Kaizer is not a kind of a project that needs no introduction yet. So, let me introduce some context to begin with.
According to official data, the band was formed in 2016 by experienced musicians who have known each other for a long time, playing in other bands. Press releases from the time described the band`s sound as a mixture of Gothic, Dark Rock, NDH and Dark Pop. In fact, the style of Kaizer at that time and at the present moment can be described as Gothic Metal in the spirit of Mono Inc., with male and female vocals and German-language lyrics. It is interesting to note that the debut album called “Lebenszeitverschwender” was produced by Jose Alvarez-Brill (may he rest in peace!), the coolest pop producer who worked with De/vision, Wolfsheim, Joachim Witt, Unheilig and many others at different times, one of the most talented people, whose style I personally did not manage to recognize on Kaiser’s debut album. Frankly speaking, I don’t remember the album for anything, except for a frankly weak Depeche Mode song cover. To be fair, the “Lebenszeitverschwender” album still has some good melodies, but the overall level of songwriting leaves much to be desired.
With such “bright” impressions from the debut album of the band, the announcement of the release of the second full-length LP of the project interested me only because it was supposed to be released under the strict management of Chris Harms who is currently one of the main producers of the entire German rock scene. Of all the singles that preceded the release of the “Leidwerk” album, I was only hooked by the track called “Aschekleid”, but nevertheless they could fuel my interest in the album. And how pleasantly I was surprised to listen to the entire album as a single piece of music. Even those singles that did not attract my attention before the release of the disc could somehow open up in a different way in the context of the entire album. Now as enough time has passed since the release of “Leidwerk”, I can definitely say that this album has become one of the most notable works on the German gothic metal scene this year.
I don’t know if the collaboration with Harms influenced the band so much, but comparing this record with their debut album, one can argue that this is a completely different level. This applies not only to the sound itself that has become more saturated, more spatial, brighter, with a thick rhythm-guitar tone and a ringing and clear rhythm section, but, more importantly, to the quality of songwriting in general. The new Kaizer album sounds more sophisticated in every way; male and female vocals match more organically, the guitar riffs are either not as primitive as in the debut album, or are played together with keys and drums so that it is impossible to doubt their relevance; melodies stick to your memory even before the last chord of the song is played. By the way, here I would like to emphasize the hit potential of the record. Nowadays this happens not so often but after the first (!) listening to the album, I could at least approximately reproduce each of the 12 songs of the album by the name of the song in the tracklist. I think this is quite significant in this kind of music.
I also want to touch upon female vocals. I didn’t get deeply into the twists and turns of the band`s line-up, but it is obvious from the music videos of the band that there is a different female vocalist in “Leidwerk” now and this is just the case when the change of a vocalist did the band only good. At the same time, the image of the band remained rather ridiculous, but that`s a different story…
Let’s get back to music and analogies. If at the beginning I used Mono Inc. as a reference for the first album of the band, then I would compare “Leidwerk`s” material with the music by Spielbann that has now sunk into oblivion. But, of course, these are all imagery, and the best way to understand why Kaizer and their second full-length release have burst into the vanguard of the new German gothic metal scene is to listen to the album.
If suddenly, after reading this review, it seemed to you that something exceptional awaits you, then this is not entirely true. Still, Kaizer have definitely not offered something new and revolutionary to the genre – fans of it have already heard all this more than once, to one degree or another. The main strength of “Leidwerk” is how these ideas, musical grooves and patterns are implemented. And they are implemented quite well, in my opinion, as you could already understand. So, if the German school of gothic metal is basically close to you, then I`m sure that Kaizer will fit perfectly into your playlists.
- Band: Kaizer
- Album: Leidwerk
- Genre: Gothic metal/rock
- Country: Germany
- Release: August 13, 2021
- Label: Trisol Music Group
- Facebook Page: facebook.com/Kaizerberlin
- Buy & Download & Stream: backl.ink/146766740
Reviewer Score: 8 out of 10
Author: Irgend Jemand, specially for the NDH FM Online.
Translated by Yuri Kudryavtsev.