Wumpscut: 'F**KIT' CD Review


Man, I can't keep up with this cat Rudy Ratzinger. Seriously, it seems like... what, maybe a couple of days ago... I'd just finished listening to Schädling, the previous album from Rudy's “Hellektro” outfit Wumpscut, and reviewing it on these pages. (Actually, it's been exactly one year, but one of the first things you lose when dementia takes over is your sense of time.) Now here comes yet another one, accompanied by the usual mega-marketing blitz that Rudy orchestrates so well (seriously, this guy does swag on an epic scale). Maybe it's because he quite famously refuses to perform live, he's got a little extra time on his hands. Whatever the reason, a Wumpscut album is a welcome treat down here in the FEARnet music catacombs, coming once a year like Black Christmas.

This time around, we get the added twist of an album title that might send some prudish CD sellers into cardiac arrest... but don't think it's just a gimmick to draw attention to itself; Fuckit is a solid entry in a genre that Ratzinger has mastered over the past two decades, and I'll break it down for you one more time. Click through and read on, fellow rivet-heads!

While I thought Schädling was a fairly forward-looking project that went off in curious new directions – most of them fairly interesting too, despite the pants-wetting reactions of some very vocal haters – Fuckit is in many ways a look back at Rudy's early '90s period, with some tracks that recall my favorite Wumpscut album Wreath of Barbs, but with the added benefit of many years' production, mixing and editing experience that Ratzinger now brings to the table. Many of the contrasting sonic elements that characterized those earlier works are evident here – particularly minimalist club anthems standing rank-in-file with more complex, layered noisescapes.

Intro Schlechter Mensch contains excerpts from a newscast in German referencing a real-life school shooting perpetrated in Finland last September by a disturbed young Wumpscut fan. It's really only creepy if you know what the announcer is saying, but still it's a chilling way to kick off an otherwise playfully macabre outing, which kicks into gear with the ambient strains that begin The Boo, which descends from Gothic heavy-handedness into Rudy's usual black-hearted lyrical mischief.

This and the gritty title track are not only great chest-thumping club hits in the making – with nicely hooky choruses – but the latter is entertaining on the constant use of the phrase “Fuckit,” which should get some dance floor shout-outs at the very least. Achtung, Menschen is a similarly turbo-charged effort, with a chunky tribal kick underscoring some surprisingly light, airy melodies in the chorus. The mid-tempo dirge Cut To See How Much I Bleed has some interesting nuances amid the wiry, clicking & clanging rhythms (and some nice chopped-up Exorcist samples if you listen carefully), and an even chillier sound pervades cuts like the nihilistic Autophagy Day, which features a threatening, hushed vocal delivery.

Broken is a surprisingly warm, hypnotic piece which opens with shimmering arpeggios that give way to a tightly synchronized ballet of vocals and a buzzing lead synth line – but despite this introspective feel, it's got a springy vitality that makes it totally dance-worthy. Bloodbathing Tub steers the album back into surreal horror, interspersed with dulcimer-like samples, making it a surefire Goth-club gem... but it's the pure evil vibe of rapid-fire instrumental Rumpelkammer that really straps the horns on (plus it features another filthy Exorcist quote for good measure). Rudy once again opts to close the album on a down-tempo number; Gulag is as cold and threatening as its title implies, driven by a simple piano riff before diving into harsh, distorted toms and filtered screams.

To sum up I wouldn't necessarily consider Fuckit to be Ratzinger's most original work, but it still contains the strengths which elevate his music above the noise and chaos of so many dark EBM & aggro-tech acts. I think the purists who balked at his experimentation in the previous two albums might actually sit up and take notice again. Me, I've always been down with the W, and this album assured me there's still a lot of good reasons to keep the faith.