Review

Review

Wumpscut: 'Women & Satan First' – CD Review [NSFW]

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It's been a while since I've brought you news from the world of "hellektro" artist Wumpscut, also known as German music producer/DJ Rudy Ratzinger, so I figure we're long overdue for another introduction to one of Europe's most prolific perpetrators of seriously evil dance music. Plus, you know damn well I can't resist an album title like this, no way. I just wish I could share the complete promotional artwork for his latest album, but alas we'd probably catch almighty hell for it (no pun intended), and that's just for the cover of the US edition... I can't even figure out what's going on in the German one. But shock value aside, it's about the music, baby... and Rudy's ultra-gothic industrial beats have earned him demigod status in clubs across Europe, not to mention a pretty decent cult following in North America. He's taken his sound in some spooky new directions since I first started covering his work for FEARnet, with more synthesized horror-movie atmospherics for the win. Hit the jump and gird your loins for some serious satanic swag, plus check out the band's mysterious Alien connection...

Much like the bulk of Rudy's work, these new tracks put me in the mind of a dark and ancient blood-ritual conducted by cyborgs... but this time around, the dark ambient and atmospheric elements have been dialed up a level or two, enhancing the horror atmosphere in ways that I haven't heard from this artist in many years. He came close with last year's Schrekk & Grauss, which shares a lot of stylistic touches with this album, but this time he's really out for blood.

The intro track "Hallelujah" sets the bizarro tone with a blast of chattering radio samples, blippy synth patterns and digitally altered male and female vocals, the latter chanting the phrase "Hallelujah, praise the Lord"... and just in case you forgot what album you're listening to, the title track steps in next to illustrate exactly which Lord they've been praising, and does it with a harder, more aggressive beat and Rudy's overdriven spoken-word vocal track, backed by deep drones and sprinkled with eccentric analog chirps. The mid-tempo but still sonically heavy "Death Panacea" slips in multiple vocal overlays and a chilling quote from the film Léon (aka The Professional) before shattering into a double-time rhythm pattern that only the strong of heart will be able to keep up with on the floor.

The next track is titled "Kill That Little Fuck," so it should come as no surprise it's one of the evilest songs this artist has ever written, and it's an obviously personal attack on someone named "Vesna" in the album credits. "I am sick of boring stupid people," he rages above the buzzing bass line, calling the target of his venom "a fucking idiot, a subhuman, unaware moron." Combined with a sample from the movie Spaceballs, this makes for one whacked-out sonic experience. "Burial On Demand" is a surreal, minimalist piece with a nightmarish tone and a ground-pounding beat that is sure to ignite the club kids. Surprisingly sweet tones introduce "Grobian" before a serpentine bass line surfaces, driven by a beefy kick beneath German lyrics.

The pulsing, massive ambient cut "L'Enfer Noir" is accompanied only by a quote from Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, which adds to the epic sweep. Frantic energy returns with the creepy German/English word-salad of "Blutsturtz, Baby," followed by the charmingly-titled "Cunnilingus Creutzfeuer." I have no idea what that second word means (and if you don't know the first one, you're too young to be reading this), but I can say this is the oddest track on the album by a long shot, busting out all over with coarse buzzes, industrial noise loops, robot vocals and maniacal laughter. The dirge-like "Kaufe Deine Seele" (Selling Your Soul) closes the album on a darkly majestic note, calling to mind the closing credits of a dystopian sci-fi/horror flick and wrapping up the whole Satan theme.

While it's not as radical a departure as I'd expected from the cover art, Women & Satan First does represent an interesting experimental stage for Wumpscut that calls back to his minimalist noise-rattled EBM roots in the '90s, which is always a nice place to visit for an old school rivet-rat like yours truly.

Oh yeah... before you go, how about a little throwaway genre trivia? With Prometheus just around the corner, fans may want to take note the striking resemblance between the Wumpscut logo, as shown on the left, and the Weyland-Yutani corporate symbol, which has been seen in various forms throughout the Alien film series. As an obsessive fan of Ridley Scott's original, I'm ashamed to say I didn't make the visual connection until just recently, but then again I'm not always entirely present, if you know what I mean. Anyway, considering the bio-mechanical nature of Rudy's music, incorporating this iconic image actually makes sense if you think about it.

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