Blutengel - Monument
Darkwave, Goth The blood angel himself is back. Ten seconds into the video clip for Blutengel's new single "Save Our Souls", and we're treated to a gratuitous shot of a half naked dead woman covered in blood, sprawled across an abandoned concrete staircase. Sex sells. Twilight sells. And of course, Blutengel sells. They have been the darlings of the Deutsche Alternative Charts for well over a decade now.

So, what's the appeal? It's darkwave vampires, synthpop erotica, futurepop cheese all rolled into a slick-as-fuck production. It's commercial, it's poppy, and it's got more hooks than the annual Barbados Pirate Convention. Yet despite this, or maybe as a result of it, I think that this record is so damned good that it deserves a listen from even the staunchest of rivetheads. If this album is intended to be a monument to a highly successful career, then bring it on.

As you'd expect, the album begins with a brooding intro, resplendent with enough orchestral and choral grandeur to fill out a Hanz Zimmer score. Then soon enough we're into what is perhaps the catchiest track of the lot - "Save Our Souls". It's a lesson in creating tension from the first bar - the listener is lured in gently with eastern instrumentation and very engaging use of panning. But then the synths and kick in, and the record explodes into a shower of grandiose pop music. It's the details that keep this engaging - the vocal delays fading into the ether, distant distortions panning across the stereo field, female backing vocals expertly injected into just the right moments.Take the bassline - we've all heard it a thousand times before, but it's polished to a sheen that few bands can match.

The next track, "Kinder Dieser Stadt" marks the transition from English to German vocals. It's darkwave all the way, classically delivered vocals setting a mesmerizing backdrop against string synths and Chris Pohl's germanic-vampire-lord vocals. Goth as fuck, but I like it.

"Tears Might Dry" is an example of the kind of lyrics we're dealing with here, how's this for an opening?

"She's sitting in front of me,
and she whispers in my ear,
I have to tell you something,
I have to tell you how I feel."

If you can get past the cheesy lyrics, and the 80's disco floor filler synths, you might wonder just how the track is so damned catchy.

"You Walk Away" kicks off with a drum line that Doctor Avalanche could have spat out, pure 80's schtick - but it works - a good example of the whole album, really. The sounds are synth pop staples, but the effect generated is closer to gothic splendour. Nowhere is this so evident than within the ballad "Die Zeit". It's a piano driven song that speaks of rain soaked melancholy, through deep cellos and faraway choirs. This track is high musicianship, a flawlessly presented recording.

If you haven't given Blutengel a spin for a while, this is the album that may bring you back into the fold. It definitely won't be for everyone, but for those who appreciate what it is, I think It's their best in years.
4
Brutal Resonance

Blutengel - Monument

8.0
"Great"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2013 by Out of Line
The blood angel himself is back. Ten seconds into the video clip for Blutengel's new single "Save Our Souls", and we're treated to a gratuitous shot of a half naked dead woman covered in blood, sprawled across an abandoned concrete staircase. Sex sells. Twilight sells. And of course, Blutengel sells. They have been the darlings of the Deutsche Alternative Charts for well over a decade now.

So, what's the appeal? It's darkwave vampires, synthpop erotica, futurepop cheese all rolled into a slick-as-fuck production. It's commercial, it's poppy, and it's got more hooks than the annual Barbados Pirate Convention. Yet despite this, or maybe as a result of it, I think that this record is so damned good that it deserves a listen from even the staunchest of rivetheads. If this album is intended to be a monument to a highly successful career, then bring it on.

As you'd expect, the album begins with a brooding intro, resplendent with enough orchestral and choral grandeur to fill out a Hanz Zimmer score. Then soon enough we're into what is perhaps the catchiest track of the lot - "Save Our Souls". It's a lesson in creating tension from the first bar - the listener is lured in gently with eastern instrumentation and very engaging use of panning. But then the synths and kick in, and the record explodes into a shower of grandiose pop music. It's the details that keep this engaging - the vocal delays fading into the ether, distant distortions panning across the stereo field, female backing vocals expertly injected into just the right moments.Take the bassline - we've all heard it a thousand times before, but it's polished to a sheen that few bands can match.

The next track, "Kinder Dieser Stadt" marks the transition from English to German vocals. It's darkwave all the way, classically delivered vocals setting a mesmerizing backdrop against string synths and Chris Pohl's germanic-vampire-lord vocals. Goth as fuck, but I like it.

"Tears Might Dry" is an example of the kind of lyrics we're dealing with here, how's this for an opening?

"She's sitting in front of me,
and she whispers in my ear,
I have to tell you something,
I have to tell you how I feel."

If you can get past the cheesy lyrics, and the 80's disco floor filler synths, you might wonder just how the track is so damned catchy.

"You Walk Away" kicks off with a drum line that Doctor Avalanche could have spat out, pure 80's schtick - but it works - a good example of the whole album, really. The sounds are synth pop staples, but the effect generated is closer to gothic splendour. Nowhere is this so evident than within the ballad "Die Zeit". It's a piano driven song that speaks of rain soaked melancholy, through deep cellos and faraway choirs. This track is high musicianship, a flawlessly presented recording.

If you haven't given Blutengel a spin for a while, this is the album that may bring you back into the fold. It definitely won't be for everyone, but for those who appreciate what it is, I think It's their best in years. Apr 29 2013

Julian Nichols

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
15
Shares

Buy this release

Out of Line

Related articles

Blutengel

Interview, Jan 01 2003

Angels on Acid - 'Exile'

Review, Feb 11 2013

Blutengel - 'Angel Dust'

Review, Jan 01 2002

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016