Quick Review: STUKA PARTY Schmeiser Smasher
Place yourself in London, 1940–41, during the blitz. Bombs are crashing around you (above you if you’ve taken refuge in the tube), churches and houses and hospitals and warehouses are exploding and burning, and civilians are dying. Or, if you prefer a military role, place yourself in the cockpit of an RAF fighter—a Hurricane or Spitfire—whose task is to harry the Luftwaffe dive bombers and to intercept the V-2 rockets raining down in random trajectories like errant meteors. Now you’ve got an idea what Stuka Party’s Schmeiser Smasher, a project by William Blackmon of Gadget, is all about.For a grindcore album, Schmeiser Smasher has a peculiar yet satisfying thematic unity, an interesting take on a significant and unforgettable moment of British history. And the music is well-suited for conveying the intensity and terror of the blitz. Songs like “Bandit Approaching,” “Warspite,” and “Ark Royal,” with their screaming-machine-gun blastbeats and sampled radio chatter, capture the effect in ways that only the grindcore genre can.
Did I mention that Stuka Party consist of a bassist and a drummer (with only brief assistance from a guitarist)? The bass work on display here is impressive, ranging from the aforementioned brutality to blazing walls of distortion to upbeat moments of joy. For example, “White Cliffs of Dover” provides respite from the relentless air combat to tell, from the point of view of a radio reporter, the story of a convoy at sea being dive-bombed by raiding Stukas. The music serves as a melancholy backdrop to the reportage, and gives necessary relief from the sheer intensity of battle. But the next song, “Black Skies Over Dover,” puts you right back into the action, intercepting the German bombers, flak and 20mm cannon fire exploding everywhere in a manner that would make noncombatants soil their trousers.
The album runs a solid 25 minutes with the only vocals throughout consisting of a single scream. The end comes on “London Bridge,” a celebration of V-E Day and the defeat of the Third Reich, with a stirring rendition of “God Save the Queen.” Schmeiser Smasher is a must-have for any diehard grindcore fan or World War II buff. I wonder, how would surviving British airmen from the time react to this fitting grindcore tribute to their sacrifices?
A limited-run CD/10” LP release of Schmeiser Smasher will be available from Hammerheart Records April 21st.