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Album Review

Among the many things that can be said about Caspar Brötzmann's power trio Massaker, one is that it sounds like no other band on the planet. From the first dirty, warped guitar strum, listeners know whose world they have ventured into. There are times when he appears to have taken a page from Japanese guitarist Keiji Haino's band Fushitsusha in terms of a certain loose and expansive quality, but Brötzmann's sound revolves much more around a throbbing, almost tribal rhythmic sense, a conception echoed in his cover drawings with their allusions to the cave paintings at Altamira. The opening track here, "Hymne," is one of his most powerful and successful, from the initial scratchings and feedback whorls to the irresistible grooves riding beneath his hyper-fuzzed and bathed-in-overtones guitar. The subsequent tracks follow the same general form, with length enough to allow both frequent shifts in approach (often beginning in a slow haze and then suddenly focusing) and ample time for Brötzmann's dark ruminations. As on previous albums, the music is largely instrumental; whatever vocals here are delivered in a slurred, guttural fashion that blends in seamlessly with the accompaniment. The title track translates into "Coke Oven" and the piece spends the entirety of its 16 minutes in a stark and chilling representation of an acrid, claustrophobic industrial cavern, suffused with harsh poundings and reverberations. This one composition alone puts most "industrial" bands to shame. Recommended.

Koksofen, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker
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