Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, chaotic prog-punk-metal powerhouse The Erkonauts release their third studio album I Want It To End on 1st October. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted!
Formed in in 2014, The Erkonauts released their first demo to apparent critical acclaim, hailed Demo of the Month in Rock Hard Germany #331. The band have toured in USA, Asia, Europe and Russia, and shared the stage with acts like Philm, Prong, Cradle of Filth or Samael.
The band’s debut album I Did Something Bad released on French label Kaotoxin in 2016 and earned the labels of “Best of 2016 in metal so far” on Napster.com and the #5 spot on one of MetalSucks.net Top 15 2016. Second album I Shall Forgive released a year later in 2017 through Indie Recordings (Wardruna, 1349, Keep of Kalessin, Kvelertak, Cult of Luna, etc) and ranked #14 amongst the best albums of 2017 on MetalSucks.net.
Billed as the “darkest” of The Erkonauts’ full-length studio entries, the upcoming third album I Want It To End bears the weight of troubled times, providing a brutally honest retelling of all that the band have endured over the past three years.The album has been drawn together from a previous line-up of musicians, including – Drop (guitars), Vinch Enzo (drums) and Fred Di Limoncelli (lead guitars).
Of the album, The Erkonauts’ vocalist and bassist Ales Campanelli comments: “This album is without a doubt my most personal work, and the most honest I’ve ever been with myself during the creative process. I put my last energy into it and came out feeling totally rejuvenated. The people who worked and played on the record totally understood the situation and gave stellar performances and guidance. I Want It To End stands for a need for change.”
And so to the music: The album does indeed kick off with War Flamingoes, and it’s not gentle! Imagine Lemmy getting upset, backed by System Of A Down! The guitars sound like threshing machines, there’s crazed slapbass throughout and I can’t believe the drumming is real, no-one could repeatedly welly the skins that fast! The track includes a hint of melody; a vocal fire-breathing “sermon”, a large lump of chaos and throughout it all a pulsating and relentless rhythmic battering ram. It’s not for everyone, it simultaneously hypnotises and pulverises! Ales’ anger, for angry he most definitely is, is focussed on the collective duplicity and destructiveness of humankind – I think!
The Future Ends With You is a similarly cheerfully titled ditty, but a much more interesting (to me) musical arrangement. To quote the song “Client as an art form, and complainer as a trend”, there’s a quieter desperation and sadness in this song that touched me in the same way as InME’s recent album Download Hope – in fact I think there’s a similar mindset in both lead creators.
Five Orange Seeds is by turns thrash and amazingly gentle, a peaceful verse followed by an angry and scared chorus. It’s a larger than life song that has been inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tale entitled Five Orange Pips (Ales says he had to change the title from pips to seeds simply for singing reasons, he didn’t want to linger on the word “pips”).
Next up is The Cult Of The Burning Star – a real cracker, promising revolution and featuring some absolutely stellar guitar work! It Could Be Over Soon is also a fascinating track, again reminding me of InME in that in the midst of the fury, moments of fragile true beauty appear – I love this, it’s almost acoustic until a rampaging yet subdued chord progression slides in. All very measured and treasured.
Losing Is The First Step reverts to thrash, but with simply astounding slap-bass thrown in for good measure. The vocal line on this somehow reminds me of The Offspring at the finest! This is followed by The Sun, which I have to say largely leaves me cold, to me it’s again just a thrash.
Caravaggio follows, and it’s another quite lovely moment in the midst of all the angry madness. Soft classical guitar ushers in a soothing melodic lyric before restrained yet powerful chords make their mark. It’s a genuinely moving track and I love it for its change of pace and…everything!
The album’s closer is The Curse Of Scotland, an intriguingly titled track. You could interpret it as a Mel Gibson style lament for the ongoing hopes of a nation nailed to a parallel eternal (so far) lack of freedom, it’s almost biblical in its outlook and I confess that’s the best I can make of it.
To sum up, I Want It To End is not at all a comfortable record, it comes from hard times, heavy struggles and a lot of self-loathing. Ales describes it as a kind of make or break situation (for himself?), having put all his creative and mental energy into it. As I said, it reminds me a lot of InME’s recent Download Hope as being a therapy of sorts. I Want It To End is clearly all about the need for change, “It” could be a lot of things….