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Wehrmacht - Biermächt (Reissue)

Biermächt (Reissue)
by Barbie Rose at 25 February 2021, 6:41 AM

From Portland Oregon WEHRMACHT returns again with a March 5 2021 release entitled “Biermächt”; and a secondary March 5 2021 parallel release entitled “Shark Attack”. This is a circa nineteen eighties mosh-pit party thrash–with segregated elements of speed metal replete rhythmic diversity. Prior releases include the following demos: 1985 “Blow You Away” & “Rehearsal ‘85”;  1986–“Death Punk”, “Live At Pine St Theatre”, & “Beermacht”; 1987 saw full length full length release “Shark Attack”; 1989 saw full length release  “Biērmächt; 1989 saw compilation release “Shark Attack” & “Biērmächt (together); year 2009 saw compilation release “Hardcore Classix!”; 2010 saw release of E.P. “Fast As A Shark Attack” as well as the boxed set entitled “Viva Sharko”; year 2013 saw the release of video “WEHRMACHT Attacks Los Angeles!” 2014 saw the release of “The Complete Beer Soaked Collection 1985/1989”; as well as two songs on a Limited Edition release entitled “Stolen Thoughts” - a recording that Australian band entitled DISINTEGRATOR also contributed songs.

“You Broke My Heart (So I Broke Your Face)” - The first album track opens with rhythmically accented vocals from Eric Helzer over closed taps of the high-hat–that Brian Lehfeldt follows with accentuated snare. Shann Mortimer’s bass follows the same accent. Regardless of instrument, the rhythmic motives are short, punchy, and percussively aggressive while the pulse is quick. The song will fully accost listeners with tempo changes, rests, & speedy bouts of classic thrash - and to vaguely quote a famous professor, known of Dung & Din, “every snip of the Scissors has been regulated and prescribed by ever-active” confluences of rhythmic adversity which WEHRMACHT surfs over a barrage of frenzied sudsy foam.

“Gore Flix” - The second album track features rhythm guitar and leads–at that, while  WEHRMACHT wastes no time for the implementation of successive delay. Nor would any overactive listener wait to hear. Speed does not kill here.  Imagine Narcissus without time for reflection; Echo is enraptured by a vibrant image–distorted by vibrations of the rippling sea. At the very moment I classify this as speed metal, the strength of rhythmic accentuation stops me & inadvertently trips my caustic tongue.

“The Beer Is Here / Drink Beer Be Free” - The third album track opens with voices at a party so the first twenty five seconds are of a fun-filled folk chat.  One imagines a funnel for beer guzzling, and, party-like additional carousing. There are more brief moments of slower tempo sections that I enjoy–but again these moments are brief. The moments of thrash are thoroughly enjoyable. I wish however that the moments of thrash, or the moments of speed, would endure for longer periods. “The Wehrmacht” - The fourth album track opens as though a slow tune - but the tempo increases before too many seconds pass. The tempo is slow–but subdivides for accentuated aggression well.  “The Wehrmacht” precludes an end with a plagal IV / I finale–and further proceeds, as T.S Eliot once predicted, “not with a bang but a whimper”.

Everb / E….! / Micro-E!”- The fifth album track is an eleven second recording that begins with a short abbreviated musical punch that echoes with reverb or delay.  This musical “sound / punch” is edited by recording production.  Two similar additional sound  punches, comparatively–perhaps better classified as “sound jabs” subsequently recur. “Munchies” - The sixth album track has the stronger motivic base than many other album songs. The bass presence is also admirably loud. “Night Of Pain (Part I)” - The seventh album track opens with a guitar riff played by two different guitar parts.   The rhythmic speed is wonderful–and the aggression of the rhythm guitar and bass combine to create a heaviness rarely to be met.  Clearly my album favorite–as the song allows for its motivic progressions to sustain (rarely without similar speed), allowing listeners to better grasp the associated rhythm.

“Balance Of Opinion” - The eighth album track opens with a nicey distorted motif - that includes nice but short notions of dissonance. John Duffy & Marco “Sharko” Zorich - are incredibly fast while playing speed metal rhythms of the nineteen-eighties and I can’t undervalue the strength they add to the band’s style. Shann Mortimer also has extremely melodic bass lines. “Drink Jack” - The tenth album track opens with recorded laughter edited with repetitive delay.  The song opens to a subdivided beat proclaiming “Drink Jack” that Brian Lehfeldt varies by note pounding between floor tom & snare.  The song ends with a regression that descends in pitch & tempo while fading in volume.

“Radical Dissection”- The eleventh album track opens with floor tom pounding that moves to a speedy thash beat.  At about one minute thirty seconds the songs open to a flourish of syncopated rhythmic accents led by Brian Lehfeldt; guitars are quadruple picking the subdivided beat - one that Shann Mortimer mellifluously grounds into the crusty lusty sounds of the metallic iron-ore earth. The beat is nicely inverted to accentuate one & three, which normal rock & metal accents fall on beats two & four–while the band still plays as though “the beat” falls on two and four. I’d love to hear the band further explore this concept or other rhythmic complexities -to  than venture speeds they cannot handle.

“Beermacht” - The twelfth album track utilizes blinding speed among the rhythm guitars - not fully synchronized with the stronger forces of Brian Lehfeldt’s & Shann Mortimer’s rhythm section–and now I am frustrated. The song is lost to resolute sloppiness. Still there is too much potential in WEHRMACHT to dismiss the band.  The song ends with a vibrant rendition to “The Star Spangled Banner” motif which is as delightful as it is surprising–but this endures for a mere three or four seconds at most - little more than four beats. “Outro” - The thirteenth album track is recorded speech with additional bouts of seemingly unrelated overdubbed speech beneath a repetitive bass sequence that by the last note of the repeating sequence extrapolates common adherence to a diatonic structure.

For songwriting I assign a seven;  while I believe the songwriting should score higher - the shorter bouts of speed metal that juxtapose to slower bouts thrash (or vice versa) weakens the motivic associations that unify sonorous patterns into that which we collectively recognize as songs: I like many of the ideas; I simply need to hear these ideas further develop into a collective unity; so memorability, which here correlates closely with songwriting, moves to seven, as I understand many of the songs seem more for carousing with metal rather than full thrashing with expressions of aggression. The speed attempted in “Beermacht” is unnecessary; band members are yet as capable on respective instruments as they need to be. If it were not for the unsuccessful speed I’d have given them an easy nine for musicianship. I’d be pleased to have WEHRMACHT lose the STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH influence and exchange it for that of NUCLEAR ASSAULT or ANTHRAX.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. You Broke My Heart (So I Broke Your Face)
2. Gore Flix
3. The Beer Is Here / Drink Beer Be Free
4. The Wehrmacht
5. Everb/ E….! / Micro-E!
6. Munchies
7. Night Of Pain (Part I)
8. Balance Of Opinion
10. Drink Jack
11. Radical Dissection
12. Beermacht
13. Outro
Eric Helzer - Vocals
John Duffy - Guitar
Marco “Sharko” Zorich - Guitar
Shann Mortimer - Bass
Brian Lehfeldt - Drums
Record Label: Hammerheart Records


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