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The New Führer of Industrial Black Metal - 80%

Tongues11, May 30th, 2008

Ah yes. These guys. Well, at first glance and with profound prejudice, the first thing that comes to any sane man’s mind is “they look like a fetishist sausage-fest” and ‘tis kind of true. But this is only their image and as you all well know, dear reader (ha! makes me feel like a big shot) I don’t quit that easily. CNK, originally the Count Nosferatu Kommando, re-baptized Cosa Nostra Klub with the release of their second effort: “L’hymne à la joie” is a French industrial black metal act. And for those wondering why the heck I didn’t capitalize all the words on the album’s title, it’s because it’s a French title and in this specific language, we only capitalize the first letter of the first word.

Now, as I said, CNK play what is now widely known as industrial black metal. I can already see every metalhead, except those with loads of make-up and crazy Goth gear, running away in fear. Why? Because when listening to any industrial black metal act, you either end up with a messed-up Rammstein rip-off, a lame Kovenant photocopy (and Kovenant is already lame in itself) or some Dodheimsgard wannabes. All of these three options are horrible and should be avoided at any costs. Fortunately for us, CNK manages to create a sound, and style, of its own. CNK, is revolution metal. Putsch metal if I dare say. The album is a concept, in which the band present itself as some political party and the songs are used for propaganda. Hilarious. Fact of the matter is, they have a stupid idea and they play it well. It’s not perfect and the songs are hit or miss but when they hit, it’s a full-on bull’s eye that blows your brains out.

Now in terms of musicianship, this band could not compete with any other metal band that plays a more technical style. No, what makes CNK songs good is the overall emotion, the atmosphere. The riffs can be epic and warlike; the drums are heavy and usually fast-paced but are not standing out. Synths are, of course, very present but not in the matter we’re used to. There is none of that horribly annoying keyboard piano-and-organ sound that most black metal bands are fond of. No, it seems that CNK’s programming is oriented towards either widely symphonic harmonics or electronic drums and other hard beats that would resemble more music like dark psytrance, thus adding up intensity instead of killing it. Also, although synths are very present, they are not the central instrument. Usually, the guitars create the core of the songs and this makes CNK sound a whole lot meaner than most industrial acts. Now, the real force of the band is their singer. Jean-Sébastien Ogilvy who uses the pseudonym “Heinrich Von Baalberith” in the band (ridiculous, I know) is one of the most intense singers I’ve heard. He has a superb black metal scream that gives that very energetic and hateful edge to the entire album. Lyrically, this band is, well, very fun. Their songs usually speak of revolution and will invite the listener to “get in the club” or “vote for winners” etc, etc…except for the highly amusing “Dinner Is Ready” which speaks of cannibalism and even features a sampling of Charlton Heston in “Soylent Green”. That is priceless.

Overall, this band still has to win some stripes in songwriting as the quality of songs really varies a whole lot on the album. As I previously said, the songs on this release are hit or miss and personally I rarely even listen to the “miss” songs, I usually just skip them. “Cosa Nostra Klub”, “Total Eclipse of Dead Europa”, “Vote for Winners” and “Dinner is Ready” are absolutely ass-kicking songs, with loads of energy and huge replay potential. These four songs only make this album an essential. The other songs however can feel stretched and useless. Album fillers we would like to call them but I’d rather say they are missed attempts by a young band. If CNK continues in this direction, they’re bound for glory. Or at least another good, even better album, before they get commercial.