Considering these Germans industrialists have been around since 1980, actual studio albums are quite a rare occurrence for them. Sure there have been stacks of releases such as singles, EP’s, compilations and anthologies such as the excellent 2007 Too Much History double which gave me a much needed crash course in the band but this is only the group’s tenth studio album in 35 years. As the title suggests this album has a very metallic crunch about it and if you are looking for the Härte side of Neue Deutsche Härte you are very much going to find yourself in the right zone here. Although I only have the one version of the album it is interesting to note that it is going to be available in a double edition due to the fact that so impressed is frontman Jürgen Engler with the work done by Heaven Shall Burn’s Alexander Dietz that he has allowed him to do an alternative production of the album to accompany the band’s own.
After a swaggering and ballsy prelude builds things up ‘Kaltes Hertz’ cold heart beats with the clank of steel upon steel, whiplashing guitars and harsh Teutonic vocals making it sound like the product of a band who taught the likes of Rammstein everything they know minus the daft lyrics, sexual innuendos and pyro effects that make them so popular with the sheep who have never heard the genuine stuff like this. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps after this track Engler adopts English for the rest of the album which certainly makes it more understandable as far as I am concerned.
There’s plenty to get involved in over these 13 tracks too and things are sharp, ever crunching and kept to the 3-4 minute mark to keep them tight and precise. Mechanical juddering effects the type that gave industrial its name in the first place ride roughshod over tracks such as Battle Extreme painting a futuristic picture that would go perfectly with a bunch of people in an industrial wasteland fighting to the death. It’s near impossible to sit still to as the punishing beats and backing gang vocals come at you thick and fast. The electronic presence boosts things no end uncoiling with an EBM style that’s equally fast on ‘Fly Martyrs Fly’ and by now you will be in the thick of it all as the vocals tell you to “rock into the sky” and ominous samples about the Germenwings air crash in the Swiss Alps make it all the more chilling. There’s little time for pause between tracks as they move quickly from one to the other and each and every one strikes as being potential dance-floor hits. There’s nothing in the way of fat to be found here which leaves it to me to just paw over several of the many highlights and try best to avoid turning this review into a track by track dissection. This is difficult though as there is something to be found in each of them from the Tubeway army sounding synth lines of ‘The Truth’ and the slightly Clawfinger reminiscent vocal line to the adrenaline rush gaming thrust of ‘Road Rage Warrior’ (probably the obvious single of the bunch) and ‘Vampire Strikes Back’ which for some reason makes me think of the sinister true life touch of Peter Kurten than anything more fantastical.
Listening to this I realise that not only am I late to this party disc wise but I have never managed to see the band live either and a quick look shows me they are playing London in September which could well be a good opportunity to put this to rights as throwing oneself around to these tracks seems like too good an opportunity to miss. Having said that though the production here is absolutely excellent, giving me a real workout even via PC speakers. Back to the task at hand with ‘Branded’ literally searing the flesh and laying out plenty of big brash beats and enticing vocals I have to wonder how many of these great tracks they can possibly fit in to their set-list along with so many past classics. As for the tribal bombast of ‘Kaos Reigns’ with it’s compulsive “hell is empty all the devils are here chant” all I can do is not head in agreement and say “no shit!” With four tracks left I’m leaving this one here and going to bounce off the walls as things play out, hell I might even play this all over again after. Put down that silly Lindemann album and embrace the true Fatherland, you won’t be disappointed!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)