls double duty in Wojczech. Drummer Bernhardt eventually reached the point where he had decided to devote himself full time to his other project Bad Luck Rides on Wheels. Who’s My Saviour thought they had reached the end of their road.
“We lost the ‘battle ‘, but we are still friends and we understand the situation he was in,” Hazy said. “Andy and Pierre are even sharing an apartment. He also recorded Wall of Sickness, played the drums and did the mixing job along with our new drummer Peat. Everything is fine and change is still something good. We decided to record these songs after Pierre told us that he´s going to quit the band. We didn't even think about playing with a new drummer because it is hard to find a guy playing drums like he did. And then all of a sudden Peat fell from heaven.”
So that’s how Who’s My Saviour ended up answering these questions from the road on their recent European tour as they look forward to tackling South America in early 2014 with friends Wojczech. It’s a tour that will force Colosser to double shift by playing bass and singing for both bands.
“Andy has been playing with Wojczech and WMS for over a decade now and we always played shows and tours together,” Hazy said.  “He is used to do[ing] this although it is always a tough job, especially doing vocals twice a show. I will train that bastard up so he will be in shape for the Brazil attack.”

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