Review Summary: no room for the small to grow..
A half-hour frenzy of pissed-off gloom and doom, Wisconsin’s Die Kreuzen’s eponymous debut LP is an oft-omitted gem of the 80’s newly-revitalized punk bustle, a brusk implosion that threatens to short-circuit at any moment. The band’s crossover appeal, and why they’ve been endorsed by anyone from bassist extraordinaire Mike Watt to grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and Quebec omni-metallers Voivod, is easy enough to understand. There’s more at play on Die Kreuzen
than mere fuzzed-out hardcore schisms played at neck-snapping tempos. Rapid-fire pace shifts, rubbery bass exercises, and throaty screams make the skeleton of the record, but slight experiments with tonal atmosphere, as well as sneakily-nuanced short chord progressions, which get dropped in seemingly at random and all over the place, splice in all sorts of good into Die Kreuzen
, landing them everywhere from horrorpunk (All White), oi sensibilities (Mannequin) and the sort of noise-affected rock their Touch and Go peers were cutting their path in (No Name). That ragged anxiety that courses through the LP was already becoming a cottage industry for unknown DIY bands emerging out of Middle America’s unceremonious retirement into economic decay and cultural obscurity. Like fellow Wisconsin punk and noise outfits Tar Babies and Killdozer, the nervy anger of in-utility and ingloriousness is wherein the spirit of Die Kreuzen lies. On “*** Ups,” they even try their hand at some screeching uplift, rousing forgotten young’uns to shake off torpour and try and climb up. Die Kreuzen
, short and overlooked as it may be, is yet another needful document of chronic discontent foaming over the rim of the Midwest, briefly making fire-breathers out of scrawny mallrats decked out in Misfits tees.