Review Summary: While the band’s self-appointed “electronic arena rock” title might be a little misleading, the actual music is still a solid conglomeration of EBM and pop fundamentals.
Informatik began life as a relatively primitive harsh EBM band. The sounds they used on their debut were pretty standard and generic even fourteen years ago when it was released. The thing that set them apart was their excellent use of melody and an above-average ability (within the electro/industrial genre) to craft memorable songs. As the band progressed, they slowly started playing more to their strengths and removing elements that conflicted with them. By the time of their third album, Nymphomatik
, the band had entirely phased out the processed vocals and mechanical rhythms in favor of real singing and a rock aesthetic. The band eventually started referring to this sound as electronic arena rock, and this album is another step in that direction.
For the average music listener, the term “electronic arena rock” probably means very little. If there is any band that could be forced into that genre it would probably be Depeche Mode
, but even that is a stretch. In reality, the term is just a broad description that the band (or record label?) have come up with that means very little. There are actually only two songs that even remotely fit that portrayal – “Come Together” and to a lesser extent “The World Belongs to Us”. These two songs come close by focusing on big 80s rock choruses, simple (yet effective) guitar riffs, and a sustained groove. Of course, this is all filtered through classic programmed beats and a layer of synth. The end result is still basically electronic music with a few additional elements but it’s enjoyable, if a bit cheesy at times.
Despite the hype surrounding this band’s occasional forays into rock territory, it’s the remaining ten songs that are the real gems of the album. The remaining tracks move the electronic elements back to the forefront and are better off for it. The various electronic elements combine to form the most prominent feature of these songs, the abundance of melodies. However, unlike a lot of EBM albums, these melodies aren’t dark, angry or mechanical in any way. The tracks all flirt with an undercurrent of pop fundamentals that keeps things light, upbeat and very easy to sing along to. These pop influences have even filtered into the electronics, allowing them to achieve a very warm and full sound that is reminiscent of new age electronic artists such as Delerium
. The main holdover from traditional EBM is the vocals. The vocals still contain some gothic influences due to their deep, slightly monotone delivery and could very well end up being the main sticking point for some people.
So, the band aren’t exactly Bon Jovi
mixed with Skinny Puppy
, but they’ve still released a great album. The pop influence that is injected into every song takes them beyond your typical cold, underdeveloped EBM tracks and provides them with a fuller, more human impression. The few rock influences only serve to further distance this album from the majority of similar bands, even if those songs have a tendency to sound a bit overdone. Beyond the album’s defining characteristics is the simple fact that the songs themselves are very well-written, and provide a very enjoyable experience. Here’s hoping the band don’t ever abandon their roots completely, because they’re too good at this style of music to simply dismiss it.