The term “gothic” seems to have a particular meaning in Germany. My experience of rummaging around record stores there is that everything, including Opeth, counts as gothic. From the self-explanatory “Gothic Electronic Anthems” (2003) onwards, Gothminister have been pumping out dark electro metal. This one is no exception.

To go with the dark electro beat, there’s something very Germanic about this. Gothminister in fact are from Norway but it’s unsurprising that they are very popular in Germany. Indeed, “The Other Side” is like a heavy electro pop mix of Crematory and Rammstein. It’s not challenging or threatening in any way in spite of that driving rhythm. Starting with “Ich Will Alles” (I Want Everything), “The Sun” and “Der Fliegende Mann” (The Flying Man), they each have their own anthemic quality without varying very much. “Aegir” is slower, deeper and darker. This is Gothminister’s style, and he has to be respected for that, but to me it sounds banal and false, and no further forward than the earliest gothic electronic anthems. It’s like being in a timewarp. Some of the songs are more catchy than others. “Aegir” is just grating and I was glad when it ended. “Red Christ” has an air of pseudo drama about it, I suppose, but for all its suggestion, it’s several steps behind creating impact and atmosphere. The song isn’t strong and the vocals just sound strained. There’s nothing to get your teeth into here. The songs are short and fulfil the contractual obligation of being electro goth, with tinges of metal on the cheesy “We Are The Ones Who Rule The World”. There’s a female voice on that one but everything sounds like a regurgitation of everything else. Crematory this is not. Choruses could be epic and catchy but seem suppressed, this depriving songs like “All This Time” of impact and purpose. “Day of Reckoning” is as banal and cliché-ridden as it gets. As I listened to the latter part of this underwhelming experience, I hoped for something to light my internal fire. “Taking Over” shows signs of welcome energy and life but fades into customary oblivion, then “Somewhere In Time” promises drama and horror before filling the air with ghoulish choral sounds of a not very co-ordinated or convincing kind. The first three songs of this album were positively brimming with dynamism compared to the rest. That unfortunately is not saying much.

“The Other Side” didn’t add very much to anything. I felt Gothminister were just going through a bizarre and inexplicable set of motions here, and clearly that was never going to introduce any inspiration or sparkle into my world.

(3/10 Andrew Doherty)