We Have a Technical #50: The Great Debate

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written by I Die You Die
May 7, 2015 | Category: We Have a Technical

Cobra Vs Mongoose: The Eternal Struggle

After nearly a month of carefully calculated hype and ballyhoo, it’s finally here. The Great Debate, in which we both square off in opposing corners, ready to fight dirty, throw low blows, and endanger our decade-plus friendship all for the sake of winning an argument about goth/industrial music. With a little help from a surprise guest MC, we think we were able to put together the symphony of rhetorical attacks, parries, and counterstrikes which we’ve been building towards…or at least a reasonable facsimile of what it’s like to be stuck at a pub table with us when we happen upon a point of disagreement (which was half of the goal in starting this site in the first place). Weigh in with your own thoughts on the topic at hand in the comments, subscribe and rate on iTunes, download directly or stream from the widget below!

Also, if you’re interested in the rad DEATH TO FALSE EBM shirts we’re flogging on this episode, you can find them here at TeeSpring!

16 Responses

  • Martin says:

    It was the WGT 2001, the first big Goth festival I ever went to, when I ended up talking to some girls about which bands we were planning to see. And one of them said “…yeah, and Blutengel of cause!”
    And all the others nodded with visible enthusiasm.

    Now, at this point I didn’t know Blutengel. I knew nothing but the name. But because I was much younger and stupider than I am today, and because they were some girls I just had met festival, it was outside of my ability to admit ignorance. So I did the only thing that seemed logical at the time: I noded with fake enthusiasm and repeated: “Yeah… of cause!”

    So I went with them to the Blutengel gig, not knowing what to expect.

    As soon as Blutengel started playing, I was perplexed. I was – as we would say today – “Like, WTF?” They sucked so much (in ways most eloquently described by Bruce) that I honestly couldn’t grasp how anyone might like this. But looking to the left and right showed me that yeah, the girls were really into it.

    I shortly considered my options and quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to fake enthusiasm for the duration of Blutengels performance. So again I did what seemed logical at the time and just quietly and embarassed sneaked out, never seeing Blutengel or the girls again.

    But until this very day, every time I happen (by circumstances beyond my control) to hear a Blutengel song, I think with astonishment “Oh my god, they’re still doing it. They still suck. People still play it. Why?!” And I must fight the urge to sneak out of whereever I am at the moment.

    Well, at least that taught me that sometimes admitting ignorance is the less embarrasing option.

  • sadore says:

    @ 23:34 Alex “Whats *wrong* with you??!” <- did a spit take, Thanks for the show, guys!

  • Zander says:

    Here’s something I’ve been chewing (sucking?) on for awhile in regard to Blutengel: How many bands in this scene do you know that take the futurepop/EBM template and beef it up with huge symphonic, classical leads? Maybe Leaether Strip and :Wumpscut: paved the way for that sound, but I’ve never heard a band commit to it like Blutengel do. Even in their most 00ntzy moments, Chris’s ear for baroque melodies never gets lost, and I think that’s especially noticeable in their piano-heavy ballads. Hell, their entire classical album feels like a much more natural extension of their work, especially compared to other bands who took the “Gothic Meets Classick” stage (their classical album wasn’t even marketed as such).

    I personally will gladly listen to Blutengel’s super gawf vampire dance extravaganza any day over the thousands of albums smothered in trance and hardstyle leads with cookie monster vocals. If nothing else, Chris Pohl and his clan of hot vampire stage vixens is a much more carefully constructed and choreographed image than a bunch of guys covered in liquid latex and fake blood.

    On the topic of vampires, I never thought anything about them was ever that subtle, and I say that as a fan of both vampire novels and films. True, the vampire’s seduction strategy is perhaps not as in your face as the average Blutengel song, but the vampire’s presentation has always been one of drama and decadence. Pohl may not be the most elegant or most clever lyricist, but most of the bands in this scene can’t claim the opposite–it’s just harder to hear what they are saying.

  • Metalmaester says:

    Ages and ages ago, I have heard a story from Decoded Feedback’s Marco Biagiotti.

    Decoded Feedback was opening for Blutengel (I think it was either at WGT or at Castle Party). Chris Pohl was heavily into his vampirical character (to the point of convinvinjg himself that he is an actual vampire), surrounded by scatntily-clad goth women. There was also a big cardboard prop castle set up on stage. When Decoded Feedback started playing and Marco stomped too hard while singing, the castle has collapsed in the most ridiculous way possible (I am guessing to Chris Pohl’s great displeasure).

  • Daniel C. says:

    Going into this, I was on the side of “Blutengel Rules!” because I remember when Blutengel was one of my favorite bands. As the arguements went back and forth, however, I realized something. It’s been years since I’ve truly enjoyed anything that Blutengel has released since Demon Kiss, and I also realized why. It’s that ‘spinning of the wheels’ notion. Blutengel has never truly evolved thematically or in terms of their subject matter. At least for me, some significant evolution is necessary. Yes, musically they evolved over the years, but if the question is if they are the best Blutengel they can be (and they are that in my opinion), it just isn’t enough for me. Do they have some solid gems that you can groove to? Absolutely. Are they great at what they are trying to do? Certainly. Does Blutengel rule? Not really. It hurts to say that about a band I remember fondly, but I had to finally had to admit it to myself.

    Also, Miss Construction truly is the shits.

    P.S. Thank you for playing Angels of the Dark. Nostalgia city! Seriously, that song was on every playlist I made on my mp3 player during my high school years. You could say that it was my jam back then!

  • ValekHalfHeart says:

    Somehow I just knew this debate was going to be about Blutengel. It’s the only topic I’ve heard you guys disagree on so vehemently. Personally I’m undecided on the issue. I think some of their later songs definitely have value in a cheesy sort of way (Another World is a good example, actually has some decent lyrics in my opinion), although I couldn’t stand either of the songs you played. As a band overall I haven’t listened to enough of their material to make an educated judgement, but I can ay this: I am glad that they exist because they have made a positive contribution to music and I’m free to ignore any songs (most of them) that I find to push the limits of my taste.

  • Wikkheiser says:

    I’m a little late to this, but great podcast, guys. I burst out laughing at the “we are vampires / we need blood!” line. Because it’s true.

    I don’t know Pohl’s influences, but the way I understand Blutengel is that it’s very German and *very* European, like a gothic version of Schlager music or Italo-Disco (which was hugely popular in Germany in the 1980s). A lot of Americans might have trouble fitting the band into a lineage, which comes up in this discussion, but it’s really a very different lineage than North American audiences might “get” so to speak.

    And I love that stuff, and it’s why I love Blutengel.

    I could be totally wrong, but a lot of these Italo-Disco acts were marketed to German audiences and did these ridiculous songs about vampires and aliens, with cheesy props, etc., like this one Radiorama video here:


    That could very well be a Blutengel song! Now compare that to this Blutengel track here:


    For what it’s worth, I’ve heard Daniel Myer say he used to listen to a lot of Italo-Disco back in the day. And I know you are both big Myer fans, so take that! But keep up the great work — this is one of my favorite blogs.

    • alex says:

      Haha, we both love italo a lot, but hadn’t made the connection at all. It’s an interesting one, thanks for the insight and the kind words!

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  • Marc17 says:

    Slowly working my way from the first episode forward on my way to work every morning and have just heard the “great debate”. While Blutengel and especially Chris Pohl are certainly a point of mockery, I was dismayed by Bruce’s attitude an venom. I can only assume that he indeed saw something of himself in Blutengel that he did not want to admit to explain his reaction. Otherwis, I’d just have to assume he had no concept of literary tropes, or the goth scene, especially not in Germany. I can’t see him having ever been to WGT and watched the goths parade past Agra and heard their bells and not been able to frame Blutengel in that experience.

    For my own Chris Pohl experience, I was at WGT in 2004 when either Blutengel or Terminal Choice played (I had also seen Blutengel in 2001 at tehir first live show). I was walkign from the Renaissance where all the Americans and bands stayed to the Hauptbanhof when a red sports car drove past. The driver was obviously Chris Pohl with a hot goth model in the passenger seat. Later, as I was walking, a white fleet vehicle with the front seat packed with several uncomfortable looking men sitting in the front seat with crates behind them stenciled with either Blutengel or Terminal Choice on them told me this was the rest of the band. Anyway, on a morning after that, I was nursing a hangover and was pointed to the room where we got our free breakfast, and while getting orange juice and trying not to wish for death, the table next to me was the gentleman from Faith and the Muse (who was playing wiht a different band that year) and Chris Pohl having an un-ironic argument on ‘what is goth’. While I can appreciate such, it just sort of made for a surreal morning.

    Anyway, I have many more episodes to catch up on. I was hoping you could have shed some light on why Gini and Kati left Blutengel and perhaps added something I did not know. That you did not mention the Fairyland (Female Version) as a club song for Blutengel made me sad as I thin it is still their best.

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