When a band and artist which lives for live performance is completely restrained as all were by the Covid pandemic you can imagine the pent up frustration and desperate itch that builds and builds. Swedish rockers Transport League are an outfit which has proved an incessant wearing down of tarmac and stages over the past years, one again as so many looking for a release valve. For them it has come in the shape of new album, Kaiserschnitt. It is a beast of an encounter, one rippling with the renowned energy and dexterity the band unleashes on stage and creating a whole new tempest of the band’s infernal rock ‘n’ roll, and one seemingly bearing all their built up frustrations with pride.
Formed in 1994 and returning from hiatus around 2011, Transport League has unleashed a host of acclaim grabbing albums with the last, 2019’s A Million Volt Scream a new benchmark in the band’s ever evolving fusion of voracious rock and groove wired metal. It was for us a classic which continues to inflame ears and inspire throaty roars and now it has a formidable companion in Kaiserschnitt.
From the moment opener Atomic emerges from behind a disturbing nuclear family cursed veil, band and release were directing the show, grooves soon a nagging entwining of the senses as rhythms pounced with uniform incitement. The grisly tones of vocalist/band founder Tony Julien Jelencovich soon hold court, as usual commanding attention and sparking the feral incitement of the track even within its relatively controlled trespass. As guitarist Peter Hunyadi continued to spin burrowing grooves alongside Jelencovich’s own steely wiring, the song just escalated is addictiveness, preying on the listener with all the hunger those earlier mentioned frustrations might breed.
Criminal Energy follows; the rhythms of drummer Mattias Starander orchestrating focus and involvement even before those wonderfully accursed grooves uncage their contagious. Again there was no escaping being drawn into its nagging incitement or its dark intent driven by the throaty lines of bassist Dennis Österdal. Irritable and celebratory in every note and vocal uproar, quick submission was again grabbed.
Last year Transport League released a stunning version of Soundgarden’s Black hole Sun and the Seattle outfit seem an inspiration to the breath of next up Me the Cursed, a song which serenades with almost sunless beauty in voice and sonic tempting before rising to full height and marching through ears with rapacious glee. The track is simply outstanding, managing to eclipse the glory cast before it with an evocative and irresistibly addictive fusion of grunge, doom and groove metal.
Nailsober beckoned with restraint initially just so it could calmly sink its hellish jaws into the senses with creative ferity. As all tracks though, for all their primal aggression and varied rampancy, both an eager predator here, they are built on inspiring multi-flavoured craft and deft touches from the band’s imagination, Titty Coma Status further proof. With its web of hornet like grooving, every strand a stinging sizzling lacing upon the senses, the track soon gripped the passions with vocals and rhythms equally stirring our lust with their eager endeavour and even though composed and controlled in its attack, the track just wore away any resistance to its insatiable wants.
Across the virulent miscreant that is the album’s title track and the venomous contagion and manipulative holler of March, Kiss, Die, we only sunk deeper into the recesses of the album’s hellish infective temptation; both treating body and vocals chord like a puppet with relish and imagination, a partnership just as greedy within Sound. As guitars burrowed and creative hooks pierced, sonic and melodic enterprise crafted their own tapestry of drama and temptation, again Jelencovich a growling conductor to the hell borne persuasion upon ears.
The album’s closing trio of tracks proved no less gripping; the tenebrous climate and seduction of Autumn Moon also bearing that Chris Cornell and co seeding with its croon and breath sinister but alluring in a body bred on a collusion of extinction and romance while Death Klinik nagged and harassed in groove and rhythm, these lips greedily licked as again Jelencovich led an esurient appetite in song and victim alike.
Completed by Unburden Woes with its ursine attack and melodic dexterity united in ravenous infectiousness, that is Kaiserschnitt, another addiction forging encounter with Transport League proving that few if any one can create and trespass with the kind of infernal rock ‘n’ roll even the horned one could not escape.
Kaiserschnitt is released August 27th via Mighty Music in digital, LP, and CD formats.
Pete RingMaster 26/08/2021
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