Review Summary: Die Krupps finally release a best of album, and it, unsurprisingly, turns out to be as hit and miss as the releases it represents.Die Krupps
were one of the better Industrial bands that ever decided to add guitars to their electronic-based sound. There were a few reasons for that, one being that they were fortunate enough to enlist the guitar skills of Lee Altus of Thrash bands Heathen
which gave them an edge over most other Industrial bands at the time due to his ability to write better riffs then the average Industrial guitar player. The other reason is that Die Krupps didn’t drop all of their electronics like a lot of the bands that embraced guitars into their sound. Unfortunately, after releasing four Industrial albums in the 90’s Die Krupps broke up. I always thought it sucked that they never released any type of best of collection, but twenty six years after their first release we finally have one.
The focus of this review is the second part of that collection which is titled The Metal Years
. That title is a bit misleading because despite the guitar riffs, all of these songs still have more in common with the electronic music that they pioneered in the 80’s, then they do with any Metal band. This album starts out with their first “Metal” release and moves forward chronologically from there. Having the tracks set up chronologically isn’t very interesting, but it is nice because it allows the listener to follow the band’s progression through the years.
The first two songs are taken from their first album to incorporate Metal elements, simply titled I
. They are very good songs but they do display some of the “growing pains” that the band were going through while they tried to adjust to the logistics of adding guitars to their very electronic sound. The main thing is that the vocalist still wasn’t used to the more aggressive approach to singing that he had taken up for this album, and because of that, he sometimes seemed hesitant to let loose. The other thing is that the electronics hadn’t fully integrated with the guitars yet, but all that would change on their following album.
The following album, II – The Final Option
, is widely considered their best album as it mixes the guitars and electronics the most skillfully, and it also finds their vocalist coming into his own, sounding a lot like Black-album era James Hetfield. These songs had a much better guitar sound that actually integrated with the multiple synth lines and semi-danceable beats. A good example is one of their most famous songs called “Fatherland” which has a very danceable beat, catchy synth, and a catchy chorus. In addition to those elements, there are some very good and heavy guitar riffs as well as a mid-song breakdown that goes from heavy guitars to only synth before getting back into the chorus to end the song. The same praise and similar description could really be used for all four songs from that album that are found here.
The following album, III - Odyssey of the Mind
, found them moving a little farther into the Metal realm, due to the heavier guitar sound and because a lot of the songs featured more Metal-type beats then the dance beats of past albums. Of the three songs from this album that are here, the best is “Odyssey of the Mind”. It has a heavy and rhythmic riff, which is backed up expertly by a cool off-time beat and a lot of different synth lines. One of the bummers about all three songs from this album (as well as this album as a whole) is that they tried too hard to make the choruses really catchy and it messes up the flow of otherwise good songs.
Their final album was more experimental and didn’t receive a very good reception back when it was released, and that is probably why there is only one song from it on this release. The main reason it wasn’t well received is because they dropped a lot of the electronics and even embraced a more Nu Metal style. The song included here, “Black Beauty, White Heat” was a good choice to include because it retains most of the elements of their past, except the riffs are more groove oriented. After this song we come to the only two “surprises” on their “best of” compilation.
With a twenty six year history you’d think that this album might contain some surprises, but the only thing we get is one cover song and one unreleased song tacked onto the end of the album. The cover song is an unexciting remake of “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” by Pop Will Eat Itself
. The song is slightly heavier due to the guitar sound, but otherwise it is a direct remake. The unreleased song, “The Great Divide” isn’t a lot better mainly due to the thin guitar sound. It’s a shame too, because the vocals and the Electronic elements are top-notch, featuring a driving Techno beat, and a lot of synth.
With Die Krupps’ first two Industrial releases being so good, and their last two being slightly disappointing it is no surprise that this compilation is also hit-and-miss. I think they really could have helped this album out by including more surprises in the form of covers and unreleased songs, but that didn’t happen. Due to the fact that all of their past albums are out of print, it is nice to see that they have released something for any fans that may not have them anymore, or for anyone who always wanted to check them out but couldn’t find anything. For me, I like this album and I like all of the songs (which is why my personal rating is higher), but I’d still recommend someone find II – The Final Option
before settling for this.