The psychological aggression and sense of distress allegedly originated by Whitehouse’s material vanishes in a few instants if one avoids the excessive scrutiny of what’s blatant and simply gives in to the vicious aural hammering that those fuzzily screaming blurs and membrane-shattering frequencies generate. Then again, are William Bennett’s topics that shocking nowadays? An attentive surf of the web, or the mere examination of selected individuals in offices, gyms and trains, is all you need to realize that many people not only are well aware of, but enjoy certain subtle “pleasures”. Child abuse and unhindered violence are by now obvious daily issues, and there’s also the gratification brought by the control – real or presumed – on someone else’s life or psyche. Or just the good old practice of kicking of a man when he’s down. And a distracted channel zapping reveals a disgusting world of female and infant exploitation, hidden by fake entertaining reasons to tickle the fantasies of latent offenders even more corruptly. Italy is specialized in this type of sickening mental encoding of the masses of retards who inhabit it, symbolized by hedonistic visions that by no means are going to materialize unless they get a proper political tie. The remaining ones usually convince themselves of being special because of self-made “Zen principles”. Mr. Bennett’s intentions are clear, but after 47 years in such a sewer I’m not easily impressed or intimidated anymore.
That said, Zeitkratzer are too much of a refined group of extraordinary musicians to render the pungent acidity of Whitehouse’s attacks in orchestral fashion, especially given the absence of the lyrics in these renditions. The six pieces tackled by Reinhold Friedl’s creature should be regarded as total reconstructions, though the essential skeleton of an episode like “Munkisi Munkondi” (from Bird Seed) is evident. Still, if I have to think “Whitehouse”, the original tracks’ hostile efficacy is superior. Zeitkratzer’s combination of nervous strings, piano rumble and hard-hitting brass and reeds is as always impressive, and “The Avalanche” leaves this listener’s setting permeated by a scent of inscrutability rather than scarred by some kind of brutality. However, these two are parallel entities that never really meet. They seem to be fond of each other from afar, but the German ensemble’s technically advanced interpretation – albeit resolute – does not hit the essence-of-the-matter’s bull’s-eye. Furthermore, the Hitler-in-overdrive rants typical of Whitehouse’s body shots are too crucial in their lean and mean aesthetics to be left out. Ultimately this performance appears exactly as a cunningly concealed act of depravation, a wealthy gentleman suddenly feeling the urge of a chat with a pimp in a dirty alley, or salivating in front of a juvenile street punk. Fortunately, Bennett is able to defend himself.