Japanische Kamphorspiele - The Golden Anthropocene - (5/10)
Published on September 9, 2016
Grindcore is a genre that has come in a few different forms over the years from many places. From the godfathers in Napalm Death or Carcass to current acts such as Pig Destroyer or Gadget, there is no shortage of good grind out there and it can be hard to really distance yourself from the pack and stand out to some of the heavyweights. However, for the last 18 years (give or take) German grinders Japanische Kamphorspiele have been on a pretty steady schedule of releases. From various demos, full-lengths, compilations and the like, the band has a fairly extensive back catalogue. Now, two years after their last release, the German group is back with their newest outing, entitled The Golden Anthropocene, out on their own Unundeux records. There are plenty of grinding riffs and growls and howls to be had, but the band features some longer tracks over these 40 minutes, slowing down the pace to a more doom or even just straight forward death metal range at times. The mixture of elements and pacing on the record seems to be a bit of a downfall, and sadly the release as a whole falls flat compared to some of the other giants in the genre, and releases this year.
The album itself is front loaded with a couple of the longer tracks on the release, starting things off on a bit of a off note. While the music itself is well played, the tracks, especially “Planeten Planieren”, are far too repetitive and long for what is really being done. The slower pacing on the songs sadly begins the record a bit slower and with not a lot of real momentum to go into the shorter and more fast tracks. Once we get into the quicker and more “grind” songs on the album though, there is still plenty of more death metal leanings than grind in many senses. The riffs are fine, albeit still pretty straightforward and far too repetitive, but the drumming can be a real saving aspect here. There is a good bit of variety in the drum work on the album, which does provide quite a bit of good intensity underneath the snarling vocal performance. The quick tracks certainly seem to hit the mark more often than not compared to the longer tracks on the album, but even still there is a good bit of forgettable material sadly, and a few of the tracks do blend into one another with little to no real differing sounds to make the release feel like it goes by either unnoticed or just simply forgettable.
Production on the album though is quite nice, capturing the band’s sound very well. Every riff is audible and nothing ever suffers from being mixed too high or poorly, as the clarity is something that can be missed with some other acts in the scene. However, there also seems to be a lack of intensity of power that a lot of grind usually offers. The punky vibe seems to be missing, and the metal side of things is nice, but unimpressive when it comes down to t. The tracks feel like shorter death metal songs more than grind, and these “snippets”, while being well played, fail to provide any real meaty material to grab on to and come back for.
Japanische Kamphorspiele is an act that has had some really good material out there in the form of their various releases, but sadly The Golden Antropocene does not deliver. Despite being repetitive and too similar throughout the album, there is no denying that these guys are well adept at what they’re doing, and that is commendable, as is the fact that they have been around pumping out releases for so long. However, when releasing so much material over such a long period of time, not everything will hit the mark. That is not to say the record is not without some enjoyable material, and some tracks that do stand out over the others, but they tend to be few and far between. Sadly in a year where bands like Wake and Gadget have been releasing new albums and killing it, it can be hard to really stand up to that. Having been a fan of Japanische material in the past, I was really hoping to like this record more, but after multiple spins, it still just seems to be lacking in a few spots that really hinder it from being as good as it could have been.