Various Artists - Swedish EBM: The Collection
Other They love their EBM in Sweden. My sole visit to the country took in a Front 242/Nitzer Ebb double-billing as the supposed highlight, only to completely underestimate the scale of the mosh-pit that I would need to survive to have any hope of getting close enough to the band to get a decent camera shot or two. There's plenty of Swedish bands willing to have a crack at the style themselves, and hence the country has proved to be something of a leading light in the genre often referred to as "Anhalt EBM" (a reference to the genre's other stronghold in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany), but has always been referred to by me as "new-school old-school EBM". Because I seem to be incapable of using one word when four will do.

A quick look at the tracklisting yields no surprises. Plenty of personal favourites and a promising spread of new, sufficiently industrial-sounding band names to indulge. And it's Spetsnaz up first! This band sound so much like early Nitzer Ebb that they're practically a tribute band. Yet the offering here, "Satiric Strokes", is a disappointing, ponderous affair, sounding like a rejected B-side from one of the 'Belief' singles. Autodafeh, students of the 242-school of body music throw in "Camp Intel", but this too is a fairly average effort by their standards, notwithstanding the Speak & Spell samples and the And One style detuned synth melody. If this truly was to be a national showcase, they could have least have wheeled out their 10-star mega-anthem "Divided We Fall" (if you haven't heard this track yet, you need to!).

Two major players, two let-downs. The way is free for the smaller bands to make a mark. Sure enough, both Kropp and Turnbull A.C.s deliver raw, no-nonsense, lo-fi, 3-minute body beat floor-fillers, true to the original spirit of 'That Total Age', which was essentially punk rock that replaced traditional rock instruments with a few synths and some metal bashing noises. No Sleep By The Machine veer away from the purist attitude heard so far, "Yellow Mica" featuring a shuffle rhythm and lush melodics, but I'm not complaining. We needed some variety and a hint of poppy accessibility does the trick. Spark! also try to follow the tuneful path but "Singelolycka" ends up sounding like a confused mish-mash of ideas. This style isn't exactly the most advanced in terms of musicology. How hard can it be to get it right?

Stockholm Wrecking Crew take us to the halfway mark, and the band name is spot on, as the tracks percussive, punky nature genuinely does sound like a bunch of muscular Scandinavians performing a jam session in a scrapyard somewhere around the outskirts of Sweden's capital. Don't think I'll be buying their album (if they have one), but would definitely be up for watching this particular crew live one day (let's face it, WGT loves this kind of thing). Next up is Dupont with "Behave" from their 'Entering The Ice Age' album. I know why they picked this track, it being the most authentic EBM track in a back catalogue rich in synthpop and minimal synth influences, but neither does it showcase the best aspects of their talents.

T.W.A.T. go back even further in their time in search of influences, "The Barricades" sounding like a version of DAF with a second synth and backing vocalists. But when you get a bunch of Swedes developing a German sound whilst singing in the English language, the best you're going to get lyrically is 'We Are The Rude Boys. They Are The IKEA People'. Sorry, but I preferred listening to D.A.F. singing in German and not actually knowing what the bloody words meant. And then as if to prove all was not lost, we get a pair of tracks (one by Batch ID, the other from Sturm Café) that not only tread the line between EBM proper and analogue synthpop, but do it very well. Proper, catchy tunes with a solid rhythmic backbone. I needed that.

That, unfortunately, is as good as this compilation gets. "Not The King Of Body" by Projekt Tanz is all reverb and no substance - a few Monty Python samples isn't nearly enough to save it from skip-over status. Penultimate track is "The Directors Cut" by Astma works hard but comes across as a nothing more than that an workmanlike EBM cut, lacking any kind of hook to make it memorable. Container 90 take us to the end with the incredibly short "Copycat" (is that title ironic or what?). Again, there's lots of energy, but the song ends in such an abrupt manner that all that effort just seems like a waste of time.

The thing I object to most about this album is the use of the definite article 'The' in it's title. This IS a collection of EBM, and it IS Swedish. But it isn't definitive by any means. There are too many bands featured here that are poorly represented by the songs contributed. Maybe the label couldn't license their better songs? The compilation does have a saving grace in the way some of the less well-known EBM projects manage to steal the show. I had never heard of No Sleep By The Machine, Batch ID or Kropp before listening to this, but I'll certainly give their recordings a go if I could lay my hands on them.

Isn't that the least subtle hint to the Brutal Resonance administrators, ever?
3
Brutal Resonance

Various Artists - Swedish EBM: The Collection

5.0
"Mediocre"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2010 by Fist Fight Records
They love their EBM in Sweden. My sole visit to the country took in a Front 242/Nitzer Ebb double-billing as the supposed highlight, only to completely underestimate the scale of the mosh-pit that I would need to survive to have any hope of getting close enough to the band to get a decent camera shot or two. There's plenty of Swedish bands willing to have a crack at the style themselves, and hence the country has proved to be something of a leading light in the genre often referred to as "Anhalt EBM" (a reference to the genre's other stronghold in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany), but has always been referred to by me as "new-school old-school EBM". Because I seem to be incapable of using one word when four will do.

A quick look at the tracklisting yields no surprises. Plenty of personal favourites and a promising spread of new, sufficiently industrial-sounding band names to indulge. And it's Spetsnaz up first! This band sound so much like early Nitzer Ebb that they're practically a tribute band. Yet the offering here, "Satiric Strokes", is a disappointing, ponderous affair, sounding like a rejected B-side from one of the 'Belief' singles. Autodafeh, students of the 242-school of body music throw in "Camp Intel", but this too is a fairly average effort by their standards, notwithstanding the Speak & Spell samples and the And One style detuned synth melody. If this truly was to be a national showcase, they could have least have wheeled out their 10-star mega-anthem "Divided We Fall" (if you haven't heard this track yet, you need to!).

Two major players, two let-downs. The way is free for the smaller bands to make a mark. Sure enough, both Kropp and Turnbull A.C.s deliver raw, no-nonsense, lo-fi, 3-minute body beat floor-fillers, true to the original spirit of 'That Total Age', which was essentially punk rock that replaced traditional rock instruments with a few synths and some metal bashing noises. No Sleep By The Machine veer away from the purist attitude heard so far, "Yellow Mica" featuring a shuffle rhythm and lush melodics, but I'm not complaining. We needed some variety and a hint of poppy accessibility does the trick. Spark! also try to follow the tuneful path but "Singelolycka" ends up sounding like a confused mish-mash of ideas. This style isn't exactly the most advanced in terms of musicology. How hard can it be to get it right?

Stockholm Wrecking Crew take us to the halfway mark, and the band name is spot on, as the tracks percussive, punky nature genuinely does sound like a bunch of muscular Scandinavians performing a jam session in a scrapyard somewhere around the outskirts of Sweden's capital. Don't think I'll be buying their album (if they have one), but would definitely be up for watching this particular crew live one day (let's face it, WGT loves this kind of thing). Next up is Dupont with "Behave" from their 'Entering The Ice Age' album. I know why they picked this track, it being the most authentic EBM track in a back catalogue rich in synthpop and minimal synth influences, but neither does it showcase the best aspects of their talents.

T.W.A.T. go back even further in their time in search of influences, "The Barricades" sounding like a version of DAF with a second synth and backing vocalists. But when you get a bunch of Swedes developing a German sound whilst singing in the English language, the best you're going to get lyrically is 'We Are The Rude Boys. They Are The IKEA People'. Sorry, but I preferred listening to D.A.F. singing in German and not actually knowing what the bloody words meant. And then as if to prove all was not lost, we get a pair of tracks (one by Batch ID, the other from Sturm Café) that not only tread the line between EBM proper and analogue synthpop, but do it very well. Proper, catchy tunes with a solid rhythmic backbone. I needed that.

That, unfortunately, is as good as this compilation gets. "Not The King Of Body" by Projekt Tanz is all reverb and no substance - a few Monty Python samples isn't nearly enough to save it from skip-over status. Penultimate track is "The Directors Cut" by Astma works hard but comes across as a nothing more than that an workmanlike EBM cut, lacking any kind of hook to make it memorable. Container 90 take us to the end with the incredibly short "Copycat" (is that title ironic or what?). Again, there's lots of energy, but the song ends in such an abrupt manner that all that effort just seems like a waste of time.

The thing I object to most about this album is the use of the definite article 'The' in it's title. This IS a collection of EBM, and it IS Swedish. But it isn't definitive by any means. There are too many bands featured here that are poorly represented by the songs contributed. Maybe the label couldn't license their better songs? The compilation does have a saving grace in the way some of the less well-known EBM projects manage to steal the show. I had never heard of No Sleep By The Machine, Batch ID or Kropp before listening to this, but I'll certainly give their recordings a go if I could lay my hands on them.

Isn't that the least subtle hint to the Brutal Resonance administrators, ever? Jun 28 2012

Various Artists

Various artists is used on compilation albums. A compilation album comprises tracks which are compiled from other recordings, either previously released or unreleased.

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

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