Over the past few years, the German kings of the jungle have been building a more than solid reputation with a slew of releases that just get better and better. Their foundations were rooted in the heavier NYHC style, but they have constantly evolved and moved and this new album “Zwischenwelt” is their crowning glory thus far. Rather unusually, right now there are two bands (TLUF and Empowerment) that are writing heavy hardcore and firing lyrics sung in German over the top and there are a few similarities between the two – both see themselves as a musical collective rather than being just another band, and on their releases they pay a hell of a lot of attention to the whole package – the songs first and foremost, but also the lyrics, the song order and the aesthetics of the album – they put a lot of thought into all of the above and as with Empowerment’s album from 2018, this effort has definitely paid off.
The powerful driving factor for me on this album is the thought that has gone into the song melodies. The vocals are delivered in a tough barked fashion, but the tunes are carried by the fabulous guitar work. Think of bands along the lines of Shai Hulud or Tragedy, where fragile, melancholic tones are injected into a heavy metallic sound. Blend that with some powerful breakdowns and you’ve got one hell of a fiery musical cocktail going on. Although the tones are tinged with sadness, it is delivered with hope and strength, and this album is, on the whole, real life-affirming stuff. Tom Chapman