Ádám Bérces launched Kraschau from the ashes of his former martial and neofolk project, Durch Heer und Kraft, in 2011. As the legend goes, Durch Heer und Kraft saw only one physical release and a handful of live performances before quietly disbanding. However, Bérces quickly regrouped and formed Kraschau to continue on, presenting a stronger, more unified vision to his beliefs and philosophies.
Kraschau sets forth a unifying theme of traditional values — something not uncommon in the martial industrial genre — but distinguishes and sets itself apart by focusing on the return of monarchies and ties in Eastern European Christianity and Catholicism. More specifically, Bérces focuses on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Habsburg dynasty. He also pays homage to the Spanish Civil War, which seems like a strange turn in geography, but given Bérces’ Christian beliefs, the Spanish Civil War represents a secondary topic for music exploration.
Bérces, a readily proclaimed royalist, devoted much of 2012’s Offenbarung to crying out for the return of the monarchy. Perhaps crying out isn’t a powerful enough phrase to use here, but rather the tracks demand and summon you to focus on this alternate view of rule in the modern-day. The perceived pitfalls of liberalism and democracy, in which traditional values are cast aside, along with chaos created by the wants of many voices, are themes that Kraschau explores.
Musically, Kraschau covers a lot of territory. On Offenbarung‘s nine tracks, you’ll discover touches of experimental noise as they intermingle with solid blast of trumpets and quite strict militaristic drumming. Kraschau’s style seems to eschew the darker sonics of the martial genre in that, while there is enough depth and space to the music, the overall feel is more immediate, much like you’re hearing the music live. The horns are crisp and clear; there is minimal use of atmospheric strings, instead focusing more on plucks and stabs. There is extensive use of trilingual spoken samples — Hungarian, German and Spanish — which tie into the over-arching Kraschau manifesto, at times making it both unusual and simultaneously difficult to interpret for those of us whom don’t speak in multiple European tongues (which I, unfortunately, do not). This really isn’t negative and the use of samples not previously incorporated by other martial acts, gives Kraschau a regional identity that I find appealing.
From beginning to end, Offenbarung weaves through thick compositions as Bérces layers samples, his vocals, the underlying found sounds and the ever-present horns. The arrangements are engaging and the pacing of the album is fluid. There is a progression from tension to softer lulls and back again to tension that balances the album. Sparse electronics also punctuate here and there, reminding you of its industrial nature, but don’t detract from the overall classical / experimental nature of the release.
I love the opening track, “Unser Glaubensbekenntnis”, which moves long initially with a heavy dose of static and noise, but once the drums and horns kick in, the entire piece moves at an excellent pace with tense overtones and an anxious energy — much like a march into battle. Bérces has been classically trained and the horn work shows it, which continues on the following “Kennst du deine Farben?” (“Do you Know your Colors?”) which speaks of loyalty to one’s country. Again, quite effective drumming drives this track along. “Egység És Rend” is perhaps the best known of the tracks on Offenbarung since there is a video readily available on YouTube, and represents best the overall sound of the album. Terse strings play off of the drums, with the low vocals of Bérces echoing between the beats.
While there are certainly plenty of martial acts ruminating through the familiar German (real or perceived) territory, Kraschau deftly combines the tone and feel of the genre while making a strike for it’s own identity in a convincing manner.
01) Unser Glaubensbekenntnis
02) Kennst du deine Farben?
04) Heiliger Krieg (Innere und Äußere)
05) Lux Mundi I. (Der Schrift)
06) Lux Mundi II. (K.U.K.)
07) Egység és Rend
08) Nekünk Mohács Kell!
09) Heimatslos (Epilog)