Erkonauts“You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Well what about Celtic Frost? Hellhammer? Krokus? Samael? The Erkonauts? Well none of those guys were around when Harry Lime uttered those immortal words in The Third Man so we’ll let him off.

The Erkonauts have reissued “I Did Something Bad” via Kaotoxin Records after they put it out themselves last year and have added a couple of extra tracks in for good measure.  Think Suicidal Tendencies/Infectious Grooves and Primus and you get the idea where the bass line is gonna take you. The opening track had me from Hello. How can you not be drawn in by “The Great Ass Poopery”?  The intro is pure Trujillo style funkadelia before spiralling off into an ST lead and a great sing along chorus which hopes for change in our human condition. These guys fill the void left by System of A Down in more ways than one except they eschew nu-metal musings for more groove metal riffage and spiralling guitar leads . This continues into “Tony 5” which has a strangely industrial edge with flakes of Killing Joke sprinkled on its metallic cupcake.  This is already sounding like a band that don’t fit into pigeonholes. There is a real punk rock spirit driving everything forward and “All the Girls Should Die” is like NOFX meets Alkaline Trio and shows that Ales Campanelli can handle harmony as well as aggro on vocals.  “Nola and “Dominum Mundi” that follow are percussive delights with dips into the post hardcore pool. “ Hamsters Ghosthouse” is as mad as a box of frogs but with a groovy bassline throughout that reminds me of The Union Underground, filled with swagger as it is.  Surely the Hamster is one rodent that is well overdue a metal anthem?

These Swiss fellas are not afraid to get their Prog on as well. “Gog” offers up metallic Opeth tones whilst “Your Wife” is a heartstring tugger that reminds me of Porcupine Tree run through a filter of Americana.

Now this album is meant to be 9 tracks as supposed finale “9 Is Better than 8” explains. A hyperblast of silliness that shows that these guys can rattle your heads as well as make you think.   So it is onto the two extra tracks that this reissue offers up.

“Machine” is a slab of industrial sounding metal like Primus meets Fear Factory which really showcased Kevin Choiral’s drumming and the twin attack of Los Sebos and Bakdosh Puiatta on guitars. Some strange vocals on here which don’t live up to the high standards on the rest of the album. Not out of tune just out of place in my opinion.

7 Minute closer “Culbutos” is a proggy doomy delight. A quick google of Culbuto tells me that this is a French toy like a weeble that wobbles and does not fall down. These guys have written songs for Hamsters and now for Weebles? Plus talk of Ass poopery? Gotta be a winner hey? In a world of clones releasing photocopied albums each month it is nice to hear something refreshingly different .

They will make you wobble in a good way.

(7.5/10 Matt Mason)