On The ‘Knight on the Shark’ the southern German avant-garde progressive rockers Schizofrantik grab the listener and swirl him through the air, they beat and anoint him, they make feelings of desperation arise. And yet, when the last note fades out, the band leaves us with a feeling of absolution. Here is the best aspect about the new record: this seven-song-ride is one tremendous listening pleasure.
The band’s name says it all: “wild”, “fearful”, “happy”, “raging”, “feverish”. These are all synonyms for “frantic” and it lies in the artistic schizophrenia of the Munichers that their new masterpiece lives up to all five of the adjectives at any time during the course of the new record.
2011’s Oddities, which has received rave reviews from critics from all over the globe, was only the most recent in a long line of albums that Schizofrantik has released since its inception in 1998. It lies in its steady artistic output that the band has continuously gained the status of an insiders’ tip among the German avant-garde scene. With the release of The Knight on the Shark, however, the band has now made a real substantial leap in its musical evolution.
The trio, consisting of mastermind Martin Mayrhofer (guitar and vocals), bassist Peter Braun and drummer Andy Lind, is now releasing an opus on which melody, aggression, emotionality, virtuous musical craftsmanship and an impressive degree of compositional bravery coexist in a symbiosis that can justly be described as nothing short of flawless.
Considering the influences of Schizofrantik that range from bands like Slayer, Voivod and Celtic Frost via the Gothic-New Wave sound of Dead Can Dance or Germany’s Einstürzende Neubauten all the way to Primus, Rush, King Crimson and Mr. Bungle, on fact quickly dawns on the listener: simply putting the tag “progressive rock” on the new album would actually border on false understatement. The reason for that can actually be found in the already mentioned fearlessness. Because, even though his effective musical influence is not of enormous extent, Frank Zappa remains the most important of all the pioneers that have preceded Schizofrantik’s way. “He showed me what is possible in music and he provided me with an entirely new access to the art form,” says songwriter Martin Mayrhofer.
In the spirit of Mr Zappa ‘The Knight on the Shark’ is characterized by a sort of curious free-spiritedness that consequently allows Mr Mayrhofer to make cyborg dogs, the connection between Nazis and LSD, orphans at a butcher’s shop, or, as in the title track, knights on sharks the subjects of his songs. Thanks to the explanatory stories in the record’s booklet, seven overwhelming pieces of music morph into one harmonious masterpiece. Track by track it reveals itself to the listener and reaches into previously unknown depths of artistic complexity. Ultimately The Knight on the Shark is more than just the sum of its parts.
Considering the utter lack of compositional conventionality, one is quick to assume what Martin Mayrhofer himself confirms: actually, all he wants to do is play. “For some reason I simply feel the urge to compose and record music – there’s not really much more to it.”
In this statement, again, the recurring topic of understatement becomes easily visible, because, without a doubt, one thing is certain: without Schizofrantik not only the scene but progressive avant-garde-fans all across the world would miss out on a true masterpiece.
Ladies and Gentlemen: ‘The Knight on the Shark’.
|Label||Gentle Art Of Music|
For many years, SCHIZOFRANTIK have already been playing live and did even make it to the famous „Burg Herzberg“ – Festival. Now they’re releasing their debut album „Oddities“ on the german Proglabel „GENTLE ART OF MUSIC“, as they’re breaking with all musical and social conventions, in the good old Avantgard manner.
Even with their Name, the 4 Munich Musicians are making their picture of the world very clear: The combination between „Schizophrenia“ and „Emotional rush“, the brokenness between Chaos and Order, technical genius and released safety, are sensible with every single tone. That’s why it is no surprise that MARTIN MAYRHOFERR, head of the band, did not only cross ways with „superdrummer“ MARCO MINNEMANN, but did also walk together with the well-known Jazzmetal-Band „PANZERBALLETT“ and of course got himself a more than versed Band for his own project: Keyboarder MARKUS JEHLE (RPWL), as well as drummer ANDY LIND (ACHT, LIND,…) are well-known authorities in the music scene.
For their studio debut, SCHIZOFRANTIK did make a more than Image-fitting theme their own: „ODDITIES“ is dealing with the Lynch-Classic „THE ELEPHANT MAN“, in which John Merrick, caught between Ausgrenzung and Akzeptanz, is standing in the eternal fight for humanity, which he is giving up at least. This critical Concept Album, based on a true story, is holding lots of space for several different emotional facets, expecially with the Main Character John Merrick: Loneliness, otherness, as well as trust and musings are part of the story around „ODDITIES“.
Even such a complex theme is not a difficulty for MARTIN MAYRHOFER and his band: “As we’re all musically open-minded and bound in no case, we are able to let emotions flow and think without category borders. Schizofrantik is to me the avoidanve of standartized styles– perhaps this is why David Lynch has always been fascinating me.“. Speric Guitar-planes, being crashed by brachial Metalriffs, as well as despaired yells or release, that are giving goosebumps to the listener – SCHIZOFRANTIK’s asonishing emotionality is – despite tricky rhythm changes and non-conformal song structurs – omnipresent.
Let’s stay curious, which surprises this band holds Live.
|Label||Gentle Art Of Music|