European skate punk is certainly on a constant bearing of up currently. I'd argue that the skate punk scene in Europe is the biggest and most exciting in the world currently. One band flying the European skate punk flag high is Krang who come from Valasske Mezirici in the Czech Republic. On January 21st (my birthday incase you wanted to know), Krang released a brand new album named Singalong via Bird Attack Records and Melodic Punk Style.
Singalong begins with the song Life Is Like Mortal Kombat. I immediately like the nice little touch of the sound effect of a coin being inserted into an arcade game before we are treated to simple but energetic guitar opening. When the vocals start I'm quick to think of Thomas Barnett of Strike Anywhere and Great Collapse - excellent raspy and passionate vocals. The track is about what its title suggests, life being like Mortal Kombat. As the song progresses the band offer up metaphors as to reasons why they think this is the case. My favourite is "you have health and you have a timer, you fight for your life like a tiger, don't expect mercy from enemies." Up next is IDDQD. This forty-seven second track throws away the melodic sound of the opening track and instead travels at light speed throughout its duration. There is a great sense of urgency in the track and the passion that pours out of my speakers is infectious. IDDQD is the secret cheat code you can use in the video game Doom to give you god mode. On this song Krang sing of their dislike for people who use the code. The third song, King Of A Dancefloor, is Krang's request to their crowd, and all alternative music crowds, to look after each other in the pit and not be violent. I really loved this song. Not only is the message great but the song is written in such an interesting way. Clearly a lot of effort has gone into these lyrics to not only send out a positive message but also to entertain people. It's a shame that bands have to write songs asking for there to be no violence at a show but at least Krang have managed to write one is a style that will put smiles on people's faces.
No Fun In Fundamentalism is not a cover of the NOFX song. No, Krang have written their own song on the subject of Fundamentalism and used the same title. It's a message to fundamentalists who think it's okay to hurt people and start wars because of what it says in a book. This is another shorter, fast paced song that certainly falls into the adage of less is more, packing in its message as well as one hell of a punch in not much time at all. The fifth song is titled Zombies Should Be Slow. This song is essentially a rant about Zack Snyder's 2004 film Dawn Of The Dead saying that the zombies move too quickly. This melodic skate punk song is a lot of fun and quickly put a smile on my face. Hearing Strike Anywhere play passionate songs about the bad state the world that the world is in and then hearing Krang singing in a similar style about a zombie film did tickle me. Up next is I Ain't Got Time To Bleed. I think that this song is about not having any spare time because you are attempting to live your life to the fullest because ultimately we're not on this earth for very long. Krang have developed a trademark sound where each and every second of their music is just full up of more passion and energy than you can imagine. It's really hard not to get swept away with it all. If one song title stood out to me more than any other it was the seventh song, Indiana Jones Hates Nazis And Snakes. This is a hard hitting song about Nazis being scum. Krang have again gone down the route of addressing a serious issue whilst still entertaining their listeners with smart lyrics and smart pop culture references.
Better Dead Than Brown Or Red starts off with probably the best guitar work on Singalong. Musically this song really shows off Krang's skill with their instruments. Not only are they great lyricists but they can really slay. Better Dead Than Brown Or Red is one of the more urgent songs on the album, at times in the songs you can really feel the desperation in the vocals. The ninth song is named Fuck Fast Fashion and slams the consumerist culture that we live in. There is such anger in the song, you really get the sense that Krang really and truly believe exactly what they are singing. The backing vocals here and, to be honest, throughout the entirety of Singalong are superb. The higher pitched raspy vocal really accompanies the main vocalist splendidly. The penultimate track on Singalong is Kick Ass Or Chew Bubble Gum. On my first listen of the album this was definitely the standout track. Starting out with an audio clip from They Live (the film where the song's title is borrowed from) before launching into more of a hooky beginning, almost venturing into the realm of pop punk whilst maintaining their Krang sound. For people who are not fans of the melodic skate punk genre this is probably the most accessible song on the album and the gateway for you to discover what really is a fantastic album. And if this isn't the song that grabs you then the eleventh and final song definitely will. It's a cover of The Beatles' 1965 smash hit Help. Krang don't really stray too far from the Beatles original track but by speeding things up and singing in those brilliant gruff and raspy vocals whilst adding some brilliant harmonies, this is just a great cover and fun way to finish the album.
I know that it's only March but Singalong is already a strong contender for album of the year. If it doesn't place in my top ten at the end of the year then we know it's been another incredible year for punk rock music. Another fantastic release from the incredible European skate punk scene.
Stream and download Singalong here: https://krangpunkrock.bandcamp.com/album/singalong-2
Like Krang here: https://www.facebook.com/krangpunx/
This review was written by Colin Clark.