Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cripper - Killer Escort Service EP (2006)

Cripper can be legitimately viewed as a successor to Holy Moses. They've got the brutal but beautiful singer (Britta Görtz) and a down and dirty slew of riffing hostility that channels more of a street fueled anger akin to US thrash than most of the riotous speed and charisma of their German forebears. However, the guitar patterns and tempos are not always shared between the two, and it's not difficult to form a distinction, though Britta's vocals on this debut EP, Killer Escort Service certainly feel like 90s Sabina Classen more than, say, Arch Enemy's Angela. The mix here is really the only thing holding this back, with the vocals sounding a bit too cluttered, but otherwise there is a solid level of promise here that the band will further execute on their full-length, future efforts.

When you open a release with a clever song title like "Cut Me Into Pieces, 'Til I Fit Your Point of View", you are making a viable attention grab, but the song itself is a somewhat average slugfest of brute vocals, half-decent faster paced riffs that fall between the climes of pure thrash and melodic death, akin to Holy Moses or Exodus. "Dreams Your Master" is less aggressive, but features a lot more interesting guitar work, sorrow-filled lines that form a nice contrast to the thrash rhythms at its core, which are not so great. The next few songs, "Rage & Hate My Destiny" and "Wake Up Dead" are once again only half-formed: taut and pissed off, but with very little to distinguish them against a backdrop of far more well written European thrash. No, not even the weak, cleaner wailing vocals in "Wake Up Dead". "Wicked" suffers the same fate, but I'll admit that the closer, "Black Terra (Killer Escort Service)" has a more head banging thrust to it, even if the guitars aren't all that great.

Ultimately, there's not a hell of a lot to stand out about this release, but it's more like a demo than anything else, self-produced by the band and then independently distributed. Considering the lack of genuinely talented thrash bands with female singers, there is a particular novelty about Cripper, but only because of the gender ratio. There's nothing effeminate about Görtz's style, and while it might not be so impressive here, it's sufficiently angry enough to inhabit this realm of no-nonsense, workmanlike brutality. The points that are really in need of tuning here would be the songwriting. It's just too easy to forget everything here outside of the melodies from "Dream Your Master", and the choppy production does the material little justice. The Germans have something somewhat unique about them, sure, now it's time to assemble this advantage into quality thrash.

Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10]


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