For those of you that weren’t around for it, the late 90’s and early 00’s marked a really dark period for metal; a time where you weren’t cool unless you had Jncos, Axe body spray, bizarrely braided hair, and Daddy issues. Sure, there was plenty of great metal in the underground, but the stuff representing the genre in the mainstream was nu-metal and rap-metal, subgenres that elicit groans and angry head shakes at any record store as soon as you even mention them. Well, in case you miss the glory days of being able to “bawitdaba” at Woodstock ’99, Germany’s Kanzler & Söhne are here to fill the gap left by Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock (after they lost their fans due to puberty and/or High School graduation) with the band’s debut, Durch die Wände.
Kanzler & Söhne do little to differentiate themselves from the army of other rap-metal bands from the aforementioned dark ages; some crunchy guitar riffs given a rumbling low-end with heavy bass, and rapped verses and sung choruses. There honestly aren’t many moments that stand out, because everything you’ll hear on this record has been done before by Limp Bizkit and, to a lesser extent, Biohazard (though in their case there seemed to be a more honest attitude in the tone). The opening riff on the title track, “Durch die Wände,” showed promise, with a somewhat chuggy, almost hardcore sounding riff, before giving way to an awful ska/funk sounding plucking riff and funky, Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Flea-influenced bass line. “Ignorant” sounds like a rewrite of “Bartender” by (hed) PE which, again, shows the lack of originality in the songwriting department.
The rapper/vocalist at least seems to know what he’s doing, but lacks any real aggression, which some of the meatier riffs could have benefitted from. Had Durch die Wände been released about 15 years ago, I have no doubt all of the mallgoths at the Family Values Tour would have eaten it up like candy. The problem is that rap-metal has (for the most part) been uprooted by screamo, then metalcore, then deathcore, and now pseudo-prog, with fans demanding more and more aggressive tones and levels of technical abilities. The issue with this record is that the musicianship is simplistic, without enough aggression to make up for this lack of technical ability; to make things worse, they manage to sound pretty dated, despite this being their debut record. True, the production is pretty clean, and there are plenty of deep bass tones to give the riffs a slight lift in aggression, but the kind of heaviness we’re talking here is the kind that appeals to people that still listen to “Nookie” by Limp Bizkit.
I’m not necessarily against rap-metal as a whole, since I can still jam some Rage Against The Machine and Biohazard from time to time, or even some early Slipknot. I’m not even against new bands trying the style out, but if you’re going to delve into a genre that has obviously not aged well, try to bring some substance to the table, bring some originality.
If you’re into Significant Other by Limp Bizkit, or Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park, and somehow managed to ignore all the metal that has come out since those records were the hottest thing on MTV’s TRL, Kanzler & Söhne’s Durch die Wände will be the perfect addition to your collection.