A horrible hack

Henry Fonda

Deutschland, du Taeter!

Year Released: 2013
Format: LP
Label: Nerdcore
Reviewed by Alex Hannan on Apr 14, 2016
HENRY FONDA's 2013 debut LP has already been through a variety of pressings in gaudy vinyl colours and styles. Mine is a clear green one-sided 12" with screened B-side, a good-looking piece of vinyl. Holding it up to the light, you see the narrow track widths of a band who like to get in fast, fuck shit up and leave. The cover homage to SSD - the gang from "The Kids Will Have Their Say" with adapted logos on their jackets running towards the Reichstag instead of the Massachusetts State House - suggests tribute to bands of the past, but the musical cues come more from the kids' Photoshopped jacket slogans of SPAZZ and CHARLES BRONSON than the band whose iconic artwork they're adapting.

First song "Stone cold" evokes MAN IS THE BASTARD just for a second before plunging into SPAZZ-style powerviolence, even adopting one of the iconic vocal tones many of those bands used - the guttural back-of-the-throat Barney Gumble-sings-hardcore tone. This is contrasted with another vocalist bringing a modern hardcore yell-scream reminiscent of Chris Colohan, and THE SWARM are another good point of reference for the metalcore elements HENRY FONDA bring to the table. They squeeze blast beat sections into most of the songs and have a mean way with a chugged guitar to go with it. The first nine or so songs rip past in a fury, but repeated listens leave me looking for more variety under the energy and speed. However, the title track is one of the catchiest in the first half with its chanted refrain "Deutschland, du Täter". Just as things are leaning too far towards the formulaic they hit a run of memorable songs in the second half - "Nie wieder Doppelhaushälften", "Strammtisch" and "Good night slim pride" are some of the most addictive repeaters of the bunch.

Part German, part English, the lyrics vary between bleak, defeated personal tales ("I am dead inside / cannot feel my heart beat / bored and numb") and outward-looking denunciations of society ("Western worlds / caged to work / bringer of terror / We're the ones that destroy their self's when all is going down") plus the anti hipster rant "Endstation Neukölln" ("Cooler Haarschnitt! Wo krieg ich den? / Geile Tattoos! Lass ma sehen! Ich will ja nicht meckern / aber es nervt mich schon / dass es hier nicht um mehr geht, als blanke Präsentation / Ab-ge-hyped!" - roughly, "Cool haircut! Where can I get one? / Cool tattoos, let me see! / I don't want to moan / but it annoys me / that there's nothing going on here but blank facade / Hyped up!") and one tune attacking normative beauty standards ("Good night slim pride.") There's a curious mix of between-song samples ranging from a speech by Ulrike Meinhof to quotes from Daria, and dramatic selections from the German dub of the horror flick Acción Mutante. Overall, concise, invigorating and fun.

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