The definition of antipathy - A review of Böhse Onkelz' ''Memento''
Ladies and gentlemen,
The following words simply needed to be written. German hard rock band Böhse Onkelz in general and the band's new studio record ''Memento'' in particular represent everything I could dislike about a band and/or an album:
Xenophobic tendencies in the band's early years? Check!
Simple-minded music without any evolution? Check!
Whiny topics and butt-hurt attitude in the lyrics? Check!
Fake stylistics revolving around a rebellious outsider image? Check!
Fanatic and often aggressive supporters? Check!
A drug-addict as singer who was sentenced to go to prison? Check!
Fake reunion to grab some cash? Check!
A cover artwork with ugly tattoos? Check!
I guess I will get massive negative feedback with my review from those who worship the band like idols and I usually would have ignored this group; especially after the quartet had called it quits thirteen years ago. But now the band seems to be back for good and to my own negative surprise, I realized that some of my friends and even family members actually support and listen to those fake hypocrites and that convinced me to react and to write my single and only Böhse Onkelz review. It's emotional, honest and straight. Here it is now and if you feel unhappy about my review, please don't write any songs about it like your favorite band tends to do. That would be childish, pathetic and plain ridiculous.
Böhse Onkelz is one of the most popular German hard rock bands despite being ignored by mass media. The fact that the group is ignored by mainstream media is especially due to the fact that the band had some racist lyrics in several tracks and was quite popular in the skinhead scene in the first five years of its career. The band claims that it has changed its views since its early days but has remained a quite controversial group that has often victimized itself, protested against governmental institutions and attacked the media for overlooking them. Most of the band's lyrics can be resumed by the phrase ''us against the world''. Some of the band members, especially lead singer Kevin Russell, also had to deal with alcohol and drug addictions and that's why the group decided to call it quits thirteen years ago and played two last farewell shows in front of over one hundred thousand fans. A few years after the split, singer Kevin Russell caused a violent traffic accident that severely injured two young men, escaped from the scene of his crime and acted without any visible remorse or respect during his trial. He had to spend some time in prison and had to do a therapy.
And now that band that had split up and celebrated its departure with a festival has come back to cash in. The man that has crippled two young men and done so much harm is back on the stage and sings about how the world has always been unfair to him. The band that had split up because its members couldn't get along and support one another anymore sing about their eternal friendship. Despite releasing its fifth number one studio record in a row and getting massive attention from rock and metal magazines, the band still victimizes itself and tries to tell its fans who are paying elevated prices to attend their shows that they are unlucky outsiders. The music on the band's new album sounds as conservative as it gets and the lyrics deal with the same topics as ever. It's still ''us against the world''. That band's entire attitude, behavior and career sound like a lie to me. The fact that this group is still so popular in Germany tells us a lot about the current state of that nation. People feel like outsiders and can identify themselves with the band's fake image. If you take a look at a majority of the audience during the group's numerous live shows, you will get a very revealing portrait of what kind of people support those hypocrites. Concert halls are filled with aggressive soccer hooligans, racist skinheads, frustrated outsiders, rebellious kids or those who are still on a mentally immature level, rock and metal journalists who want to keep a some cool underground credibility and won't stop praising those wrong idols and feeble-minded bullies who think rock music is too soft for them and heavy metal too brutal and who wouldn't be smart enough to understand lyrics in any other language than their mother tongue anyway. There are obviously some positive exceptions but a band with such a stereotypical identity attracts a lot of stereotypical people as well. If you have any kind of self-esteem, you avoid that kind of music and band at all costs.
Why am I telling you about all those things? It's because the new album isn't actually even worth to be discussed in more than a very short paragraph. What we get to hear is uninspired, simplistic and conservative hard rock music with raw and throaty vocals destroyed by alcohol and drugs and whiny lyrics about the band's fake image of friendship and togetherness, the flaws of Church and State and some pseudo-morality where the band tries to convince us how wise they have become which is clearly proven wrong by the reunion and release of that album alone. To be fair, exactly two songs are remotely interesting on the new record. The best track on here is the bluesy epic ''Der Junge mit dem Schwefelholz'' and it proves that the musicians could actually pull off a skilled blues rock project if it weren't for their limited singer and simple-minded fan base even though the lyrics offer the tired stereotype of a young man corrupted by its religious education. Opener ''Gott hat ein Problem'' offers a surprisingly melancholic punk tune and starts the album with a pleasant surprise despite the vapid lyrics where the band worships itself without any obvious trace of irony.
To keep it short, Böhse Onkelz is one of the most antipathic bands on the planet for me. It's not because of the band's past because everybody can make mistakes and deserves a second chance. No, it's because of the band's present concerning its shallow reunion to make money and this vapid record where the group repeats the same tired stereotypes it had already dealt with numerous times over the past three decades. Memento is absolutely not memorable and one of the most boring and conservative rock albums I have heard in a very long time. If you feel that the whole world is against you and don't like changes of any kind, this album might be interesting for you. Anyone else should stay away from this record at any cost.
Final rating: 10%
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