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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Hanzel Und Gretyl

Scheissmessiah

Review by Gary Hill

While Hanzel Und Gretyl began more as a techno outfit than anything else, by the time this, their latest release was recorded they had brought in plenty of heavy metal and goth sensibilities. The result is a disc that creates an interesting hybrid of these styles. Most of the lyrics are in German, but one really doesn't need to understand. This music is about rocking out, and they do it pretty well. The only real complaint I have is that some of the songs are a bit too similar to one another. Still, they do a nice job at either end of the disc. Honestly, if you can't create an entire killer album, make sure you start and end strong, and you'll have people liking it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lust
Church bells start this, then sedate keys come in to provide the only music. Keyboard, vocals and a church sermon on the evils of the lust provide the rest of this cut.
Fikk Dich Mit Fire
This stomps in and is a fast paced goth industrial stomper. Processed vocals rock out and sound effects provide accents. This one is quite potent and heavy. Unless you speak German don't expect to understand the vocals, though, just bang your head and pump your fist in the air.
Kaiser Von Shizer
After a short percussion and keyboard intro, this one blazes in heavy and fast. It's another smoker that doesn't require you to understand the lyrics. It's a good thing as other than "look out" it's all in German.
Disko Fire Scheiss Messiah
The preacher from the opening cut starts this, then a short burst of metal/industrial sound gives way to vocals over top fast paced percussion. The cut moves back to the metallic zone, and as it carries on at times the preacher's words from come over top again. This is another strong cut, and most of the lyrics are in English. This stomper really stands out. The arrangement features a lot of killer sound effects.
Blut! Sex! Fire!
This one stomps much like the previous numbers. It's solid and a nice mix of techno and metal sounds, but it's getting a bit redundant by this point.
Burning Bush
After an intriguing intro of percussion with sexual sound clips, this thunders in in a pattern that we've gotten used to by now. Still, the integration of hip-hop sounds is an interesting twist that breathes some new life into the format. A smoking guitar solo is another nice touch, too.
Scheissway to Hell
Bass guitar and sound effects start this. The opening lyrics are spoken over top of this, feeling a lot like a techno German take on Alice Cooper. After a while in this mode it jumps back out in the band's traditional forma. Still some smoking guitar sounds and some more hip-hop leanings make this one stand out. They return it later to the opening segment. It jumps back in and ends in an anthemic section. This is one of the coolest tracks on the disc.
Ahd We Shall Purify
This one is frantically fast and hard edged. At times the vocals remind me of Rob Halford's Fight performances. This one's aggression and ferocity put it above a lot of the material here in my book.
10th Circle
Sound effects start this, and quick bursts of crunch with processed vocal type sounds as their echoes punctuate this. The cut eventually kicks in in a hard-edged goth metal crunch that works quite well. The chorus is more guttural than anything else, but this cut is one of the stronger ones on the disc. A more melodic, but still very heavy segment takes it later.
Hallalujah
This is a really odd, but rather cool track, essentially a goth metal take on Handel's Hallelujah chorus. It's very different but a nice change of pace.
Purity
Pretty keys start this. As it carries forward it has a weird start and stop that's a little annoying, but cool bits of guitar come over top after a time. After this extended intro it shifts to a hard rocking metallic grind that still maintains the earlier guitar riff. After running through like that for a while it drops back to the opening segment for a bit before stomping back up. It runs through this way for a while, then they drop it all the way back to the very opening sedate segment. Church bells and wind take it from there after a time to end it.
 
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