Southern Lord announces the next CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER reissues in the ongoing series, continuing with Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore and Koksofen, now confirmed for release in July. Tracks from each of the two new reissues are now posted for streaming. The outfit will also be actively performing live this summer, including supporting Sunn O))) on tour in Europe.
CASPAR BRÖTZMANN is one of the most unique and innovative guitarists of the last forty years. With his Berlin-based trio MASSAKER, he evolved a whole new autonomous approach to writing rock songs, starting from sounds that were widely considered ornamental if not detrimental “sonic waste,” such as shrieking feedback and droning overtones. This plethora of sounds were arranged into tracks to sound like breaking concrete, grinding metal, or bursting glass, at once monumental and threatening, impenetrable, and hermetic, yet also archaically tender and loving.
Even today, as the art of noise has reached a level of sophistication that no one could have imagined thirty years ago, CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER’s music is resoundingly singular. Ultra-heavy riffs and beats, ominous tribal chants, and a raw physical force is conjured up by these three sinister and proud minds of their era. Their unhinged, unified stream of energy is captured on these remastered reissues and the results are thrilling.
Stream CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER’s “Bass Totem” from Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore HERE and “Die Wiege” from Koksofen HERE.
Both Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore and Koksofen will be reissued via Southern Lord on June 28th, with CD, LP, and digital formats made available. Find digital preorders for Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore HERE and Koksofen HERE, and watch for physical preorder options to be posted shortly.
CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER will be performing live this summer supporting labelmates Sunn O))) on their upcoming European tour dates. See all confirmed performances below and watch for additional live actions to be posted.
CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER w/ Sunn O))):
7/30/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE
7/31/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE
10/07/2019 Backstage Werk – Munich, DE
10/08/2019 ZKM – Karlsruhe, DE
10/09/2019 Rosstall – Basel Kaserne, CH
10/10/2019 Felsenkeller – Leipzig, DE
10/13/2019 Kablys – Vilnius, LT
10/14/2019 Vene Theatre – Tallinn, EE
10/15/2019 Kulttuuritalo – Helsinki, FI
Originally released in 1992, Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore is the third MASSAKER album, released by Rough Trade Germany. According to BRÖTZMANN, the title track and “Bass Totem” are the band’s most accomplished songs. It’s certainly the most sonically refined of their albums, recorded during a residency over several weeks at the pastoral site of Conny Plank’s studio near Cologne, and produced by Ingo Krauss and Bruno Gebhard, who had worked with the famed Krautrock producer until his death in 1987.
Der Abend Der Schwarzen also features their new drummer Danny Lommen, whom BRÖTZMANN and bassist Eduardo Delgado had headhunted at a concert with Lommen’s Dutch prog-core band Gore. Lommen shared their tastes in sheer volume and presence, and, “has a completely unique sound to his drumming, “as BRÖTZMANN marvels. “He plays ultrahard and clear, with authority and no compromise, nothing, not even the most turbulent and speedy beats, sound fuzzy – a statement.“ This, he adds with a smile, would sometimes lead to intense moods during rehearsals, when he overpowered – no small feat – competing with the sounds of BRÖTZMANN’s guitar.
The Tribe and Black Axis were still if very loosely rooted in some kind of heavy rock. Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore erases these residues from their genetic make-up, evolving into a free-form noise, strangely motionless like an earthquake rumble, that sounded like nothing else at the time. The opening title song gives the best example with its densely shifting chunk of howling and screaming guitar shreds and grimly determined rumbles from the bass, accented by heavy single beats or massively rattling, yet transparent outbursts from the drums. An impenetrable sense of threat fills the sound, interrupted only by breaks of skinny brooding, giving way to BRÖTZMANN’s throaty growl evoking a lonely march through hostile wastelands under flaming sunsets. Culminating in an archaic choir chanting about black walls rising – a monstrous cloud of thick high-voltage tension.
BRÖTZMANN speaks of the heavy nature of the lyrics, inspired by 19th century artist Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Das Eismeer,” translated to “the sea of ice,” which depicts a shipwreck the icy shores of Antarctica. It deals, of course, with ideas of the sublime in nature – but also “the end of hope,” as the painting was known until the sixties. And indeed, BRÖTZMANN credits his dark and brooding sounds to the uneasy times. With the wall down, the Eastern Block broken, East and West Germany were politically united but emotionally didn’t share much more than a certain angst and uneasiness with respect to the future, which erupted in ugly right-wing riots and violence. BRÖTZMANN felt the rise of a black folklore that he wanted to address, though he never admitted to it at the time because, he said, he didn’t want to sound like, “some naive romantic,“ not underestimating the music‘s gothic values; a weird idea, once you’ve listened to Der Abend Der Schwarzen.
Koksofen (which translates to “blast furnace”), originally released in 1993, has become one of MASSAKER’s most popular albums. Like its predecessor, Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore, the album took shape in MASSAKER’s rehearsal room below the Berlin subway station Schlesisches Tor, and was recorded at Conny Plank’s studio near Cologne, with Plank’s former associates Ingo Krauss and Bruno Gephard producing.
There’s a different kind of intensity to Koksofen. The features of MASSAKER’s sound are in full bloom. Mountainous noises tower up and crash down, and tormented sounds rise from ominously seething grounds, haunting the entire songscape. The feel of doom and dread hangs heavily over the five songs, and the title song rumbles, shrieks and wails, plagued by BRÖTZMANN’s guttural growls of war, suffering, and death.
BRÖTZMANN recalls one anecdote from shortly after the original release whereby bassist Edu Delgado called him asking to turn on the TV, thus discovering that “Hymne“ was being used as background music to a report about the death penalty in the US. A different kind of intensity indeed.
Reflecting on the album to this day BRÖTZMANN remarks “Koksofen is still a mystery to me.” He continues, “I can still feel the troubled times in these songs.” The effects are certainly potent for the listener too. And the album undoubtedly affirms MASSAKER as the fiercely original and compellingly raw musicians that they are.
Review copies of the Der Abend Der Schwarzen Folklore and Koksofen reissues will be made available in the coming days. For press inquiries in The Americas contact firstname.lastname@example.org and elsewhere contact email@example.com.