…and the Rest is Firewood
Furniture is a nice thing, and most of the time the pieces are also very useful. They provide a lot of great storage space and offer loads of possibilities. However, one should keep Schizofrantik outside the boundaries of genre drawers at all costs, because Martin Mayrhofer and his fellow members would definitely feel constrained rather quickly – and it is not a clever idea to risk them trying to escape as they would probably leave behind nothing but neatly chopped firewood. Luckily Bavaria-based Schizofrantik channel their energy in a much more productive way, as is beautifully evident on their sensational new album Ripping Heartaches.
The music of many groups requires a closer description in addition to the bandname, however, in Schizofrantik’s case there is very little need for further explanation. If you have always wanted to know what it would sound like if King Crimson teamed up with Frank Zappa and Bela Bartok to set a precisely concerted stroke to music, Ripping Heartaches will finally answer your prayers. Mastermind Martin Mayrhofer mercilessly bullwhips the songs through genres and yet he manages to never lose the spine that holds the composition together. Tricky math-like riffs are followed by brutal outbursts of anger and finally flow into melancholic melodies of heartache: the Munich-based guitarist and singer has filled Ripping Heartaches up to the brim with musical creativity. That is the foundation upon which the songs about Buddhist teachings and the Weltschmerz of our time are built. While Ripping Heartaches’ predecessor The Knight on the Shark still used a rather humorous tone, the new album spins a much bigger wheel.
Isolated parts of the songs may seem unwieldy at first, but Mayrhofer manages to reconcile such conflicts through his songwriting skill and by making a virtue of necessity: the newly created elements are integrated into the bigger picture, so in his case the template is adjusted to the workpiece – not the other way around. Mayrhofer particularly points out the opening song Satan and Death Separated by Sin which he even names as a highlight of all his work as a composer. That is why Schizofrantik’s Ripping Heartaches is by no means a stringent and defined single entity that follows plans and ideas. The album much more embodies a new and unique perspective by fusing factors that have previously seemed incompatible. It is impossible to put a label on Ripping Heartaches – because it is a label of itself.
More than ever Schizofrantik do not take prisoners on their latest offering. After thirty years on the stage Martin Mayrhofer’s compositions have reached a degree of precision that is as fascinating as it is uncompromising. Even in the field of progressive avantgarde rock it is a rare event to see such universal transcendence. In Henning Lübben (keyboards), Christian Schichtl (drums) and the latest addition Marco Osmajic (bass) the founder has gathered a virtuoso troupe that plays its own part in breathing life into the mastermind’s enormously ambitious approach. That is why, in spite of all technical and compositional complexity, emotions are always a vital and present part of the song through which the pieces are provided with the warmth of accessibility.
Ripping Heartaches’ exuberant energy makes it a real treat for every lover of ambitious rock music. Buffs of antique furniture should, however, go about business in a rather cautious way. On the other hand… even a pulverized seventeenth-century sideboard could not deny: Schizofrantik give you one hell of a run for your money!
|Label||Gentle Art Of Music|
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|
10. Rabbit Hole