If you’re looking for a constantly shifting, almost werewolf-like musical project to destroy your ears to, well you’ve clicked on the right review today here on CVLT Nation. Germany’s Ekranoplan have rolled out their self-titled release via Narshardaa Records, and hot damn, this one is a keeper. Composed of members from Ahab and Hungry Lungs, Ekranoplan navigate through a number of different extreme, noisy musical alleys, which with some projects, can run the chance of sounding sloppy and mashed together. Ekranoplan pull it off, though, and show that they’re comfortable having their fingers dipped into a few different sonic pies.
Feedback and a crust punk d-beat opens the album up on the song Broken Future. Upon my initial listen to this song, I was lost in the first minute or so as to where this was going to go, but quickly found my footing once the vocalist screeches out of the noisy chaos that starts this album. Immediately following that, my head was absolutely in tune with their sound and I couldn’t help but bob my head along with their rabid attack. From here on out, this seven minute long monster contorts itself around a crust-filled doom output, without ever really settling in to one particular style, which keeps this beast absolutely interesting and complex. In fact, it’s Ekranoplan’s ability to weave themselves in and out of different styles that gives them such a unique sound. From the crust punk base, straight up to the hybrid of metal and hardcore, this is a release fitting for the more bold and adventurous. The second and fourth track, entitled “Stop Asking” and “Pressure” respectively, feature a much more aggressive, feral take when compared to the first song. Both of these tracks reek of a Converge influence, which is partly a result of their main vocalist. Whomever this demon is, my god. The sheer amount of damage he must be doing to his throat speaks volumes as to his range. From a high pierced, Jacob Bannon-esque shriek to a grunted, straight from the bottom of his stomach growl. It adds a caustic element to their already chaotic and hate-filled sound. From here on out, this album exudes a schizophrenic sound and pace that never really stays in one place too long, which keeps one on their toes as to what these fiendish devils have in store next for you.
The last song on here is perhaps the finest example of how many different variations of a sound this band has through the album. Manchmal starts off with a nice, almost jazzy drum piece while the guitars and bass build up slowly around it until their sonic pot begins to boil and over flow. It’s really fitting that this is the closing track on this album, as it ties together the numerous influences and shifting take on styles that they’ve showcased through out this release. In fact, while writing this review, I really found this record seemed to come out of a time machine from the early 2000’s. Not saying that it’s outdated, it just has a very classic “when metal and hardcore where still flirting with each other” feel to it that left me going through some other albums and reliving some glory day moments.
The entire album has a metallic, abrasive production and sound to it, which ultimately suits this release and band well. My only real complaint on this one is that the snare drum really cuts through everything else. But really, it’s such a small drawback that at the end of the day it’s barely an issue. It just distracted me at times and seemed a bit too high in the mix. But I mean really, if that’s the only thing I can find wrong with this release, I guess I’m just nitpicking. Also, I’m taking a pretty good guess that this is an album which would sound killer on vinyl. Each distorted note and screech of vocals would sound fantastic accompanied by the crackle and hiss of a record player. For a first release, Ekranoplan have shown a unique sound and vision, which I hope they will really nail down and explore past this release. A definite, solid first album that should be checked out if you love music that is loud, chaotic and full of raw, unrefined anger.