Rasta Knast - Friede, Freude, Untergang (Cover Artwork)

Rasta Knast

Friede, Freude, Untergang (2009)

Varning! För Punk

Swedish-style melodic punk rock (called Trallpunk) is not very well-known in the English-speaking world, with the possible exception of some of Millencolin's early work or "Skum of the Land" by Skumdum. In making the transition from Swedish to another language, however, something that I can't exactly quantify is typically lost in the process. When I found out several years ago about Rasta Knast, a German band that plays Trallpunk (including some German reinterpretations of Swedish songs), I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the result was actually better than the already excellent Swedish bands.

After a six-year silence since their last LP (a live album excepted), Rasta Knast finally released a new EP earlier this year titled Friede, Freude, Untergang ("Peace, Joy, Demise"), cramming four tracks into a succinct 11-minute affair.

The opening track, "Feuertaufe" ("Baptism by Fire"), takes only a few seconds to knock you off your feet with its energy, guitar work, and vivid lyrics that continue unabated for the whole two minutes and change the song lasts. Next is "Wohlstandsland" ("Land of Prosperity"), which is also very good. While not as hard-hitting as "Feuertaufe," the melody is good and the lyrics are strong.

Third is "39 Grad" ("39 Degrees"), and while it's not bad, it's probably the weakest track on the EP, both musically and lyrically. The single verse is rather short, and it's followed by a repetitive, yet not very memorable chorus.

The final song, "Die Anderen" ("The Others"), while slower-paced than the previous songs, is probably the strongest track on the EP. The song has a catchy melody and masterfully-crafted lyrics to highlight the antipathy that many people have toward homeless people. The following lyrics (translated) capture the spirit of the song:

In front of the subway station, a man lay for hours
who doesn't move a finger
'He probably didn't want to work,
lay down here out of laziness
Good thing they lock up the stations at night'
Several people were already irritated
Eventually, something will be done about them
Who will care if a bum freezes to death?'"
Overall, this is an excellent EP. Even if you can't understand the lyrics, the sound is amazing and likely nothing like anything you've heard before. I strongly recommend checking out not only this EP, but their earlier full-lengths as well.

Band MySpace (song samples are missing the last 30 seconds or so)