Review Summary: Um, I thought only shit passed as gold.
Open the magic book of sceamo's tricks and you'll find a few similarities between even polar opposites: relatively sloppy composition, for one; abrasive riffs; lo-fi production - the list goes on and on. So an effort released in the late nineties, one of the times where the genre thrived, would probably fit right in and stay true to this very book. Case in point: Akephal's dissonant, self-titled discography. Here, a long disbanded group of Germans conceive something that could easily wind up as emo rehash, but instead comes across as something invigorating, cathartic, and completely exciting.
Beginning with an incomprehensible, but morosely sexual sample, the album soon kick-starts into typical fare. Punk beats take a back seat for dissonant chords, while mid-range howls feed off the feedback squalls and the chaotic musicianship, winding up elevating the music to that place
when everything explodes. "Rastlos" is one of many syntheses of these elements, jumping frantically from one discordant riff to the next. "Eine Art Frohsinn" is an energetic exercise in angular hardcore, complete with frenzied pull-offs and cathartic roars. Here, D-beats and blast-beats mesh with grinding axes and echoing, low-key vocals; on "ZEITGEFÜL," the artist delivers haymakers left and right before quickly apologizing with minor chords and cymbal taps. And while at first it might seem strange to see the band turn from Bremen-influenced emo into a melodic and wail-heavy style, it soon becomes clear how well Akephal is able to work with all elements of hardcore.
They alternate between explosive bouts of intensity and a more haunting set of chord changes frequently, this being synthesized in the album's finale, "Beschissene Scheiss Scheisse," where bestial howls, urgent instrumentation, and technical proficiency collide into one display of chaotic riff-hoppery and spastic discord. Samples begin the track; thunderous chords burst out of the gate, riding up and down through crescendos and swells. Luckily, it's exciting enough to keep the track from breaking down into just some lurching axes and DIY production tactics. Utterly engrossing and frantic hardcore concepts are brought to life by an energetic touch throughout the album, thanks to something distinctly Akephal
. It's so lively and exciting that it's bound to get smiles a startin' and feet a jitterin' in total, inexplicable joy.