DIE KREUZEN: October File-Compressed
and weighed down by dense layers of sound, the Die Kreuzen groove barrels
its way home to the back of your skull. The groove maintains itself and
deepens as the record spins, wide as a new freeway under construction in
your backyard. This thing is godhead to some. Apparently, a big black sound
is enough. Well, it is a cool sound, the musical equivalent of a
midnight walk through an old forest, with a heavy summer breeze, and the
sky is overcast. Over the top, the lyrics are howled in a charged-up slur
that's indecipherable. Grappling with a past steeped in heavy metal and
trying hard to bury it and everything else in it's wake, Die Kreuzen comes
forth with music that sounds like it wants to wake up. Meanwhile, fave
grooves include: "Cool Breeze, " "Man In The Trees," "Among The Ruins,"
and "There's A Place."
OCTOBER FILE: die Kreuzen-In
the vast wasteland of copycat "hardcore" bands there exists a band that
single-handedly legitimizes the continued existence of a musical movement
which has reached and passes its peak. This band is called die Kreuzen
(pronounced dee-kroi-tzen), and in their new album October File,
they demonstrate that they are the only band that still injects
the creativity, speed, sincerity, and power which is (was?) hardcore.
These four long-haired rock and roll marauders from the cultural desert of the Mid-west known as Milwaukee have slowed down their sound since their last album, and have begun to delve into musical experimentation. They even (gasp!) use an acoustic guitar on October File's ballad "Cool Breeze." And Dan Kubinski's lead vocals-belted out with a throated banshee-like, screaming voice is enough to peel the skin off of an elephant. Not only can this guy painfully exhort us to listen, but he can also carry a tune.
Bringing to mind such bands as Killing Joke, Joy Division, No Trend and even Aerosmith, Die Kreuzen's guitar player, Brian Egeness, weaves and swirls crisp tones, licks, and chords around the heavy and haunting bass sound of Keith Brammer. On many songs, Brammer's bass carries the basic tune whiles Egeness runs wild on his guitar. Meanwhile, drummer Erik Tunison consistently keeps the steady beat an periodically throws in some cymbal crashes for emphasis and flavor to create beats which jump in and out of the abyss of rock and roll.
The songs on October File sound interesting because the band knows how to use the production studios. Die Kreuzen don't go in for the garage/fuzz/amateur sound of oh-so-many "alternative" bands today, and instead opt for various production techniques and features which add interesting echoes and guitar effects on many songs.
Oh yea, by the way...Die Kreuzen means "the crosses" in German. Why they chose the name remains a mystery. Maybe it just sounds cool? And, so what. What matters is that these guys can play hard and sing hard and rock hard and roll hard. And this they do so very well.
KREUZEN, 'Century Days', KKKK-There's a tremendous, unpaid debt owed to
Mid-Westerners Die Kreuzen. While many have appreciated their undeniably
unorthodox approach, borrowing heavily from sources as diverse as Aerosmith
and the Sisters Of Mercy, it wasn't until last year's VoiVod release 'Killing
Technology' that this Kraut-dubbed outfit (translating more literally into
"the crosses") were recognized as a direct influence and inspiration. A
listen to the Quebec powerhouse's latest side with Die Kreuzen's previous
'October File' LP points toward some near-thievery.
Where their first two efforts proved above average exercises in technicality and mood, 'Century Days' is a far more multi-faceted effort, maintaining the band's trademark approach with added skill and far more adventurous delivery. Brian 'Herman' Egeness' solid, ringing chords generate a solid framework for helium-voiced singer Danny Kubinski to wrap goblin-like banshee wails around as elfin bassist Keith Brammer and drummer Erik Tunison keep the beat solid and driving.
Stepping back from punk influence, a definite Aerosmith a la 'Season Of Wither' presence is detectable with the moody drone of 'Different Ways' or the upbeat, bittersweet 'Elizabeth', an ode to vocalist Kubinski's sister. From the ringing chords and pounding rhythms of opener 'Earthquakes', it rapidly becomes apparent that this is the record where Die Kreuzen are going to kick back and have some fun. Touches of blues are even beginning to creep into the sound, heard best on the slow, saxophone-punctuated 'These Days' or the carnival-like 'Stomp'.
Sure, they can copy them, but who says they can keep up with them?
Die Kreuzen, Century Days-If
this new one doesn't make these piledrivers into stars, then we should
all crawl back into the sea and begin the evolution process once again.
DIE KREUZEN, Century Days-Die
Kreuzen plays scrotum-rock of the most refined sort, this third LP being
their ballsiest, most well-constructed tour de force yet. Everything
clicks into place: the musicians ooze confidence in every groove, and since
the guys know how to play, they let loose with some amazing twists on the
indie rock stereotype that you'd think were improvised if the whole brew
wasn't so tight (dare we say, professional)-it's organized chaos at it's
best. Polished but not sterile, the production spotlights the guitar armageddon
of Brian Egeness, who takes a sound, plunges it fathoms deep and whiplashes
it back hard enough to at least make you see spots. Dan Kubinski is lord
of the vocals, his eviscerating/emasculating screech raking all the Steven
Tylers of this world over the coals. But the songs aren't all Indy 500
screamers, 'cause this band is capable of a lot more: "Elizabeth" is a
careful, almost hesitant-sounding mood piece that'll knock the wind out
of you with its coffin-plush gorgeousness, and the other ballad-type tunes
here have a power that pins down your stunted little emotions with dead-eye
sureness. This is total Gott Kopf from Die Kreuzen (translation: Godhead
from the crosses), a merry gotterdamerung for the masses, one of the supreme
achievements by an American indie rock band. Also try "Lean Into It," "Different
Ways," "Bitch Magnet" and "Number Three."
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