Alpinist: Lichtlaerm Minus Mensch

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Alpinist: Lichtlaerm Minus Mensch
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Alpinist: Lichtlaerm Minus Mensch
Crust Punk, Hardcore
Southern Lord Records
May 24th, 2011
Release length: 1:06:04
Myspace
Alpinist hail from Munster, Germany and formed back in 2006. While the group is largely categorized as a Crust Punk/Hardcore band, the members bring their past band experiences into this group and issue Lichtlærm Minus Mensch, an album that brings those past experiences into play for this full-length recording, ranging from Hardcore to Death Metal influenced outputs. But, given the raw nature of the recording, and such a diverse offering, is it still fluid enough to spark the intrigue of listeners for the one hour and six minutes that these twenty one Hardcore-based tracks take up?

Lichtlærm Minus Mensch has a rather raw production to it, though nothing too bad. The music itself sounds heavy and is just muddy enough to be somewhat clear and audible, but still feel heavy and push a stronger bass focus forward with the fast intensity of many of the songs. The vocals, however, are in the background of the mix a bit more then they probably should be, and are mostly composed of a traditional higher pitched screaming, though sometimes manage to go down into a deeper gutteral approach that can be a usual part of the song’s vocal performance, or, such as with the opening track “Deliberate”, can be harnessed more as a replacement for gang chants and still pack the same kind of impact, if not moreso. While the gutterals do appear on this track, there’s also a heavier Death Metal presence to some of the track as well, but not enough to really say it is that style. But, that does change for some songs on here, as “Rogen” seems to bare the general intensity of a Napalm Death song, having that Hardcore/Grindcore feel with a dirty Crust Punk vibe mixed with the groove of old-school Death Metal. There’s even a brief gutteral performance near the end, but the music is purely intense and really shows off the band’s skills nicely. But that’s not even the end of it.

“AIDT” is the next song, and it actually seems to take on a more modern Sludge or Doom presence to the already existing Hardcore foundation. Whereas “Deliberate” felt rather heavy and intense, this song really just hammers away with a crushing environment that varies in speed through, going from a very slow, burdening speed to a picked up intensity that goes at the breakneck speed of “Rogen” but with som emore intricate chords utilized that eventually just turns to a more traditional intense Hardcore presence, but all happen to be fluidly transitioned between throughout the song, and the ending actually gives it a dark atmosphere, something that is to be expected throughout the recording, but also feels a little epic with it’s build up. That dark atmosphere carries into the track “Licht” which is more an instrumental and ambient Doom Metal piece that essentially takes from the ideas of the introduction on “Deliberate” as well. All of this should be enough to make you understand that there’s no general boundaries or pre-conceived idea of how this album should sound outside of having a stable Hardcore and/or Crust foundation to the music to which the band builds off of. To continue on about the varying sounds of each song would really just become too much.

There’s really no way to point out some of the better tracks to the recording thanks to this diversity. There’s also never really a dull moment to the release, and pretty much every track feels like it’s meant to be there. The songs are often performed with great energy, and right away it just becomes clear that the band had a lot of fun recording this album. The darker overtones do become more prodominant in some songs then others, and that would have been a nice atmosphere to try to keep throughout the twenty one tracks instead of every couple of songs. “The Cursed Word Open-Minded”, for example, feels heavy, burdening, and dark, though it seems to incorporate a little more melody to the furious, faster paced Hardcore material, which is why the song sounds dark in the first place. “Licht”, on the other hand, is just a slow paced Doom-influenced song, or at least it sounds that way, and because of that general slower pace and overall pounding approach to the music, it becomes obvious as to why it feels a lot darker in comparison to other tracks like “Neverest”, which feels like an extension of “Licht” with the catchier Sludge moments that feel a little more Mastodon at times, has a hint of melody here and there, and just generally sounds like a traditional Sludge song without that more traditional Southern influence to it. However, this track also feels a little on the generic side, and really becomes the only song on here that isn’t as engaging as the rest of the album, but manages to at least demonstrate the band’s musical abilities and compositional skills to keep their albums heavily varied.

And that’s about all that’s wrong about the album aside the lower vocal volume really. There aren’t any other tracks on this recording that really feel held back. The closest that this release comes to feeling a bit restrained is during “The Cursed Word Open-Mouth” which, as it progresses, can feel a little drawn out and actually seem like the energetic performance is losing a little steam, but not a whole lot. Other then that, some of the atmospheric Ambient moments that seem to start a song can often feel like they are taking a little too long to get to the song, like on “Deliberate” and even “Lærm”, though the latter of those two happens to be a bit dull and consists of the entire song instead of just an introduction to said track.

Overall, Lichtlærm Minus Mensch is a solid album. The only real faults lie with production and some intros and instrumentals that seem to pad the album out a bit. Other then that, there’s no denying that fans of the heavier, more intense Hardcore style will get a kick out of this release. Alpinist incorporate whatever they want, while still staying within a general concept, and it works well for the band to offer the listen a greatly varied musical experience from start to finish. Between heavy, burdening music and fast paced brutality with a Hardcore or Crust vibe, the album has a dirty, dark atmosphere with plenty of great grooves and rhythms that work in it’s favor. If you’re looking for something performed with plenty of energy, and has a great amount of unique material, then Lichtlærm Minus Mensch is definitely something for you to check out.

01. Deliberate – 4:05
02. Rogen – 1:36
03. AIDT – 3:38
04. Licht – 2:25
05. Yarncarrior and Break – 3:36
06. Neverest – 2:35
07. Project Fatigue – 2:55
08. The Cursed Word Open-Minded – 4:04
09. Hak Nam – 2:00
10. Laerm – 5:28
11. Nighttime Poet Daytime Dead – 4:03
12. Schalterhygiene – 2:01
13. A is for Army of Slaves – 3:06
14. Rost – 3:38
15. 2te Klasse Bahnabteil – 1:16
16. Amuse Yourself to Death – 2:31
17. Delta Flood of Ignorance – 2:50
18. The Charme of Dominating – 3:18
19. From Groveling to Running in Less than a Second – 3:14
20. This Song Will not Save Your Life – 4:05
21. Outro – 3:41
Overall Score: 9/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Southern Lord Records via Earsplit PR.