If you're unfamiliar with Steril, this is a great opportunity to check them out; they've got a new album coming out later in the year, and this new greatest hits anthology will bring you right up to speed. It starts out predictably enough; "Strange Pusher" is straightforward house-influenced EBM with a minimalist approach to vocals. It's good for the dance floor, but nothing you haven't heard before. As the pounding drum machines and German-accented vocals of "Egoist" kick in, you relax into the groove of what you're expecting will be another collection of by-the-numbers European EBM. Then, the guitars happen: huge guitars, giant guitars, overwhelming guitars, crushing everything in their path. Don't get confused, though. The massive bursts of distorted power chords in no way turn this into rock music. If anything, it's got more overt influences from the dance scene than most purely electronic EBM albums. "Zap!" is built around funky breakbeat loops and hip-hop samples, while "No Remission" adds an enthusiastic rap section that was probably groundbreaking for its time, though it sounds a bit dated now. "Deep" is an absolute classic, working in references to everything from Front 242's Off period to drum 'n' bass and synthpop, while "Guess" transcends its overt KMFDM influences with a surprisingly subtle bridge of pianos and strings. Then there's "I Get Closer," which seems thrown in entirely to keep the band from being pigeonholed; it's a techno-influenced synthpop track with falsetto vocals. Despite the fact that it seems out of place sandwiched between the staccato rage of "Shame" and the aggressive bursts of distortion on "Temper," it's actually a catchy track, and highlights the fact that Steril are more than just a one-trick pony. Still, 400 years of electronic music or not, it's the guitars that are the stars. Industrial rock fans, don't kick yourself if you haven't heard of Steril up until now; with this collection, Artoffact Records gives you the chance to correct your mistake.
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