Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Artist: Nervenbeisser
Title: Zeitenwandel
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nervenbeisser (Nerve Biter) is an NDH band from Germany (where else would you find NDH bands?) and 'Zeitenwandel' ('Change of Time') is their sophomore album after their 2005 debut ('Geschlechterschlacht'). Nervenbeisser aren't your typical NDH band though as there are definite goth-electro-industrial elements incorporated throughout. Also, the metal doesn't surface as much as you'd expect. Still, they are balls-to-the wall HARD...most of the time. The album begins with a recitation in Deutsche (of course) over dark industrial ambient background...setting the mood I guess. First real song - "Verkehrte Welt" has a bouncy/loping martial beat similar to Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People," but that's where the similarity ends. There's a catchy crowd-rousing chorus ("HEY DU!"...and lines in German that follow) and that's the first clue that this album seems primarily made for live play, fist-pumping, and short attention spans. Although there is some diversity in form, there's not much in style, and that's what works against Nervenbeisser throughout most of 'Zeitenwandel.' Take the title track for example; it starts out with some nice atmospherics leading into a catchy bass and synth line combo but all too soon falls into cliched aspects of NDH that only get deeper as it chugs along, in spite of its electro elements. Live, I'm sure it's what the crowd will eat up, but listening to it at home gets wearisome. Olaf Seider's vocal style ranges from guttural growl to raspy scream (most notably on the chorus of Glucklich Allein") and the latter is really difficult (for me) to take. The one thing this band does manage to do effectively is come up with catchy hooks, be they vocal or instrumental, for this type of music anyway. Take for example "Goldener Kafig" where there is really nothing memorable in the vocal department, but this dumb little repetitious airy synth riff will stick in your brain. To a large extent these songs seem crafted more with a bludgeon than a scalpel, and maybe that's a hallmark of Neue Deutsche HÄrte. On one hand, I think these guys are somewhat enamoured of Rammstein, but on the other may have aspirations of Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly or even KMFDM. It's hard to tell whether or not this merging works. I think only the band's fans can be the real judge, and from what I'm seeing, their following is growing. Final track on the album ("Alles Steht Still") is a mostly acoustic ballad where the band shows its sensitive side. Actually not bad, and a nice break from being pummeled. It will be interesting to see where the band goes from here. Will Nervenbeisser play more to their NDH roots, or will they explore and expand into something quite different?