Karl Jungbluth was a German communist involved with various resistance groups that stood up against National Socialism and the Nazis. Expectedly enough, he got arrested twice in a decade and the second time turned out to be fatal. He was executed along with fellow resistance fighters on January 12, 1945.
Alpinist was a four-piece crust/hardcore punk band from Münster, Germany formed in 2006. The band branded their music as “heavylowfastslowdark hardcore” and I think it’s as accurate as can be. I loved every single piece of music they ever produced, one demo, two full-length albums and two splits(one with Finisterre and another with Masakari) to date, and I was kinda bummed to hear they suddenly went on hiatus due to personal reasons, as they stated on their Facebook page in late August of 2012: “hey punks, we're making it short: alpinist is taking a break. personal reasons led us to this hard decision. but we feel that the reason we have spent the last five years and almost 300 shows together, named friendship, was close to be falling apart and we had to make compromises to keep this band running. we need some time to talk about everything and will definitely be back at some point in the future.”
Jungbluth are Julian, Florian and Hendrik, as in three-quarters of Alpinist, and a musical metaphor for Karl Jungbluth and everything he stood for, as the band themselves are politically active and determined to fight against any form of oppression and discrimination, be it fascism, racism, sexism or anything related. Part Ache is 28 minutes of mindblowing dark music, as well as follow-up to 2012’s self- titled demo CS and the band’s first full-length effort on one of the best labels out there, Halo Of Flies. The album is also available for download via bandcamp, and all donated money are going to Anarchist Black Cross: Belarus.
First of nine tracks is Crevasse, 2 minutes of instrumental heaven, and much more than that. Crevasse is the object of the album’s beautiful black and white minimalistic artwork and crevasse is “a deep crack in an ice sheet or glacier. Crevasses result from stress produced by movement. The resulting intensity of the shear stress causes a breakage along the faces. Crevasses may be bridged by snow and become hidden, and they may close up as the glacier moves. On this record we use this imagery to describe a personal feeling that has been keeping us busy over the past few years (and still does!) concerning the conformity and unconsidered adaptation of values and norms within the so called hardcore / diy scene in Europe.”, as the band cared to inform us. This track is the perfect introduction to this album, and it warns us that what is going to follow is not your typical screamo-infected hardcore punk record. This is a dreamy track with strong elements of beautiful post-rock and the smashing cymbals in the distorted background result to a haunting emotional landscape.
Each track on this record offers us different musical elements, and I’m always happy to see a band experimenting with their sound. Track number 2, called “Wakefield” chimes in, aggressive and unforgiving, reminding me of early Converge. The distorted vocals that hit the listener again and again produce a dissonant psychotic chaos, spitting part-German, part-English lyrics which are everything but cliché, talking not just about society or politics, but also about complicated inner conflicts, the ones that everyone of us struggles about in bed at night, before falling asleep. The speaking part accompanied by a breakdown in the middle of the song is absolutely overwhelming, this is anger like it was always meant to be, it gets up-close and personal, it makes you feel like he’s talking directly to you, l, you who suffer from the same fears, you who can't sleep at night, as the emotional intensity is viscously dripping from every pore of your poor speakers.
“Looks like Freedom” is another intense outburst and this massive sound is the result of a perfect combination of distorted stringed instruments, guitar, and bass. “These Rare Moments” is a rare moment of hope and my least favourite song on this album ( I guess I am a happy person who likes unhappy negative hardcore too much, haha ). Still I have to admit this is a beautiful piece of emotive music and when the screaming turns to voices shouting in unison, they sound like the kind of voices to promise to actually try to make a difference for themselves and for this world, accompanied by a sweet melody and more beautiful shrieking. In a way, this track does bring its lyrics to life “for the more of us that lift our voices in a song the sweeter life will be”.
Another instrumental break waves at us as “Au Revoir Tristesse”’s dirty sludgy intro kicks in, only to be followed by slow and steady drumming, producing only simple beats. I have to say that I love everything about Hendrik’s drumming on this record, one could say the whole album is a journey of relentless drumming, driving my mind all the way back toAlpinist where the drums used to play the same dominating role as they do here. “Zwang Abwärts”, one of my favourite tracks, stars off as a classic hardcore punk song only to proceed to another sludgy guitar part and another instrumental break and of course throat-tearing screaming , all within the same track. As for “Angebot/Nachsage”, what we have here is a metallic hardcore punk anthem full of desperation.
"Crevasse II" provides us with the sense of a circular narrative, the album leaves us the same way it found us. This is the ideal closure to an album like this one, it is the calm after the storm, and wait, is that a xylophone?!
Jungbluth remind us that they are not your average hardcore band one last time before this complex, raw, emotional attack of a record comes to halt.
Hurry up and buy this, simple as that.
8.5 / 10
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