Einstürzende Neubauten review – a powerful avant-garde tribute to the first world war
The German experimentalists performed on custom-made instruments – from stringed hospital crutch to drainpipes
Half band, half predictive-texting nightmare, Einstürzende Neubauten – Blixa Bargeld’s Germanic experimental relief from being in the Bad Seeds – are famed for constructing their avant-garde noise pieces on custom-made instruments, from shopping-trolley harps to air-conditioning drums and percussion made from detritus they purloin from building sites at night. So you might expect them to play their recent first world war album, Lament, on rudimentary tunnelling equipment and twisted chunks of tank.
They do nothing so obvious. Lament is a challenging, intelligent and entrancing piece that traces the tides and tribulations of the first world war with a menacing invention. Kriegsmaschinerie mirrors the rising conflagration. It opens with the creaks and squeals of the wheels of war grinding into motion, building into a violent cataclysm that finds them playing a huge copper wall with a drill and beating on a makeshift barricade, while Bargeld holds up signs that reads: “War does not break out … it waits.” In de Loopgraaf (In the Trenches) has Bargeld rasping a desolate lament by Flemish writer Paul van den Broeck over the dull, rusted half-notes of a harp made from wire. For Achterland, Alexander Hacke saws a twisted melody out of a stringed hospital crutch. It’s War Horse meets Scrapheap Challenge.