Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Quick Review: Retox + Zeus! + Batalj

Although this show took place quite a while ago, I don't want it to go unmentioned. It was an interesting line-up with three strong bands in a hothouse environment. West-Germany was pretty packed and I'm sure this was a sweaty experience for everyone involved.

Batalj, as you should know by now one of our favorite Berlin based bands, were the first to play. We mentioned and reviewed them more than once on this blog, so I'm not going into detail. They're back to the "old" line-up, featuring V on synthesizer and vocals and they still play a fast and chaotic mix of hardcore/grindcore/screamo with some groovy and almost dancy parts thrown in there once in a while. Their sound is obviously very influenced by bands like The Locust and An Albatross but they don't sound like cheap rip-offs at all. I saw them a couple of times throughout the last two years and they've never been anything other than fantastic and this show was no exception.

Next up were Zeus! from Italy. They are on Three One G records, Justin Pearson's very own label and are a bass and drums duo, a band concept that I like a lot. I never listened to them before, so I was rather surprised by how thick and full they sounded. They combined frantic yet groovy drumming with a distorted and effect-processed bass that didn't really sound like a single bass anymore and crazy vocals that reminded me very strongly of the Blood Brothers. Their music was a combination of heavy experimental and fiddly math-rock and in your face hardcore. I found it quite interesting in the beginning but some songs definitely were to "metal" for me. Also by the time Zeus! were playing, West-Germany definitely turned into an airless sweaty sauna and I had no other choice than to get air on the balcony again.

thanks Joel for the photo
thanks Gary for the photo
Final band of the evening was Retox with the already mentioned Justin Pearson on vocals. Although their music is not totally different to the stuff he was doing before (especially Swing Kids and Some Girls), they still sounded somewhat different and I had not expected them to be so straight forward and rocky live. After Batalj's technical grindcore attack and Zeus!' math-rock weirdness, this was much more easily accessible. I wouldn't call it catchy, but it had a definite punk-rock influence and some people in the front audience rows even managed to sing along to some songs. Unfortunately the sound was a bit muddy and during the first couple of songs I didn't hear much besides the snare drum. It got a bit better after that and although I wouldn't say this was show of the year material, I enjoyed their show. At least until I couldn't bare the tropical West-Germany climate anymore...

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