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Almost 15 years after the release of their last studio album, Nitzer Ebb have completed the most recent recording sessions of their brand new album, Industrial Complex, on Artists' Addiction Records. Nitzer Ebb have expertly mastered the challenge and delivered a piece of work that sounds fresh and modern but without denying their past. Musically and vocally diverse, they focus on the essence of each track (something they've always been particularly good at) and thus Industrial Complex works as perfectly on the dance floor and as it does at home on headphones. The album features several songs that have become staples of the band's live set since its reformation, including the irresistibly energetic Once You Say (which features Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore on backing vocals) and the marching rhythms of Payroll.
Top customer reviews
This latest offering seems to pick up where "Showtime" left off, even though there were other releases to follow. While time often impacts a singer's voice, McCarthy seems to have avoided any real changes and still sounds as great as he did from the very beginning. The music, polished and tight, is a joy to listen to and works very much with the overall style and feel of Nitzer Ebb.
While new it also feels 'old', if you will. No. Not old, but familiar. Playing it in the car while driving about it is very easy to imagine being in my mid-20's all over again. I think that's a good thing musically.
Industrial Complex takes the maturity of Ebbhead and Big Hit and applies it to their earlier, stomping dancefloor sound. Ebbhead is probably still my favourite Nitzer Ebb album but it is hard to find anything on it to play in a club. Industrial Complex, however, is chock-full of great dancefloor killers, from the opening Promises, probably one of their best songs ever, through Down On Your Knees (almost as good) and My Door Is Open to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which featured prominently in a recent episode of the TV show Castle. In between is a mix of slower songs, like the haunting I am Undone, and others that are equally strong, yet less ready for the dancefloor. It's all executed brilliantly, with a synth sound that is immediately recognisable and McCarthy's unmistakable voice.
Overall, Industrial Complex is a fine blend of the stompin' dancefloor style of their earlier albums and the best of their later work. It works really well, ebbing and flowing almost perfectly from start to finish. The only downside for me are the bonus tracks, particularly the remixes, which take away a little from the brilliance of the main work (or maybe they throw it into stark relief?). If you ever liked anything Nitzer Ebb did in the past, I am sure you will love this album.
My musical tastes have broadened substantialy since then, although I still enjoy the newer offerings by those same bands. I was picking up some new music on Amazon recently and realized I'd never given this album a chance, although I had heard they'd been opening for DM in Europe and I'd noticed their 2010 tour date in SF. I listened to the snippets but thought I'd just give ithe album a proper listen. NE has never been a snippet/single band. You have to let it sink in, so I did.
And I have to say, I think this is their best work right up there with Ebbhead. The beats have great grooves and are pounding, and the multilayered synth basslines are FAT. As usual, McCarthy's lyrics and vocals are resonant, clever, nasty, and amusing all at he same time. The songs mix the great industrial foundations of classic NE with a thoroughly modern sound and just enough musicality, melody, and hooks to keep you coming back.
Who would have thought that a late 80's / early 90's industrial band could make their best music after coming back from a 15 year death? Believe it! This album kicks some serious azz. I'm hooked.