Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Küenring – Neon Nights

Label: Underground Power Records

Date: April 30th, 2021 

I am an old (school) generation and in my mind and in my micro universe, vinyl, CDs or even audio cassettes still rule. But somehow I bumped on this album on YT accidentally while I was working on something completely different. Had no idea what I was listening to but as I heard it, I just dropped everything and started digging. Why was I so amazed? Remember I told you I am old? Yes, I come from the dinosaur era, and if I hear in the XXI century the music Küenring is creating, I am in! Old school heavy metal from the dinosaur era so fresh in 2021? Surreal! Add a mysterious and exotic band name and you got the perfect match!

Küenring comes from Austria, they have been contributing to the metal scene since 2010. The band name is derived from “Kuenringer”, a middle-age ministerial house. As the legend says, Kuenringer were  feared robber knights. 

Küenring are not that new or young or unknown band, but “Neon Nights” is their fresh album. The second one. It contains ten songs:

1. Dead On
2. Don’t Give A Shit
3. Tomorrow
4. Demon
5. 26a
6. Finish Line
7. Torn Apart (While Alive)
​8. Danger Zone
​9. Further On Through the Night
10. Streetlight Dream

As KISS said:

“You are my people, you are my crowd
This is our music, we love it loud…”

That might be the best description of this album.

The album was supposed to be released earlier, but as the corona postponed our lives it was obvious this album release would be postponed too. If you ever loved Priest, Scorpions, Van Halen, Maiden, Ratt… you know what you can expect. Listening to songs carefully, it could be said that the guys created a concept album. You can easily place the story in any big city, under the neon lights and let the middle-aged man (as I see him) tell his story.

An album opener “Dead On” will buy you with catchy melody and raw choir parts. The next one, “Don’t Give A Shit” was released in a video from a month ago, and it will bring a more dynamic vibe. “Tomorrow” is more in rock waters where the band seduces you with rhythm change and choral parts. “Demon” melody goes in Jefferson Airplane direction while vocal delivery might be described as Rob  Halford (“I’m lost – in the dark, Heavy heart,  Do I have a guard, Cold – feel his breath, Soaked with sweat, Shivers down my neck”) meets Jim Morrison (“Evil – stay away, I start to pray, Please stay away”). The band leaves the town again in “26a”. From this point, the story of the protagonist aroused my interest. Maybe because I know too many people who share the same destiny. “Finish Line” is a story of a man who sacrificed everything, died for success but still afraid he has no time to fulfill his dreams. This life story is told, as I see it in some bar, in the dark corner with a glass in his hands. Oh, I have heard the best stories just in such places! Stefan Gutenthaler masterfully evoked the sadness of the hero of the song with his voice. As Hammer Fall would say: “It’s getting closer now, The clock strikes midnight time, It is the tolling of the judgment bell…”, in “Torn Apart (Still Alive)” our protagonist is wandering through the loud streets, blinded by lights, wondering where could he have been. It seems he is disappointed and dark thoughts occupy him. Will he get out of despair? “Danger Zone” might be an introduction to the unfolding. Memories are still hunting him again, although he thought he had left all behind. 

“No way to escape
And I won’t keep runnin’ anymore
Further on through the night
Gonna beat’em down!”

And the truth is revealed! This man is suffering for his love. Love saves him. If you thought that all the time he was talking about failure in his career, in life in general, the only thing that bothers him is love. He found it, he was saved, now he can live! 

“Darkness turned to light
Feels like the end of a fight
Curing the wounds time could not heal
I don’t want this night to end
And wake up alone again
I wanna stay forever here
Tumblin’ through this streetlight dream with you.”

Overall, the sound wakes up intense feelings of nostalgia. Listening to the album, you will have a feeling it was completely DIY style. The production is, cannot say raw, but it really was done the way you have a feeling the band came out from the time machine from the period of late seventies and early eighties, which is a huge compliment to guys whose parents might be the generation that grew up on classic heavy metal. I would even dare to even write NWOBHM, but it makes no sense if the band comes from Austria, right?

The album is melodic, very listenable, easy going, it gives you an impression the band enjoys what they do. The last time I heard the similar sound was when I discovered Liquid Steel, behold the wonders, Austrians.

In the beginning I wrote this as a concept album. No, this is the finest psychological story with strong message. And remember: love conquers all!