Friday, April 27, 2012

Kontrust: Second Hand Wonderland

Napalm Records

Kontrust are one those bands where, try as hard as you may, you just can't appreciate how different they are until you actual hear them. While the promo calls them "crossover" (not crossover as in D.R.I., S.O.D., etc) for me at least that particular tag doesn't quite cover the experimental nature of the band's sound. The band was formed in 2001 (out of the ashes of a band called Suicide Mission) and on "Second Hand Wonderland" the group delivers a genre jumping mix that is highlighted by the vocal interactions of Agata Jarosz and Stefan Lichtenberger. According to Wikipedia the band is known for wearing lederhosen when they play live and while that, in and of itself, is different it's the music that counts right? First off both male and female vocals come into play on "Second Hand Wonderland". Before I get into the meat of the matter that is the one thing I really liked about the band and this album. The differences between Agata and Stefan's vocals offer a nice contrast. It is against this backdrop that the band paints wildly with it's many colors. When I say that Kontrust, which by the way translates to “butt rest”, sound like no other band I've ever heard I am being deadly serious. This album is so unique that it defies a logical description. I would say that "Second Hand Wonderland" reminds me somewhat of Mike Patton's various bands, but even that doesn't quite cut it. The best way to truly express how out there the sound is would be to suggest that you take out a blender and mix Pantera, Textures, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, System Of A Down, Ministry, Faith No More (without the funk that is), Bob Marley, Linkin Park, Weird Al Yankovic, Brujeria, Mr. Bungle, Andrew W.K., Limp Bizkit and maybe even the Melvins. Then, after your done cleaning up the mess you've just made (and yes, it will be a bit of a mess), you toss down the whole thing with a side order of (hot and spicy) weird lyrics presented in English and German. Depending on your mood (and musical tastes I suppose) the end result is either tasty or repugnant. Or maybe a little of both? Like I said, this is a hard act to describe and an even harder album to fully digest. So, if your going to check out Kontrust please be patient. Even if it does not tickle your taste buds at first give it awhile to sink in. With all of the different elements of punk, groove, ska, death metal, reggae, pop rock, industrial, heavy metal, alternative rock and polka that Kontrust have incorporated into the songs (in fact you can usually find all of those different genres in one single song!), "Second Hand Wonderland" ends up as an album that, while not brilliant, is at least interesting to the ears. Sometimes interesting music is a refreshing change even if it leaves you scratching your head in disbelief.

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