Rammstein proved that singing entirely in German is no barrier to huge international success. I have many album’s in Norwegian, Finnish, French, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese of one branch or another, Taiwanese, Faroese, Hebrew, Latin and a couple of made up languages and others I’ve forgotten. Not to mention the number of albums with growled, barked, spat and screamed vocals which make the actual language irrelevant. But Zombieland has to be the album where being monolingual is the biggest barrier I had to overcome.
No doubt you recognise the album title from the film of the same name (which weirdly is looking likely to have a belated sequel), and unless you’ve been in a survivalist bunker you also know that you can’t move for the zombie-apocalypse herd of film, game and TV offerings shambling over us. Maybe, unlike me, you also recognised the name Megaherz, and if so and you like them just order this anyway.
For the rest of us, especially the non-German speakers, this is tricky. With no lyric sheet offered up by the PR package (which would have actually given my German a chance even if they hadn’t bothered with a translation) ,this despite the PR mostly banging on about the singer and his lyrics and the impression that this is a concept album with dramatic, poignant and narrative lyrics, I’m left entirely with what I hear.
What I hear is pleasant enough and beautifully produced. It is highly dramatic sounding stuff; kind of slightly heavy rock meets Rammstein-lite. Semi-industrial rhythmic pounding with a melodic layer over the riffing. The vocals have a lovely fine tone and excellent range; a deep, very Germanic mix of gravelly gravitas and soaring opera. Ranging from mid paced stomp to slower downbeat sorrow with orchestration they are clearly produced to make every word and every nuance stand out. The music is clearly here to lift the words up on these epic cinematic wings and you really get the idea that this would be superb incidental music in a film or those end of TV episode montages. Really, honestly, this stuff can’t utter a word or play a note without ‘story’ leaping straight into your mind.
Which is a problem when you have only enough German to pick your way slowly through written words. The music sounds so secondary here, the means to bring the lyrics to you as visuals turn. Without the lyrics it is simply twelve pieces of dark, dramatic montage music without the montage. Jeez this is frustrating. I have no idea what’s going on and not enough given to even fire my brain up and my imagination to take off as everything seems to have been written to transport a certain set of words to me. So forgive me for a poor review as I’m operating on probably less than fifty percent of what is on offer. But as all the rest of the reviews quoted are in German I doubt they’ll care.
Please, PR companies; if the lyrics are such a huge part of the album, at least give us a chance. Unless of course you really don’t care about it selling outside of the natural demographic.
So: Pretty good mainstream commercial semi-industrial rock which would be excellent to tell a story to.