Sunday, 19 September 2010

If music be the food of love, put that piano in batter #4

Die Kreuzen. I know people make a lot of noise about their 'Cows and Beer' 7", and their first, self-titled, LP, but personally I prefer their later, artier stuff.
I think you can chalk that up to my only really getting into them because they were namechecked in a Voivod interview. I think it was either Blacky or Away that mentioned them as being an influence on Voivod's sound circa 'Dimension Hatross'.
Anyway, as with several other bands before them - Foetus and The Young Gods spring immediately to mind - I decided that if it was good enough for Voivod, then it was good enough for ME, and immediately went hunting for anything I could find by them.

As it transpired, I couldn't find a DAMN thing. But, as luck would have it, I noticed in Raw Magazine - of ALL places - that they had an EP coming out soon, so I waited....

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, to be honest. Back in the time before the internet - this was 1989 - if you wanted to hear a band, you either had to buy a record, see 'em live, OR see if anyone you know had anything by them and ask for a tape. Since my friends at this point mostly listened to WASP and Slayer, if ANYTHING, and seeing them play was out of the question (or so i thought), I had to just buy their EP and hope it wasn't lousy.

It wasn't.

The title track, 'Gone Away', was a lot.....moodier than I was expecting, and the inclusion of 'Seasons Of Wither', an AEROSMITH cover of all things, surprised me, BUT, I liked it enough to want to flip it and check the B-Side.
As you know, the B-side of the 'Gone Away' EP is five live tracks, most of which appear on the 'Century Days' LP.
Now, THIS was more like it. Listening to 'Stomp' and 'Man in The Trees', I could TOTALLY hear Voivod in there. The weird chords were THERE.
One of the other tracks on the B-Side is a live version of 'Number 3', from 'Century Days', and it just knocked me out.

It completely entranced me.

I think I listened to it around 10 times that first DAY, and fell hopelessly in love with Brian Egeness's oddly metallic, deeply expressive, guitar sound.

The clouds of delayed guitar that make up the guitar parts of 'Number 3' are just beautiful, to my ears. The combination of chiming chorus, delay and tasteful use of the whammy bar really IS music to my ears. It chokes me up to hear it, sometimes.

As you do when you hear something that just GRABS you, you want to share it, so here is a live version of the track.....

....just LISTEN to that and tell me you don't find it at once heartbreaking AND uplifting. It gets me right *there*, y'know?

Aaaaaaaanyway, before I get all Emo, I'll move on. So. I had discovered Die Kreuzen. After a week or two, I managed to score copies of 'Century Days' and 'October File', which I liked very much - particularly 'Century Days'.
Of course, Voivod released 'Nothingface' a few months after 'Gone Away' came out, and I DEFINITELY noticed the Die Kreuzen influence THERE, which just about sealed the deal on Die Kreuzen for me.

Incidentally, 'Nothingface' is my favourite record FULL STOP, so anything operating in a similar ballpark gets MUCH love from me.

I see a lot of folks online badmouthing this whole period of Die Kreuzen, but the music they made from 'Century Days' to their final record, 'Cement', is the Die Kreuzen music that I listen to most often.
Yeah, I can dig their earlier more 'hardcore' material, but it doesn't GET me in the same way as the later music does. I put that mostly down to the Voivod thing, and the progression of Brian Egeness' guitar playing. He just played a lot of stuff that really resonated with me - tracks like, 'Number 3', 'Man In The Trees', 'Stomp', 'Gone Away' and MOST of 'Cement' - in particular 'Big, Bad Days' - are my favourite tracks by Die Kreuzen.
As I said earlier, his playing is just SO expressive and unique. NO-ONE else quite sounded like Brian Egeness, before OR since. Sure, Piggy and he touched base in a couple of areas, sound-wise, but really, their styles and approaches were completely dissimilar.

I was partially inspired to put this post together by a post over at one of my other gigs, Illogical Contraption, by IC buddy Aylmer about the FIRST Die Kreuzen LP. He kinda beat me to the punch, but, then again, I don't know if I'd want to subject the IC crowd to this kind of aimless rambling.

Before I love you and leave you, I just want to give you a couple of things - firstly, if none of what I wrote up there made any sense to you and you're wondering who the FUCK Die Kreuzen are, then I guess you'd better listen to THIS. It's a sampler containing material from Die Kreuzen's entire history and some interview snippets.

...aaaaand the SECOND thing i want to give you is the super-crappy video for my SECOND-FAVOURITE Die Kreuzen song, 'Big Bad Days'. Sure, the picture quality is lousy, but just LISTEN to the song, 'kay?

OH, and, I should ALSO advise you that there is an excellent Die Kreuzen site here, which is WELL worth browsing. Now, SCOOT.


  1. Fucking great piece about an incredible band. You love the same era and songs I do, for the same reasons, and your passion for them shines through. As always, thanks for sharing, Paul.

  2. I dig this.
    There is indeed something about that delayed guitar part.
    I'm finding this record right away.