Somebody at Time Out once memorably said of Austrian agitators Der Blutharsch ‘you wouldn’t want them running your country but their music is impossible to summarily dismiss’ – or words to that effect- and it’s a statement that holds as much water today as when it was first uttered in 2006. Der Blutharsch frontman Albin Julius – a former member of Death in June, after all – has enjoyed bathing in the dubious baths of quasi-fascist imagery alongside the likes of Laibach and a host of others in his time; but his music, even with Death in June, is never less than interesting, and as Der Blutharsch have mutated into their current status as part of the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand the echoes of his martial-industrial past become ever more distant.
Latest album Wish I Weren’t Here is a case in point; save for the Germanic script of the band’s logo little remains of the past, not least the music, which spurns the temptation to rely on former ‘glories’ and bravely strides ahead on its own terms, forging a new sound that believe it or not has more in common with British progtivists Crippled Black Phoenix than The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud. Tracks like Just Because I Can sound more like the Velvet Underground’s Venus in Furs than the Horst Wessel Song, and the driving gothic space rock of My Soul Rests Low is something of a krautrock extravaganza that you end up wishing would last for far longer than it’s three and a half minute duration.
Der Blutharsch will never be able to shake off their dubious past, but whilst they continue to make interesting and demanding music such as that found on Wish I Weren’t Here they’ll find themselves attracting a whole new fanbase, of that I’m sure. Worth checking out.
Wish I Weren’t Here is out now.