Saturday, January 11, 2014

add 0706 Kaizers Orchestra

Norwegian sextet Kaizers Orchestra reside in the gray area between Scandinavian death metal, traditional folk, and Tom Waits-inspired Tin Pan Alley pop. Their second full-length, Evig Pint, is the soundtrack to a nightmarish carousel that refuses to let off its 12 terrified children. Those 12 tracks are fueled by a sinister pump organ, alley-can drums, and a brutal horn section that sound like a klezmer group on the banks of the river Styx. Vocalist Janove Ottesen sounds like a man possessed. His ability to go from a gentle Thom Yorke whisper to a full-throated Apache war cry is jarring -- you can hear the spit flying from his jowls on the terrific opener "Di Grind." Kaizers Orchestra, renowned for their cathartic live shows, have managed to create a record that balances the production with the off-the-cuff intensity that so many bands fail to capture in the studio. Each time the organ begins to pulse it's the air in-between the notes that sets your hairs on end, a trick that's used frequently but effectively on Evig Pint. When the band tones down the cacophony, like on the hypnotic "Min Kvite Russer," it's not so much a reduction in fury as it is a beast in a different body. That all of the lyrics are in Norwegian matters little, as Ottesen's inflections are more than successful at getting his point across, resulting in a record that should have no problem connecting to -- and will most likely succeed in converting -- the masses on a global level.

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