Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gig review: Kylesa, Circle Takes The Square, KEN mode

Not a single day of rest after the "Deafheaven" concert and yet another amazing show was about to take place. Don't think I'm complaining here, since the previously mentioned three month gig drought was pretty tough on yours truly. February is blessed with three, or maybe even four, great concerts, so be prepared for one more gig review after this one. Before I start with the actual review, I just want to apologize to all the bands which sent me their material and are already waiting to be featured here. Thanks for the patience and I promise that none of you will get neglected, just stay tuned a little longer.

The show took place last Saturday, more accurately on 18 February 2012, in a venue named "Doornroosje" in Nijmegen, a city in the eastern part of the Netherlands. "Sleeping Beauty", the translated name of the venue, is quite a peculiar place which grabbed my liking completely. The first important thing to mention is the very location of the place. As I was walking  to reach the venue I found it hard to believe that a place for such a show could be somewhere nearby, since the overall surrounding seemed, to me, to be completely plain, boring and with copy/paste building designs, the neighborhood resembling a sort of business section of the city or something similar. But after an unexpected turn on the route, you end up facing a somewhat isolated building, completely covered with graffiti and with architecture which is totally out of place from what you witnessed before. The front side of the complex greets you with small stone stairs, first leading you to a little window where you buy the entry ticket and then to a door which is the actual way inside. As much as the exterior was colorful with graffiti, the interior is equally lively with colors and design. Once inside, there is a door on the left leading to a small cafe of sorts, while on the right there are stairs going toward the wardrobe on the upper floor. While I was upstairs and handing in my jacket, I noticed a map of the entire venue and I must say that it is bigger and more complex than it seems, actually having a bigger and a smaller stage each in separate locations, as well as numerous other rooms. Despite me seeing just a part of the venue, I was really impressed and was constantly gazing around. The gig space itself, the place with the bigger stage, is a slight contrast to the previous rooms I saw, really dark and dimly lit, quite spacey and with a plain design, having a bar and a connection to the bathrooms and, obviously, the backstage rooms. The big room and its simple architecture managed to provide superb sound during the show, as you will read in the rest of the review.
After some time hanging out and making hard decisions at the distro section, which had no band merch by the way, the first band in line was about to play. "KEN mode" crawled on stage and completely decimated the entire venue with their sound. To be completely honest, I was first introduced to this Canadian trio when I heard about this gig, which happened rather recently. The attraction toward their music was almost instant thanks to their releases "Mennonite" and "Venerable", so my excitement about hearing them live was overabundant and expectations were set high. Needless to say, they managed to stun me beyond words and it is no joke when I say that they are among the best live bands that I have seen. What they succeeded to deliver with their performance was completely unbelievable, mainly because I didn't expect the strength of the hit they threw. To explain this I really need to reflect my thoughts about the above mentioned releases. "Mennonite" was a very peculiar noise/mathrock record, while "Venerable" came in a much darker form and acquiring some new traits, leading to a release where mathrock and post metal were fused together. This grim and drastically aggressive manifestation of "KEN mode" was increased a tenfold while the band was playing that night, leaving me completely speechless for the entirety of their set. They came in kicking and screaming, unleashing total mayhem upon the senses of the audience, not stopping for a single second to take a breather. Their sound was so heavy, enormous, incredibly loud and purely chaotic, literally crashing down and swallowing the listener completely. There was constant rapid and convulsing movement on stage, reflecting the music perfectly and providing a sight to behold. A single moment was taken to slow things down a bit, coming in the form of the closing song, "Never Was" if I remember well. All in all, it was an amazing performance that I will definitely never forget and I think that other people who saw them live share my thoughts, since I heard/read a lot of them saying that "KEN mode is a new favorite band." If you still haven't heard about this band, definitely check them out on their bandcamp page, found here.
Thus far, the show was running timely on schedule, which was pretty awesome and yet another interesting trait about the venue. A small break ensued which I used for grabbing one more record at the distro and then the time has come to see a band that I was yearning to see live ever since I first heard their songs way back in 2002. My amazement with their music and art has been omnipresent all these years, so my expectations were really high for the upcoming performance. Needless to say, the band managed to deliver and even surpass the set boundaries. "Circle Takes The Square", a band deeply carved in the flesh of the screamo genre, held the stage in a strong and savage manner, detonating an emotional and purely artistic bomb in the process. The eerie and droning intro of the "Enter By The Narrow Gates" slowly led the crowd into a trance, the sluggish buildup creating more and more tension with each passing tone. "Spirit Narrative" exploded soon after, followed by "Way Of Ever-Branching Paths". Their sound was absolutely flawless, surpassing the quality present on the recordings. It was amazing to be able to witness the brilliant song compositions and complex riffs, for which the band is probably most famous for, with superb sound and nothing holding them back. Sadly they didn't play my favorite song from the new "release", "The Ancestral Other Side", but after that third song came numerous excellent surprises. Whistling started ringing across the venue, slowly morphing into "Same Shade As Concrete", marking the time for old songs to be played. "Crowquill", "In The Nervous Light Of Sunday", my absolutely favorite song "Non-Objective Portrait Of Karma" and, a song which Drew dedicated to a virus floating through their van, "A Crater To Cough In".  My one and only "complaint" was that "Karma" sounded a bit...different than on the recording. The thing that made the song so astounding is the ever-increasing tempo and the song's ability to create a feeling of being chased by predators, which while performed wasn't really present. The speed was somewhat stuck at a certain point and it made the song far less adrenaline rushing. Maybe it is due to the fact that "Circle Takes The Square" appeared that night as a three piece instead of a quartet. I haven't been following them in the past few months, so not knowing what happened to the lineup really raised an eyebrow. Needless to say, the song was still really good and it saw lyrical screaming from yours truly. When they finally got off the stage, I couldn't help but smile and feel utterly happy for seeing them live at last. The long wait surely paid off.
Not long after "Circle Takes The Square" finished their set, yet another band from Savannah, Georgia climbed up on stage. "Kylesa", the famous nonstop genre changing quintet, started an earthquake in the venue with a song from their  album "Static Tensions", "Said And Done" and then continued with "Only One". The sound was unbelievably strong and crashing, exceptionally fast at grabbing the full attention of the audience. Their set kept bouncing between songs from "Static Tensions" and "Spiral Shadow", my two favorite releases, with a few exceptions from other albums like "Hollow Severer", "Where The Horizon Unfolds" and "Bottom Line". I was extremely happy to hear some of my favorite songs being played, "Unknown Awareness" and "Scapegoat", the choice of tracks for that evening being quite well picked in general, a really turbulent setlist with almost no time to pause and take a breath. Movement was omnipresent on stage and the crowd responded in a similar manner, making the entire scene completely chaotic and wild, in both the visual and audio aspects. Much like with the previous band, every song performed by "Kylesa" was just like on their recordings, clean and perfect, yet many times more powerful and impacting. I do, however, have to say that the vocal performance from Laura was not really on par with the recordings and at times it managed to really break from the mold. I know that I may be bashing the dream girl of many of my male readers and those who have attended the concert, but don't take these words to heart dudes, it is just a personal opinion. It wasn't bad or anything, just not exactly like record material. In any case, when "Scapegoat" was finished the band went off stage, but was soon pulled back by the screaming and clapping of the audience, so two more songs were performed to satisfy the thirst.
After the show I realized that the band merch was located outside of the gig room, which meant that I  simply had to create more void in my wallet. Thus, my better half and myself bought some shirts and more records from the biggest surprise that night, "KEN mode". This show ended up being a serious competitor to the previous "Deafheaven" gig, neck to neck in every aspect. Absolutely stunning evening, each band leaving a wish in my head to see them live sometime again in the future. Hope you all enjoyed the review.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gig review: Deafheaven, Hierophant, Fire Walk With Us

After an extensive period without shows, a draining three months to be exact, my first gig in 2012 finally happened. And I must say that it was quite an opener, featuring the band which released definitely one of the top ten albums of 2011. No need for any special introductions, just read on.

This amazing gig happened three days ago, namely on 17 February 2012, in a venue called "Winston Kingdom" located in the famous Red Light District in Amsterdam. Yes, I am really far away from my boring "home" at the moment. Seriously, gigs which are happening here in the Netherlands are amazingly beyond my comprehension and I am really hoping to actually burrow my roots here soon. In any case, the above mentioned venue is wonderful, to say the least. On first glance it might appear plain to the visitor, but the more you hangout inside the more you notice how great it is. The first footsteps that you take inside lead you to a corridor where you must leave your coat in the wardrobe, which is actually lined on the right side of the small hallway. Yes, the wardrobe is mandatory, but it is only one euro, so it is really no big deal. Once you enter the actual gig room, you see a bar in front of you, holding the left side of the space and the small stage on the right. As much as I managed to notice, the stage is octagonal in shape, so it is easily accessed and viewed from two sides and, seeing as how the venue is really small, this is quite an interesting architectural idea. The lights inside the room are scarce and the overall ambient is dark, which was very suitable for the upcoming concert.
First up that night was a local band called "Fire Walk With Us", a quartet which managed to shake up the quiet venue with sounds of  post rock/metal. No vocals, just strings, drums and nonstop shifts in the audio landscape. Without an ounce of exaggeration, I was really impressed with this band's performance, since they completely held the focus of my eyes and ears toward the stage for their entire set. I have never heard about their music prior to the gig, which in turn makes me unable to list the exact songs that were played, but their appearance came as an interesting surprise. They managed to throw a massive slam to the senses on each step of the way, be it with a calm atmospheric melody, a tense buildup or a remarkably devastating wave of sound, the act keeps you pinned down through and through. While my senses were constantly attacked, my brain tried to compare "Fire Walk With Us" with some other bands in hopes of describing their music more easily. Associations which came to mind are really impressive, the band possibly drawing influence from names like "Time To Burn", "Omega Massif", some early works from "Switchblade" and even the work of the more experimental acts such as "L'Homme Puma". The interesting thing is that all those influences which you get to hear are there for just a brief second, since the band manages to sculpt sound which is truly unique to them alone. Thus far this band gave birth to two releases, "EP#1" in 2008 and their youngest album "Carriers" which came out in October of 2011, both of which you can listen on their bandcamp page found here. A truly amazing band, be sure to check them out and follow their work.
After a small break, "Hierophant" took the stage. I was faced with this band numerous times in the past, but never actually grabbed the chance to listen to them, so they were a truly welcome addition to the show. Yet another four piece band, this time hailing from Italy and bringing along the sounds of "brutal hardcore crust", as described by the organizer of the gig. Let me be clear that beyond a doubt they succeeded in smashing the entire venue with their tunes and the overall quality of their sound and performance was great. You sense a "but" coming up, don't you? Yes, well, the thing that poked at my ears during their set is the duality of the song composition which is quite extreme. Usually, their songs start in an unbelievably aggressive fashion, a truly brutal d-beat-like strike which lasts just enough to blow your brains out. But after that there comes a drastic downfall in tempo where crust tunes turn to sludge, so the song in question ends up being dragged to oblivion, which actually makes the fast opening go bleak and it turns the song a bit dull. The funny thing is that I am currently listening to their songs at home and the tempo shift is neither dramatic nor boring. I presume that they just didn't manage to push my buttons live, most probably due to the fact that I was extremely anxious about seeing the band after the Italians. So basically you should ignore a large part of this paragraph and go take a listen to "Hierophant" on their bandcamp page, found here, and in no way should you feel like skipping any future gigs the band might have. I myself would love to catch them again and show to my brain that they are actually able to put up a good performance.
Following "Hierophant" came a good twenty or more minute break filled with anxiousness and expectation. Luckily my girlfriend met a couple of her friends at that moment, so my mind was busy with  being introduced to new people and trying not to look like a complete retard from all the excitement about the upcoming band. In any case, at one point a sort of extended version of the intro from the song "Violet" was ringing through the venue for some 10 minutes and very soon "Deafheaven" climbed onto the stage. I think there is no special need to introduce this well known black metal quintet from San Francisco, since they managed to rise through the ranks aggressively and in almost no time. Next to "Wolves In The Throne Room", they are the band that push me deep into the previously, for me, unexplored genre and seal my love for it. Their demo from 2010 was a total surprise and a definite unexpected kick, further empowered by "Roads to Judah" which, as I said above, grasped my top 2011 list. In the exact same fashion as their recordings managed to make me stunned, their performance consumed my attention and amazement without remorse. The second they climbed the stage it was a completely new world, both in audio and visual aspect. From those gentle and soothing introductions, to the blasting tones crashing the walls around you and the epically weaved bridges, "Deafheaven" additionally spiced their performance up with the stage movement. While the instrument players were normally calm and waving around with shoegaze-like motion, the singer George Clarke unleashed body movement perfectly correspondent to the sound, the emotions created through music and the very band name. He was extremely provocative, sexual and addictive, seeming self-centered and with a pumped up ego, reminding me of the singer from "Swing Kids", or "Blue Note" whichever you prefer, from last year's Fluff Fest. People usually frowned upon on such acting and behavior, but what they don't understand, in my opinion, is that it goes so well with the performance. Not every band can pull that off and not get bashed for it, but these two bands are a perfect example of success. Clarke appeared as the only particle pulsing with life, with moments where his movement suggested a state of being deaf or insane, correlating wonderfully with the band name. "Unrequited" and "Language Games" continued, being perfectly executed that night. "Winston Kingdom" provided an excellent acoustic and sound-friendly space, so that the songs came out stunning and even sounding better than on recordings. The final minutes of the last song saw a true crescendo and collapse of everything, the entire band finally showing movement with some even falling to the floor as the melody slowly died, while for the first time the singer went calm, signaling the end of a beyond amazing performance.
And what else to say in the end? The first show in 2012 and already "Deafheaven" managed to stamp this show as possibly one of the best concerts for the coming year. Other candidates will have a hard time beating this, though they are welcome to try.
One thing worth mentioning before I close this, rather long, review is that I managed to exchange a few words with Clarke prior to their set, concerning the interview that was discussed several months ago, but never really happened. He was generous enough to offer to talk after the show, but sadly I was unable to attend due to a tight train schedule back home. Needless to say, I will try once again to reach them through email, but thanks to Clarke for the offer of doing a live interview...which I would most probably fail at, since I never did interviews live, so maybe the trains aided in saving my reputation.
In any case, this was a superb show and if you have a chance to grab these bands live, do so! I am sure you won't regret such a decision. Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope you enjoyed the review.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Following the "Light Bearer" interview from last year, it is time to get in touch with one other branch from the famous band family tree, this time the one named "Momentum". Once again Luka and myself collaborated, so after some time of waiting Matthew produced these fine answers for all of you to read. Check it out, it is a really great read!

1. Hey Matthew! Thank you so much for accepting to do this interview for "Natures With No Plagues". Please introduce yourself and the rest of the band.

Hello! I'm Matthew and I play guitar. I share the band with Gerfried, who also plays guitar, Joseph on drums, Olly on the bass and Alex on vocal and art duties.

2. "Momentum" is still a very young band, so I am interested in hearing the story behind the formation of the project.

The band formed half out of our love for political, fast and angry hardcore; half out of a bit of a catharsis and something to do to fill our spare time. Alex and I live together and spent a lot of time talking about music, which we shared very common interests in, so we decided to start a band that catered for another degree of our musical taste. After a while of looking around for other people that would put up with us we met Joseph, Olly and Gerfried from long term friendships and the hardcore scene.

3. Thus far, you have released one album named "Whetting Occam's Razor". Tell me something more about it. I am also interested in hearing what does the name of the album and the name of the band itself mean to you?

The name comes from the theory of Occam's Razor: the idea that, in searching for an answer, once the unnecessary paths are taken out of the equation what you are left with must be the truth. In the case of this album Alex’s lyrics address the effect Abrahamic religion has had on societal norms, gender, species and understanding of the universe, the idea of how personal ideology and opinion has curtailed progression away from religious ignorance, but also gender equality, animal rights. The idea is that by cutting away redundant ideology makes for a better world and better understanding of our place in the universe.

4. The very opening of your album, the song "Prelude", begins with a sample from the show "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage", of course featuring the words of Carl Sagan. When and how did you first encounter his work? And what is it, in fact, that mostly inspired you, both personally and as a band, to craft your music based on Sagan's theories and writings?

I was introduced to him through the band members but had a brief knowledge before then being a . I appreciate very much his view on Earth in relation to the rest of the universe and his views on humankind’s delusions of grandeur. I remember the first quote I read by him was “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot”, a short piece that really put in to context for me the insignificance and fleeting existence of myself and our species, or any species for that matter, on this planet. I know the whole band all admire his vehemence for the universe and his passion to teach the wonders of it. 

5. Aside of Carl Sagan, the band shows profound support for ideas such as "The Zeitgeist Movement", "Venus Project" and the message conveyed in the movie "Earthlings", etc. With all this being said, how did all these ideologies find their place in your work and how did they influence you on a personal level?

One topic which troubles me greatly is over population. Last year we supposedly saw the birth of the seventh millionth child which was greeted warmly by the media and people around the world as a bench mark of our species. Unfortunately, and I don’t do this out of the sake of being a contrarian, but I fail to see how this can be regarded as a good thing. We are a greedy genus that is brought up in a society which regards consumerism and our ability to consume as a medal of achievement. We live in a world with finite resources and build our culture around our abuse of these assets. In continually spawning without regard for the world around us we only exacerbate this problem. Being able to formulate a means to create a sustainable environment we would then manage to circumvent a lot of the problems that lay in our future. The Zeitgeist films and The Venus Project illustrate this perfectly. We have the technology at our disposal capable of producing these results but I believe that we’re far too proud an organism to admit that we’re not entitled to all the things we take for granted.

6. Aside of your support through music, are there any other ways you put into effect those ideologies, some sort of activism or anything similar?

I think making changes pretty much starts with how you choose to live your life. I know a lot of people who choose the same dietary habit as I have consider direct action the best course. Whilst measures should be taken to ensure that no animal suffers for me the act of opting for a vegan lifestyle is a form of direct action in itself. You take it upon yourself to lower the demand for the meat industry. That being said I do support the Sea Sheppard group. 2010 I had the pleasure of attending the Pope protests in London. It was very much a homogenising experience to be surrounded by thousands of like minded people who felt as strongly as you do. These are the routes that I take when it comes to expressing my ideologies outside of music and other creative forms.

7. Do you consider music as a tool for transferring knowledge toward the listener? Do you think that your words might touch someone enough to change their view on the world around them?

I'd like to think so. One could only hope. If it didn't I wouldn't be disappointed as we at least gave it a chance to hopefully influence people. But we definitely use our music as a means to convey a message. It’s one of the reasons we started the band. This has been pretty evident with me as Meat is Murder by The Smiths turned me vegetarian and, eventually, vegan. But if half of the reason that we do this band is love of playing the music, the other half would be the message we’re putting across.

8. Seeing as how "Momentum" openly criticizes civilization and humanity, I am inclined to ask you about your thoughts on the current situation on our planet. 2011 has been labelled as "the year of revolution" on many occasions. Do you think that all these revolutions, riots and movements can succeed in changing the world entirely? In your opinion, who or what is the main culprit                                                                                for the state our planet is in?

I’m pretty cynical about the human race. I find very little redeeming qualities about us. Judging from the rate at which the liveable world is declining in correlation with our unprecedented consumption of both resources and space and our inability to confront this in a serious manner only foreshadows the fact that we won’t last on this planet. Although progression has been made such as the green light for same-sex marriage in New York (a topic I’m personally very passionate about) and movements like Occupy Wall Street have shown an increase in awareness. However, humankind is more at the mercy of the planet than anything else. Even though people refer to the planet as “dying” I don’t believe this to be true. Unless we literally blow the planet to pieces Earth will be here for a very long time after we’re gone as it has been here a very long time before we crawled out of the ocean. Global warming will no doubt play a major role in this and with the meat industry being the main cause of this threat and our reluctance to consider other life choices for the benefit of both human and non-human animal alike we can consider the effects that we are currently witnessing to become more grave as we continue on this route. The world would have to go through a severe shake-up in order to stop the problems that we are blatantly seeing.

9. The track "Theory" features a guest vocalist from the band "Monachus". How did the collaboration with that band happen?

Alex’s old band used to tour with "Icos" (Monachus’ old band) and last year I had the pleasure of meeting them when "Light Bearer" toured Europe for ten days with "Monachus". They are all truly lovely guys and we were really stoked to have them involved on the record. We endearingly refer to them as the “Viking Choir”.

10. Tell me something more about the very sound of "Momentum". What other artists or records managed to inspire your work?

I guess, to put it simply: straight up, fast and angry hardcore. We all kind of got sick of silly sub-genres of even sillier sub-genres and wanted to create music that was direct and would reflect the immediacy of the subjects we wanted to address. "NOFX" were a big influence for many of the members of the band. "American Nightmare" and "Modern Life is War" gave us inspiration to make the music a little more intense and melodic. With this album we still managed to get labelled as something we’re not but come next release we’ll hopefully be able to shed those brands get to exactly what we want to do with this project.

11. You had a number of shows behind you, so I am interested to hear which of those was your most memorable one? 

Errrrrrrmmmmm. To be honest we have a pretty limited history of shows but we promise to rectify this problem post haste!

12. How much is "Momentum" actually involved in the local scene? Is there anything you particularly like or dislike in your hometown when it comes to this type of music?

We all reside in London which, of course, is a cultural hot pot but the punk scene actually feels a little narrow. There are a few good bands in the area and a few people trying to keep shows a regular occurrence but sometimes it feels very difficult to get drive in the hardcore scene going considering the size of the city. Having been a promoter of shows a few years ago I know how it feels to put a lot of time and effort into coordinating shows to only have very few people turn. It’s very deflating. Half the battle is finding people willing to put on the show; the other half is the people willing to turn up to them.

13. You have also been involved, along with Alex, in the work of "Light Bearer". When it comes to the actual process of writing music, is work the same in both bands or is it vastly different?

Very different! For "Light Bearer" we have a rigidly structured narrative that we both discuss when it comes to creating the music. There are a lot of bands who write concept albums and use the lyrics to tell the story but with "Light Bearer" I wanted the instrumentation to play just as much of an emotionally engaging part of the story as the words. I listen to a lot of film scores as I like how they create an atmosphere for the images that are being seen on the screen and I wanted that exact same effect when we write for that project. With "Momentum" the process is a lot more spontaneous. We have three members of the band who write riffs and songs so one day we might go into practice with a couple of ideas and 4 hours later finish with 5 new songs. I don’t want to say that we’re restricted with "Light Bearer" in anyway, because we’re not, but with "Momentum" there isn’t a commitment that we have to fulfil when writing the songs. Except to make then as good as possible. Although now "Light Bearer" shares even more members after Joseph and Gerfried joined the band so writing new material is going to be a very different experience from both "Momentum" and "Light Bearer".

14. Are there any more bands with which "Momentum" members are connected, both past and present?

We all have a pretty rich history in terms of bands. We’re a pretty prolific group of people but to name a few the band has links to "Light Bearer", "Pnakotus", "Fall of Efrafa", "The Black Lodge", "Drivers Against", "The Plague Mass", "Dungeons", "Black Mass"... it’s a pretty long, sprawling family tree of bands.

15. Time for you to ask a question!


16. 2011 is slowly coming to a close. Which releases managed to attract your liking the most? And would you be willing to share some of your all time favorites?

For me, personally, I've really enjoyed the new "Deafheaven" album. It is a little cheesy in places but in a way I can completely enjoy. Giles Corey, Dan Barret from "Have a Nice Life" solo project. That record caught my ear a few weeks ago and really inspired me. After that I'm really looking forward to catching up with the new "Maccabees" album. Their second album, "Wall of Arms", has been on constant rotation for the past two years.

17. What does the future hold for "Momentum"? 

Currently we're in the process of writing for a six track E.P called "Herbivore" that will be released at some point this year and hopefully play some shows in the mainland.

18. Once again Matthew, thank you so much for this interview! Do you have a final message for the readers of this blog?

We are currently working on a few new things including the next record in the "Light Bearer" quadrilogy called "Silver Tongue" and a split that we are recording at end of March, the aforementioned new "Momentum" release and an album for a new band called "Pnakotus" that we are currently writing. All of which will hopefully be out by the end of this year. So keep your eyes open for those!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fuck, Wolves! - Und zwischen all unseren Trümmern und Traumgebilden (2011)

Wow, it has been a while since I wrote anything here and I bet you all thought that this little thing is dead by now. Well, yours truly is pretty much alive, though for the past few weeks only barely. My thesis writing, which is done by the way, consumed most of my time, so that coupled with some additional horrible happenings in my life managed to really drag me from doing anything, least of all writing here. I will try to muster some strength and willpower to write more often from now on, especially since in the second half of February I will be attending some extremely cool gigs, so show reviews will be abundant.

But enough about me, lets talk about "Fuck, Wolves!", a band really loved by your host. The four piece screamo band from Germany grabbed a hold of my liking ever since I heard their demo back in 2008. Additionally, the band really holds a special place in my heart, since they are involved in the first interview done for this blog, if you remember the dual interview I did after reviewing their split with "Chaos is...". In case you missed those, since they were done a long time ago, the interviews are found here and here, while the split review is found here.
To be honest, quite some time has passed since I last listened to this band, but coming back to them now instantly refreshes my thoughts on why I loved them so much back in the day of the demo. They were raw, aggressive and chaotic, going so far to extremes as to sounding like each member is playing without the notion of others, yet they somehow managed to fit in perfectly with one another. The sound was so crunchy and raspy that the shifts in melody came completely unexpected and much more impacting the listener. It took a bit of time to get used to the record quality, but once you get there you really fall in love with their music.
Needless to say, things have changed since then, albeit the band remained to be extremely pleasurable. A definite bridge between this release and the demo was the above mentioned "Chaos is..." split, since they took a bit of a style change and they stick with it even today. "Und zwischen all unseren Trümmern und Traumgebilden" brings us four new songs, one of which is a cover of another band from Germany called "Fargo". The opening song, "Kontraktionsphase", starts with a slow buildup which really succeeds in setting up a certain mood for the rest of the record. The tension builds up a bit after a vocal sample, with a sort of pinnacle of chaos being released past the first minute and a half. Curiously enough, the song goes up and down constantly with aggressive parts being intercepted with slower, more atmospheric melodies. The most interesting thing was that I could hear all sorts of influences the band could potentially have in that one song, ranging from the eerie tones that we can hear from "June Paik" to some early "Danse Macabre" and even "Louise Cyphre". After the, nearly experimental, first track comes "But Habbit Is A Great Deadener" which is a more classic "Fuck, Wolves!", an in your face, chaotic and rending song. The song just rushes past you with its insanely good buzzing sound which really managed to throw me back so close to the days of their first recordings.
The "Fargo" cover, more precisely "Leben macht Hungrig" from their "Zug Um Zug" release in 2009, is excellent. "Fuck, Wolves!" managed to keep the heaviness and the massive, beating riffs, yet they successfully molded the song in their own style. The grand finale comes in the form of "Heute ist auch nur Gestern 2.0", an excellent way to end this 7'', the track being on par with the opening song, with that atmosperic mood-setter which "Fuck, Wolves!" implement so well. This is definitely my favorite song from the release, since it bears something really specific which draws you time and time again to it. The growing tension, bridges and the crescendo of the song have an excellent composition, which at certain moments reminds me of several 90's screamo bands. While the melody keeps waving up and down, the listener is simply being drowned in a certain melancholic atmosphere. The band seems to excel very well at delivering a specific emotion through the speakers, a trait that not many bands can call their own.
As a whole, this release sounds like what "June Paik" would be prior to their demo from 2004. This might not make any sense to the readers, but it is logical in my crazy head. Needless to say, this is by no means a flaw or negative critic, but on the contrary quite a positive thing. "Fuck, Wolves!" continue to grow and after each release they evolve and mature, acquiring a darker and more ambiental trait along the way, which definitely serves them good. I'd like to thank Jens for sending me several copies of this great seven inch for the distro, which has been released by "Moment of Collapse" records in 2011, featuring some pretty rad artwork and design. Definitely check this band out, I guarantee you won't regret!