Artist: Die Krupps
Title: Songs From The Dark Side Of Heaven
Genre: Industrial / Metal / EBM
Release Date: 28th May 2021
Label: Oblivion / SPV
It feels like DIE KRUPPS have released their previous album ‘Vision 2020 Vision’ just a few weeks ago, followed by a tour across Europe. Time is relative in a pandemic. The truth is that it was about one and a half years ago already that they unleashed that blasting killer album. What got stuck was the later fulfilling prophecy of the Armageddon-like world in 2020. Perfectly fine if you thought that DIE KRUPPS should never ever produce any album again if they keep predicting the wrong things. But fortunately, the band is back with the successor ‘Songs From The Dark Side Of Heaven’ now. While the first followed a strict prospective point of view, the latter takes the retrospective one.
The record is not just a simple cover album, but also a full-fledged tribute to days gone by. Some people would say that the band covered their very own heroes. While the artwork and album title remind you of PINK FLOYD’s famous ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, the fine selection of songs has obviously been done very carefully. If you are to judge a cover version you always have to compare and every piece depends on whether or not you rate the original. Therefore, the primary focus of this review should strictly be on comparison and performance. Some of the songs were released as singles in the last months, so they should be fairly well known.
‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ takes to the band’s typical sound and leaves the original a bit, but that is an advantage in this case. The DIE KRUPPS sound adds something that is only missed in the original version after listening to both. Contrary to this, ‘Chinese Black’ stays close to the original. It is particularly worth mentioning that Jyrki 69, who is the singer of THE 69 EYES, has a guest appearance in this track. His special voice fits perfectly into the song. So, spot on to the band to have asked him. For ‘Whip It’ the same applies as for the album opener. DIE KRUPPS know how to take the song to this decade.
‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ is the perfect compromise between DIE KRUPPS and the original. Though this might come from the featuring artist James Williamson, who is the singer and guitarist of the former THE STOOGES. Without his skills added to the cover, the song would not have worked that well. The same can be said about ‘To Hell With Poverty!’. Here, the band engaged Big Paul Ferguson, who is the drummer of KILLING JOKE. In either song it is the guests who gain the extra kick, but without them they believably would have worked too. If you know the original of ‘No More Heroes’ you could easily wonder how DIE KRUPPS would get over the song’s positive sound, which they nearly never make use of in their own songs. As soon as the song starts you will know why: They can sound a tad positive. It suits them well. The guests in this cover song are ROSS THE BOSS, the new band of former MANOWAR guitarist Ross Friedman. Their participation is particularly evident in the typical guitar play and sound.
‘Another One Bites The Dust’ is probably the most known original song of the album due to the original performers’ name, namely QUEEN. The cover version feels a bit too far-fetched, because it loses the original funk feeling a bit too much. DIE KRUPPS play it around 15 BPM faster and in their typical way, they set up a wall of just everything. It is the minimalism and the careful use of ups and downs that makes the original the precious song it is. Very difficult to rate anyway. ‘Marilyn Dreams’ makes up for it. Sure, it is a soft ballad kind of song, but DIE KRUPPS add something special that would be missed in the original right after the listener knows both versions. What sounded inconspicuous at first evolves to possibly one of the strongest numbers on this album. Respect where it is due! Who would have thought?
If you are a pioneer in electronic music from the late 70s or 80s and you do not have FAD GADGET on your list of inspirations, quit your job as an artist. As simple as that. So, it is no wonder that DIE KRUPPS have covered one of Frank Tovey’s best songs, provided it is true that they reworked songs of their own heroes. ‘Collapsing New People’ is what it is: A masterpiece of a song. The cover version does not deviate from it and remains in the original intention and mood. The album ends with the very close to the original ‘New York (9/11 Version)’. This very last song does not add too much to the overall work, but it is a nice-to-have either way.
With the new DIE KRUPPS album ‘Songs From The Dark Side Of Heaven’ the buyer receives a meticulously selected, brilliantly handcrafted and well performed cover album. The record represents both DIE KRUPPS positives such as the typical sound and those of the originals, nothing to go on a big tour with, but at least some good add-ons to the band’s energetic and renowned live performances. In some occasions the songs stay in the performers’ narrow conditions, but in others they take the listener to a different level and add new dimensions. There are very few weaknesses and negatives, nothing worth mentioning. The entire album sticks together as if made from one piece, which cannot be said about many cover albums.
01. The Number One Song In Heaven (originally by SPARKS)
02. Chinese Black feat. Jyrki 69 (originally by THE NEON JUDGEMENT)
03. Whip It (originally by DEVO)
04. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper feat. James Williamson (originally by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT)
05. To Hell With Poverty! feat. Big Paul Ferguson (originally by GANG OF FOUR)
06. No More Heroes feat. Ross The Boss (originally by THE STRANGLERS)
07. Another One Bites The Dust (originally by QUEEN)
08. Marilyn Dreams (originally by B-MOVIE)
09. Collapsing New People (originally by FAD GADGET)
10. New York (Version 9/11) (originally by MCL)
Jürgen Engler – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars, Steel-o-Phone
Ralf Dörper – Samples
Marcel Zürcher – Guitars, Keyboards
Nils Finkeisen – Guitars
Paul Keller – Drums
https://www.diekrupps.com / https://www.facebook.com/diekruppsofficial/
Total: 9.5 / 10