Review Summary: Die Krupps ruin Metallica songs by disregarding the guitars entirely, instead opting for completely synth-driven versions.
When people think of German Industrial most immediately think of Rammstein
, but they were definitely not the forerunner of German Industrial. Long before Rammstein
were running around setting themselves on fire, there were other bands from that country such as Einsturzende Neubauten
and Die Krupps
writing great Industrial and displaying awesome live shows. Without delving into their long history, suffice it to say that Die Krupps
was mixing Industrial and Metal long before it was totally fashionable and they did so with a great degree of skill.
had a lot of things in their favor, they had a vocalist that sounded very similar to Black Album
except he could stay in key. They had a great guitar player in Lee Altus who knew how to write some heavy riffs due to the fact that he used to be in the thrash band Heathen
and also played on the Exodus
album Shovel Headed Kill Machine
. The final key they had was a better then average grasp of how to make their brand of Industrial heavy and memorable at the same time. Despite the high quality of their original music, and the great potential this band had to do good things with this album, it mostly just flops.
The album opens up with their first version of “Enter Sandman”, and a few things become totally apparent by the time the final synth fades away. First, the total lack of Lee Altus’ guitar playing is a big let down. What we’re left with are songs that are totally synth driven. That might not be a big deal except that they totally lack the energy and aggression of the original songs. The biggest travesty (for those that don’t consider electronic versions of Metallica
songs a travesty already) is that the vocals are just horrible. Die Krupps
’ vocalist has a powerful voice and almost never uses any processing on their original material; but for some reason, that’s all he uses here.
The second track, “Nothing Else Matters”, isn’t as bad simply due to the fact that there was never any energy or aggression in the original song anyway, but the vocals still make the song worse then it could have been. The next song, “Blackened”, is one of the few passable songs on this album. It starts with the mellow intro of the original before a fast paced synth line comes in where the guitars normally would, followed by a fairly powerful drum beat. When the vocals come in, the processing does less harm then in some of the other songs, but it still would have been better without any at all. The following song, “Battery”, could have been even better then “Blackened” due to the music being much more aggressive and in your face (for synth music anyway), but the vocals on that song are so weak and processed that they’re almost laughable.
Following “Battery” we are given synth versions of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “The Unforgiven”, and the first version of “One”. Out of the three songs, only “The Unforgiven” is really worth even giving any notice to, but mostly for the same reasons as “Nothing Else Matters”. The two closers are the second versions of “One” and “Enter Sandman”. These two versions are actually pretty enjoyable, but most that credit goes to Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy
fame who remixed them. The main reason for their success where the originals failed is their total disregard for the original songs. Dave added actual beats that are almost danceable played over synth versions of the original melodies, and as long as you enjoy electronica you’d probably enjoy these two songs.
Every band makes a misstep from time to time and this is their’s. I’ve given this album a 2.5 because it’s not horrible; it just doesn’t live up to the potential of either band. On the other hand, for those that are not fans of electronic music or at least think it’s blasphemy to present Metallica
songs in such a way, your score would be significantly lower probably. My only suggestion would be to find the two remixed songs as they are the only two quality songs on this album, closely followed by “Blackened” and “The Unforgiven”.