German hardcore has built its own reputation over the last few decades, and so I'm not going to waste our time by going over specifics that you already know. The point is that CN Roundhouse Kick are a German hardcore band from Leipzig, and they have just released an LP entitled Phantomschmerz. Does it rip? Yes it does.
To cut straight to the point, CNRK are not a fast hardcore or a powerviolence band. This may seem like a surprise because most of my hardcore punk obsession is rooted in those styles, but even I struggle to figure out my own taste most of the time. CNRK are in fact an amalgamation of several punk varieties, ranging from neo-crust, metallic hardcore, screamo and sludge. This is not to say that the band simply takes these three styles and make a point of 'having' them on a song - Phantomschmerz is one of the more cohesive records I've heard recently, and it incorporates the various influences into a single driving force, better labelled simply as CN Roundhouse Kick. Depending on the direction of the song, the composition will fall into a different tempo and mood, which ultimately affects the 'style' which the listener will associate with it. While this is not a technical album per se, it is somewhat dense and layered, giving it longevity and charisma - occasionally the band will hint towards forays into technicality (they are of course accomplished musicians), but that is not the point of their music.
I'm not actually aware of how extensive a discography CNRK has, but as far as I know, everything they've put out (including this LP), is self-released. They uphold DIY culture not just in their personal lives, but also in their music - Phantomschmerz doesn't aim to please anybody. The songs are structured and textured to the point of excellence, and it's obvious that the band writes and plays its material with utmost pleasure. The simple fact that they've played countless shows all across Europe highlights the integrity of these musicians - this material would have been played out to perfection before being recorded, and it definitely shows.
There is a lot I can say about this record, but I find it hard to properly describe exactly what one should expect. The music here definitely has a progressive edge, not in the 'prog' kind of way but in the way that it progresses past the typical tenets of hardcore. The songs weave in and out of slower melodic passages, heavier doom-laden riff-fests and jarring hardcore, leaving little room for opinions. What I love about the record is that it recalls the style of crust bands like Fall of Efrafa have made popular, except it's being played in a more His Hero is Gone context, with less of a focus on the 'post-'. These songs aren't the 17 minute dirges of FoE, nor are they minute-long crusters - CNRK have found the perfect medium between the two.
I could go on about why I really like this album, and why I think a lot of you will like it, but I feel I've said too much already - maybe the band should do the talking from here on. The band's website has songs streaming and information on how to order a copy of the LP - don't sleep.
Review by slaysfordays