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Acme "…To Reduce the Choir to One Soloist" CD

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009 @ 12:06am » permalink

Acme - ...To Reduce the Choir to One SoloistAcme was a short-lived but highly regarded metallic hardcore act from Germany that formed in 1991 and called it quits in 1995, basically releasing just one 7" and a few compilation tracks for a total of just nine songs in around 23 minutes – all of which were collected on one CD, "…To Reduce the Choir to One Soloist", by Edison Recordings in 1996. And really it's just eight different songs (one track is a live recording of two songs that appear on the disc in alternate form), which is all too little recorded output from such an outstanding and influential band. From what I can tell not much is known about Acme, and to be honest with you I never did much investigating back in the day either. I bought this CD and that was all I fucking needed to know! I don't know if it's because the band was ahead of their time or what, but I think this material actually sounds better today than it did in the late-90's after the discography's release. Last summer I pulled this CD out for the first time in a good while and was kicking myself for not revisiting it more often over the years. Every song is just an intense blast that perfectly balances fast, chaotic riffing and relentless, over the top vocals with grinding midpaced rhythms and wicked discordant textures that lend a darker feeling to the base aggression of the material. Opener "Blind" is an absolute scorcher – the kind of song whose attack makes you want to drive straight into a fuckin' wall at top speed. What can I say? If you're familiar with this band, you probably love 'em, and if you've never heard 'em before you need to check this shit out immediately to hear for yourself how devastating they can be:

Acme "Blind"
Acme "Attempt"

I'm actually somewhat surprised that Very Distribution doesn't have this in stock anymore, as many of Edison's largely outstanding releases are still for sale there. But while a handful of offensively priced used copies are floating around, thankfully there are some reasonably priced used copies as well, so pick one up if you like what you're hearing (And how could you not!?).


@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com


  1. Carlzilla says:

    This is one of the best "metalcore" albums of all time.

  2. Acme is fuckin essential.They were probably ahead of their time, although I can't really figure out why. I discovered them around 97 along with Deadguy, Bloodlet, Converge, Coalesce, Botch, Starkweather and all those great bands on the "chaotic" side of HC. Acme's drummer Gregor who was only 16 at the time (!), started his own label Chrome Saintmagnus in the late 90s and released an early Bust mcd, plus Cave In's Jupiter LP in Europe and my own band's Bastardiser & Challenger LPs. Also that Systral LP, Black Smoker which is a complete winner (Systral comprised several members from the Bremen scene plus Dirk who had recorded Acme and co-owned Chrome with Gregot). Anyway, Gregor used to tell me stories about Acme having no clue back then. They were just kids having fun, and their breakup didn't make much sense either: they simply quit in the midle of a tour to go see a Monstermagnet show and that was it. Then Converge and the bands I mentioned started to give them credit publicly and the rest is history.

  3. Tobe says:

    fuck yeah, great band !!! should finally buy that record after all these years….

  4. Carlos says:

    this is THE shit. One of the most listened album in my collection. Can"t get enough of it. You reviewed it a very interested time for me. The intro speech from Full Metal Jacket is legendary by itself and the music… oh man the music.

    The Systral was great too. And Disembodied. The whole german (Bremen) metalcore scene was great.

    Later on you have Mörser, Cheerleaders of the Apocalypse, Borgir (i think), Fear is the Path to the Darkside, etc. The first two Caliban records were cool but from that on is shit…

  5. Disembodied are from Minneapolis (USA), but Bremen had Acme, Carol, Systral, Acheborn, Stack, Metöke, Mörser and Minion, some of which shared members. MInion and Mörser are stil active (recording and touring), though more inclined to a DM sound. Here's a few vids from back in the days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qTwSBREF58http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOe5CR9VrW4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVCn82COhaM

    What strikes me is the total lack of hipster attitude. All about extremity and fun

  6. Carlos says:

    ohhh how can I think that Disembodied are from German…
    Stack is also great.

    There are several bands who try to capture the "old" German metalcore sound with new…

  7. Yes! Acme was great, never got to see them live though… From Germany the first few Aclys releases are great as well, especially "helduntergang". Too bad they sucked when I saw them play live… Mörser's "two hours to doom" album is fucking awesome as well their later releases don't really do it for me…

  8. Mike says:

    Half the Parallax crew in a different band covered an acme set for halloween hardcore in 02 or 03. That was fucking fun. Huge downer that acme didn't keep making music.

  9. Chris says:

    " the kind of song whose attack makes you want to drive straight into a fuckin' wall at top speed"

    Funny you should say that. A good friend of mine was involved in a car accident in Montana, at high speed, with this CD playing…LOUD. Since then he can't listen to it because it brigs back such intense memories. Really.

    This is always in constant rotation for me. So fucking incredible and way ahead of it's time. Bands today WISH they has this sort of power and rage. Edison recordings could do little wrong back then.

  10. zg says:

    Oh hell yes … absolute classic. I've been hanging on to my copy of this for dear life, since it seems harder and harder to find as time goes by; I've also tried and failed to track down the older stuff from some of the other "Bremen scene" bands (Systral, Carol, Mörser). I always wished more bands these days would draw from that sound, but really the closest thing I've heard is that Keitzer band you posted about a couple years back. But at any rate, … To Reduce the Choir … really needs a reissue or something … great fucking album. Thanks for posting!

  11. hector says:

    i remember some info and gossip about them from what i read in old Saint Magnus' website and an interview of Gregor 7,8 years ago in an spanish magazine: they were basically a bunch of kids playing for fun, as already said here, and they just expected to release a demotape and quit, things got bigger and they got bored and definitely called it quits

    funny thing is that after the first demo they talked with Edward at Goodlife Recordings in Belgium to release their 7" even before the H8000 capo released the first Liar album, which was the first Goodlife Rec release, and they went to sell 7000 copies in a couple of months in another label. Knowing the greediness of Edward goodlife, he should have been kicking his head against a wall for weeks.

    It seems as well that two of band members (singer and guitar player) totally quited of extreme music escene and later in the years got hard into drugs, to recover later and have a "normal" family life totally unaware of what the band means to hundreds of bands worlwide.

    But of all this can be totaly made up, since Gregor seems to be a very joking guy (he had kind of a blog in Saint magnus' site which was seriously fun, including the catering list of pantera tour bus and a hilarious story of stupid Robin Williams and creepy groupies in a hotel, besides his label he was working as PR in the german office of a major label, and had direct access to rock stars, he was just 24 years old by the time of all of this).

    He also said in the spanish magazine that back then in year 2000 or 2001 Acme were rehearsing all of them together again but only for themselves, and he was very clear that they were never ever going to play live or release new songs.

    There were some pics of them in the Saint Magnus site as well, and you could see they were skinny blonde german kids in their early teens (the kind of ones you can see walking by the beach in spain with their parents getting fried under our hellish sun). Gregor said that he was posting the pictures because back in the day when they were playing they never published pictures of them in releases or magazines and they asked people not to realease any pictures of them, because they wanted to shock people, as audience expected a bunch of bearded tattoed guys and they were just kids.

    I repeat, all of this stuff may be totally fake, in an Aphex Twin fashion to disorient all the people who's been looking for info about them all of this time.

    The bass guitar player was in Systral, and they fucking rule as well(another posible joke in the interview was about a posible split ep of Systral and Motorhead, which actually makes a lot of sense, musically speaking)

  12. kevin says:

    This band is so intense, them and Carol are some of the heaviest stuff to come out of Germany.

  13. Erik says:

    Wow, i totally forgot about Acme, stupid me! This is one of those releases i played everyday for a month or so when i got it back in the day, some +10 years ago! I even had a Acme windbreaker that was way too big in size. I was also a big fan of Systral, Carol alnd later on Mörser as well. Bremen hardcore ruled the world back in the day!

  14. Erik says:

    Later on there was this band Costas Cake House that continued in the same way as Acme, systral and those guys. Check it out!

  15. gregor says:

    hey hecor! cool that you remember all that stuff from our webpage & and these interviews! I totally forgot about that!! All the stuff I wrote or told wasn't made up!
    I guess I'll place some AcMe live footage on youtube soon!
    Cool that you folks still like our band. It is sooo long ago!

    best, gregor

  16. Thanks for bringing back good memories once again Andrew, I proudly own the LP version of this record. It started my intereste toward the previously unknown to me German metal-hc scene, and to awesome bands like the aforementioned Stack and Systral, but also Comatose, Tumult, the early bands on labels like Per Koro, Thought Crime, Bastardized, Yellow dog… Ah, I definitely have to get a new vinyl spinner to take a listen to all those dusty 7"s :)

  17. Hell yeah, thanks for this post & thread, excellent stuff. Did Carol make anything else besides the prefabricated EP? I must have played the track "Try" about a million times.

  18. incarnate says:

    carol had 2 other tracks that i know of that weren't on that ep. this got a lot of comments. surprising, haha. acme really were ahead of their time.

  19. Jack says:

    Haha wow @ Knut members coming out of the woodwork, chrome st magnus was an awesome label also that Breach – Godbox ep.

    Pray tell which member of Knut you are dude?

    Beyond awesome record and band.

  20. d says:

    Great band. I liked some of the Morser and Systral stuff too.

  21. lover of all things acme says:

    acme's 7" and discog LP are utterly mind-meltingly crushing. simply the best of the best. the fact that some of the band members are unaware of their impact (as one of the comments above suggests) is even more impressive!

    gregor, would be very interested to see these videos!

  22. Jack, I'm Roderic on the drums. Hi Gregor btw – if that's you. It's been a long time

  23. Frans Amsterdam says:

    He Roderic, Frans from Amsterdam here.. the internet is a small place. You guys need to head this way again sometime.

    ACME was fantastic. Cathode kind of sounds like ACME/systral these days, which they should, with a name like that.

    Oh and Andrew, put a stylesheet on top of that error page you get when you dont fill in all the fields, geez ;)

  24. C says:

    The boss of Very Distribution/Edison Recordings sporadically mentions his desire to reissue "To Reduce the Choir…." But he insists he wants to include video footage and no longer has any contact info for former band members. Given the stacks of Edison-related boxes clogging up the warehouse (mostly Systral "Black Smoker" CDs), I won't be surprised if we unearth a dusty 30 box of Acme CDs. We discovered about a dozen Acme LPs two years ago, so you never know what treasures remain to be discovered in this place.

  25. hector says:

    wow, gregor, it's nice to know everthing is for real :)

    dude, yout post in the site about robin williams it's some of the most hilarious stuff i've ever heard, and it's good to know rock star life it's not that good, ha,ha…

  26. Tim says:

    I bought this and a bunch of other German metallic hardcore back in the day, but I haven't listened to any of it in years. I guess it's time to listen again.

  27. stevhan.ti says:

    I remember how my mom freaked oud when she heard that Hitler sample. she probably freaked out from hearing the music as well. funny I tought the Bremen Style had been completely forgotten. Very intense music it is indeed.

  28. steve says:

    yeah, people were freaking out when they didn't know the band and AcMe started their show with that intro. it was so loud that you could hear the hitler voice everywhere outside the club!

  29. jon says:

    they created hate & fear (as long as you didn't see them in person)

  30. Jack says:

    Hello Roderic, never seen you live you've been here numerous times, been with you from the start, good luck with the new album and let's raise a glass to acme!

  31. Carlos says:

    Does anybody know what Hitlers was saying in that speech or from which era of his crazy history it is?

  32. stevhan.ti says:

    about the Hitler sample
    I don't get the whole thing but he is repeating that 'Germany must become strong again' so I suppose it's from quite early in deathly 'carreer'

  33. jon says:

    it's something like: "the german populance became strong again. strong within its mind, strong within it's …, strong within it's insistance." Then some senctences to God and finished by somehting like "Bless us in our fight for our freedom".

    it's pretty wicked that they used that Hitler – stuff cause germans are sooo serious about all that Nazi-stuff. They wouldn't use it for any fun or entertainment. Even today you won't see much regular german-flags in the streets cause they're educated totally anti-patriotic.

  34. mcgillroy says:

    acme, mörser, systral – yes man! intense and fearless music made by dudes that where all laid back, so un-hipster, so anti-anti, so just doing it, it was unbelievable.

    only thing I always found a great pity is that none of these bands did go to record with some better producer. andy classen used to be a pretty big fan of mörser and afaik even got in touch with them, but they never pulled it together from their side.

    maybe in a next live!


  35. Yoast says:

    That live part of the album…..was it the show in Dordrecht? during the DIY fest?
    Acme has always been one of my favourites.

  36. oli says:

    I can remember, that this first Acme 7" blew me away. The first song on it was so intense. So i went to the Au in Frankfurt to see them live. What a disappointment.
    They couldn't transport the 7"-Feeling live. Maybe they had a bad day, who knows…

  37. michael says:

    still AWESOME!!!!
    sooooooooooooooo hard. so intense!!!

  38. joseph says:

    ACME are the best band HC band from Europe – EVER.
    So many years ahead of the time ….
    I've seen them live several times and they were killing!!!

  39. Dave says:

    Pulled this record out the other day and as soon as the lead sample started "If You Ladies Leave My Island, If you Survive Recruit Training…" I was blasted back to the first time I put this record on. Mind blowing then, Mind blowing still. Many, many imitators and contemporaries but this stands alone as the best in an intense period of hardcore metal.

    I fear playing this record too much since I doubt I'll ever find another copy.

  40. Paul says:

    Stumbled upon a video of them on youtube the other day. This cd quickly went back into my rotation shortly after… Easily one of the most intense bands ever

  41. hey dudes, i just stumbled upon this while googling the Acme record – which i proudly put out. Gregor, if you are there, hit me up – i'm outta the music biz these days but am still proud of the bands I did get in people's ears about. I will be glad to release this record for absolutely free if the band is cool with it. And to the dude who mentioned Systral and Morser – you have good taste. I posted the Systral album for free a few years ago because in my honest opinion – it was the most underrated record I put out… but was happy to see Decibel Mag put it as one of the records you missed out on, 11 years after i released it. And the dude who mentioned Per Koro records, you are absolutely right – Marcus was absolutely ahead of his time as well as the Bremen scene. My influences going into the label was Earache circa Dig days – i.e the best label in 1990-1991, Relapse, and Per Koro because I realized "man, these dudes got some awesome shit going on in Germany."

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