Title: Als Wären Wir Für Immer
Artist: Die Krupps
Genre: Electro/Industrial Rock
Release Date: 19th November 2010 (Germany) / 22nd November 2010 (Europe)
Label: Synthetic Symphony/SPV
DIE KRUPPS have quite some legacy after their 30-year career. Established 1980 in Düsseldorf, DIE KRUPPS were one of the first German bands who picked up the Industrial sound aesthetics of UK acts like THROBBING GRISTLE on their first release ‘Stahlwerksynfonie’. Soon DIE KRUPPS focussed more on synths and sequencer, while keeping metallic percussion as a key element, and laid one of the foundation stones of Electronic Body Music with releases like the single ‘Wahre Arbeit Wahrer Lohn’ (1981) or the album ‘Volle Kraft Voraus’ from 1982. In the early 1990s, the reunited DIE KRUPPS merged hard-edged electronics with Metal and created their “metal machine music”, being innovative pioneers just once again. The very Heavy Metal-orientated album ‘Paradise Now’ (1997) marked the end of this period of DIE KRUPPS. After some years of silence the band returned, mainly as a live act and with an extensive tour to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2005.
The EP ‘Als Wären Wir Für Immer’ (As if we were forever), hitting the shelves this winter, is the first DIE KRUPPS release since last year’s remix album ‘Volle Kraft Null Acht’. The record label’s promo sheet speaks of “the first DIE KRUPPS (mini) album with exclusively new material since 1997“, which might be a bit misleading. One might think it was the first release with new material in 13 years if you don’t read close enough but of course there was new DIE KRUPPS stuff over the last few years, like the song ‘5 Millionen’ on ‘Too Much History Vol. 1’ (2007), or the wonderful collaboration with CLIENT (‘Der Amboss’, 2005). And to be a total nit-picker, the statement is wrong as this EP features ‘Dr. Mabuse’ - a song which was featured on a previous DIE KRUPPS release already!
Anyway, let’s take a look at the music itself. The EP starts with ‘Beyond’, an English-voiced song which shows the poppier side of DIE KRUPPS. Synths and electronics dominate this dancy mid-tempo track, the trademark Metal guitars only come in during the rather catchy chorus. A good track but in my book it’s a bit too polished to create the typical DIE KRUPPS feel. But I’m sure it’s gonna be a very popular song - especially as it is also featured in a remix by UNHEILIG! Quite a surprise to see UNHEILIG remixing DIE KRUPPS, apparently their version is already three years old. UNHEILIG has become a mega-act in Germany meanwhile which sells out big arenas and topped the official sales charts for more than 15 weeks with their last album. I see a myriad of UNHEILIG fans getting the new DIE KRUPPS EP just because of this one remix!
I’m sure they will like it. Personally, I prefer the two German-voiced songs on this EP, ‘Die Macht’ and the title track ‘Als Wären Wir Für Immer’. The latter is a typical DIE KRUPPS track and creates with its slow but stomping dark beats a pretty apocalyptic feel. ‘Die Macht’ is faster paced; equally dark and just like the title track it has some brooding, socio-critical lyrics. This is one of the many things I love about DIE KRUPPS: While many bands of the scene claim to be decidedly apolitical, Jürgen Engler and his band have always been resolutely political and socially aware. We need bands like that! ‘The Chamaleon Man’ is also featured as the original version and as a remix. Classic DIE KRUPPS material - it even features quite a few samples from 1989’s ‘Machineries Of Joy’! - but just like ‘Beyond’ a bit too polished, if you ask me. Chilean Industrial Metal band VIGILANTE corrects this with their take on this song and add some oomph and a pretty dancy rhythm to ‘The Chameleon Man’.
Last but not least there’s the PROPAGANDA song ‘Dr. Mabuse’ on this EP. The demo version of this one was already featured as a bonus track on the 2008 re-release of the album ‘I’, and is kind of a “semi-cover” as DIE KRUPPS’ Ralf Dörper was also a member of PROPAGANDA and co-writer of this 1984 hit single. The song has been a regular in DIE KRUPPS’ live sets for many years, so it is good to finally have a proper version on a studio release. While DIE KRUPPS kept their version rather close to the original, they gave it a slight EBM feel by speeding it up and adding a stomping beat to it. A top candidate for the underground dance floors and the ‘Memphis Remix’ elaborates on the dance aspect. MEMPHIS is the moniker of DJ Elvis from Cologne under which he remixes various artists of the scene. His version of ‘Dr. Mabuse’ is solely arranged to cater the dance floors of this world, and as he also underlines the Pop elements of the song, the ‘Memphis Remix’ might also get some airplay outside the underground.
In the end the ‘Als Wären Wir Für Immer’ EP is somehow a mixed bag. There’s good and very well produced stuff on it for sure but nothing mind-blowing. I didn’t expect DIE KRUPPS being as innovative and pioneering in 2010 as in the early 1980s or 1990s, as this is hardly possible. But somehow I miss the wow-effect here, and only the two German-voiced songs return to the edgier and more challenging side of DIE KRUPPS. A good release, but usually DIE KRUPPS are better than this.
2. The Chameleon Man
3. Die Macht
4. Dr. Mabuse
5. Als Wären Wir Für Immer
6. Beyond (Unheilig Remix)
7. The Chameleon Man (Vigilante Remix)
8. Dr. Mabuse (Memphis Remix)
Juergen Engler - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Steel Percussion, Programming
Ralf Doerper - Samples
Marcel Zuercher - Guitars
Chris Lietz - Engineering, Programming
http://www.die-krupps.de - http://www.myspace.com/diekrupps
Total: 8.3 / 10