Sadly too obscure
D. K. Malone | earth | 02/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to believe this recording is still available. Die Kreuzen is one of those bands that was somewhat removed from what was going on around them musically at the time, and the result is that their music sounds anything but dated. This CD contains their first 2 LPs. Tracks 1-14 are their 2nd LP, 15-34 are the 1st. The two records are quite different. Predictably, the first LP was extremely choatic and violent (yet never sloppy), while the second is more sedate, complex, and controlled. These guys from Madison, Wisconsin followed a pattern similar to Black Flag; they initially sprang up inside the "punk scene", but quickly realized that punk is in fact a creative dead end... took it to its hardcore extremes and then moved on. Die Kreuzen's recordings which followed their first album are essentially what most would consider "prog rock". Some of it "post punk". There isn't as much variety on October File as on their 3rd and 4th albums ('Century Days' and 'Cement', respectively for those who may be interested), but it is a great document of a truly creative band first expending all of their anger and then exploring their other emotions and all of the aural textures that they conjured up.
Die Kreuzen broke up in 1991."
Thrashers Get Dreamy
M. N. Davess | Moscow, Russian Federation | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Only the Meat Puppets, with their early e.p. and their 'Meat Puppets' l.p. (first l.p.), followed by a very different 'Meat Puppets II', have equalled the sudden shift of mood from first recordings to second album (did it first and did it to more of an extreme). In a similar way Die Kreuzen start off on their first album (and e.p) thrashing themselves into blissed-out adrenaline overload (though not just) and sounding almost inhumanly mental, and then, on their second album, move into a unique twist on something (on the surface) far more traditional and potentially mainstream. Here we have a contrast of relatively early hardcore with a not-much-later kind of 'dreamy' and quirky kind of 'alternative rock'(more alternative in reality than many), although this CD starts with the latter and finishes with the former. Both are enjoyable in their own way. For you young punkers out there THE THING TO KNOW is that the first Die Kreuzen album was and is a classic of the hardcore genre. At the time it was raved about in publications dedicated to the genre (MRR in particular) and got everyone extremely excited. The tracks here from 'rumors' onwards are from that first album (the tracks before are the second album 'Oktober File'), while the cover and title ('Die Kreuzen', with a picture of some giant insect-type monsters on a yellow and black industrial background) are absent, replaced by the 'Oktober File' artwork. It is FAST, tight, nasty, extremely intense, BUT something about it is very unique. There is a combination of clean and powerful production and tight playing but also dirtyiness and inhuman vocals (approaching the genuine alien quality of the early Meat Puppets and Rudimentary Peni, though clearly sounding closer to Milwaukee (or Phoenix or Kings Langley) healthy student life than either of those near lunatic creative ventures). The riffs and progressions were innovative and intelligent and knocked you off the norm far more than many hardcore bands, and the guitarist has this wonderful knack for little intermittent guitar runs and licks that jab in there and tickle the top of your spine every so often. Can't explain. But this is definitely a one-off, unique and high quality album of the 80's hardcore scene; with the coolness of 'Oktober File', which, although the later album, makes up the first half of this CD as an added bonus of non-standard, simple but effective, as I said, 'dreamy', and quirky alternative rock. Die Kreuzen's first, thrashing, e.p., with some of the same songs as the first l.p. can be found with their later e.p. 'Gone Away' on the CD of the same name (to be found on this site; and recommended too), 'Gone Away', the later, but first part of that CD, being even later than 'Oktober File' and even 'dreamier' with some classic, mellow tracks."
Sadly under-rated Milwaukee legends
Dave Lang | Coburg, VIC Australia | 03/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first two albums on one CD from this great Milwaukee band. Die Kreuzen started off on the hardcore kick blossomed by Black Flag and their minions, but soon progressed onto something a little more unique. Their first album showcases their most punk stylings - kind of like a mile-a-second Minor Threat/Discharge hybrid - whilst their second LP, October File, took a radical change of direction. How would you describe it? The Birthday Party meets King Crimson and Black Sabbath? That's my lame attempt. Whatever the case, it's a classic, encompassing equal parts hardcore, post-punk, prog and '70s metal styles (think of the good stuff; ie. 'Sabbath, Hawkwind, etc.). Also highly recommended are their Century Days LP/CD and the Gone Away EP/CD, which also has their classic Cows and Beer EP and Land of Treason/Pink Flag (yep the Germs/ Wire songs) 7" tacked on the CD. Cement was a disappointment, though they will be sorely missed."