Branntshatz - Private Enemy
Released off label 2022
Dark electronic project Branntshatz first emerged from Berlin, Germany in September of 2020 with their debut EP "decade:deaf". The four-track release introduced our humble little scene to Branntshatz’s beats as well as their androgynous personality and drag aesthetic. Since then, Branntshatz has been releasing singles regularly with ‘clockwise twisting’, ‘opera fire’, and ‘philanthropy’ releasing in November 2020, April 2021, and July 2021 respectively. The last two singles that were released teased Branntshatz upcoming EP “private enemy”, which is out now as a 2022 kickstarter.
The opening keys and sombre backing ambiance on ‘Opera Fire’ gives it an ominous and Halloween-like appeal. From there on out, we’re given a decent albeit a bit standard four-on-the-floor dark electro beat that would serve well on a gothic dancefloor. Branntshatz’s vocals can be described as goblin-like; they low, almost growling, and something I can easily see a fictional little goblin sounding like. They don’t dominate the mix, which is a mistake a lot of folks make when using a similar set of vocals.
The following track, ‘Philanthropy’, again checks all the marks for a decent dark electro track. It has a good and steady rhythm and sticks to the spooky season theme with continued darkened keys and moody backing. Branntshatz utilizes a bit of digital effects on their vocals on ‘Monolith’, making way for a robotic presence. The goblin vocals go back and forth on this song, and thanks to some digital samples ‘Monolith’ has a bit of a futuristic feel. ‘Mary Celeste’ features a deep set of vocals from guest gullible deity. However, I feel as if their lyrical delivery doesn’t quite fit with the beat. They also seem like they float above the mix rather than fitting in with it. While gullible deity’s voice isn’t bad, it just sounds like it doesn’t belong on this synthpop-influenced track.
‘Hohlraum’ has deep bass that brings an emotional weight to the single. I wish that Branntshatz would have gotten rid of the digital effects on their voice for this song as the beat, mixed with raw voice, would have been powerful. It escapes the clutches of dark electro tropes by shooting to be something different; tons of breaks make way for brilliant electronic samples and multi-layered electronic pedals. This is Branntshatz at their finest and it’s amazing what they are able to pull off.
However much I loved ‘Hohlraum’, Branntshatz’s “private enemy” does fall into a lot of dark electro stereotypes. When you’re releasing in a genre that’s been explored thoroughly it takes more than just a decent dance beat to really stand out. It takes a bit of experimentation and odd approaches to beat making to stick out from the crowd. ‘Hohlraum’ is an example of that. It’s engaging and always finds a way to move forward. The rest of the songs on “private enemy”, however, are decent but a bit average. What I find on ‘Opera Fire’, ‘Philanthropy’, ‘Monolith’, and ‘Mary Celeste’ are beats that are a dime-a-dozen within the scene. While not bad, they don’t rise above the rest.
“private enemy” stands as a jumping off point for Branntshatz; it shows that they know how to put together a good beat and assemble a decent team for the release (they got Reza at Cryonica Studios to do the mastering, for example). I just can’t wait until they truly spread their wings and fly into the wild lands of dark electro. Six-and-a-half out of ten.
This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.Jan 11 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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