Berri Txarrak - Denbora Da Poligrafo Bakarra (Cover Artwork)

Berri Txarrak

Denbora Da Poligrafo Bakarra (2014)

Only in Dreams

Berri Txarrak (“bad news” in Euskara) is a three-piece rock band from Basque Country, Spain. They're rather big in their country, and they've been playing since 1994. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, they've decided to raise the stakes a bit with their new album, Denbora Da Poligrafo Bakarra (“time is the only polygraph”). It consists of three EPs, each recorded with a different producer. And they are by no means obscure names: we got Ross Robinson for the first one, Ricky Falkner for the second, and none other than Bill Stevenson for the third one. The EPs do indeed sound quite different from each other, which makes for a very interesting listen.

The first one, Sutxakurrak (“wildfires” or "will-of-the-wisp" depending on who you ask) is the one most consistent with their older material. It sounds a lot like they previous effort, “Haria”, which was produced by Robinson as well. I find myself in a tight spot trying to describe this music. Not that it's particularly ground-breaking, but I can't think of many bands that sound like this. It's a very heavy, mainly mid-tempo rock, with more that a bit of a Black Sabbath influence in the guitar. They sound very “modern” though. Perhaps Cave In might come to mind, or Black Map. Actually yes, Black Map might be the best analogy. BT's voice, though, is less melodic, at least in this EP, which in my opinion takes some of the potential away. Much as they show some true craftmanship – they are after all long-time professionals – the songs tend to blend into each other a bit. It also helps that the lyrics sound all the same to me, since, like they've always done, they sing in basque.

Next up is Helduleku guztiak (“all the handles”). This is where the band departs most from its typical style. I had never heard of Ricky Falkner before, but apparently he's a big name in Spain, having worked with some famous local bands like punk-rockers Standstill. This EP is very melodic and much softer than the first one. The songs are faster and very “dry”, with perhaps even some Dire Straits taste in the verses, but open up on the choruses with big guitars and great melodies. The result is a very fresh, light, and catchy pop rock with tinges of punk. Bele Erraldoia (“A giant crow”) leans more towards the punk rock side and the result is just great, but the whole ep is very good.

The third EP, whose title means “Cultural Check-mate,” is the “simplest” one for me. Bill Stevenson gives the band a classic “modern-punk rock” style, and the sounds- more than the songs themselves, which remain quite personal– come out a lot like anything you'd expect such as Rise Against, Only Crime, whatever. Fast and aggressive yet melodic, it is definetly the most appealing to me and, I venture to say, to the readers of this website.

As far as the lyrics go, they are as I mentioned in Basque, but the band provides english translations on their website. I gave them a quick look and they seem poetic and angsty, though I couldn't find a specific common theme. Read this and judge by yourselves: “Take my poetry / All my lacks in twisted lines / two thousand names and your eyes / like a pseudonym for frost / that freezes everything.”

All in all this is a very good record. The first EP is the heaviest one but also the least remarkable, both with respect to the other two and with the band's older material. The other two are lighter and more personal. Berri Txarrak is a great band – both on record and live, check them out and you won't be disappointed.