For ease I've labeled this album Grindcore, if only things were that straightforward. The band label themselves as Grindpunk which is closer the mark but not totally apt as JAPANISCHE KAMPFHÖRSPIELE are more than happy to use any source to defy strict labeling. With that in mind, expect to hear anything from sub-SABBATH riffs as well as those that wouldn't go amiss with NAPALM DEATH, you will hear most of what falls between as well on this compilation of earlier works.
The first thing to note, and they illustrate it from the start, is that content as they may be to scrub your face off, they are also want to toy with you. “Behindert” includes a weird synth horn blow, albeit a fleeting one, amongst the acid flinging. This tap on the shoulder effect is oft repeated throughout the album, be it quirky drum or bass lines, or the infuriatingly familiar horn riff on “Aus Dem Mark Der Nebenniere.” As far as the riffs go you will find plenty of Death/Black/Thrash influences amongst JAKA's home grown guitar abuse.
One thing that stands out is the space the band allow themselves for their music, they avoid over the top brutality and speed though there is plenty of both branded into the album. When they do give it some welly they often use acid injected riffs as opposed to densely distorted bludgeon, though again they do have the odd anvil ready to drop. There is high IQ derangement demonstrated so that though JAKA are obviously tilted, they also have direction and importantly, a sense of fun. For some reason this lot remind me of a Grinded out DEAD KENNEDYS, it's in the aesthetic more than anything else and I can't shake the feeling.
JAKA start with a mannequin and then add all manner of embellishments, so that each song has its moment of quirk or other element to lift it above it's core sound, this could be a spiraling solo, a heavy bass run or some bizarre electronic widdle. Of course there are sound bite samples but these are used judiciously and so don't become a chore. Vocalisation ranges between a rabid screeching and the rumble of stomach gases, all nicely unpleasant and complimentary to the straight-jacketed lunacy on display.
There is well over an hours worth of material nailed onto this disk, covering about four years of output. It shows a consistency of approach and only subtle change, a good thing if you appreciate what has gone before. The band can change the moment, “Ungehorsam” having a much lighter, airy feel about it, elements of which are repeated in the following two tracks showing that JAKA do not have to confine themselves to rattling your fillings out. I have to say I do get a buzz when the band get a rush on, which is often but there is plenty to keep me amused when they steer a more oblique heading.
So a collection of songs that shift spectrum more often than a whore drops her knickers, by and large keeping the listener with them. The range of influence keeps you guessing what is coming next, over and above the core of Grind. It's all good stuff and shows what happens if you let more than one Cuckoo in the nest.
(Online December 10, 2006)