Band â€â€œ Arnocorps
EP â€â€œ Iâ€™m Ballsy
Label â€â€œ Anticulture/Vulcan Sky Records
Release date â€â€œ June 2009 (yeah, late review)
Sounds like â€â€œ every time you hear Arnold Schwarzenegger scream â€œGOOOO!â€Â followed by an explosion. Then several more explosions.
Having exhausted nearly all the Arnold Schwarzenegger films by over ‘eggeringâ€™ (doesnâ€™t work) the basket on their debut album, ‘The Greatest Band Of All Timeâ€™ you could be forgiven for thinking that Arnocorps had run out of material. Fear not, they still have some tricks or should I say songs, up the sleeves of their combat fatigues. Whilst ‘Twinsâ€™ and thankfully, ‘Juniorâ€™ have failed to make the transition from screen to their new EP; such films as ‘Kindergarten Copâ€™, ‘Red Heatâ€™ and ‘Terminator 2â€™ make the cut, as does a re-recording of the song ‘Terminatorâ€™ from their first release.
Thereâ€™s nothing remotely clever about Arnocorps music, except perhaps the ability to match film dialogue/plot lines with a coherent tune â€â€œ a skill in which they are at the forefront and the true undisputed masters. At first, there seems very little change from 2005â€™s ‘The Greatest Band Of All Timeâ€™ â€â€œ itâ€™s the trademark sound; fast, aggressive faux-Austrian rock that slams into your ears with relentless force. However, the subtle differences start to break through, like that scene in ‘The Terminator’ where the shoddy-looking animatronic puppet tries to break through the factory door. They seem to have reigned in a lot more of the scrappier sounding, throw-away guitar parts, opting for a tighter, more focussed metallic attack. Holzfeuerâ€™s vocals are a barbed, ferocious instrument of bellowing noise, whilst the dual guitar attack of Barrakuda and Klampfe deviates into classic rock and 70s metal fury.
Opening track ‘Iâ€™m Ballsyâ€™ is, in Holzfeuerâ€™s immortal words, â€œa goddamn anthem of our generation right hereâ€Â¦â€Â and heâ€™s not wrong. Note to bands: this is how you open a record. No plagiarised samples, no electronic ambient bullshit 1-minute fade-in load of granny cock; you need your singer bellowing about what a massive studly bastard he is and what cigars he smokes. This could well one of the most perfect songs ever â€â€œ itâ€™s incorrigible, pummelling punk-rock nature, coupled with self-appraising vocals of grandeur, some terrific backing vocals and a chorus that latches on to you with a force equal to that of a Terminator back-hand through a brick wall. ‘Iâ€™m Ballsyâ€™ is the kind of song that leaves you breathless, with the same â€œwhat the fuckâ€Â feeling that John Connor no doubt felt after being lifted one-handed off his pushbike by a square-chinned, shotgun totting man in black leathers. ‘Red Heatâ€™ follows a similar path; – itâ€™s 3 minutes of Zeke-inspired speed-punk rumbles past a breath-taking rate. The rhythmic hammer of the brothers Alder (Gellend on drums and Toten on bass) pounds through this Russian buddy-cop film with thunderous intent, whilst Holzfeuer rattles off quick lyrical jabs, chanting at the end for us to â€œFEEL THE BURN! FEEL RED HEAT!â€Â
Whether they know or reference it as an influence or not, The Ramones play a part in the Arnocorps sound, particularly on ‘You Lack Discipline.â€™ From the shrill piercing whistle opening and the rollicking drum roll, to the skate-punk rush of clattering guitars; the spirit of Joey, Dee Dee and the others lives on in the form of 5 burly action adventure rock ‘n roll heroes. Itâ€™s hard not to raise a smile to the lyrics, which reference one particular cinematic outing, which featured the governor of California teaching a bunch of toddlers how to march, tidy up their mess, look after ferrets and dismantle machine guns (ok not this). The very fact they managed to shoe-horn in the â€œIT IS NOT A TUMOR!â€Â line, singles the anthemic ‘You Lack Disciplineâ€™ as one of the best tracks the ‘Corps have ever released. Holzfeuer exhibits the kind of pent-up rage that any drill instructor has, and expels it with such fever-soaked tgusto, itâ€™s hard not to begin chanting along, fist in the air, screaming for â€œDISCIPLINE!â€Â
The re-recorded version of ‘Terminatorâ€™ (original features on TGBOAL); is obviously present to tie in with the 4th film of the ‘brain-destroying-paradoxâ€™ that the Schwarzenegger series has now become, despite the fact the big man himself is only present as a computer generated visage. The drumming appears faster and more focused, whilst Holzfeuerâ€™s growl is stronger than ever, showing how his vocal range has achieved a grittier, vicious bloodlust of fury. ‘Judgement Dayâ€™ is ‘Terminatorâ€™sâ€™ brother-in-arms; and whilst retaining the same speed-punk romp, thereâ€™s a distinct amount of melody particularly in the opening 30 seconds, which chug at a sturdy, unbalanced pace. The lyrics obviously detail the plot of T2; â€œI need your boots, your clothesâ€Â¦.and your motorcycle!â€Â and the chorus of â€œchill out, dickwadâ€Â¦a storm is coming on Judgement Day!â€Â A heroic mid-air arm-wrestle of pure ballsy determination is raised for the guitars, which squeal with cock-rock exuberance and the kind of headbang-demanding enthusiasm that cannot be faulted. As a nice touch, Holzfeuer also references the ‘rescue squadâ€™ from the ‘Predator‘ film; something that he no doubt attributes the band to be, due to their preference of combat fatigues. ‘Rise of the Machinesâ€™ rounds of proceedings with a sturdy, yet desolate sounding piece that whilst to all appearances is a driving, metallic-rock number, seems to detail a hopeless and fearful future of our planet consumed by automation.
‘The Ballsyâ€™ EP is a welcomed return from one of the most exciting and interesting hard-rock bands around; proof that goddamn heroes still exist; itâ€™s the perfect soundtrack to enjoy alongside the following activities:
Carrying logs on your damn shoulder
Scaling a cliff
Throwing a boulder
Vulcan Sky Records
By Ross Macdonald