January 30, 2015 Eisbrecher – Schock (Album Review)
It has been eleven years since the Munich based band, Eisbrecher, became an authority in the German Electro-Rock scene. German for the word “icebreaker,” Eisbrecher has continuously working hard performed on European festivals such as Mera Luna, Amphi-Festival, WGT and Novarock, headlining gigs, as well as supporting spots for the likes of Alice Cooper. Often labeled part of the New German Heaviness movement, the band has much more going for it, while genre leaders such as Rammstein or Oomph! seem to have rested on their laurels for some time now. This can be attributed particularly due to the performance of founder and vocalist Alex “Checker” Wesselsky whom is the main reason Eisbrecher has molded into one of the biggest and most luxurious cruise liners in the German music scene while maintaining their rough edges. After watching the 2012 album, Die Hölle Muss Warten, rise to number three on the official German Media Control charts, fans can only wonder where the band would go from there and now in 2015 their sixth studio record entitled Schock is here. With other members Noel Pix on guitar, Jürgen Plangger on guitar, Rupert Keplinger on bass, and Achim Färber on drums, anticipation in high and curiosity is running wild for the new material.
For Wesselsky and Noel “Jochen Seibert” Pix, who also produced the album, it took more than two years to create this collection, a pure spectacle of Metal and wonderful arrangement of electronica, all recorded in select studios in Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. Instead of playing it safe and doing an album full of cheesy, broken-hearted songs, Eisbrecher have created a murderous sounding bomb, full of sarcasm, aggression, heaviness, and provocation, while at the same time, bursting with lyrical depth. All of the tracks on Schock are told in typical Eisbrecher manner, from health issues to relationships becoming piles of broken glass. Basically, the overall message is to stand up and fight, and that is what gives Schock its powerful and positive message.
As for the sound, the Eisbrecher crew has not changed many of their ingredients since former albums, Adrenaline (2006), Sünde (2008) or Eiszeit (2010), but has managed to bring the fourteen tracks on Schock to instant perfection with their unique and modern scope. The rapid fire beats of drummer Färber and brutal notes of bassist Keplinger smooth the way for the machine-like guitar storms of Pix and Plangger to come in. For all the density and aggression that Schock has to offer, the album also features many prospective singles, with several tracks that drill into the listener’s head like an ice pick. A perfect example of such is the cleverly chosen opening mid-tempo song “Volle Kraft Voraus” which will rough up crowds from the first note. The lead off single, “1000 Narben,” holds up the blanketed message of the album to keep believing in what one is doing, stand up, stay strong, and learn from all mistakes. The title track meanwhile is a dark and more distressed track, proving that this album is perhaps the heaviest release from the band thus far.
Any song chosen at random, from “Zwichen Uns,” “Rot Wie Die Liebe,” “Schlachtbank,” “Nachtfieber,” “Unschuldsengel” or “Der Flieger,” are all stunning. The tracks are consistently Eisbrecher, with vast melodies and foolproof arrangements, formed in a triangle between Modern Heavy Metal, Electro ,and New German Wave; a trifecta that will take countries and coasts outside Germany by storm. Finally, the most outstanding track, “Noch Zu Retten,” is a tune straight from the thought waves of Trent Reznor in his glorious Pretty Hate Machine era, showing that Eisbrecher has already set their sights on international waters.
Any Modern Rock music fans who does not know Eisbrecher should check out Schock, which may be the most perfect German album since Rammstein’s 1997 release Sehnsucht. From all angles – songwriting, production, and sound – Eisbrecher has raised the bar up to unimaginable heights. Ships ahoy, Captain Wesselsky, the icebreaker is on its inexorable way! CrypticRock gives Schock 5 out of 5 stars.