In June of this year a band from Mülheim, Germany, named Kriegszittern released their first demo via Bandcamp, but I discovered it only after learning more recently that Caligari Records would be releasing it on tape. I now try to check out everything Caligari puts out, because I’ve had such good luck with their selections in the past — and this demo proved to be another winner.
The five songs on the demo rush by in less than 17 minutes, but Kriegszittern make those minutes count. The opening track, which bears the same name as the band, begins slowly and dismally, eventually bolting forward in a gritty sandblast of distorted guitars and pneumatic drums, with a vocalist whose echoing roars and howls sounds like a cross between a deranged wildcat and a demonic executioner.
The name “Kriegszittern” seems to be an old term for “shell shock” (Google Translate will tell you it means something like “tremors of war”), and the band live up to their name as their militaristic assault continues on “Terminal War”. The heavily distorted sound quality remains as filthy as an open cesspool, and the atmosphere remains grim and ominous. But the riffs in the song are magnetic, and the bass rumble and drum rhythms are galvanizing, providing a hell of a drive train for this monstrous war machine.
The following track “Surrender” may be the most immediately infectious on the demo, though it too is laced with a bleak, oppressive melody — and when the vocalist shrieks SURRENDER! it may send a shiver down your spine. In fact, every time he shrieks on this demo, it has that effect on me.
The hard-jabbing riffs in “Inferno” will get heads moving, too, just as the swarm of abrasive guitar noise that segments those hard-driving parts of the song will peal skin like a jet spray of grit.
The demo ends with “Empty Eyes”, another song built on the back of a jabbing, freight-train rhythm, and it’s also segmented with blurry swarms of maggoty guitar chords and a slithering, shiver-inducing guitar solo, ending in a gruesome crawl that sinks further and further into the muck.
This is ghastly, primeval death metal mixed with punk rhythms that generates a corrosive aura of indefinable horror while at the same time making you want to helplessly bang your head. It’s raw, raucous, and ravenous — and highly recommended.
The Kriegszittern demo is being released on pro tape by Caligari Records (limited to 150 copies) and can be ordered HERE. For those who want a digital download, visit Kriegszittern’s Bandcamp page (linked below).