Alex’s Hand formed back in October of 2011 in Seattle, Washington by Bassist Kellen Mills and Drummer Nic Barnes. They moved to Berlin and have toured in both Germany and France back in 2014. This year, they have released their third album entitled, Künstler Scheiße which translates to Artist’s Shit. Their sound is a combination of the Avant-Rock, Free Jazz, Chamber Music, and of course, Avant-Metal as if it’s in full circle.
Following in the footsteps of Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Charles Mingus, Igor Stravinsky, Gentle Giant, Diablo Swing Orchestra, King Crimson, Bela Bartok, and the Rock In Opposition movement, their music just took me by surprise the moment I’ve listened to Künstler Scheiße. This is a band that deserves some recognition big time. They have built a following in both Germany and France followed by the United States between California and Seattle.
With four enduring highlights throughout the entire album, it’s quite clear that Alex’s Hand are soon going to be one of my favorite bands to support and champion. Trained which a composition is done by Stephen Barnes, has these haunting minor piano melodies that resemble the twist between Alban Berg and Zeuhl masters, Magma. It is almost as if it was recorded during the sessions of their debut album, Kobaia and a continuation of the piece, Stoah.
Samba has this bizarre cross between as if Zappa was conducting bands such as; Gentle Giant, il Balletto di Bronzo, The Mars Volta and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It starts off with a chaotic synth introduction before the Latin groove with a psychedelic twist comes kicking the door down with a hardcore battering ram before delving into a swinging melodic jazz-rock line featuring soulful organ improvisations and then back into the strange groove again with a fast punch.
The 8-minute Evans Lips starts with crescendo guitars and dives into the pool of eerie ballads with reverb tenor sax’s and delay effects on the rhythm guitar. It suddenly changes into the style of Mr. Bungle and Avant-Metal-Post-Rock territories that will have you at the edge of your feet with mouth dropped on wondering what just happened and get the excitement going.
Mars Travolta which opens the album off, goes into a haywire effect of the Jazz-Rock waltz and then into the overdrive effect of a Chamber RIO Crimson momentum and guitar and sax flourishes going all over the directions that gives it the punching force. Not to mention the sinister bass lines and creepy structures in the midsection that gives the chilling factor a tour de force before it kicks back again.
The sax, guitar, and drums start going back into the crescendo mode as if they are making the jump to light speed for insane measures. It’s the music for the insane asylum. And believe me, this will knock your socks off when you turn this up to maximum volume. I love this album. Not just because it’s awesome, but the way they would make it sound like something straight out of a Ren & Stimpy cartoon or one of John Kricfalusi’s shorts from SPUMCO.
And while I’m new to Alex’s Hand, this is a band that will make you leap out of your seat when they hit that eruptive and explosive note with a gigantic blast. Künstler Scheiße is a stunner from start to finish with unexpected twists. If you love Chamber Rock, Avant-Garde music, Mike Patton, and the Rock In Opposition movement, then delve back into the pool again for the sounds of Alex’s Hand.
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