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    Mono für Alle! is a very particular German underground trio that mixes distorted electronica, experimental extreme metal, powerful hardcore punk, nostalgic psychedelic rock and naive Schlager music. In addition to this, keyboarder and singer Mono, bassist Yenzzo and drummer Kick from the bourgeois smalltown of Gießen deliver disturbingly provocative lyrics that deal with offensive contradictions in our contemporary society. Their songs portray the nefarious influences of capitalist global players on the environment, ruthless security services on privacy and far right and left extremists on our society. In addition to this, the band refuses to make money with their music and offers most of their releases as free downloads, avoids every kind of social media presence and plays only small underground festivals as well as weird locations from endagered nature reserves over isolated hippie beaches to filthy youth centers. The band has already performed in exotic places from Cuba over Spain to the United Kingdom as well. The band's unique image is the reason for a small but faithful cult following that hasn't decreased despite the fact that the trio hasn't released any physical record since the controversial single ''11. September'' ten years ago.

     

    Now, the trio is back with a live release recorded at several concerts during last year's ''Do it Yourself'' tour across Germany and its neighboring countries after a break of several years that the band had spent on a remote Greek island. If you experience one of the band's rare live appearances, you will realize that their live versions sound much faster, heavier and more improvised than the studio takes. In general, the band likes to work with both lyrical and musical extremes. On one side, you get an almost relaxed ballad with harmonious harmonica sounds and an echoing rhythm section as in ''Hallo Verfassungschutz'' where the vocals starts in a naive way before they get more menacing and finally quite hysterical as well as the almost ridicolously catchy pop song ''Honecker komm zurück'' which is driven by simplistic organ sounds and a childish chorus that invites to sway from side to side. Between both extremes, you have tunes like the dragging and depressive bass-driven ''Arbeitsagentur'' or the short ''Facebook Youtube Google'' that mixes laid-back melodic verses carried by joyous organ sounds with uneasy and nearly hysterical choruses. On the other side, you get some more extreme and experimental cuts such as the chaotic and sped-up electro-punk version of ''Steineschmeißer'' that almost sounded like a sixties' pop song in its initial version or the brutal and fast delivery of ''Gentrification'' that barely recalls the danceable electro-pop song that was the original studio version.

     

    In about thirty-eight minutes, you get everything this anticonformist, non categorizable and rebellious beatnik trio stands for. The band offers revamped versions of old classics such as the psychedelic krautrock track ''Boykottiert McDonald's'' where the radically factual message is completely opposed to the jam-like music but also some new stuff such as the mellower ''Ekelhafter Antisemit'' that though comes around with some filthy social criticism. This album is just as great as the mostly improvised and psychedelic ''San Pedro Konzert'' live release twelve years earlier which has gained a cult status among fans and has become a rare collector's item. 

     

    Mono für Alle! is a band that polarizes like almost no other. You will either madly adore this mixture of focused lyrics and chaotic music put into insane song structures or heavily despise the fusion of offensive texts and nerve-firing noise experiments. There really is nothing in between these two opinions from a subjective point of view. No matter which side you choose, one thing is certain: ''#D.I.Y. - Live'' is a most unique experiment for your mind and your ears. That's why I urge you to check this release out no matter what. Hurry up if you want to get your hands on this outstanding release since the cassette, CD and vinyl versions are strictly limited and already rather hard to find. If you want to go a safer way, you can purchase this coeval live monument on iTunes.

     

    Final verdict: 10/10

     

     

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Homepage: http://www.monofueralle.info/

    iTunes (North America): https://itunes.apple.com/zw/album/d.i.y.-live/id1013503388

    Merchandise (Germany/Europe): http://www.fantotal.de/en/mono-fuer-alle/cd-mono-fuer-alle-d-i-y-tour.html

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  • Megaherz - Zombieland (2014) 

    Megaherz has once been one of the most influential Neue Deutsche Härte bands but several line-up changes and a couple of mediocre releases have decreased the impact of these genre veterans. Especially the departures of guitarist and keyboarder Jochen "Noel Pix" Seibert and original singer Alexx Wesselsky have been bitter pills to swallow since they went on to form the more popular genre band Eisbrecher. Even bands of the last genre wave like Stahlmann had been more relevant than Megaherz in recent years. After a long drought, things might look a little bit brighter for them. The band signed with the renowned Napalm Records label and has been the supporting act of the successful genre band Unheilig.

     

    The band's musical direction has also changed in order to catch up with their genre colleagues. The band's latest effort "Zombieland" features a high amount of half-ballads and ballads led by melancholic piano parts and expressive vocals reminding me of a mixture of Böhse Onkelz, Oomph! and Unheilig. The lyrics have also become more introspective, philosophical and sentimental. The hypnotizingly rising "Wir könnten Gotter sein", the slow and nostalgic anthem "Für immer" and the electronically driven "Roter Mond" are good examples for the band's surprising new direction. 

     

    To underline their new sound, the group even re-recorded three of their own classics in this new style. "Hurra - wir leben noch" from the Himmelfahrt album sounds much mellower than the original and has more dominant electronic elements. "Augenblick" from the 5 release comes around as a piano ballad instead of the floating and electronically driven experimental original tune. "Herz aus Stein" from the Kopfschuss release includes more piano parts and vocal effects than the more gripping original which included pumping alternative metal and atmospheric grunge elements. It's a matter of personal taste whether you prefer the heavier originals or the stripped-down remakes but these three tracks are a statement that the band wants to reinvent itself.

     

    This release still includes a few more traditional Megaherz tracks like the sinister "Schwarzer Engel" or the typical genre stomper and opener "Zombieland". These old-fashioned tunes feel exchangeable, predictable and out of context if compared to the numerous ballads. They only seem to be there to appease the traditional fan base and in order to have a smoother transition between the old and the current style of the band.

     

    In the end, this album comes as a quite courageous change of style and while this release might be commercially more successful than their previous efforts, I somehow doubt that their original fan base accepts, enjoys and supports this new sound. Megaherz are bound to lose some faithful fans but they might also win a few new ones. The group seems to desire to desperately follow the success of their genre colleagues Unheilig that have become a national phenomenon five years ago. To my surprise, Megaherz' change of style doesn't feel dishonest since the new ballads are performed with enough passion to convince. This new style still feels rather unusual but maybe it's only a turningt point and therefor the beginning of greater things to come. To conclude, the calmer approach is a courageous and interesting change for the band while the few more traditional tracks can't convince anymore. While the new concept is intriguing, it feels like the band is too inspired by the path Unheilig have taken. Only time will tell if this is a step in the right direction for the band to arise anew in their genre with a big bang.

    Final verdict: 7/10

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Facebook: http://de-de.facebook.com/OfficialMegaherz

    Homepage: http://www.megaherz.de/

    Label / Shop: http://shop.napalmrecords.com/megaherz-zombieland-cd.html

     

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  • Lindemann - Skills in Pills (2015) 

    Lindemann is a collaboration between Till Lindemann, the singer and songwriter of legendary German Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein and Peter Tägtgren of Swedish industrial metal band PAIN. Their first output "Skills in Pills" sounds exactly like a fusion of these bands and convinces with powerful riffs, danceable electronica and provocative lyrics delivered in catchy choruses. The controversial first single "Praise Abort" is a perfect example for the sound of this band. Cold riffs meet addicting electronica and vivid drums while the expressive vocals are performed with a mixture of disgust, drama and irony. The song talks about an irresponsible family father who has six kids but no empathy, motivation and wealth to take care of them and who looks on his shattered life as his egoistic mistakes from the past are haunting him. While simplistic minds will only focus on the disturbing video clip, the sexually explicit lyrics and the unforgettable chorus, smarter auditions will come to realize that this song actually criticizes patchwork familles, self-consumed perverts and thoughtless rakes. In addition to this, the track mocks religious extasy and fanatic preachers and their ''Praise the Lord!'' mantras and replaces this by the amusing yet offending exclamation ''Praise Abort!''.

     

    Obviously, other tracks focus on our perverted society with a lot of black humor and explicit descriptions without including a deeper social criticism like the hysterical "Golden Shower", the heavy stomper "Fat" or the almost childishly joyous "Ladyboy". Apart from these explicit contents, the band also mocks certain stereotypes and smashes the image of a tough, masculine and admirable hero in "Cowboy" or criticizes the cheap and massive use of senseless medication promoted by tthe greedy pharmaceutical industry which causes further addictions instead of solving any problems.

     

    While all these trademark lyrics are really interesting, it's also a relief to hear some tracks that don't include any raunchy humor or bitter social criticism. A prime example for these more dissociated lyrics is the epic gold rush anthem "Yukon" which is the most powerful song on the entire record in my humble opinion. The song includes majestic orchestral arrangements, a most diversified and emotional vocal performance and an epic chorus that won't leave anybody untouched. Another gem of this kind is the bonus track and ballad "That's My Heart" that closes a mostly wird record on a thoughtful, intellectuel and calm note.

     

    In the end, fans of Rammstein and similar acts might have found their album of the year with this diversified, energizing and provocative record that is pretty much on the same high quality level as Emigrate's "Silent So Long". Now, if you are a divorced family father with perverted thoughts that wants to escape his sad everyday life and who is desperately taking pills to keep his former performances intact, this might even be the album of your life because it tells you all the bitter fact of your shameful life that you aren't brave enough to admit.

    Final verdict: 8,5/10

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Lindemann

    Homepage: http://www.skillsinpills.com/main.html

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbQporZxQlCjFDcxrWUX7BA/

     

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  • Neue Deutsche Härte is a musical genre influenced by the popular Neue Deutsche Welle movement of the eighties as well as the development of the alternative and groove metal genres in the nineties mixed with cold but danceable electronica, industrial and techno elements. There is no doubt that Rammstein is still the most prominent representative of this genre but who is next in line? About one and a half decades ago, this would have been Megaherz with solid underground hits sich as "Miststück", "Freiflug" and "Himmelfahrt". From then on, Oomph! took over with chart successes such as "Augen auf!", "Träumst Du?" and "Sandmann". Over the past five years though, another band has taken over with tracks like "Eiszeit", "Die Hölle muss warten" and "Zwischen uns" among others. This band is called Eisbrecher and in comparison to Megaherz and Oomph!, they are here to stay and defend the second place or even conquer the throne if Rammstein fail to deliver with their next studio record.

     

    Eisbrecher's most recent record "Schock" shows us why this band is so strong. They are able to mix typical trademark lyrics and sounds with diversified and even experimental approaches. The fifteen or sixteen new songs mix cold and sinister stompers with simple sing-along choruses such as title track "Schock" with danceable gothic disco anthems like "Rot wie die Liebe" and experimental efforts such as the lyrically convincing "Zwischen uns" which includes tense spoken-word passages, lascivious female guest vocals and a massive and passionate chorus. In addition to this, the charismatic band leader and addicting entertainer Alexx Wesselsky has the right amount of powerfully roaring vocals to deliver even more explicit lyrics like the heavy "Himmel, Arsch und Zwirn" in a fully convincing manner. Even the epic half-ballad "Schlachtbank" which the band uses as convincing closer of their current tour, sounds honest and touching due to the singer's passionate performance. A true success is the cachy, danceable and emotional cover of the rather unknown Neue Deutsche Welle track "Das steht dir gut" by Rheingold that easily beats the original effort. You should definitely purchase the limited version with this bonus track. The digital bonus song "Süßwasserfisch" though shows that the band still slightly copies other bands like Rammstein and Tanzwut here and there. This inspiration from other bands and the lack of truly unique lyrics are the only reasons why this band hasn't conquered the genre throne yet.

     

    Still, any fan of rock and metal music, the gothic scene and German culture should give this band a focused try. The band has delivered very solid albums right from the start but "Schock" and the previous "Die Hölle muss warten" turn out to be the band's most consistent efforts to date with only two or three exchangeable fillers versus a dozen truly convincing, diversified and energizing genre hits. In addition to this, the band's live performances are as entertaining, memorable and powerful and Eisbrecher will release their first live album ever "Schock Live" in September 2015.

    Final verdict: 8,5/10

     Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eisbrecher

    Homepage: http://www.eis-brecher.com/

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/EISBRECHERofficial/videos

     

     

     

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  • Chères lectrices et chers lecteurs de mon blogue!

    Voici une vieille émission de Culturama sur les ondes de CEUCRadio que j'ai retrouvée sur la page YouTube du multi-instrumentaliste russe Senmuth. C'était la douzième sur vingt-neuf émissions enregistrées entre 2010 et 2012. Toutes les émissions étaient disponibles sur ma chaîne YouTube, mais j'avais décidé d'effacer celle-ci il y a environ deux ans. Je vous souhaite une très bonne écoute avec ce petit voyage dans le passé. Merci beaucoup à Charles Trudel et Valery "Senmuth" Androsov pour ce beau bijou!

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