Japanische Kampfhoerspiele - Bilder Fressen Strom – 4/5
This is the time for my fictitious fans to cheer as im back to writing once more after a short absence. Despite having “Japan” in the name, they are in fact German, and it is their pleasant Death/Grind grooves that have been seducing me for a long enough period to warrant mention. Just how long I can claim to dislike a genre whilst continuing to sing its praises im not quite sure, but as my first foray into the decade old career of Japanische Kampfhoerspiele (hereafter to be referred to as ‘that band’), I cant say its been an unpleasant one.
Finding the root cause for what draws me here over many other artists isn’t the most easy thing to do, as it doesn’t feel more complex and certainly not the most aggressive available. In fact many of the guitar lines in particular are rather slow, with an an almost doom like smooth groove to them, and when they pick up for the deep toned tremolo picked guitar lines it feels altogether too melodic; even the solos despite having a notable shredded element to them never feel merely random and dissonant. The bass can be heard keeping up with the guitar lines, performing as required of them but ultimately outshone by the other instruments; the insatiable vocal work combining the frenetic higher pitched growl with a deep hoarse growl that feels unique and makes their sound instantly recognisable.
And this is just leaving the best ‘til last, the drumming rarely resorting to just the blast beats, tastefully incorporating them into the body of the work filled with no short supply of fills, crashes, rolls and spontaneous beat changes; even during the slower passages often given room to maneuver themselves into producing a short snippet of dynamic upbeat wailing on the weapons at his disposal. Raw and forward in the mix, the production levels feel in want of nothing, more than capable of coherently demonstrating the track at hand whilst not removing all the grit from their musical fingers.
It is the lengthier tracks that they really get a chance to develop their sound, but with 27 tracks in a 42 minute album, naturally there are a fair few less interesting short tracks (but dont worry, they’re over before they get tiring!). If I had to pinpoint precisely what makes me interested in this grindcore release, its that it combines the overt silliness that doesn’t require you to understand the lyrics to realise, with an insatiable groove not obsessed with merely out-doing what came before it. In essence what makes this a interesting is that its the Death/Grind sound without any of the attitude that so often seems to come with it; there is no pretentiousness or seriousness to their work in more than just the lyrical context, and the comprehension that the best music isn’t necessarily determined by the tempo of the track.
Highlights: Die Schlachtung, Supermacht, Lebendgewicht, Dement
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Wednesday, 13 January 2010