The Berzerker - Animosity
Earache - MOSH337CD - 12th February 2007
by Tom Strutton
. What a bloody fantastic name. Now on their fourth album, Melbourne's finest industrial/death metal export (masterminded by Luke Kenny) have set themselves the task of delivering the most extreme music of their career to date. Backed by Earache as being the 'the most extreme band on Earache Records', anyone strongly anticipating this February 2007 release will only have one question on their lips - 'how far has The Berzerker
gone this time?' Well, never fear, I'm here to provide an answer to the question for those of you who can't wait. This time The Berzerker
has quite literally gone...Berzerk. This is easily one of, if not the most punishing, cacophonous tour-de-force of malevolence this reviewer has had the pleasure of submitting to. As an exercise in pushing boundaries it is a success, but perhaps more importantly it wholeheartedly approaches the process of music-making on its own terms. I have to admit that when The Berzerker
first burst onto the scene in 2000 with their eponymous debut I was sceptical about the longevity of such an apparently one-dimensional project. If anything, Animosity
is testament to the The Berzerker's
overwhelming self-belief in the relevance of their unique product to the contemporary extreme metal scene. It is worth mentioning from the outset that newcomers to Luke Kenny's vision will find a very specific aesthetic , and one that will elicit very subjective responses across a given board of listeners. That said, if you are open-minded and wish to expand the range of your metal collection, or if you simply wish to gain a glimpse into the mind of a madman, Animosity
is your album.
Following the formula estabished by previous releases, Animosity presents 28 minutes of furiously fast music across 10 tracks. On the evidence here one can be forgiven for thinking The Berzerker
suffers from chronic Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, such is the unrelenting energy maintained throughout (with little respite). Given all of this it is a curiosity that Animosity
is surprisingly easy to listen to - the songs undoubtedly flow very well and their brevity is well-timed to prevent the infliction of fatigue upon the listener. On top of everything, Luke Kenny sounds like he's having a whole lot of fun, revelling in a musical aesthetic which he has honed to a fine degree. His ultra-fast articulation of lyrics in the opening track is simultaneously amusing and impressive to behold, even more so since this rapid fire vocal execution perfectly compliments the heavily low-ended programmed drum assault. The melodic aspect of Animosity
is typically provided by simple, yet memorable, guitar work. The real delight though, at least for those of a sadistic nature, is the characteristic industrial 'fuzz' noise that pervades The Berzerker's
work, serving as a constant reminder of the synthetic, industrial nature of the music's production, i.e. no attempt is made to conceal the truth about the music and where it came from for the sake of capturing a cleaner sound quality. Attention to details such as this (which sadly many listeners will no doubt spare a thought for) is what makes Animosity
a brutally honest and rewarding experience.
Some will laugh The Berzerker
off as ridiculous, but those people may fail to observe this as a self-acknowledged ridiculousness. There is more than a hint of tongue-in-cheek here, but it can at the same time be appreciated on serious terms as out-and-out progressive 'aural terrorism'. As the band rightfully claims, Animosity
is blind to the notion of subtelty, but I would venture that it displays an acute awareness of songwriting. Such an awareness can be attributed to the band doing their homework, evident in their outspoken affection for early Earache legends Carcass
. To the seasoned ear it is nearly always clear which bands have done their homework and which are 'faking it', and to The Berzerker
virgins I'm happy to report that these angry Antipodeans fit into the former category. The only criticism one might level at Animosity
would be a subjective one along the lines of 'too extreme' or 'drum machines? pah!' As far as it is necessary to know, this holds its own against the best of extreme music out there. Highly recommended for the open-minded and aurally-sadisitic metal fan.
Official The Berzerker Website
Official Earache Website