Review

Review

EISBRECHER: SÜNDE

If you?ve been making regular stops at totally freakin? awesome horror film site Fewdio.com (and if not, check ?em out pronto and prepare to be creepified), chances are you?ve already heard this band?s work, even if you didn?t catch their name: the track ?Willkommen im Nichts? (Welcome to Nothing) accompanies the end credits of the short film ?Bedfellows,? and its up-in-yer-grill nihilistic attitude is a perfect wrap-up for the film?s shocking climax.

Outside of that appearance, this German electro-metal outfit hasn?t yet made the kind of waves in North America that followed their compatriots Rammstein, one of the pioneering bands in Germany?s ?dance metal? movement that combines sequenced electronic beats with aggressive, machinelike metal riffs and deep, gruff German vocals ? a style which Eisbrecher employs equally well, recalling the best qualities of the elder band?s first two albums Herzeleid and Sehnsucht.

Hopefully, with North American distribution handled by well-known Gothic & industrial label Dancing Ferret Discs, this band will drag quite a few more tender young brains into the well-oiled terror machine that is their latest release, Sünde (Sin). They definitely sank their Cenobite flesh hooks into me with this one.

Founded in 2002 by frontman Alexx Wesselsky and guitarist/sound engineer Noel Pix, both former members of industrial-metal outfit Megaherz, Eisbrecher (German for ?Icebreaker?) builds on the dance-metal foundation with a stark, militaristic style and epic-size production. Although the heavy guitar riffs were present in their self-titled 2004 debut album, they continued to move closer and closer to the front of the mix with 2006 follow-up Antikörper, and the group pretty much held fast with this style to the present? although Sünde diverges from this template occasionally for some surprisingly old-school ?80s Gothic tracks.

With its introductory sample suggesting a lost Wagner recording recovered from a black hole, opening cut "Kann denn Liebe Sünde sein?" (Can Love be a Sin?) sets the tone and blows the doors off with a cataclysmic riff driven by a mega-deep kick drum line and memorable choir-backed refrain, with Wesselsky?s vocal delivery fluctuating between a gravelly grunt and a warmer but still-gritty baritone.

The mood shifts often for some surprisingly soft departures from the harsh dance-metal vibe, including the melodic Goth anthem ?Komm süsser Tod? (Come Sweet Death), ?80s Batcave clubber ?Heilig? (Holy), the analog bleep-happy ?This is Deutsch? and an uncharacteristically gentle ballad with "Herzdieb" (Heart Thief). This approach alternates with coin-toss frequency with the KMFDM-style ?Alkohol? and the Thor?s-hammer blows of "Die durch die Hölle gehen" (Those Who Go Through Hell), an operatic piece that represents the band at their memorable best, and the ground-pounding ?1000 Flammen? (1000 Flames) which calls to mind a melding of Rammstein and early-?90s era Front 242. The hard-hitting "Mehr Licht" (More Light) is another dramatic standout with its male-female harmonies in the chorus and impressive blending of beat-loops with furious tremolo-picking.

The package is fleshed out with some atmospheric instrumentals ? "Kuss" (Kiss) is particularly cool ? as well as a welcome assist from fellow countrymen Rotersand and SITD (short for Shadows In The Dark) for bonus remixes of several tracks. However, take note that only one of these (the SITD remix of ?This is Deutsch,? a dead-ringer for the techno-martial sound of Slovenian band Laibach) is available on the standard release; remixes of "Alkohol" and "Kann denn Liebe Sünde Sein" are only available on the special edition CD from German label AFM, along with additional track "Blut und Tränen" (Blood and Tears).

Shortly after its release, Sünde quickly broke into the German top-20 album charts, and "Kann denn Liebe Sünde sein" is already well on its way to becoming a DJ favorite across Europe. Here?s hoping those waves continue on both sides of the Atlantic, because this is one mean metallic monster just waiting to devour your town. Understanding of German is optional to the whole experience ? lyric translations are available on the band?s website [www.eis-brecher.com], and besides, this kind of music doesn?t sound nearly as cool in English.

Just trying to prepare you, in case their forthcoming ?Sinners Tour? creeps dangerously near your neck of the woods?

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