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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Emigrate

Emigrate

Review by Gary Hill

Richard Kruspe of Rammstein formed this band as a side project a few years ago. This new album shows (as can be expected) links to that group’s sound. It’s a smoking modern metal meets techno CD. While there are tendencies toward sameyness here, for the most part Kruspe and company avoid that by changing things up. While this isn’t the most original musical concept I’ve heard, it’s done quite well and they introduce enough originality to keep it from seeming trite at all. This should please fans of Rammstein, but it should also appeal to anyone who likes modern metal with healthy doses of techno.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Emigrate
As the title track starts things off we get some fun sounding keyboards. These build and grow until eventually a powerhouse metallic grind takes the track into the main song structure. They drop this back to a more stripped down approach for the whispered vocals. They alternate between this more sparse arrangement and a killer metallic grind in a smoking jam that works quite well to lead things off. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but this is a great cut, nonetheless.
Wake Up
This one is even more effective than the opener. It’s harder rocking and much faster paced. This has a feel a bit like a techno take on the music of Halford (the band lead by the singer by that name). You could think of this, perhaps as Nine Inch Nails meets Halford. I like this one a lot.
My World
Keys (with a definite techno approach) start things off here. They quickly fire out into another smoking metal jam from there. This has a lot of the same textures as the track that preceded it and every bit as much energy as that one. The vocals are more as a spoken, delivered with a dry approach, mode with distortion creating the techno motif. They turn to a more sung (but still with distortion) technique for the chorus. The guitar soloing on this one is especially tasty. They drop it back to a moody, creepy sounding slow section later and build back up from there in dramatic ways. That whole segment (from the drop down through the whole building) reminds me a bit of something from Alice Cooper in some ways.
Let Me Break
This has a more mellow approach on the introduction, but still feels quite techno. They pound back out on the chorus here. The drop down and rise back up approach here works very well and gives this song its own identity on a disc that could have a tendency to blend together a bit. The textural segment later with cool chiming guitar sounds to bring it back up is nice. This whole track is one of the highlights of the disc. It’s dynamic and dramatic and I like it a lot. This turns quite heavy for the closing section.
In My Tears
Here we get a mellow track that feels a bit like an electronic dark ballad. It’s another welcome change of pace. A quick burst of hard edged, metallic stomping serves as a vision of what’s to come later. After another verse we get a full instrumental movement in this metal powerhouse mode, but it drops back down to the tasty mellow section to carry on. This alternating pattern (in shifting and alternating ways) carries the track through. It is another of my favorites on show here. The guitar solo later is extremely interesting.
Babe
I can’t see that title without thinking of the Styx song. Well, this is definitely not that. Instead it’s a track that is one place where I think the disc might have had a bit of a misstep. This is just a bit too much like the other material here and where it differs it wanders into more generic territory. This isn’t bad, but it’s also not a standout. Maybe it’s the title that’s cursed. I do like the guitar solo quite a bit, though.
New York City
This track is definitely back along the right track. It feels more like an 1980’s goth rock jam at times, but then works in an almost straight forward rock and roll chorus. This is one of the most unique pieces on the whole CD and rocks out quite well. It’s one of my favorites. We get textures on this one that remind of The Cult meets Cheap Trick. How’s that for a cool juxtaposition? There’s also a great punk rock type guitar solo here.
Resolution
A weird gypsy caravan type of sound leads this off, but they quickly pound into another tasty slab of the type of music that makes up most of this disc. This is one of the more effective tracks, though and seems to wander a bit into near space music at times. We get more of that gypsy music at other points in the course of this composition.
Temptatiion
Here we have a more stripped down, straightforward rocker. This is definitely a nice change of pace, but also doesn’t seem to work as well as some of the other stuff here until it turns towards the more hard rocking territory that makes up the rest of the disc for the chorus. While the variety this brings is welcome, it’s not a highlight of the CD.
This Is What
The keys that lead this off, and indeed the majority of the song structure, really make me think a lot of Nine Inch Nails. Of course, Rammstein and NIN share a lot of musical ground, anyway. This is another scorcher and another highlight of the CD.
You Can't Get Enough
This is more in the mode of a power ballad, with that techno sort of twist to it. Another track that brings some variety to the table, this is much more effective than “Temptation.” It’s actually one of the better numbers on show here.
Blood
A bonus track, this has more of the NIN sort of feel to it, starting in a moody, keyboard dominated manner. This stays in that sort of motif for a while and while the arrangement might be subdued it’s still got a lot of energy and power to it. It pounds out for the chorus later, but drops back to the mellower techno sounds as they carry on. While this is a bonus track, I think it’s stronger than a couple of the pieces that show up earlier.
Help Me
The other bonus track closes the CD. This one also begins with a sedate and dark approach. It’s even more moody than the one before. The melody on this reminds me a bit of Godsmack’s “Voodoo.” While I wouldn’t consider this one of the best cuts on the album it’s actually quite strong and makes a great closer. When they power it out into the harder edged music it works quite well.
 
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