Traktat. A tract, a kind of commentary or essay on a certain topic. Okay, closer, because if you look at the amount of words used here, it’s really astonishing. The lyrics are really long, often lacking any kind of structure (like verse or chorus) and dealing with issues of loss. Uhm, if one thinks about the Meagerness from this point of view, well, maybe there is some meagerness in it as the topics are not like spread out in happiness but more like bleak, bleached out photos drained of happiness, of saturation.
JJ. from Harakiri from the Sky founded KARG in 2006 and since the release of “Weltenasche” in 2016 has been fining ever-growing audiences which seem to long for any new sign of this project although JJ does something here that most people will find hard to understand – he sings in German or his own Austrian dialect. Now this shows that there must be more to this band (even though, admittedly the success is biggest in Germany and Austria) and it becomes quite clear what: The sheer musicality. Spiraling guitars are winding themselves around breathless drumming chasing the words and pushing them over the edge of sanity. No track is shorter than 7:24 minutes and even though one might argue that the same ingredients are used again and again – it’s still awesome how the tracks never become boring because of small changes in rhythm and beats, minute differences in riffs and crescendos keep the attention of the audience tight.
Nevertheless, being German, I must admit that I am drawn to the lyrical side of the release, as they show how dark the place must have been from which JJ wrote them. When he screams “Bring mi hoam” (“Take me home”) at the end of “Jahr ohne Sommer” (“Year without Summer”) and it blends perfectly with the background chants and fading riffs it sends shivers up my spine. A quite different effect have some of the lines in “Stolpernkenotaphe” (“Stumbling Cenotaph”) when he is talking about the lightness of summer crushing him and death being the only safe haven for some. In the first single “Alaska” a very close friend (or maybe even relative?) is described who meant the world to the narrator as he always gave him space to be himself and that this space is dearly missed.
A lot of records have been written about isolation, despair, death and its attractiveness. A lot of metal album deal with that record. However, only seldom one finds such an extraordinary record where the conscious usage of staying away from the lingua franca English is paired with such intense lyrics looking for the heavens and mountaintops for a place to find and oneself. And lose oneself. No, these 76 minutes are not meager, they’re food for thought.