Monday, January 10, 2011

Review #203: Die Kreuzen - Die Kreuzen (1984)


Year: 1984
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Label: Touch & Go Records
Tracks: 20
Length: 29 Minutes
My Rating: 6/8

Die Kreuzen was the most well-known contribution to hardcore punk to come out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin... land of cheeze, cows, and beer. And dying and cruisin'. And a band called DIE KREUZEN, and I didn't originally know this, but it's actually pronounced "DEE-KROITZEN" and I'm just a stupid idiot. And "die kreuzen" means "the crosses", which makes sense because when you listen to this band's muzick you will find that they are very cross. Well, the lead singer is screaming his vocal cords out during most of this album, anyways. This actually isn't the first Die Kreuzen record, their first EP was called "Cows and Beer" and it was released in 1982 on Version Sound and by the time they released their first album they were on Touch & Go Records, the biggest hardcore/punk/indie label of the midwestern U.S.A. The band's line-up throughout their career was Dan Kubinski (vocals), Brain Egeness (guitar), Keith Brammer (bass guitar), and Erik Tunnison (drums). Actually, I own this LP myself, so let's take a listen as I talk about the songs on this record. For you. And me.

1. Rumors
The beat is really cool sounding in the beginning. The guitar riff is good, and the bass riff shines even louder. The vocals of the man named Dan are kind of layered, but he's definitely screaming... and not that stupid screamo-type of screaming either... he sounds more like an even crazier version of Dez Cadena from Black Flag. The song halfway through does a false stop, and then it starts up again for the next part. And just listen to some of that crazy stuff that Brian's doing on his guitar here!

2. This Hope
Faster! The chorus sounds really cool... they manage to split an already fast beat into a beat twice as fast just for a second or two... really cool! The verse riff kind of ascends, and the chorus riff descends and then rolls upward for a moment.

3. In School
I love this one. Musically it kind of sounds like an early Dead Kennedys tune... got that weird spy-movie-music to it vaguely. It's in the bass, I think. Then it gets slower in the second half... just listen to how the lead guitar sounds in the beginning of that part... awesome. Kind of chaotic/startled... like the guitar briefly turned into an ambulance or something. It sounds like a siren. The lyrics are about being in school, feeling alienated by all of the "fucking hippies and fucking jocks" -- obviously this was written in the early '80s... nowadays it'd be hipsters/wiggers/whatever lame cliques there are today, but anyways, after they all get out of school they feel that they can live more by their own rules and Dan warns these people not to get too close or else he'll punch their faces out! Definitely an angry don't-mess-with-me type of song!

4. I'm Tired
The riff is cool, and the beat is really wild-sounding in the chorus section. In some parts the rhythm guitar gets really dissonant sounding. Then there's a short guitar solo in one part. Pretty short song.

5. On the Street
A little slow in the beginning, and then it gets pretty fast for the main parts. It describes how it is to have a shitty homelife where your parents hate you and beat you for making the tiniest mistake... all while trying to hide it to look good for the neighbors. A sad reality for a lot of people!

6. Enemies
This one's alright, but I can't get into it that much. The lyrics describe a feeling of hatred for just about everyone!

7. Get 'Em
This song's guitar riff just KILLS! So simple but so aggressive... kinda zig-zagging at first, then making real long, aggressive leaps while never missing that part of you it targets to hit! And as you might've guessed, it's fast, also.

8. Fighting
Really fast! Cool beat in some parts. The song talks about people who have to fight for their lives on the streets, with "no room for them to grow" and they use their agility and strength they've learned from this to overthrow and destroy the rich & wealthy who have kept them down for so long...

9. No Time
The riff slightly reminds me of the Germs in the verse part. Then there's a boom sound at the end. Hehe.

10. All White
Another great song. It's the longest one on the album. Extremely angry/frustrated/sad feeling song. It's pretty slow in the beginning. The riff starts out kind of scary sounding, but then there's this absolutely beautiful lead guitar melody that is played briefly and it's just so moving... you won't really get it out of a digital copy of the album, but listen to it direct from the vinyl record and that melody will pierce directly into the core of your soul and give you a second of ecstasy. Then the "main" descending riff plays, as the band members just continue to scream "WHITE!!!!" over and over again, louder and louder, more and more... it really captures the feeling of being trapped with no solution at all. You feel yourself in the shoes of a person screaming for help and receiving none, turning around to each corner and getting the same result, but there is nothing else to do! The song gets slower and slower and then it stops... then it starts again and gets progressively faster and faster and faster. More screaming fills the audible range and it just keeps going until it's over. End of Side A.

11. Pain/Sick People
Ghostly noisy sounds at first... then the song fades in. First is "Pain". It expresses a jealously and real fucking anger towards the "sane people" of society and how they deserve to feel pain and insanity like the protagonist of the song does every day... then a really cool guitar riff plays one time around the first minute. IT'S TIME YOU WENT INSANE! Then after that is "Sick People"... starts off with a slow, calm intro and a repeating lead guitar melody that sounds a little spooky and rickety. This song is probably about me. I'm just fucking sitting around at home. Doing nothing. And I act like it sucks, which it does, but he's right, I'm not actually doing shit. But I should. Dan is right. I'm wrong. Dammit.

12. Hate Me
Neat drum beat... it's real fast but it kind of makes this brief pause for a second before the guitar riff repeats itself.

13. Live Wire
The verse part is really awesome and frantic-sounding. The beat is awesome... the lyrics were real freakish-sounding to me at first, sounding like mind-control or something, but I actually read the lyrics at it's about how people who feel depressed and stressed out about life just need to loosen up and go have some fun.

14. Not Anymore
I like the guitar riff for this one. This band comes up with some pretty cool, original-sounding drum beats. Love the way this song sounds!!

15. Mannequin
This song's a little slower. The lyrics are bordering on creepy... it's about a man's lust for a mannequin in a store window and how he dreams of taking it home with him and rescuing it from the store because he thinks it's so beautiful... even though it's a fucking piece of plastic... but aren't most celebrity women that most men drool over anyways?? HAH! But I do like the way the guitar sounds here.

16. Fuckups
This song encourages lazy people to get off their asses and do something with their lives NOW 'cuz you only live once and that it's no good just to sit around all day and do nothing because life is a precious thing and you should not waste it!

17. Think for Me
This song's about thinking for yourself and fighting for your own goals, instead of hurting eachother. The riff in the middle of the song rules!

18. Dirt and Decay
This is an anti-violence song that asks why people waste their time fighting and killing in wars when we've already got hurt people like hobos back in the homeland, and toxic pollution in their air as well.

19. Don't Say Please
I'm not entirely sure what this one's about... I think it might be about the dangerous dancing in a violent mosh pit and how you can't say "please" but you'd better pray and stuff... I'm not sure what they're trying to say in this song.

20. No Name
Great guitar riffs... almost bordering on thrash metal. The lyrics are pretty simple. They are: "we'll have no names... no brains... no hope". That's all. Then there's a guitar solo in the middle and the three lines of the song are repeated one more time. The End.

Some of the lyrics here are a little challenging... mainly the ones about sitting on your ass and not doing anything. I mean, I usually DO go out and do things, but right now I'm not, and when you're bitching about how there's nothing to do and yet you're not really doing anything, then the biggest part of the problem is YOU. And shit, this album kind of makes me think about that part of myself, and SHIT, I'm going to go and see if I'm allowed to go out and do something cool today! Thanks Die Kreuzen. But anyways, after this album, the band started to get a little dissatisfied with hardcore -- I mean, they were already different and original compared to most hardcore bands among them but they started veering off into a different sound, keeping their metal influences with them, and they released about 3 or 4 other albums after this. The band broke up in 1992. But I will review those albums in the future, as well as the EP that came before this one. If I were to describe the music of this album in a nutshell, I'd say: smart, angry music that pisses into your blissful ignorance in a very corrosive way. You screamo kids should listen to this if you wanna hear the REAL DEAL... and ditch those stupid haircuts, also. They all look the same!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Get 'Em
2. All White
3. In School


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