Do we have any rock fans around here? Today it’s time to shake your helmet wide. When we say shake it, it’s really to pull the breech at the back and say “HELL YEAH”, while the body shines, the sweat rises, that incredible moshpit happens next to you and the lords on stage are enjoying themselves while they release some very loud chords with their guitars up.
In Portugal, for a completely different style, we usually say the typical phrase “Silêncio, que se vai cantar o fado“, which means that people should abstain from any comment because at that moment the most typical musical genre of our country will be loudly sung: Fado.
Today we do the same, but with rock in the middle of the stage. We have arrived at one of the most creative and striking points in the history of the world, Berlin. The referee’s starting whistle has blown – but it’s not a Bundesliga game. Stay with Zahn and their first studio album.
They categorise themselves as noise-rock, mixed with post-punk. We feel the vibes they convey to us as rock for all ages. The band consists of Felix Gebhard (Einstürzende Neubauten) on guitar, Chris Breuer (Heads, The Ocean) on bass and Nic Stockmann (Heads, Eisenvater) on drums. There’s still time for some special appearances, but we’ll get there in due course.
On first listen, we were reminded of mythical bands like Death From Above 1979, DIIV, King Crimson, Metz, Queens of the Stone Age, the Portuguese Quelle Dead Gazelle, Spoon, Royal Blood, The Jesus Lizard and Tool. As we say to the kids, No pressure kid, right?
Without further ado, are you ready to rock some of the purest and hardest? We’ve got eight songs of the greatest splendour there is to show you.
We start with “Zerrung“. And it’s at the highest level that we feel ourselves saying “big stoner” right at the start. It’s guitar, bass and drum riffs all in a supersonic sense, making you shake your head from the first second to the last. It doesn’t take many fireworks to be a rocker of excellence. This theme also has the accompaniment of a second guitar, by Wolfgang Möstl.
“Pavian” is made of ups and downs, with a more angelic and introspective beginning. But, like a good rock band, it pulls out of nowhere into something livelier and noisier, as we so well like it. This theme has even more hands-on drums and tambourines by Peter Voigtmann and extra guitar and synthesizer by Fabian Bremer.
In “Tseudo” we have the most summery version of the set, with soft melodic rhythms that could perfectly be in our favourite beach bar while drinking a beer. There’s still time to add a Lapsteel Guitar by Chris Breuer and Synthesizers by Alexander Hacke.
And from the ends of the earth to the greatest point of this planet of ours comes “Gyhum“, an anthem to progressive rock and that should be presented to any lover of this genre of music. It’s a seven minutes experience, where we mix rock, electronic music and a lot of creativity in this bottomless cauldron. We feel like we are in the Amazon, in Feudal Japan, and in Berlin, near the Berghain. Felix Gebhard adds the electronic part to the guitar and we still have time for a Saxophone lesson, by Sofia Salvo.
From progressive to a killer is a short hop: and that’s what we have “Schranck” for. The real minute fifty-eight giving it all, without making our heads explode. What a ride these gentlemen have!
“Lochsonne Schwarz” follows the previous rhythm, with a perfect music stamp for a video game at the stage where we are going to face the biggest villain in the world. It is impossible to remain indifferent. On the synthesizers we add Alexander Hacke again, to give even more emphasis to the sonic brutality of this theme.
We defeated our biggest enemy. Now it’s time to savour. And Zahn pulls rank: it’s on “Aykroyd” that we raise the pedestal of this band to levels never reached before. The whole beat is worthy of a movie, and we can’t stop listening to it on our player. Sofia Salvo and Chris Breuer join the ensemble again, and the result is perfection in song form.
“Staub” closes the door on what “Gyhum” has made blunt: if we want to introduce progressive rock to anyone, we should go through these kinds of songs. They are raw, harsh, but full of life through instruments that have such good practitioners in them.
Zahn has arrived, seen and won. They manage to prove that there is no better voice for this world than several elements in perfect symbiosis with their instruments – and that this gives more life to the world than mere words. A rocky WtMM recommendation.