Lichtlærm || Minus.Mensch

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Technology has greatly increased the speed at which musical novelty becomes trend and then total market saturation -- to the point that not even the most extreme sounds are safe from excessive repetition. This is said by way of introduction because Germany's Alpinist fall into the same, all too abruptly jam-packed, black-crust-core category, which of late has been bursting at the seams with bands like Black Breath, Trap Them, the Secret, and the list goes on.... Yes, there are certainly distinctions between all these, depending on who's blacker, crustier, or core-ummmm-ier, but try telling that to average Joe buying public -- the minutiae can be baffling. Having said that, let's now give due credit to Alpinist's distinctly hardcore-focused brand of black-crust-core, as profiled by this combo CD pairing the group's first two, vinyl-only LPs -- Lichtlærm and Minus.Mensch -- into one handy introductory package. Not only do standout offerings like "Aidt," "Project Fatigue," and "Nighttime Poet Daytime Dead" keep things interesting with lots of independent guitar parts bouncing off each other, they avoid the common, boredom-inducing mistake of pursuing total sonic Armageddon at all times (though Alpinist can pull that stunt too, if it's your thing, ergo "Schalterhygiene," "Delta Flood of Ignorance", etc.). Heck, a few cuts even lock into rather slow tempos for the duration (see "Yarncarrier and Break," "This Song Will Not Save Your Life"), while others are comprised of nothing but instrumental sound collages ("Light," "Laerm," "Outro"). As a result of this punk-sourced variety, it's pretty easy to pinpoint Oregonian legends Tragedy as Alpinist's biggest single influence, but that shouldn't diminish recognition for the Germans' ability to bake their own cupcakes with that recipe. Lichtlærm and Minus.Mensch are both mighty fine cupcakes (the first slightly more savory than the second), even if this crust-core bakery appears to be sprouting new franchises faster than consumers may care for.

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