Fjørt - Kontakt (Cover Artwork)


Kontakt (2016)

Grand Hotel van Cleef

One of the more interesting aspects about alternative music, whether it be punk, hardcore, metal, (choose your own flavour) etc., is how it’s varying moods and dynamics can seem to transcend the barrier of language. This isn’t to say that English doesn’t have its charms, and often the most loved and accessible records use English as the chosen medium for no other reason than familiarity and universal appeal, but occasionally a foreign language band (and we use the term ‘foreign’ quite liberally) will arrive and upset the status quo by being more direct and engaging than their English speaking contemporaries. There’s certainly dozens of examples that could come to mind, but groups like Norway’s Kvelertak or Japan’s Envy immediately float to the surface.

And it’s here that German three-piece Fjørt make their entrance into this deserving pantheon. On their second full-length LP, Kontakt, the group fuses together the best elements of melodic hardcore with your catch-all, ‘post-whatever' styles. Across 11 blistering and engaging tracks, an attentive listener might find shades of post-rock, or noise, or even screamo—but nonetheless, it’s a fusion that stands out as potent and thoroughly vital to Fjørt’s sound, and something that’s sure to resonate with fans of Birds In Row, Pianos Become The Teeth, KEN mode or anything in between.

Standout tracks like “Anthrazit”, “Belvedere” and closer “Lebewohl” showcase the Aachen trio’s talent for delicate and lush instrumentals, with atmospheric guitars and huge, dynamic crests that ebb and flow effortlessly across your ears. These fragile moments of emotional rhapsody are consequently tempered with aggression, as tracks like “Lichterloh”, “Paroli”, “Revue” and the title track bring controlled bursts of venom and fury into the mix, with energetic drumming and plenty of rumbling bass tones, perfectly contrasting their gratuitous use of melody. As highlighted above, the lyrics are all spoken in German, which on first appearance might seem like an obstacle to making a lasting connection with this record, but on repeated listens, this turn out to be the exact opposite. Understanding almost no German (shy of ‘scheiße’ and ‘danke’) didn't stop me from enjoying the shit out of this record, and if anything, it made me dig deeper to find my own special resonance with the music. Members Chris (lead vocals/guitar) & David (backing vocals/bass) trade spoken word vocals with mid-range yells and the occasional throat-shredding scream, reflecting off one another and making each and every word sound heartfelt, raw and visceral.

On the whole, what Fjørt have crafted on Kontakt is something that is as angry as it is affectionate, successfully pairing shimmers of emotion with hardcore outbursts. It’s a record that stands defiant with a sound that is at once complex, challenging and cathartic, and comes highly recommended for those who can appreciate beauty within brutality.