Review: Caca De Luna “Züchtigungstheater” [Give Praise Records]

Review: Caca De Luna “Züchtigungstheater” [Give Praise Records]

- in Reviews

Caca De Luna is a grindcore band from Germany that I was recently introduced to for the first time, with their newest album Züchtigungstheater, released on February 5th, 2022 through Give Praise records. I haven’t heard them until now, about 7 months after its release. It’s apparently the third album from what I can tell, but I can definitely say that they started off this year in terms of grindcore releases with a bomb. Now what do I mean by that? Do I mean that as a good thing or a bad thing? Would I recommend it? Well, let’s figure that out together!

The album itself consists of 18 tracks total, and like most Grindcore albums- the tracks are pretty short in length, most of the tracks are somewhere in between the 1 and 2 minute mark, some of them less, like the 6 second “Gedanken” (the shortest track of the album), and the 48 second “Friss und stirb”. The longest song in total is “Verzicht”, being 2 minutes and 16 seconds long, so lengthwise this is about what you’d expect from grindcore. Doesn’t overstay its welcome, but it comes in, fucks up your room in a sonic cyclone of noise, and then leaves. And I’m pretty sure that listening to it, you wouldn’t encounter anything out of the ordinary when exploring the spheres of grindcore, but that’s definitely not a bad thing in my opinion. Of course you have the chaotic and explosive riffs, blasting drum beats, evil sounding growly/grunty vocals and angry, acrid shrieks, but it also adds quite a bit of D-beat and other crusty, punky influences with the drumming, the occasional mid-paced and slower riffs to break up the speed, and even the shouted vocals and gang choruses that you’d typically associate with hardcore punk and adjacent styles.

Indeed, the songs are rather simple in structure, but it still can be pretty memorable- which I sometimes prefer to an overabundance in complexity when it comes to extreme metal (not that I don’t enjoy the occasional tech death or prog music). As I said, it’s pretty fast and chaotic, but it really strikes a fair balance with the more midtempo D-beat sections, and the slower breaks throughout the album. The pacing of the album makes it pretty interesting to me. It’s certainly not the first grindcore album to incorporate crust punk elements of course, and to throw in riffs that are on the slower or mid-paced side of things, but even in the faster paced sections, the riffs can be pretty memorable, not just an incoherent mass of noise. The production itself isn’t just super polished, while also not sounding like it was produced in a bedroom. The guitars keep a buzzy edge while not sounding like they were recorded and mixed on a microwave, the drumming sounds pretty decent, and the vocals have a raw quality to them without being, say, raw black metal “raw”, like black cilice or even leviathan or xasthur- but they definitely sound angry and venomous, which only seems to be accentuated by the fact that they’re delivered in German. Because really, the only thing that sounds angrier and venomous than spoken German is screamed, shouted and diabolically grunted right? Not to trash on the German language of course, it’s a pretty cool and interesting language.

Joking aside though, the album really delivers on the expectations you have from grindcore. The metallic hum of the bass keeps up with the pace of the music pretty well- it’s pretty much what you’d expect from most extreme metal and hardcore genres, adding to the explosiveness of the riffing, along with the drumming. They don’t steal the show by any means, but they definitely contribute to the power of the music. The riffs are probably the part of the album that earns the highest praise from me, along with the vocals. Maybe it’s just because I have more experience with guitar and vocals myself, so I tend to pay the most attention to those, but they definitely make up the most memorable moments of the album. A lot of times they have a ricocheting effect, bouncing off of each other, “Krieg” is probably one of the catchier songs on the album, and then you have songs like “Scalve”, which seem to lean more towards the extreme metal side of things to me. If you want explosiveness, I’d point you to the song “Damlich”, while if you like D-beat and punkier stuff, I’d point you towards “Ach scheisse das war heute” & “Tag ypsilon”. There’s also something I love about hammer-ons when I spot them, and the song Maske for example has some hammer-ons that I love towards the end. Occasionally you get really crunchy breaks in the tracks, like the aforementioned “Friss und stirb”- then “Gehrirnbrandattentat” has a breakdown that sounds almost like a genuine mental breakdown.

When the slower riffs come in, they just provide that foreboding feeling you have before a disaster just comes in to fuck everything up. Most of the slower riffs on the album I can easily imagine being made up of prime moshing material as well, and I can’t help but wonder how insane the shows may be when the band is playing live. I’m sure they mostly play shows in Europe, so I don’t know if I’d be able to find out first-hand myself any time soon, but from the few experiences I’ve had at grindcore and hardcore shows I’ve been to, I can easily see people losing their shit whenever the breaks in the songs do come in. The choruses are pretty memorable as well, having a chanty quality that you might hear in a political demonstration a lot of times, especially when the hardcore shouts and gang choruses are being used. The longest song in fact, “Verzicht”, has a kind of chanted, screamed chorus as the guitars are ringing out throughout the song, and that, coupled with the riffs in the song make that one of the most memorable songs on the album in my opinion. Then there’s the opposite end of the albums extremes, “Gadanken”, which is just an abrupt explosion of music, a shrieked phrase, then an abrupt end- pretty much what you expect with the oh so famous grindcore microsong. Then it all comes to an end with the devastating “Talenteschmiede erde”, which in my opinion just kind of sounds like an apocalypse being delivered to your front doorstep.

I’ve only taken a class in German for one semester of college, so I can’t say I’m particularly fluent in the language, but from what I could gather from plugging the song titles into Google translate, if the song titles are anything to go by, I’d guess the themes of the album are probably centered mostly around the ills of society, life and death, perhaps a bit of war, anger, maybe even mental illness. I’d guess there’s even a bit of humor thrown in, with song titles like “Ah scheisse das war heute”, which apparently translates into “Oh shit, that was today”- which is very relatable for me personally. The album title itself translates to “Chastisement theater” from what I’ve been able to figure out by plugging it in, which could definitely have pretty strong implications. I can’t really be too sure of the overall message that they deliver in their lyrics without reading and being able to translate them though, so it’s mostly just conjecture based on what could be gathered from my own observations.

So overall, I call this album a bomb- not because it’s bad, but because it’s an explosion that will send the audial equivalent of shrapnel into your ear drums. If I had to compare it to other grindcore bands I’ve listened to, I’d probably say that it reminds me of rotten sound, with the slower and mid-paced elements that break up the speed of the album, and maybe Agathocles or Cripple Bastards, not that I’d consider it to be “mincecore”, but more because of the heavy crust punk and d-beat influences I’ve picked up on in the album. The album doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel or shatter the status quo of grindcore, but if you like grindcore that comes in, fucks shit up, and then leaves without overstaying its welcome, I’d certainly recommend “Zuchtigungstheater” to you. Such was probably the intent of the album, they seem to lean on more of an old-school grindcore style, so it’s probably not meant to just entirely shatter what your conception of grindcore can be, I believe that may be what bands like gridlink or discordance axis are for, but it does its job, and it does its job well, and what more can you ask when you have a grindcore itch that needs scratching?

If I had to give it a rating, I’d give it probably a 7.5/10 or an 8/10, depending on how much of a hankering for a decent grindcore album I’m feeling.

If you give it a listen and decide that you like it enough, you can go to their bandcamp page, they’re selling a vinyl/shirt bundle on there if you don’t mind paying for the extra shipping from Europe (assuming you live in the states), or you can get just the LP from FYE, or Tower records (if you prefer to support labels) for about $17, $18. So feel free to check it out and see for yourself what you might think of it.

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