''Renaissance or downfall?'': A review of Megaherz' ''Zombieland''
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
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Label / Shop: http://shop.napalmrecords.com/megaherz-zombieland-cd.html« ''Praise the NDH Lord'': A review of Lindemann's ''Skills in Pills''''Extremely unique madness in lyrics and sounds'': A review of Mono für Alle!'s ''#D.I.Y. - Live'' »
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