In August 2015, I came across the debut demo of a German band named Kriegszittern that proved to be a huge — and terrifyingly good — surprise. As I expressed in a review: “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.” Now, the same Caligari Records that released that demo on tape is bringing out the band’s new release — and this time it’s an LP-length split that includes not only new material by Kriegszittern but also the debut recordings of another very impressive German death metal band, Minenfeld.
What we have for you is a stream of the new tape in advance of its release this Friday, February 3. The song stream plays just like the tape would play (at least in its formatting), with all the Kriegszittern songs streaming as a single track (Side A) and all the Minenfeld songs streaming as a second track (Side B). Here are a few introductory thoughts about what you’re about to hear, to prepare you for the onslaught if nothing else.
Kriegszittern’s side of this new split includes a dismal, doom-cloaked intro track that conjures the stench of a crypt and four songs. Those four songs strengthen the atmosphere of ghoulish battlefield horror that began with the intro, while simultaneously kicking adrenaline levels upward quite effectively.
The vocals are a monstrosity of sound, a deep malignant roar that sounds devoid of any semblance of human warmth or mercy and becomes maniacally ravenous when it pitches up into hair-raising shrieks. The dirty guitar and bass tone is in keeping with the vocals’ grotesque textures, while the occasional bursts of frenzied soloing are themselves a shrieking horror.
As was true of the debut demo, however, these songs will get your head moving, and they’re dynamic in their pacing, alternately propelled and restrained by a bludgeoning rhythm section. The music romps, it rampages, it crawls like a fat white slug in a mausoleum leaving a trail of slime in its wake. It’s a thoroughly evil joy to hear this band at work.
And by the way, “Kriegszittern” seems to be an old term for “shell shock” (Google Translate will tell you it means something like “tremors of war”), and the end of Kriegszittern’s side contains a pointed reminder of the band’s inspirations, with the sounds of mechanized battle layered over morbid organ tones and horrific spoken words.
Kriegszittern at Bandcamp:
As you might be able to guess, “Minenfeld” is the German word for “minefield”, and Minenfeld’s side of this split — which includes six tracks — begins with a sample that recalls World War I (and more such samples lie ahead).
Minenfeld’s music has a harsh, rough edge in its sound, with the abrasive sandpaper touch of distortion coating everything — all the better to make the violence of their songs even more corrosive to the ears. The music’s sound also has a powerful sense of immediacy — as if the listener is right there in front of the stage while these marauders apply themselves to their craft.
And Minenfeld’s craft is the kind of death metal that rumbles and rolls like a tank attack and strafes like a fighter squadron diving from the skies — and it’s just as electrifying as I would imagine it feels like to be dead center in an active war zone. Like Kriegszittern, Minenfeld change up the rhythms and pacing in a way that allows them to maintain a vice grip on the listener’s attention.
The songs, for example, include some powerfully addictive chugging riffs as well as murderous gallops, pneumatic pile-driving, and those tank-like, rumbling crushfests. I’m also a big fan of the vocals, which are raw, gritty, and boiling with fury and pain.
For me, Minenfeld is a great new discovery, and I hope you’ll feel the same way after you hear their side.
To pre-order this split, go here: