One might think that Fjørt sounds Norwegian, Swedish, or Nordic in general. In fact, only a small amount of people on this page might actually know them, so here’s some information. The German post-hardcore trio from Aachen has been around since 2012. Starting as an underground band, they steadily pushed their standing in the German hardcore and punk scene to become one of the most exciting live bands of its genre, while still sticking to the underground, which results in a very intimate and personal experience with both their music and live gigs.
Couleur is their third record, and as you might know, this term is French for ‘color’; a linguistic affinity that the band already showed on their releases before (see D’Accord). But in German, couleur also stands for peoples’ point of view (and embossing, for that matter).
As Fjørt come from the German punk movement, there has always been a call against racism in their music. On Couleur, there is a song called “Raison” (an old German term for ‘reason’, again borrowed from the French language), dealing with the hype of right-wing movements that is apparent in a lot of places these days. In its lyrics, we find sentences like ‘Ich habe 1933 Gründe schwarz zu sehen, doch die 1933 Gründe, ihr habt sie auch.‘
For those who aren’t into history, 1933 was the beginning of the Third Reich, with Adolf Hitler rising to dictatorship. Or in other words, the beginning of Nazi Germany. It’s saddening enough that obviously right-wing parties are getting enough votes at the moment to not only get elected into the Bundestag, but as the third-biggest party no less! Fjørt are giving their wake-up call here, and do it with passion and energy. This might be the most political song off the new record, a topic the band already tackled with their title “Paroli”.
‘Du holst das Beste aus mir raus, du bewahrst es für mich auf.’
“Windschief” is something that could technically be categorized as a love song, containing the quote stated above, which literally says: ‘You take the very best of me, you take care of it for me.‘ It’s only the lyrics that make “Windschief” somewhat of as a love song, though; the instrumental creates a very hopeful, but ultimately depressing indie tune with a lot of ambiance. But even within the lyrics there is, complimented by dissonant clean guitars, a turning point at the very ending that might hint at some kind of illusion or halluzination, with the lyrics saying ‘you are not real‘. This moment connects the lyrical content to the musical aspect, and ends up working out great!
Black metal influence and contrasts
“Bastion” on the other hand starts with very heavy and gritty tremolo shredding. Similar to black metal, it rouses with crushing cymbal hits that arent’t played in a high tempo, but instead in a very hard-hitting way. This heavy start is then interrupted by its complete opposite: a slowly rising post-rock clean part, a pure ambiance. Said ambiance forms a contrast, and widens its effect on the song’s soundscapes. These manifold influences and the apt switching between moods are apparent throughout Couleur and provide a high variety to Fjørt‘s songs. There’s even some poppy synths to be found on the song “Eden”!
Within “Karat”, the last song off Couleur, the band is singing “Südwärts” (which is the name of the opening track); although this literally means ‘towards the south‘, “Karat” isn’t a summer song at all. It actually has a very depressing and melancholic vibe in its lead melody. This doesn’t necessarily make it a sad song, but rather one to rouse your feelings before drowning in pure noise, as the guitar gets fuzzy. An effect that definitely works as a perfect ending to a very good record!
When speaking about sound, I have to note that we have a very organic production over here. It almost delivers a slight touch of a live recording due to its bright and heavy guitar sound. The drums seem very powerful and punchy overall, while the bass creates the ‘stomach’ and fills the holes in the three-piece ambiance. It might sound strange, but Fjørt do in fact sound like more than only three people, which might be based on the use of multiple guitar tracks on the recording, or the vocal performance of both Chris Hell (guitar) and David Frings (bass).
Both singers are able to weigh in with their very own style of singing. Among their combined arsenal are heavy fry-screams, hardcore-ish shouts, and the very compressed clean singing that would also work perfectly in a post-metal outfit à la The Ocean or Cult Of Luna. Only a fully clean version of singing is absent from this record, as its poetic aspect is underlined by the harsh delivery. There’s a decent touch of post-rock in songs like “Magnifique”, based on the ambient component, tremolo-picked guitar and rising song structures. This vibe is also apparent in “Bastion”, the very heavy-hitting but slow-paced song I mentioned earlier. In addition to the instrumentals, there is a spoken word part that reminds of The Hirsch Effekt‘s more patient songs, due to the poetic use of the German language.
For those familiar with the band, Couleur is another great record in their discography. For all the others, it might be a very good time to get involved and delve into their previous releases. Fjørt are still the same three men that started playing music back in 2012, keeping their familiar vibe alive, which underlines the authenticity that is apparent in each and every note on Couleur.
FFO: The Hirsch Effekt, Escapado, Loma Prieta, The Tidal Sleep
Notable Tracks: “Raison”; “Bastion”; “Karat”
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