Granted, there are bands that keep it shorter and simpler than BARRELS from Hamburg, Germany – considering that the total running time of the band’s new EP exceeds 28 minutes. On the other hand, there’s plenty of things to tell and talk about. BARRELS have always followed a headstrong approach built on suspense and dynamics when writing and arranging songs. Chunky and jagged early Helmet-style riffs are combined with the groovy heaviness established by bands such as Quicksand, topped with catchy, playful harmonies reminiscent of those Texas Is The Reason used to write back in the day, and eventually give way to angry outbursts in the finest Drive Like Jehu tradition.
Much of this is owed to the band’s diversely skilled and intensely precise new rhythm section, Lutz Möllmann (drums) and Arne Hollmann (bass, vocals), who quickly proved to be the perfect backbone for the steady, layered walls of noise and melody forged by Frederic Klemm (vocals, guitar) and Anselm Klumpp (guitar).
The band’s mix of noise, punk, hardcore, emo, and indie provides a great vehicle for expressing profound anger – and, as we all know, there were more than enough reasons to get angry in 2019. While the band’s debut album “Invisible” dealt with the tragic passing of a family member, the new EP revolves around social and political grievances. In a world dominated by unbridled greed for profit and reckless, selfish rulers, the four Hamburg-based musicians belong to the privileged ones and, thus, face moral and personal questions that concern many fans of the genre – the things happening right on our doorsteps as well as the larger issues arising from the comfort and convenience that the global village offers to the lucky few.
Without a doubt, the ability to perform creative work across international boundaries is among the benefits of the global village: The songs were recorded by Olman Wiebe at Hertzwerk Studio in Hamburg and mixed at The Magpie Cage in Baltimore by Jawbox singer and guitarist J. Robbins – a true independent icon who co-shaped the genre by recording bands such as Clutch, Against Me!, Texas Is The Reason, and Jawbreaker. The finishing touches to the Hanseatic-American project were made at Sun Room Audio by mastering engineer Dan Coutant, known for his work with bands such as The Sword, Matt Pond PA, Jawbox, and Red Hare.
The new material has already been put to the test. In December 2019, BARRELS played several shows in front of audiences ranging from 50 to 2000 people in Northern Germany. The EP is now available digitally and on transparent clear vinyl. Of course, the band will hit the road again once the record has been unleashed unto the public. BARRELS songs certainly work best in analog settings – i.e. live or on vinyl. However, if you prefer streaming or a digital warm-up, Spotify, Bandcamp & Co. are happy to introduce you to the new tunes.