ALBUM: Forward Ever, Backward Never!
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Despite the title of their full-length debut, Straftanz seem to be looking forward and backward at the same time. There's no shortage of forward-looking moments on this album, like the progressive piano-laced trance of "Gummimann," which feels almost like an uplifting rave anthem before morphing into a melancholy but melodic EBM track, but overall this German act is firmly grounded in the minimalist dance floor aggression of their forebears. Opening track "Tanzt Kaputt, Was Euch Kaputt Macht!" is the very definition of classic EBM, with clean vocals barked in German over a relentlessly thumping drum machine, and "Finale Vollendung" is even more stripped down, with just the occasional film sample serving to adorn the distorted synth loop and boot-stomping beat. Even the guest appearances are more indicative of early influences than of current trends; though SITD's Carsten Jacek shows up to provide breathlessly intense guest vocals on "Industrieschnee (Ode an Die Heimat)," it's Myk Jung of The Fair Sex fame that really steals the show, his voice drenched in reverb, echoing endlessly across the deliberately minimalist programmed rhythm of "Burn Down Heaven." The biggest surprise guest, though, is Mille Petrozza of '80s thrash metal act Kreator, who adds some extra vocal melodies to "Praise the Panic," a track that, though still club-friendly and aggressive, features some of the darkest, richest production on the album. While such unexpected appearances reveal a musical background that goes well beyond Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, make no mistake: this is still EBM for the diehard fans, not some weak attempt at a crossover with the sound of the moment. "Backward never" or not, purists have nothing to fear from Straftanz.
Move forward ever (backward never) at www.straftanz.de.
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