Kitshickers - III.0

6 songs
60:33 minutes
***** ****


Itís been three long years since Kitshickerís double vinyl album Horror Vacui, and once again itís time for a major change for this longstanding Luxembourgish rock / metal band. Founded about twenty years ago, the bandís first decade was spent as something like a post grunge band. Sometimes derided because of a somewhat amateurish attitude, they still kept on going on and released two tapes and three CDs in their first line-up. Their second decade had line-up changes, and with a new bassist and drummer, the band turned into a more instrumental based sound with longer songs and a more psychedelic outlook. It was already a progress, but something was still missing.

On III.0, we get exactly that: the band in its third incarnation. The major difference is that they hired Yann from An Apple A Day and lately also Scarred as their vocalist. He sang already a song on their last album, and if you know him only as a relentless screamer from his deathcore band, you will be positively surprised at his versatile performance on the new album.

Just like the last one, III.0 has been realised by crowdfunding, and even though itís once again a double vinyl album, the album "only" clocks in at a little over an hour. There are less songs, but they are generally much longer, a bit like on So Thatís The Miracle Of Life from 2006, but with much better songwriting. Take for instance the three parted opener Birth. Early Years. Void whose quarter hour gives a perfect impression of the new and improved Kitshickers. The first is a one-minute doom metal intro with really fierce and heavy riffs, before the second part starts out quite trippy. In fact the band now also used electronic sequencer parts that underline their psychedelic side. Soon enough Yann joins in, and thatís when youíll notice that Kitshickers have finally reached a new and unprecedented plateau. The chorus is melodic and simply wonderfully catchy. If this were a young and aspiring band, the kids would just love it. Letís hope they give these veterans a just as adequate reception. The final part veers into harsh sludge metal territory with some piano parts by classical musician David Ianni before its final minutes also show of the bandís progressive side. All of this is emphasised by the great production of local star producer Charel Stoltz and the equally impressive mastering by Cult Of Lunaís Magnus Lindberg.

Awareness.I is the albumís only instrumental track. This nearly eight-minute-long track starts quite slowly, with some cello parts by Lisa Berg, and slowly build up momentum, in the best sense of a post rock / metal track. The two middle tracks, Growth and Rise, feel at eight and a half respectively six and a half minutes short in the context of this album. The first one starts with an orientally tinged part before turning into a soaring post metal track that might even hint at the bandís early grunge influences. The latter might be a possible airplay hit, for rock radio stations unafraid of longer songs and occasional growls. Both tracks exemplarily show off Kitshickersí new knack for catchy songwriting.

Awareness.II. Peace is another mammoth track at a little over fourteen minutes and once again, like the opener, is a well done concentration of everything that makes the band so fascinating in the year 2016. The album concludes with the eight and a half minute long Mindfulness, unfortunately a not so strong track as its first five minutes sound like a prolonged outro before the band ultimately regains momentum in a cataclysmic outburst.

So even if Kitshickers were never your cup of tea, III.0 might still change your preconceptions. The band are as dynamic as never before, and the six songs offer one hour of most excellent progressive post metal. Released as a double vinyl record and as a digital download, both versions come with an instrumental version of the album as a bonus, but frankly, with someone like Yann on the vocals, you donít really want to check that out. Never have they been so precious, so donít hesitate any longer and grab your copy of III.0.

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