KRIEGSZITTERN – Kriegszittern (2021)REVIEW

They could no longer stand on their own feet. Their hands dead and cold to the power of their guns, the trenches took their hunger for death and food alike or, their glass-eyed refusal to eat left it to drip from dazed maw like blood from a fresh bullet wound. Stunned to death by weeks of drumfire, the mind-shocked and failing body resorts to “tremors of bravery” in process of trauma and limpness in protest to the shelling, the cacophony of a horrified mind — The marriage of death metal with crust punk may arguably be on the uptick within the last decade if we focus solely on the number of new acts (and releases) as an indiscriminate statistic, and using a bit of an ‘honor system’ for artist applied sub-genre tags, yet a several month long grind through those trenches reveals very little understanding of crust punk itself and the myriad rhythmic potentiate it brings to death metal’s malleable voicing and similar atmospheric qualities. It is more often by luck that the admixture works at all and by some sort of deus ex machina that any group stays interested long enough to iterate. In the case study of Mülheim, Germany-based death metal band Kriegszittern we find the harrowing presence of muscularly clattering ‘old school’ death metal front and center in terms of aesthetic roar yet when the tempo map is dissected from this rotten skeletal reek of forms it represents a sophisticated mesh of classic crust punk meander given meanest propulsion via classic death and slight grindcore infusion. In sitting with ‘Kriegszittern‘, a compilation of their latest full-length and demos, one can expect to find an authentic marvel of death metal/crust punk hybridization so effective in its advance that the only practical response will be your own trauma from missing out on ’em up to this point.

Formed as a duo in 2015 by Spiker drummer Faxe and vocalist/guitarist Eddi, Kriegzittern‘s major goal was apparently primitivity and simplicity to start and along the way this has translated as impactful and raw death metal that uses the broad spectrum of mid-to-late 80’s crust as its guidance in exploration of largely mid-paced songwriting. Their first two demos ‘Kriegszittern‘ (2015) and ‘Frostbite‘ (2015) were cavernous, surrealistic grinding death metal lead by trailing riffs and vocals that had this brilliant “echoing forward” effect to them, and this’d left a great impression upon many for its giant cathedral-echoing yet nuclear grime coated sound. The line-up expanded, a split with Minenfeld upped their visibility and their 2018 debut album ‘Yellow Cross‘ followed soon after with releases on vinyl and cassette from well-respected labels. This CD release of ‘Yellow Cross’, the 2019 demo ‘Stratofortress’, and three live recordings of new songs comes a few years later as a sort of archival compilation and reintroduction of a band some folks might’ve missed.

Kriegszittern are likely working on new material so, those who’re already familiar with the band’s brilliant capture of ghoulish Amebix-esque movement, early Bolt Thrower sized death metal tension and tonality will appreciate the raw-shambling nuclear death sound of ‘Stratofortress’ as a sort of pre-emptive strike into the future. The three additional live songs themselves are all new and on par with the most recent records from groups like Ahna, creeping and bounding stuff with riffs as ballsy as those old Stormcrow records stashed away on your shelves, too. “Flamethrower” and “Carapace” seem to indicate some interest in adding more death/doom to their sound, though largely keep a mid-paced advance. These two songs are far more moldering and wretched than expected, almost an early Cryptic Brood sound when presented as a live demo recording, which is presented cleanly but still distant and harrowing. “Blackwater” was the only piece I’d felt needed more tuning-up, the middle section not really bringing the full-on grab that this band have become known for just yet. Getting Kriegszittern‘s class debut album alongside all of their most recent material is an ideal introduction for new listeners, though I’d recommend pairing this one with the compilation of their early demos released a few years back, and for the already indoctrinated ‘Kriegszittern’ offers a solid definitive edition of their most recent work. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TYPE:LP [Compilation]
LABEL(S):Chaos Records
RELEASE DATE:June 18th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal,
Death Metal/Crust Punk

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