The Truth Is Lying
The most successful neo-old school EBM acts tend to be the ones that keep the genre’s occasional tongue in cheek moments close at hand. Such is the case with German body music purveyors Menschliche Energie and their recent LP The Truth is Lying. While the hallmarks of body music are here in abundance on analogue synth based tracks like “It Never Stops” and “Only the Brave”, the slightly more arch numbers like the crooned “No Me Gusta” and a light and bouncy cover of Depeche Mode’s “New Dress” make the best impression. It’s the sly wink that comes across in a slightly off-kilter leads and the continental vocal delivery that give this release its charm; a knowing wink to offset all the sinewy muscle and tension.
Vandalaze’s Body Plaza is as indebted to weird ’80s sample funk as it is classic EBM. Whether it’s the ludicrously rad wailing guitar all over “Talk the Talk” or the ascending vocal snippets that accent the excellent “Mutoid Spasm”, the influence of the Me Decade pervades the release regardless of which styles it dips into. There are some particularly classic arpeggios and synth stabs on the soundtrackish “The Hand of Gold” and a convincing approximation of Severed Heads on “Datavision”. Really the only place any of it falls short is in Cory You’s vocals which too often stray noticeably from their comfort zone to ill effect. Still, with all the synthwave and Outrun littering Bandcamp with tape releases, it’s nice to hear a project that’s tapping into a different and rich vein of influence from that ever receding era.
Falling somewhere between the stoicism of Neue Deutsche Härte and a high-drama orchestral version of electro-industrial, Tyler Milchmann’s Die Lieden is something of a unique quantity in the current dark music landscape. Das Ich is an easy touchstone for the set’s twelve songs, most of which involve a mix of synth and sampled strings and a bit of chuggy guitar for good measure. Milchmann himself is a solid enough presence as vocalist investing tracks like “Nobody” and “Das üble Blut” with appropriate gravitas and grandeur, going over the top in his delivery just enough when the proceedings demand it. While some of the arrangements can be a bit cluttered and occasionally detract from the melodies with rapid changes in instrumentation, you certainly couldn’t call Milchmann lazy; every inch of Die Lieden is packed with bombast and detail enough to pique the interest fans of teutonic todeskunst.