Go to content | Go to navigation | Go to search

Reviews

Assassin: Interstellar experience

17/07/12  ||  Habakuk

The German thrash scene of the eighties is interesting enough to not just limit yourself to cherry-picking what’s considered the genre stalwarts, but actually take a peek behind the first roster of well-known bands – would be kind of a lame scene with 4 bands in country of ~80 million anyway.

Assassin is one of those bands that have just recently “rediscovered” themselves and decided to get back together to keep on doing what they’ve always done (with mixed outcomes) but a positive side effect of all that retro mania is that someone actually cares to re-release the originals – in this case in an awkwardly designed double CD package of both “Interstellar experience” and “The upcoming terror”, their debut album. I of course made sure to grab that one off the shelf, after all I like Zrash and wanted to fill that blank spot of mine. Initially, I definitely liked this album here better, that’s why it gets the priority treatment in my review queue, but actually I’m not too sure anymore.

“Interstellar Experience” kicks of in intense fashion with “Abstract War” and doesn’t really let up to help you catch your breath, but keeps pushing forward at high speed until the first break in the form of – a “Pipeline” cover? Well, I don’t mind it, but by now it’s pretty clear the guys wanted to be a little more tongue in cheek than earlier on. Is that why they flipped two “S” letters in their logo for this album? Way to go… anyway, after my personal musical high point of the album (“Resolution 588”) we get to a magic moment in German thrash history: “Junk Food”. It’s a pretty catchy track, but I am not quite sure if I’m laughing with or at them – make up your own mind:

We skated downhill on the sidewalks of mainstreet
And finally we found the right store
As we came very close to the great holy place
We begun to see our faves
Oreo – the chocolate sandwich
Chocomel – number one drink of Holland
Kit Kat – the British waffelsnack
Bazooka – the best chewing gum

…yeah right. It goes on:

In the store were five cute looking girlies
And we asked them for the best teeth killer
They were not interested in answering our questions
‘cause S E X was on their minds
We were thinking now if we should take off with them
We said no to this great offer
The girls were surprised and asked for an explanation
I said Junk Food is what we want
M&M’s – the chocolate candies
Raider – the double snack
31 – the USA ice – cream

I’m not even gonna start on what kind of an old school vibe the name Raider evokes in any given German under 30 , but if this shit ain’t high class poetry, I don’t know what is.

Sounds cool so far, but this disc does lack in certain aspects: most of the tracks come across as being fast for the sake of it, with chaotic riffing that meets a thin production and drums too flimsy to structure the sound. It works as long as the songs keep a sense of direction, but some just fail totally at that and could be easily left off the disc. Which leaves us with 5 generally strong, but slightly unfocussed tracks. The lyrics mirror the overall lack of direction – the spectrum goes from Oreos to the Iran / Iraq war (wow that’s dated…) to some weird kind of inside jokes on the German thrash scene (“AGD”). They seemingly wanted to cram a bit of everything in there, and the vocals support that notion by not really clinging tightly to the music.

Once the initial intensity wears off a bit, that feeling seeps through to the music as well. “Killer riff”, you think, but then it just doesn’t go anywhere. This album is definitely worth checking out for the novelty value alone – it won’t hurt as the music is reasonably energetic and always at least decent, but I cannot say that I would unrestrainedly recommend this. If you want to get deeper into German thrash, Assassin is worth your time, but there is a reason why they never really made it big before they met the lamest twist of fate to ever stop a band: having all of their equipment stolen after this album. Ouch.

6.5

  • Information
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Steamhammer
  • Website: www.assassin-online.de
  • Band
  • Robert Gonnella: vocals
  • Michael Hoffmann: guitars
  • Dinko Vekić: guitars
  • Markus Ludwig: bass
  • Frank Nellen: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 1. Abstract War
  • 2. AGD
  • 3. A Message to Survive
  • 4. Pipeline (The Chantays cover)
  • 5. Resolution 588
  • 6. Junk Food
  • 7. Interstellar Experience
  • 8. Baka