Archive for alpinist

Review: Brink of Despair

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on January 28, 2013 by Magadh

Brink of Despair rooted in dust

BRINK_COVERThere is a certain temptation associated with speed in the crust scene. The common picking patterns offer a comforting normalcy. There is something pleasing in this for the listener as well, a comforting rhythm that keeps the head bobbing. Gearing down into the middle tempos is most often seen as a sort of set up for the take off. This all well and good, but it is just the slightest bit limiting. Perhaps the most appealing thing about Leipzig’s Brink of Despair is their willingness to hang about in the middle tempos without feeling the need to launch into hyper speed every fourth bar.

This takes a certain confidence in the one’s licks, and not every band could pull it off. If Tragedy spent long periods in this register, they were abetted in doing so by the fact that the crushing wall of sound that they were generating bludgeons all resistance into meek submission. Brink of Despair adopt on a more metallic approach. Where Tragedy relied on crushing chords and thick production, Brink of Despair have a rather sparser sound, featuring chunky metal licks and the occasional passage of single string melodics reminiscent of Stockholm death metal. Without the panacea of speed, BoD rely on subtle arrangements and dark atmosphere to get their point across. Occasionally they break out into a faster tempo and the contrast is made all the more powerful by the fact that it is so long in coming. For those immersed in the crust scene, this disc will inspire tension as one waits for the shift to the higher gear. More often than not it does not come, and the tension remains.

Their playing here is refreshingly raw. Simple riffs, played with conviction and thoughtfully arranged. The lyrics run to the personal rather than the political, which is all for the best, considering the singer sounds like he’s about to have a stroke. Maybe he needs this time to work all the shadows out. I’ve heard them compared to Alpinist, but I suspect that that had more to do with the fact that they are both from Germany. A more apt point of comparison would Sarabante, although BoD are slower and have noticeably more metallic ambiance.

This would have jumped to the top of my “Best of 2013” list if it hadn’t been released late last year. Why am I always the last to know these things? Better late than never. In the crowded, and often repetitive field of crust these days, the pleasure of finding something that sounds just that little bit different is an infrequent pleasure.


Reveiw: Direwolves

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on December 13, 2012 by Magadh

Direwolves Me From Myself, To Banish Throatruiner

Direwolves-Me-From-Myself-To-Banish-2012The merry pranksters at France’s Throatruiner Records are at it again. This is one of those labels that not that many people in North America seem to know about, but they put out some really forward stuff. We’ve reviewed a couple of other releases that they’ve done in earlier posts (specifically Calviire and Birds in Row) and as I recall we quite liked them. I certainly dug them enough to avail myself of Birds in Row’s back catalog, although I think that those guys have flown the coop to a bigger label.

Anyway, I’ve just procured a recent release by Direwolves and it is yet another Throatruiner project that exhibits qualities of real excellence. Direwolves hail from Lorient in the wilds of Brittany, about which I know nothing other than that they have a football club that tends to mid-table form in Ligue 1 (although they did just put L’Om to the sword) when they are not getting bounced down to Ligue 2. Direwolves, one must say, are Ligue 1 material all the way. Their six song release, entitled Me From Myself, To Banish, has as sound which is, if not unique, at least hard to find effective examples by way of comparison. Imagine  Articles of Faith doing a sort of screamo thing, maybe with a bit of Alpinist thrown in for good measure. The songs are short and to the point, but still involve arrangements that are varied enough to maintain interest. They bear a certain similarity to other Throatruiner productions, but their sound is a bit cleaner and their pace tends to be generally quicker than some of the other material on this label. However you want to describe these guys, they rock like a hurricane, and we can only hope that they get back in the studio soon for another release.


No Sympathy for the Fascists

Posted in Heads Up with tags , on July 29, 2012 by Magadh

[This post was put up on the FB pages of both Masakari and Alpinist. We thought it was worth reposting here. Both Magadh and the Captain have been attending hardcore shows for decades and have too often seen bands and organizers overlook fascist iconography at gigs. Much respect to the bands for taking a principled stand and sticking to it.]

Yesterday, 28.7.12, Masakari and Alpinist decided to defer playing the ONT Grind’u Festival in Lithuania and we feel that it is important to provide an explanation for those that may have came to see us. When we arrived we noticed that a person was admitted into the festival with visible nazi tattoos: a white power celtic cross, hitler, and a swaztika. We confronted this and through our discussion we found that in the past this person was a leader of a nazi skinhead gang but had since left this mindset. It was explained to us how this person was living with this past attempting be active by engaging with people to discuss why the changes occured. The explanation was that the tattoos were not covered up because it engages people in conversation and the person is able to explain the story. From this we spent a lot of time discussing if we still wanted to take part in this festival. We did not feel that the decision to keep the tattoos visible was acceptable because of its explicit violent symbolism but at the same time this person was intent in our understanding of these life changes. In the end of this discussion we decided that we still wanted to play the show with the hopes to try to engage others in this dialogue. Immediately upon returning to the festival we witnessed another person admitted into the festival with a Reichsadler patch sewn on a shirt; we feel that its important to highlight that this wasn`t hidden it was clearly visible and shouldn`t have been missed or overlooked by the people at the door. At this point we decided that we could not be apart of this event. When we talked with the people who were affiliated with this festival we were asked to stay if these people were expelled from the event. However this was not because of any type of antifascists action but just because we were refusing to play. We feel this way because during our conversations with the people involved there were things said to justify these people when we explained our problems with the tolerance of these kinds of symbols:

„it is a pagan symbol“ + „these symbols mean different things in our culture“: we understand that these symbols were reappropriated by the nazis but these were directly affiliated with the nazi history

„it is just a style“: in no way can this be a justification, a style is an expression of distinctive attributes that characterize a person, which to us characterizes a person as a nazi no matter how someone tries to separate the use of the symbol and the hatred that it represents.

This is nazi sympathizing and we want no part in that.

We are sorry for those we may have came to see us, we hope to book shows in Lithuania the next time we are touring in the area, hopefully we can make it up to you.

Masakari // Alpinist

Review: Lentic Waters

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on June 17, 2012 by Magadh

Lentic Waters Lentic Waters Apocaplexy Records / React With Protest / IFB Records

Perhaps you have on a time found yourself listening to the Alpinist’s Lichtlaerm and thought to yourself, “Impressive though this is, it is too square in terms of tempo and tonality to satisfy the fondest desires of my soul.” Fear not, for you have but to familiarize yourself with the efforts of the doughty souls of Lentic Waters to know true peace and contentment.

What exactly does Lentic Waters mean? Well, I had to look it up. Lentic is a more elevated synonym for sluggish. You can work it out from there. Lentic Waters hails from western Germany (their bio lists their origins as Münster, Bielefeld, and Dortmund). Their self-titled record came out last year some time and was a gang release by Apocaplexy Records, React With Protest, and IFB Records. Reading the name, I sort of expected something along the lines of Shellac (if not the Bevis Fronde). Having come upon their record in the company of grind/power violence type music, I was curious enough to proceed.

The opening track starts out with a bit of jangly guitar, slowly building in intensity and distortion so it’s only toward the end that you really understand what’s in store. From the second track, they are well out of the gate and thrashing. As mentioned above, those who have heard Alpinist will notice distinct similarities. Lentic Waters features a bit more stylistic variation than Alpinist. Their songs tend to have rather extended arrangements and they are willing to bash every ounce of power out of every lick. Although the guitars are plenty heavy, they mix in some cleaner sounds which add to the atmosphere without detracting significantly from the power. There is a very dark vibe about this whole project, one that might remind one of bands like Tragedy or From Ashes Rise, but without the d-beat approach characteristic of those bands. Those desperate for a reference point might try to imagine how His Hero is Gone might have sounded had they headed in a slightly more power violence direction.

These guys really have the d.i.y. spirit. They did what seems to be rather limited vinyl release of this record, which must certainly be long gone by now. They have, however, uploaded it to bandcamp, for which they deserve props. All in all, this is another fabulous addition to human culture. They have a split with Planks due out on Apocaplexy soon, and on the basis of what we’ve heard so far I say that the expectations are pretty high.