MetalBite Review by Felix on 7/9/2019 5:10:52 PM
I am not very familiar with OHL's debut. It might therefore be possible that 1000 Kreuze, the second full-length of OHL, was a step into the right direction. But there are not many songs on this work which indicate the brilliance of its direct successor, the phenomenal Verbrannte Erde. The band was still in its infancy, the songs sounded almost painfully simple and they were doubtlessly not immune against repetitiveness. Already the average opener "Gott und die Welt" suffers from this feature (and, aggravating the situation, from a somewhat uninspired guitar work as well). However, 1000 Kreuze conveyed the impulsiveness of a young horde, it held a couple of spontaneous eruptions of defiance and the artwork cemented the military aesthetics of the band.
Anyway, some strange details must be mentioned. The background vocals in the chorus of "Kaufhof" have the level of a drunken school band and the slightly dissonant solo in "Schrei schrei" cannot hide that the song consists of only one (pretty mediocre) riff. Indeed, a handful of tunes is minimalist and almost Dadaistic, but the main characteristic of the album is the velocity and the aggressiveness of the material. It sounds moronic, but the formation celebrates a filthy purity and throws the songs into the audience no matter what happens. Instead, the dudes begin to cultivate their kiss-my-ass-attitude and concentrate on musical provocation. Please keep in mind that the album was published in 1982 and I don't believe that many comparable outputs have seen the light of day 36 years ago, at least not in Germany. Of course, "Never Mind the Bollocks" had been already released in 1977 and 1000 Kreuze does not have the same anarchist momentum. But it is also true that OHL never lacked courage and that's one reason to like this band.
The lyrics are sometimes naive ("Du nimmst deine Gitarre und schlägst sie alle tot"), sometimes factually incorrect ("Damals wählten alle braun" - even after Hitler's so-called "Machtergreifung" it was less than 44% who voted for him; too many people, of course, but not all) and sometimes simply true, for example those of the anti-war anthem "Der 1. Schuß". Regardless of this lyrical mix, the music has its ups and downs, but let's focus on the best tracks. Some pieces surprise with an unexpected and casual catchiness ("Alle Macht dem Volk"), some deliver the pure essence of uncompromising punk ("Warschauer Pakt", "Nie wieder"), some play with gruesome, striking war scenarios ("Dein Kampf"). Too bad that OHL were not yet able to deliver a constant level of quality, but I do not really care about this. Trailblazers have the right to fail every now and then.
The antique configuration of OHL has one thing in common with the modern appearance of the band. Since their very early days, the dudes loved to polarize. Maybe due to their lack of concern or rather due to a clever business strategy? It doesn't matter. Especially back in 1982, I was 14 years old (unbelievable that there truly was a time when I was young), 1000 Kreuze fell into the love-it-or-hate-it category. The musical and lyrical brutality was either fascinating or abhorrent. In addition, the noisy production also made clear that OHL did not beg for the love of the mainstream. I admit that nowadays the vinyl is no longer able to challenge the majority of the later full-lengths, because the deficiencies of some compositions cannot be ignored. So what? Insiders know that the persistent combatants of OHL have created many flawless tunes, for example "Feind der freien Welt". This is the opener of another great album which is called... but I guess that's another story.
Rating: 7 out of 10