[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
The wait for Jurgen Engler’s Die Krupps to release a new album has been a long one, 16 years in fact, and while the band have been busy playing live with disciples such as Nitzer Ebb, a finished record from them has proven elusive. That’s all over now, everybody, Germany’s preeminent practitioners of the mechanized metal beat are back. By the very nature of their own ethos, Die Krupps are the embodiment of precision menace, they are after all the ones who gave us club anthems like “Germaniac” and “Risk” back in the day. There isn’t any trepidation to what they do, Engler and his cohorts stand tall on this amazing return to form.
Beats and bass lines may be shoveled out by many of these newer electro acts, but Die Krupps are the ones who did it first and aside from legends like Portion Control, they continue to do it best. There is just something so perfect in how they combine the German language with these technological feats of engineering prowess. Join the rhythm of machines, indeed. In fact, don’t just join in, become one with the sinewy power of inescapable musical assault. So many tracks on here exude incredible swagger, the confidence this band have re-discovered makes every second you spend listening to this more than rewarded. I almost forget what year it is when I put “The Machinists of Joy” on as it’s pretty much the album they should have made after “I” in 1992.
Unfortunately, they went down a path which led to some of the lowest points in the band’s history instead. Seeking to exploit the then-ascendent trend of introducing metal guitars into their work, they imploded in the late 90s without a whimper. Dkay.com followed soon after, which still refused to put the six string demon out of it’s misery. Engler’s own insistence on continuing to emulate James Hetfield vocally didn’t help matters and the .com soon went silent after two records. People shrugged it off, figuring the authors of the infamous “Stahlwerksynfonie” had called it a day. Despite these setbacks, one arena they never faltered in were their live appearances. Die Krupps, even in their darkly guitar-driven days still owned the stage. You could deny them on album, but in person, there was no refuting their skill and talent.
Aggression fell to the lesser acts out there, those who thrive more on the drama they create online than any kind of pertinent ability. Sub-genres appeared and the audience became more and more splintered. The forges remained silent, the molten contents cooling in the after hours pop hell which were the aughts. And then something happened, interest began to rise again for something unique. Something uncompromising.
So now after all this time, Die Krupps show up again and compel us to move. The perfect balance of synthetics, voice, guitars and tempo are expertly crafted to stand the test of time. This isn’t the work of a bunch who are resting on their laurels, the Krupps still have much to say and do. Song after song pounds out the muscular manifesto which no one else would dare attempt; their seamless perfection won’t let anything get in the way. Domination is the goal; swift, sheer and pronounced. Polish those boots and prepare to march along in time on the floor with one of the finest, most technologically advanced records I’ve heard in years.
No, there isn’t a lot of variation of instrumentation nor are wildly disparate influences given any chance to appear. This is machine music, simplicity given the reigns and then shown no limits whatsoever. Categorize their sound if you must, they’ve not been this on point since they blew our minds with the previously mentioned “Germaniac” single in 1990. I’m sorry I was one of those who doubted you boys, but how could I know you’d be capable of this after so many years. How could anyone. We’ve got a monster on our hands here, people.