Die Krupps – “Songs From The Dark Side Of Heaven” (Oblivion / SPV)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed in 1980, Die Krupps remain one of Germany’s best known industrial metal / EBM bands whose pioneering style is associated alongside Kraftwerk and Einstürzende Neubauten in inspiring a wide spectrum of musical styles using electronica from new wave bands in the 80s to techno in the 90s and the resurgence of industrial metal popularised by the likes of Rammstein. Co-founded by multi-instrumentalist frontman Jürgen Engler, “Songs From The Dark Side Of Heaven” is the band’s 11th release and in turn pays tribute to the inspirations behind Die Krupps across 10 brilliant covers under a unifying theme of death, in acknowledging the year long pandemic. Joined by an impressive list of guest musicians attesting to the reputation of Die Krupps, Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke), James Williamson (Iggy Pop and The Stooges) and the late Andy Gill (Gang of Four) lend a hand to a range of tracks from Blue Öyster Cult, Devo and Sparks to name but a few, although there’s definitely something in there to appeal to anyone appreciative of the era. Personally, I was taken in by Jyrki 69’s (The 69 Eyes) gothic baritone embrace alongside Engler’s lighter touch on ‘Chinese Black’ (originally by The Neon Judgement) as the pumping groove of electro beats and dazzling machine melodies captured the rapture in my heart through its flow energy and sheer, utter coolness. Even more heart stopping however, was ‘No More Heroes’ (by The Stranglers) with Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers and Ross The Boss (Manowar, Shaking Street, The Dictators) guesting complete with the original song’s keyboard melody courtesy of Greenfield but now with added punk rock guitar and a shredding solo from Friedman and completed by a heavy electro beat – wow! Capping it all off had to be the made for EBM cover of Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ with its heavy electronica pumping in the beat and that monster funky groove, along with a heap of other keyboard sounds and at a faster tempo than the Freddie Mercury original – brilliant. Rather than wallow in gloom, Jürgen Engler has used his lockdown time in superb fashion to realise a project long in his mind while enlisting the talents of other respected musicians and friends to create this unusual album that sits well in its own right, while definitely prompting thoughts of a follow up.