The Formative Years – Blut + Eisen
It was in the second half of the seventeenth century that the President of Prussia, i.e. Otto von Bismarck, concluded a speech pertaining to the reunification of Germany by coining the phrase “Blut & Eisen”, a thinly veiled reference to a poem drenched in patriotism by Max von Schenkendorf. An occurrence which eventually coined him to become widely known as the “iron chancellor”.
Almost simultaneously to learning about the factoid in a history lesson at school, the name became a staple in my punk rock collection with the band Blut + Eisen from Hannover entering my world.
Formed in 1982, the band lasted for five years and left a legacy that proves hard to rival for any German punk band coming after them.
What started inspired by Die Toten Hosen predecessor ZK evolved to one of the fiercest and musically tightest German punk and hardcore acts the old world had to offer in the 1980ies, starting with a contribution to the classic “Keine Experimente!“ compilation from 1983, released on the Weird System label, which we have covered previously.
Their intense first album “Schrei doch!“ not only stands the test of time musically but is enhanced by the production courtesy of what has become a legendary producer, i.e. Harris Johns, and should be an integral part of any respectable punk / hardcore collection as even Maximum Rock’n Roll acknowledged early one, deeming it to be “easily one of Germany‘s hardest-driving punk rock albums ever“.
The powerhouse that is their 7“ “Fleisch rollt“ remains my favourite German punk releases ever – hard, fast staccato‘ed and to the point.
The second full-length “…Schön Geseh’n” adorned by Hieronymus Bosch artwork saw Blut + Eisen incarnate with a more refined and never not gripping lyrics. While it lacks the in-your-face powerful sound that Johns channeled his alchemy in for the first album and that Musiclab studios became known for, it shows the band retaining their DNA but offering a more varied and a welcome diverse delivery. Think the dissonance known from Birthday Party, a deliberate playful emphasis on breaks influenced by No Means No and an overarching approach that came to herald the new age of the second wave of SST Records, i.e. Husker Du and Sonic Youth.