Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Gothminister "The Other Side" (2017)


Ive always had a soft spot for this unheard-of Norwegian outfit. Fronted by the distinct face paint baring Bjorn Brem, they would typically tick some of the wrong boxes on paper. Their breed of "festival rock" style Industrial Metal has those big stage tropes. Simple and plain lyrics shape overly dramatic themes for pumping up a crowd with easily sung along hooks packaged into Pop Metal song structures. Despite these observations I find myself getting caught up in their world, the music itself strikes a chord a chord with me, compensating greatly for some supposed shortcomings.

The Other Side is their sixth full length in nearly two decades as a band. 2008's Happiness In Darkness was where I joined them and this new release may overtake it as my favorite. A sense of a big arching theme creeps in through unimaginative lyrics that take a literal, descriptive path to build its sense of personal and communal struggle. "Taking Over" is hard to ignore with its tale of a girl who can communicate with the dead, they question her love for her father who's a killing machine and she is creeping death? The whole thing feels like a hash of dramatics coming together incoherently yet I find myself singing along every time, the delivery infectious and easy to pick up. This example is much of what I have to say for this record, the words don't add up but they drop in with power and infectious that elevates the already booming music.

Opening with "Ich Will Allies" the influence of Rammstein becomes so obvious. The pounding militant snare and German lyrics really hint to influences overlooked by the dominance of Trance and Aggrotech synths as a stylistic marker. Gothminister rock hard with the fast, sharp chugging of power chords on crisp distortion guitars that play alongside bustling EBM synth lines, often dropping out entirely in verse sections to let the dark electronics forge the atmosphere. The tight, snappy drum kit whirls away with thumping, repetitive grooves that drive the songs forward and set the tempo in its slower, calmer passageways. The production is strong, everything pulls together, loud and energetic instruments firing together.

At thirty five minutes its short and sweet, all killer no filler. Each song has its edge and across all ten tracks the Pop Metal song structures always lead to climatic choruses with great vocal hooks or power smashing drums, big moshable riffs and bursts of lively, infectious synths. With its theme rooted is the darker sound of Metal an uplifting undercurrent always broods from the synths, creating a satisfying emotional energy culminating from these big outbursts. It has the measure to wind down in some of its choruses and "Aegir" entirely. It makes for a smooth flowing record that burns through its short songs without a dull moment!

Favorite Songs: Ich Will Allies, We Are The Ones Who Rules The World, All This Time, Taking Over
Rating: 7/10

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