The Erkonauts – purveyors of chaotic prog-punk-metal – release their “most personal work to date” with I Want It To End.
Release date: 1st October 2020
Format: DL / CD / vinyl (a lovely coloured pressing…)
And you can understand the outpouring after a particularly testing period in a set that’s full of the aggression of main man Ales Campanelli’s extreme metal roots. Listen to the opening track, War Flamingoes and see what they mean. More beats in three minutes than some manage in a lifetime. If you ever wondered what a double-double bass drum sounds like, this could be it.
The Sun shows similar intent and with a dexterous bass intro, Losing Is The First Step is similarly full of thrash fire before developing into a lead-heavy groove and stomp. There’s some brutal stuff on this album. With Campanelli explaining how he “put my last energy into it and came out feeling totally rejuvenated. A therapy of sorts” you can appreciate exactly what he means as his vocal has an unbridled passion and commitment.
However, it has to be said that for all the power and drive, the best and most interesting parts (IMHO) come when the band takes a brief pause for breath. The pick for me are The Cult Of The Burning Star and Caravaggio (Google tells me he’s a 16th Century Italian painter…). Both are longer tracks, maybe because the tempos aren’t quite as frantic. The former is packed, particularly in the intro, with an Opeth styled widescreen drama and a more palatable combination of clean and throat-ripping vocals.
It’s an obscure point but the guitar cascade at the start of Caravaggio reminds me of Elbow’s Scattered Black & Whites… Probably my pick of the album in that it’s so untypical of the overall mood of the I Want It To End. “When the time comes, I’ll be ready to go” warns of a mood of impending drama (like the theatrically dramatic painting style presumably) although the overwhelming image is of soldiers in the trenches awaiting their destiny. Punctuated by sustained chords, just over halfway, a machine-gunning rhythm ups the ante sending the track into a classic build and fade.
In direct contrast, Could Be Over Soon is so slow-paced that if you’re playing a piece of vinyl, you may have to check that the belt’s not running slow. After the diversion, the unusually titled The Curse Of Scotland acts as a brief reminder that The Erkonauts owe a debt to Lemmy & Co. Letting off one final burst of energy, it ushers out I Want It To End through the door it came in.
An album that batters around the head in a series of brutal assaults, it contains enough interest and curveballs to show there’s some subtlety amidst the bluster.
Don’t forget to check out Ales Campanelli’s Why I Love feature here.
Listen to Losing Is The First Step here: