Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Silberbart—
4 Times Sound Razing


Released 1971 on Philips
The Seth Man, February 2001ce
What the fuck...“4 Times Sound Razing” tears at the stitches as elements of Guru Guru’s first two albums and Alice Cooper’s first three are straddled simultaneously in a jarring, screaming and ultimately razing proto-metal masterpiece. This album was Silberbart’s first and only and the fact it was laid down between April and May of 1971 -- a full two months before Guru Guru’s “Hinten” -- makes no sense whatsoever for Silberbart proceed in a detuned, free and wildly anarchic power trio manner completely akin to Guru Guru, housing their Frei-Rock within equally boggling and superb song titles. And for all its extreme heaviness, disjointedness and chaos, it’s executed with such a perfect sense of synchronisation it’s astonishing.

Silberbart were comprised of the deft hand (and sore larynx) of guitarist/vocalist Tajo Teschner backed by Peter Behrens on drum and Werner Flug on bass. And like Guru Guru’s “Hinten,” there are only two hilariously named tracks per album side (side 1: “Chubb Chubb Cherry,” “Brain Brain”; side 2: “God,” “Head Tear Of The Drunken Sun”) so little wonder “Chubb Chubb Cherry” bears a resemblance in its opening phrases to Guru Guru’s “Electric Junk,” although also proceeding to throw in elements from late sixties Led Zeppelin as lyrics are screeched out in a version of English that make all but every third phrase incomprehensible. Teschner’s Pagey guitar directives drive the whole thing along at a heavy yet easy “Living Loving Maid” clip until the song slowly grinds down to a sludgy halt as guitar and drums hit slowly in time, abruptly ceasing what is (at a hair over six minutes) the shortest track on the album.

“Brain Brain” is damaged damaged. Period. It’s sick and insane and it gently opens with Teschner’s equally soft vocals that wistfully beckon to a place to where he “can hear the music of Brain Brain.” Sparse bass anchorage and bass drum/cymbal accents signal approaching darkness, and it’s as gloomy and weird as “Sleeping Village” or any Vertigo sleeve from 1970, for that matter. The overall quiet yet anticipatory stillness continues until the group breaks in with a loud freak out barrage as Teschner lets loose with a blood-curdling scream that shakes you out of your skin the same way “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” does on “Ummagumma” the first time you hear it. It’s such a jarring, shocking jolt, you can only laugh at it a later date because now you’re in the world of “Brain Brain” and it’s a Mongolian Cluster Fuck of the highest order: Tom toms rattle, the bass is rebounding over the flurrying, skittering guitar leads that spiral onward and upward and beyond in an uncontrollably anarcho-free form. Then all the crazy stop and starting begins. The music starts. Stops. Silence. Starts again. Stops. It’s a musical recreation of being taught to drive a stick shift for the first time as you inadvertently strip gears while driving backwards at top speed down a one-way street in low gear...and with no working hazard lights, either. It’s sickeningly lurching in the same way Alice Cooper were on “Pretties For You” and as avant-noise garage as Ohr-period Guru Guru (minus the contact microphones and Zonk Machine) as Teschner channels every bit of flying sound shrapnel through guitar and amplifier, Behrens and Klug underlining every single fretful free-association and fiddly doodle of his noise guitar to the last detail. Abruptly, Teschner starts hitting his guitar out of tune and slashes against everything in an ultimate Ax Gengrich blur-out prior to crossfading back to the initial quiet theme. But respite is not at hand: his guitar re-enters with over-sustain as the bass and drums build to gathering storm clouds and guitar feedback squeaking appears when a wordless chant summons “the Lord of Brain Brain” over a “Bolero” build that ushers everything to bottom out to silence in the flash of an instant. Oh, it's time to run far, far away...

“God” begins the second side, and it’s a ten-minute epic that opens with Teschner’s hard vocals barking out madly about fights, dynamite, destruction and confusion as his guitar wheels like an ominous bird of prey over the ever-hammering rhythm section until they explode into an instrumental break that extends into the majority of the song. Teschner lets his feedback buffet him back into oblivion as he adds a few “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” Townshend guitar knob fiddlings before the dams all burst at once and both drums and bass rise to back the guitar solo’s freefall into a flight of frightful craziness even while the bass is picking up the main opening theme. But wouldn’t you know it: Teschner falls RIGHT back into it and with all the expert fingering vibrato of a Beverly Hills gynecologist to boot. The whole thing trails off, but as usual with Silberbart, you’re never quit sure when it ends. There…no, there! Hang on, there! Wait: there...
No, no, no…

It takes FIVE separate false endings AND a crescendo of everybody flying off their respective handles and into a soup of proto metal and sheer insanity before the song decides to stop ending. And even then, it takes five bluffing endings before it truly does...end.

“Head Tear Of The Drunken Sun” ends the side and album. It starts like a cross between Alice Cooper’s “Sing Low Sweet Cheerio” and the guitar freakout intro to Deep Purple’s “Speed King” when Hajo Teschner’s vocals of yowl/caterwauling screech frame a monstrous rock-out shitstorm that falls away far too soon to an oddly before its time “Halo Of Flies” motif (Huh? They MUST have seen the D.A. Pennebaker film of Alice Cooper in Toronto from the previous year, because "Killer" was still a year away from release.) Then the gut-wretching stop and start re-enters, as do tinkling bells. A stretched out improvisation then carries the piece downstream in whitewater rafting craziness of spills and thrills until Teschner gets the spotlight for some open heart surgery on his already feedbacking guitar, swooping it up and down, hitting it, turning tuning pegs inside out and generally reigning in his feedback howls in a solo that screams “STOP THE MADNESS.” The drums kick in, and another facet is revealed as drums and bass start to call and respond to each other, but luckily no one takes a solo. The guitar then enters the room at full velocity, spewing forth Pagey-isms for all their worth in a paint-peeling guitar solo that somehow leads back to the main theme to finally/exhaustively finish off their brutal, cleansing epic.

“Four Times Sound Razing” is one crazy, vicious record.