Boomkat Product Review:
The definitive introduction to cult doom-jazz outfit Bohren & Der Club of Gore now pressed to vinyl for the first time. All classic, endlessly imitated Badalamenti x The Necks x Thomas Köner blends of humid suburban dread and club-basement smoke - real all-timer business.
Tired of playing in German hardcore bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bohren was formed in 1992 with an idea to harness Metal energy and render it in a low-lit and moody form, picking up the simmering suburban surrealism of David Lynch and his collaborator Angelo Badalamenti and crossing it with early Black Sabbath's half-speed doom blues. If Earth's big innovation was taking Sabbath's influence from Birmingham into the Wild West, Bohren piped that same wisp of thick, black smoke into rural Washington, infusing slow jazz with the kind of darkness that might not be visible to the naked eye, better felt in the back of your neck.
'Bohren for Beginners' is a perfect starter pack for the uninitiated. It's not a "best of" collection exactly, but a smartly assembled précis of the band's most important and stylistically coherent albums and EPs, assembled with flow in mind rather than chronology. 'Karin', a track from 2008's "Dolores" is followed by 2000's 'Prowler' - the former a molasses-slow dream sequence led by Christoph Clöser's evocative Rhodes and vibraphone hums, while the latter catches the band in full Roadhouse mode, with Thorsten Benning's skeletal drums gently underpinning Clöser's moody sax, Morten Gass's piano and Robin Rodenberg's loping bass.
Elsewhere tracks from early albums ‘Gore Motel’ and ‘Midnight Radio’ sit comfortably alongside 2002's ‘Black Earth’ (maybe our favourite Bohren) and 2005's underrated ‘Geisterfaust’. There's even a sick cover of German metal band Warlock's 'Catch My Heart' from their 2011 ‘Beileid’ EP that features Ipecac boss Mike Patton on vocals.
Smoke & neon, for the late night lovers.