If you know me, or if you’ve been paying attention to what I discuss in my writing, you will notice my favorite metal albums tend to be those on the more experimental side. I’m no genre purist; I like bands whose music pulls from different, often contradictory places and makes the listener work for their reward. From last year’s Palace of Worms album to Laster’s Ons Vrije Fatum release last month, I love a good witch’s brew of influences in an album. Sometimes, though, I just don’t feel like working that hard, and in those times, I turn to my other favorite kind of metal: bone crunching, dirty death metal. Enter Caligari Records’ release of a Split from Kriegszittern and Minenfeld to quench my thirst for something satisfyingly primitive and heavy.
Both Kriegszittern and Minenfeld hail from Germany, and both bands play a style of death metal that is decidedly free of any frills. The production value is grimy, which serves to suit the songs nicely; both bands write about death, war, and all that those things entail, so the lo-fi nature of the recordings lends itself well to the dark nature of the topics. Kriegszittern’s side of the split is an often doomy afair, with many slow sections and deep, growled vocals. The dreadful tension makes the ferocity present in the faster sections hit that much harder, and helps to balance out the compositions. Minenfeld’s side, by contrast, has more in common with traditional “war metal.” The vocals are barked and the songs rely heavily on blast beat tempos, making for an experience that goes for straight aggression. Both these styles, however, come together cohesively on this split and make for an all-encompassing death metal experience. Fans of the style will find something to love on one side, the other, or both if you’re like me.
Both Kriegszittern and Minenfeld are young bands, but ones that have an obvious vision and focus to their sound that gives an air of confidence about them; no gimmicks, no nonsense, just ten songs all in service of the riff, as it should be. This was my first introduction to these two acts, but if this is only the first taste of their sounds, then these are going to be two acts to pay attention to in the future.