Japanische Kampfhörspiele
Kaputte Nackte Affen

As disappointed as I was to learn of the demise of what certainly has been my favorite underground metal band for the past decade plus, I hate to say I was a bit relieved in a way too. Satisfied that there would never be a shit Japanische Kampfhörspiele album, I raised a glass to them, thanked them for the memories and blasted the holy hell out of their entire, and entirely awesome, discography for the next week or so. So when suddenly and quite unexpectedly confronted with the German sextet’s last will and testament, titled Kaputte Nackte Affen (or “Broken Naked Apes”), I felt a minor trepidation, feeling that I had already let go, fearing that this final album would justify my pessimism. Not one of my favorite bands has ever had as sustained a streak of amazing recordings, seemingly getting stronger and somehow even fresher on each subsequent release, and I felt doomed to be subjected to some half-baked b-sides dripping from a depleted udder which had been milked for all it’s worth.

This final album starts strong in the first half, but is maybe too consistent with their past work as the band runs their paces, once more spilling out the contents of their considerable toolbox and revisiting their past glories. The riffing is as irresistibly catchy, mega-heavy and ultra frantic as ever, with the breakdown on “Alter Tricks” being an early highlight, as the disharmonic unison vocals of Bony and Martin Freund splits off into a syncopated spoken word part nearly bordering on some Patton-esque whiteboy hip-hop. As good as it is though, and at times it is very good, the album does open on somewhat of an anticlimactic note, coming off more as a rote “thanks for listening” sign-off than as a definitive final statement of purpose.

About half-way through the program though, business picks up significantly, starting with the odd-ball melodic indie-grind spunk of “Was Wenn” and the super-sonically augmented death-mosh of “Homeentertainment”. “Status Panik” is the “everything but the kitchen sink” number, maintaining coherence for the first minute or so before flying off into several different directions, each intriguing in and of itself, but also revealing of one of the group’s few weaknesses, namely the tendency to get a little lost past the 3 minute mark when they occasionally venture that far. This solid run continues through the album’s close, with the death by Danzig riff of “Der Homo Sapiens” leading to “Bravohotelcrazyhorse”, an instrumental sampled over with the dialogue from the infamous Wikileaks Collateral Murder footage, and possibly one of the most innovative pieces of music the band has ever composed. Christof Kather’s improvisational drumming style provides a unique backdrop for the pedal-board explorations of guitarists Hauffe and Nicodem as the group progresses from sludgy ambience to hyper metallic madness to end the piece. JaKa’s traditional ambulance siren solo appears one last time on “Ein Blutiger Vormitag” followed by an arcade laser beam lead on “Naschen Aus Papier”, both of which also feature exquisite bass work by Marco Bachmann.

Even if the production is, if not bad, noticeably weaker than most of their recent output, I have no mixed feelings as to the overall quality of Kaputte Nackte Affen. The first half of the album reminds me of everything I’ve loved about this band for the last decade, while at the same time, in a sense, justifying their disbandment even as the second half presents a few final unconventional tweaks and intriguingly hints at the direction the ex-members of may take with their future endeavors. For the past decade, Japanische Kampfhörspiele have been fearlessly creative in their take on grindcore, with far too little notice in a genre that for all its explosive intensity has become surprisingly monotonous during the same time period. Having never shied away from catchy grooves, crushing breakdowns and other extra-genre excursions, their less than orthodox indulgence in these elements has helped restore a sense of unpredictability, danger and character to a style that as a result of its own uber-underground insularity had become too safe, tame and mundane. For the many that missed the boat, Jaka’s considerable discography will be quite a revelation for years to come, and while Kaputte Nackte Affen may not figure among the top releases of the group’s career it does wrap things up quite nicely, leaving this longtime listener alternately deeply satisfied and desperate for more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
March 23rd, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: brutalicon

    One of my FAVORITE bands ever!!. Great review, thanks for the shitty news asshole…. I didn’t know they called it a day.

    So, where can I get this? It is hard to get their albums from distros in the US.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    that cover is a nightmare.


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