Artist: The Seven Seals
Label: Rum Runner Records
Reviewer: Matthew J.
German act The Seven Seals will no doubt appeal to fans of such bombastic industrial metal groups as Rammstein, Die Krupps, and Unheilig. Like much of Laibach's mid-period work, their debut album is given over primarily to orchestral industrial metal versions of unexpected cover songs. Again, like much of Laibach's output, this works to varying degrees of success. The group's version of Falco's "Amadeus" is unexpectedly glorious, the Teutonic baritone vocals giving the song a weightiness that serves it well. Boney M's disco classic "Daddy Cool" is also a wonderful surprise, the disco funk turned into spooky cinematic orchestration, and the male/female duet taking on an impressive Wagnerian overtone barely recognizable from the original version. By far the most memorable and unexpected offering, however, is the band's rendition of Red Hot Chili Peppers hit "Under the Bridge." With guest vocalist Sybille's soaring soprano gliding over pianos, strings, and timpani, it's a quintessentially German take on a quintessentially American rock ballad, but it works marvelously, and despite her thick accent, Sybille's delivery is actually more intelligible than Anthony Kiedis ever managed on the original. Not all the offerings here are such unqualified successes, however. "My Way" is a decent but somewhat predictable industrial rock cover that owes more to the Sid Vicious version than the Frank Sinatra classic, and the same goes for Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," which would've been more impressive if Marilyn Manson hadn't done it a decade ago. On the other hand, a second mix of "Sweet Dreams," this time dropping all the metal elements out in favor of symphonic synths, actually provides an original take on the song, not just a veneer of rock heaviness. This isn't a perfect album, by any means, but even its less successful experiments are entertaining, and at its heights it manages some feats of real beauty.
Check out the Rum Runner Records Web site at www.rumrunnerrecords.com for more about The Seven Seals.
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