Originally written by Ian Chainey
Everything you need to know about Yacöpsae is contained in the title of their ’98 full-length: Fuck Punk Rock… This is Turbo-Speed-Violence! Seriously, that’s it, that’s all you need. Thanks for reading. I’ll now end this review like Tracey Ullman ends her shows; same clothes, everything. Go home. Damn these tights are constricting. Hey, stop checking me out. Go home!
Okay, okay, need a little more? How about this: Stop-on-a-dime grind (The ”But, is this grind?” argument can commence…uh…now. Admittedly, it‘s not, it falls in more with Charles Bronson, Spazz, etc., but it‘s a nice turn of phrase, no?). I’m not even sure I’m the one who coined that (Voiceover: Mega pun bonus! Boom shakalaka!), but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. Even that doesn’t tell the full story though, so let me put it this way: If Yacöpsae is a sports car on the Autobahn, similar grinders are a minivan in reverse with the air-conditioner on full blast during a California traffic jam. Dudes are fast, mmmkay? But, it’s not just that Yacöpsae is quicker than your fingers when you’re deleting the junk mail forwarded to you by your mom (“Check out this Ca-razy Doggie!” Baleeted!), it’s that they know how to handle the turns of their tunes and their use of silence is nothing short of brilliant; splitting movements of caustic, Slap-a-Ham-influenced destruction with brief pauses that slay expectations and amp up the already high adrenaline levels (Aside: Or maybe they influenced Slap-a-Ham. These duders have been at it since at least ’91 which is something I didn‘t know until I started writing this). Those genius stop/starts are Yacöpsae’s trademark and what sets them apart, transforming them from another speedy noisecore band stuck in the Lärm mold into something that is an experience like few others.
Except that, without the silence and without their control, I’m not sure I would dig Yacöpsae’s discography as much as I do. Like most grind/violence-oriented material, the chaos is breathtaking when it’s playing, but it never leaves you with much. Plus, there this: Repeated listens (and we’re talking upwards of ten, here) are the only way you’re actually able to tell these songs apart, and then, it’s usually down to the oddball outsider elements thrown in (For instance, on their previous full length, Einstweilige Vernichtung, “Apokalypsae” finishes up with a demented whistling lead). But, that’s something that the band tries to rectify on Tanz, Grosny, Tanz… by stretching these songs out (instead of being half a minute, most are barely over a minute!) and adding more slower riffs. It’s all done in an effort to try and keep your attention, especially over these exhausting twenty-eight minutes (one of the few times that the word “exhausting” has been used to describe a sub-thirty minute full-length). But, does it work?
Well, kinda. The reason that Einstweilige Vernichtung never lets you down is because every time one song ends and the next kicks on, it is a surprise. The problem here is that, because the songs are longer, Yacöpsae has you anticipating the ends, which hurts the overall flow and lessens the impact. That, and the band is content to keep doin’ what they’ve doin’ even though they’ve given themselves an extra thirty seconds here and there to play with. A step backwards then? No, more like a jump in place since the material is oh so good when it‘s cooking. For instance, the title track is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the band at this point with the same furious blasts and the same overdriven everything; just longer. It clocks in at a brief fifty seconds, but you could cut twenty and still have the same song. That’s a bit of a problem, but it still works and the good spots are still thrilling. “Profilneurotiker” functions a little better even though it follows the same route. This time though, Yacöpsae justifies its length by showing off the band’s punk roots and letting it sit closer to their pre-Einstweilige Vernichtung material (One last thing about that album: It was so over the top and taken to the extreme that only Last Days of Humanity’s goes-nowhere-because-it-already-got-there explosions can compare. I hate to gush about old shit, but damn. Find it. Buy it). Yeah, it’s still cut from the same cloth, but at least it‘s the fine linen of the grind/violence world. So, while it’s a bit of a bummer that these been-there cuts make up the majority of the album, it‘s nothing to shed tears over.
Some things have changed. For one, the production is better, as it is now fuller. It’s a true speaker destroyer that will rattle your house’s foundation and blow out your dog’s eardrums if you get a little greedy with the volume knob. And then, there are the few tracks where we actually see a little growth from those hypersonic Hamburgians: “Deutschnazional” and the closer “Vogelfrei” are downright doomy for this band, with the latter clocking in at an epic 2:43. Those two, in addition to highlights “Antagonismus” and “Frost,” add a new element to the equation, a nod to the unique riffing of Mieszko Talarczyk and brings his atypical melodic sense to the utter insanity. It’s a nice touch and a nice shift away from them constantly sounding like your roommate’s running shower after you’ve flushed the toilet. But, minor variations aside, Tanz, Grosny, Tanz… is Yacöpsae through and through. It’s a blur, sure, and blur you’ve already heard if you’ve followed the band, but, it makes quite a racket when it’s kicking and speed freaks (even those speed freaks) of any variety should hunt this down. Recommended.