German’s do make the best music after all.
Well, another year and another Australia Day passed us a few weeks ago with the usual tedious controversy and whining over Triple J’s Hottest 100, most of which should be done and dusted now. Yet, there’s one band that you’ll probably neither hear on Triple J nor on any countdown (whether it's mainstream or otherwise) and that is Germany’s FJØRT.
Now, this writer loves to cover the occasional foreign release, and as you can probably imagine that’s a giant double-edged sword. It’s good because most of these bands are new to us Aussies, so you get to expand your musical library a little, and it also helps that most of them are actually pretty damn good (case in point: FJØRT). But, some bands don’t really care for all that English mumbo jumbo, and thus their native tongue reigns supreme (again, case in point: FJØRT). Hence, there comes the only real bump in the oh, so smooth road of discovering these ace releases.
...Except, that is not the case with 'Kontakt'.
Yes, all of the lyrics are in German (and yes, they sound even angrier due to it being in well, German). So for all we know, the band could be screaming about how Trump will make America great again, how Hitler did nothing wrong, and that foreign refugees are ruining the sovereignty of Germany’s economy and current social climate. (Disclaimer for the keyboard warriors operating under the guise of excessive morality, the band is not actually discussing these topics, so chill yo). However, if you can push past the linguistic barrier (which you really should) you will find some truly tasty jams to dig into, with no filler anywhere in sight, thankfully. We dare you not to pit hard to tracks like the dark ‘Lichterloh’, the chilling 'Anthrazit', and the fantastic titular track.
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For the sake of contrast, it is worth stating that this writer much prefers FJØRT to another current German band, The Oklahoma Kid, a band very similar in style and whose lyrics are nearly all in English, and yet whose music just doesn’t come across as strong or as impactful.
It's the added layer of mystery to what these songs actually allude to on this record and what the lyrics actually mean that results in the album being more interesting and engaging than if it was just in English. Furthermore, one may find that the music itself becomes that much more focal, because come on, most people need that relatable and understandable connection to the cathartic and open-diary lyrics that bands of this style love to employ, more so than the guitars or the drums. That, ladies and gentleman, is the greatest achievement of this band - somehow bequeathing to you these surreal chills and emotions through their music without even speaking your own fucking language.
If that's not the real power of music right, than we don't know what is.
Now, to be fair to the rest of the world, FJØRT don't sound all that different from a lot of international bands like Counterparts, Defeater, or Gallows, it's just these guys do it better than we commonly hear. You could also compare the lads to a band like Napoleon, musically speaking. Except, you know, FJØRT have an actual bloody album out and aren't just twiddling their thumbs.
Sure, this band isn't wholly original. They implement many atmospheric and ambient instrumental moments into their music, but all to an extremely potent effect, and this is strongly yet perfectly contrasted by those heavier, punk/hardcore moments that threaten to crush your puny head in like it was some lonely grape just with the rhythm section alone. With the guitars and the screams included over the top, it's a beautiful cacophony with many a layer to digest.
Their music; the brick. Your ears; the twig.
Yet these Germans are arguably one of the best example of a band that perfectly balances out the 'melodic' and the 'hardcore' side of melodic hardcore genre without it ever once feeling forced or ham-fisted. Also, for just three guys, they make a lot of noise; all of it dark, loud, engrossing and constantly in your face.
'Kontakt' is aggressive, it’s crushing yet it is also passionate, melodic, incredibly well-written and executed on a near-perfect scale. This really is all you could ever want from heavy music in 2016. Even if you don’t speak their language, FJØRT may just be your new favourite band.
1. In Balance