L'hymne a la Joie

What was formerly Count Nosferatu Kommando is now The Cosa Nostra Klub, as The CNK have reinvented themselves from industrial/symphonic black to a more martial, pompous brand of electro and metal. Based on the 1930’s goth-military uniforms and the propaganda cover art, I’m already hooked. Perhaps this will deliver what similarly-themed offerings – like Marilyn Manson‘s Golden Age of Grotesque and Luna Field‘s Diva – did not. The right elements are in play too – swirls of grandiose classical music, ratatat drums, and a screaming, dictatorial performance by ex-Anorexia Nervosa frontman Hreidmarr. But as any well-heeled continental deathsquad knows, it’s all in the execution.

After the Beethoven-infused prologue, “Cosa Nostra Klub” kicks off with marching rhythms, buzzing guitars, shouted war-choirs and heaving symphonic strains. Sadly, it just seems to march in place – a midtempo paradeground exercise that lacks the complexity or power to shock or awe. The rest of the album follows suit – the songs are just too simplistic and repetitive. It’s a shame, too – the production and sound are suitably bombastic. The orchestration is well-performed and the pieces well-chosen, but they don’t drive the songs – the guitars do. Problem is, they don’t do enough. I couldn’t help but hold this up against two bands with similar elements: Rammstein and KMFDM. Both of those acts create catchy songs with short, punchy guitar riffs and danceable beats, but CNK has neither.

Take “Dinner is Ready,” at first propelled forward by furious strings and faster beats. But then it slows down and loses its power, and all I could think of was returning to KMFDM‘s ADIOS, so that I could listen to the much more exciting, addictive “DIY.”

“The Doomsday” is an even bigger disappointment, mainly because it underuses a piece of music that could have made this an incredible song: Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator score. The track opens with the stirring battle prelude – a signal for the explosion that’s to follow – but then abandons it for an electronic warble against the beats. When the heroic battle theme returns in the chorus, it’s buried and muted. A smarter move would have been to use that refrain as the backbone for the song, set against a pounding dance beat. I can only imagine what Sasha Konietzko would have done with the loop.

Ultimately, L’hymne a la joie is not a bad album, and I commend The CNK for the concept and their ambition, but the end result is just not as kompelling as it could be. Perhaps The CNK‘s next incarnation – Catholic Nun Konquerors? – will deliver a more stunning experience.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
January 7th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I need to check this out just for “The Doomsday”-the Gladiators waltz/battle theme is one of my favorite pieces of music

  2. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Cold-blooded Nanking Killers? Canned Nut Kings? I don’t know which one’s next but I thought this was a bit disappointing considering Hreidmarr’s illustrious past. It’s alright I guess, but there are much better examples of this type of martial electro thing, particularly Laibach and the other two you mentioned, Gabjordan. That’s your new nick, btw. XD

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Im really digging this- the orchestral stuff is completely over the top and its heavier than expected

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I really wanted to love this :(

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