CD title: Mainstream Sellout Overground
Label: Metropolis Records
Genre: Industrial, Rave, Dance
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
Mainstream Sellout Overground is the sophomore effort from German industrial-rave act, Straftanz. With their second album, Straftanz does a good job of bringing back an element of industrial dance music that has been lost in the past 15 years. Fun. Everything about this album feels fun. Even though the band's message of intent (found on their website) indicates that they seek to challenge the status quo, they are also out to rule the dancefloor. And if there is any one album that will definitely drag the black-clad nervous masses off the club walls and and start shaking their asses, this is the album that will do it.
Straftanz manages to revive that energy and power that followed early KMDFM, Nitzer Ebb, and Sheep on Drugs. Industrial Rock that dove into the realms of Rave and Techno. Combining the rebellion of Rock with the unifying messages of Techno (in all its forms), to create something that pushed the boundaries of both genres. Back when Industrial music was about making a message and having fun with it. There is a large amount of humor in this album but without the bitter irony that some artists have been injecting overtly into tracks or albums aimed to appeal at club-play.
Some stand out songs are "The Enchantment", which opens with a spoken excerpt from Nietzsche's "The Birth of Tragedy", and erupts into a progressive house music affair. "The Bass Below" is reminiscent of KMDFM combing emotionless spoken lyrics echoed by an MC shouting along with a industrial guitars trying to drive the listener into a dancing fury. "Biftek De Licorn" slows the mood down with its haunting piano, and ethereal vocals provided by Eva Janina Haas. "Du Stirb Aus" would find its home nicely next to a Benny Benassi track in any DJ's set with its Speak-N-Spell samples and flirty female vocals.
There are moments where a more modern EBM sound takes over, like on "Forward Ever" or "Weltzeitvernichter". The songs lose their Rave and House influences and start to sound more like what would be standard EBM fare these days. This doesn't detract from the overall energy of the album, but instead gives it some much needed variety. Strong as this album is, it can be exhausting to listen to casually. With the exception of "Biftek De Licorn", every song is fast tempo, and high-energy.
Mainstream Sellout Overground is a much needed album right now. With economic distress, the threat of class-warfare, and the looming presence of an election year ahead, life in 2011 has not been relaxing. Straftanz brings us what may be the best soundtrack for these final and most stressful weeks of the year. A non-stop, unapologetic industrial-dance album that makes us want to raise our fists, feet, and moods.
Listen to "Foward Ever"
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