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"Deutschland von vorne" is the name of the newest cover EP by German Punk Grinders Japanische Kampfhörspiele, on which they plough through eight songs by various German (usually Punk) bands in their own unimitable style.
Now, I have to admit that I don't know the original version of any of these songs (except for parts of "Kummer"). As such I can't say how true JaKa have remained to the original songs (or not, as it were); I can only write about the quality of the EP in itself.
It's good! The first four songs in particular are quite simply fun. On the one hand, they're played in the typical JaKa fashion, with precise and creative drumming, energetic guitar play and the well-known dual vocals by Bony and Paul, but on the other hand they contain a big dose of Punk attitude and plenty of energy. Catchy and yet absolutely relentless, that's the way it ought to be.
"Der Mord fällt aus" is next, in my opinion the low point of this disc. Compared to the previous tracks, this song is fairly monotonous, both regarding the instruments and vocals, and only the chorus (which is sung/shouted choir-style) mixes things up a bit. The lyrics at least are fairly amusing: a contract murder keeps failing for various reasons until at last the assassin becomes frustrated enough to kill himself and the murder does take place after all. They alone are not enough however. "Der Mord fällt aus" is neither as energetic as the first few tracks nor is it as diverse as the following songs, so that I simply cannot -- compared to the rest -- get into it.
The cover of Tocotronic tears shit up once more, but then JaKa completely change their tune during the last two tracks. "Der Greuel", a cover of the hopelessly underrated Eisenvater, is a true-to-style Death Metal heavy hitter which alternatingly features passages of prolonged blasting and mid tempo pounding, and will knock your head clean off your shoulders. Thanks to the crushing guitars I imagine this'd be an excellent track to mosh/headbang to.
The closing "Kummer" really is the icing on the cake that is this EP, however. The boys from Krefeld simply turned this more or less popular song by Trio into a nasty Doom piece lumbering ahead in slow motion, showing off Paul's grunting in all its glory and proving they can do this style of music just as well. With the ringing of bells and the hissing of vinyl providing background ambience, "Deutschland von vorne" thus comes to a slow, but crushing end.
Despite not knowing the original songs I will boldly go ahead and rate this EP anyway, that is, I shall put my recommendation on it. Apart from the one exception I mentioned, all songs are catchy from the first second, with the first half of the CD deserving a special mention thanks to its high degrees of fun and energy. While the last two tracks deviate from the usual JaKa sound somewhat, they're perfectly well done still and mark the close of a similarly well done EP.
The production is nicely thick and warm, too, and the digipak itself meets the standards set forth by JaKa as well. Fans of the band will grab this anyway, and friends of Grind- and Hardcore in general should get more than their money's worth out of this as well, at least parts of it.
Originally written for the Metal Observer.