Review: The Antikaroshi ‘L’inertie Polaire’

I spent several days in Leipzig, not only taking in the sites of what was once one of East Germany’s major cities but also spending time at the 25th anniversary celebrations of Exile On Mainstream Records run by the dedicated and lovely Andreas Kohl. Many artists were viewed; Conny Ochs, Gavial, Ostinato, Treedeon, Gaffa Ghandi etc, all excellent as expected.

The Antikaroshi 'L’inertie Polaire' Artwork
The Antikaroshi ‘L’inertie Polaire’ Artwork

One band I wasn’t as familiar with however but who impressed me were Potsdam’s The Antikaroshi, a trio made up of Christoph Hennig (vocals/guitar/electronics), Dirk Hoffman (vocals/bass/electronics) and Andre Pautz (drums). L’inertie Polaire marks the band’s sixth full-length record and the follow-up to 2021’s Extract. Transform. Debase.

The title of this latest release is particularly intriguing, the promotional notes stating that it’s inspired by the book of the same name by Paul Virilio which centres around ‘the uncomfortable state of postmodern society capitulating before the increasing acceleration of technological progress’. Highbrow stuff, one can only pray the music will measure up.

Gravity is an exercise in post-hardcore Fugazi style excellence with urgent vocals not a million miles removed from that of the legendary Ian MacKaye. There’s also some cool muscular noise-rock recalling the much missed Tar and tracks such as Les Paul Worries. Growing up as a fan of both bands, I was left beaming in nostalgic delight. An excellent start.

Homohominilupus references situations where men behave like wolves. The vibe here is definitely math rock what with the lovely winding passages, think Maps & Atlases with additional proggy moments and some harsher Voivod flourishes towards the end. Doxa immediately brought to mind Wire which, if you are going to emulate one band from that late ‘70s post-punk scene then at the very least aim for the best, which they have done here. Excellent all round.

an exercise in post-hardcore Fugazi style excellence…

Lost In Compassion has a highly melodic yet driving quality reminiscent of the better bands from Dischord Records such as Bluetip and Lungfish, while Shiny White Teeth, the shortest track on the record, has a contrastingly abrasive hardcore sound, making it such an exciting and engaging listen. Sticky Hands maintains the energy levels of its predecessor, elements reminding this listener of Cap’n Jazz proto-emo goodness before that genre became an embarrassing laughing stock, while also embracing early ‘90s Neurosis when that band were starting to develop their apocalyptic vision.

Thousand Lakes takes a post-rock route ala labelmates Ostinato and perhaps even Tweez era Slint. There’s also more of an indie rock feel too, imagine an even slacker version of Dinosaur Jr (if such a thing is possible) adding some lightness of touch to proceedings. Authority features some spectacular fluid guitar playing and as with Thousand Lakes betrays post-rock and indie influences to brilliant effect.

Major Light is popping with disjointed funk and avant-pop inclinations, a little akin to what The Talking Heads would develop later in their career on records such as More Songs About Buildings And Food, with the addition with some of David Byrne’s unique geek chic Vocals. Tang Ping starts off in typical The Antikaroshi style before evolving into some really cool stoner rock and psych, making it one of the heavier and groovier tracks on the album and a fine way to conclude L’inertie Polaire.

The Antikaroshi don’t produce music for the casual music listener and that’s also an uncompromising vision which the late, great Steve Albini shared. However, perseverance brings its own rewards, meaning that you’ll be amply rewarded with what is a collection of well-crafted intelligently written songs that you’d be a fool to pass up on.

Label: Exile On Mainstream Records
Band Links: Official | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills