Looking Back on… Eisbrecher – Antikorper (CD Review)

Eisbrecher – Antikorper Review (I’m all out of music columns, save for half of a column on Free Dominguez that I’m mostly certain I never completed and, since she’s back with Kidney Thieves, don’t feel the need to, so let’s just run through my old CD reviews for shits and giggles for a while. I’m pretty sure I picked this as my first review for Beyond the Threshold because Summer asked me to do it, since she liked Eisbrecher, and I’d bought it anyway, so she wanted to know how it was. Say what you will about writing for free, but it’s fun being told, “Hey, can you write a review on that? I want to know how it is.”)

Following their surprisingly infectious and fun self-titled release in 2004, Eisbrecher is back with Antikorper, an effort that shows some mild changing of the format, but not entirely in the right direction. (They would rectify that with Sunde two years later, and every record since has basically sounded, I think, pretty damn good overall. They’re one of the few consistent industrial acts I can rely on, alongside Oomph!, to churn out a solid record whenever they get into the studio. Which is funny, since I mostly only know about them because of Rammstein, and HOO BOY was that a band that went to hell in record time.)

Eisbrecher’s self titled debut CD was full of catchy dance hooks, odd rap melodies, and electronic energy. Antikorper follows this formula to a certain extent, though to a lesser degree. (Later records kind of balance their hard riffs with electronic progression, and they’ve generally managed to find a formula that mostly works.) Tracks like “Leider” and “Vergissmeinnicht” retain the feel of the first album, but most of the rest of the album seems to feature a direction that harkens to a combination of the electronics from the first effort and some strong chugga-chugga guitar work, similar to that of Megaherz. This is probably not by accident; the lead singer of Eisbrecher, Alexx Wesselsky, was also the lead singer of Megaherz. (I’m not a big fan of Megaherz, was the point here.)

This stylistic change works in some cases, but not in others. “Adrenalin” and “Entlassen” (Both fine enough tracks, though if I were making a “Greatest Hits” CD of Eisbrecher’s work, they wouldn’t end up on it.) show off what Eisbrecher can do with this new sound admirably, and sound quite solid and well designed. Easily the best representative of this style is “Ohne Dich” (no, not that one), (This is a reference to the fact that Rammstein also has a song with that title. Rammstein’s version is a lot more melodic and dramatic, while Eisbrecher’s version is more electronically built and heavier. Honestly, I like both songs a whole lot; they’re both really kind of sad in their own way, and while I’d have to say the Rammstein song is more musically moving, both of them have a real power to them that makes them each really good in their own right.) a song that mixes both styles phenomenally, and manages to get the emotional point across the language gap admirably. However, songs like “Phosphoer” (Way too noisy and directionless for my tastes.) and “Freisturz” (I really like the progression leading up to the chorus, but the chorus itself is way too basic and uninspired.) don’t meld the sounds well enough to make anything enjoyable, and “Kein Mitleid”… well, sounds a lot like Rammstein. (It seriously sounds like something off of Herzeleid, which is fine, but you’re not that band, man.) These sorts of issues are in the minority, but they still bear noting.

All told, Antikorper is a deviation from Eisbrecher’s previous effort, but it retains enough of its charm to keep fans interested, while changing up its sound enough to appeal to German Industrial fans who’ve never heard it. It’s not a complete success in stylistic melding, but it’s a good effort, and it’s an enjoyable listen overall. (Eh. Outside of “Leider,” “Ohne Dich,” “Vergissmeinnicht,” and probably “Kinder Der Nacht,”this is a mostly passable record. The follow-up, Sunde, is a lot better, though the fourth record, Eiszeit, is still my pound-for-pound favorite of the lot; it also has a few passable tracks, but the good tracks on it are some of the band’s best ever. I haven’t listened to Schock yet, though I intend to, because the previews I’ve heard sound amazing.)

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