Nitzer Ebb
Industrial Complex


4.5
superb

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (90 Reviews)
February 27th, 2010 | 48 replies | 8,986 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A more complex, intricate, and industrially modern sound by Nitzer Ebb holds both revelation and blessing.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

The once densely thin Nitzer Ebb of past is just that - a thing of the past. Their quintessential last release of Industrially heavy atmosphere in Big Hit was their downfall. Trying to adapt to the innovators and clones within industrial music was evident, completely scraping the appeal and median that separated them from other bands of their time. During the process tensions ran high with Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy , deteriorating their relationship in personal matters and where they wanted to go in terms of direction. What felt so criminal and illicit in so many ways was that Big Hit was fundamentally a band collapsing under the weight of other successful acts; the duo tried to conform, but eventually split into pieces with this decision, and while their ominous idealism remained within the music the scattered quality of that album was sufficiently lacking in many areas. 15 post-break up years and innovation is now a bleak term in what was a once wide open genre when they started out.

As Nitzer Ebb dissolved from false promises from Big Hit, their music eventually saw the light of day from various venues, mainly from DJ remixes that helped them once again gain a cult status despite their inactivity as a group. It eventually caused an epiphany for the two and they soon resolved their differences and headed onto tour in 2006, eventually working on new material in 2007. McCarthy and Harris soon understood they still had the passion for Nitzer Ebb and began announcing more tour dates while finally concluding they would create a new album.

Industrial Complex, to be frank, is nothing like their past albums. In the eyes of their last dreadful release it feels like this is the album that was promised by Nitzer Ebb. Its visceral, aggressive and the industrially charged atmosphere remains to have that same Ebb feel, most specifically the drums that are prevalent with its booming nature that is simplistic and hard in tone, but the key component of Nitzer Ebb's comeback is by far their incorporation of electronic in their music, that be said it is done in the modern sense successfully. That was clearly all over the place on Big Hit. "Once You Say" is heard and immediately you hear homage to their past work, lyrically it sounds like "Let Your Body Learn" Part II, but its subtle and isn't thrown in your face and the rest of the song one ups the previous successful Big Hit opener "Cherry Blossom". McCarthy hasn't changed his tune since 1995, which is astonishing considering the time that has passed, if anything he seems revived and more motivated in Industrial Complex.

And this is what seems to be my confusion with this album. How exactly have these two managed to recoup their relationship yet release probably their best work , after the fact they had dissolved 15 years earlier? Industrial Complex resonates maturity from a group that was already successful in their native continent and beyond, but what is most important is their influence on techno/electronic artists, yet they never gained the type of recognition that it would deserve. And this album shows why they do deserve it, from the ballad-like "Going Away" and "I Am Undone" that always eluded them on previous albums to the hostile and lovely simplistic "Hit You Back" that marks memories of Belief and Showtime. Nitzer Ebb are clearly united and McCarthy and Harris have the same mindset, they sound like a band that has been perfecting their craft for years, while that could be argued for, it doesn't seem plausible for a group that has been gone for 15 years.

No doubt the metal isn't tarnished after so many years out of the music industry. The furious rhythm in "Down On Your Knees" is chaotically beautiful, it rarely lets up and McCarthy's plea of 'get down on your knees', while Harris meticulously adds electronic samples that should add eeriness yet the destructive tone of the song like the album itself engulfs the entire track. The guitar work is reminiscent of the high-quality areas of Big Hit as seen on "My Door Is Open", the percussion and programming is consistent to their past critical works, yet adds a heft of new, refreshing techniques to an old and wise band that failed miserably at incorporating both on the same album.

It's usually hard to justify a comeback for any band and for a band that wasn't necessarily successful in the mainstream, but when they go through their past hurdles and make something so modern that doesn't betray their history is astounding. I'm mesmerized on Nitzer Ebb by the prospect of future releases, Industrial Complex was supposed to be an experiment or an classic-laden throwback, yet it's the best work we've seen by them and it oozes consistency and prowess.

Successes:
-To put it boldly this is a better, more complex Nitzer Ebb that have found the sound they were searching for 15 years ago.
-Its homage to their past works is delightful, yet the sound is more modern and refreshing that will open up a new fan base.

Failures:
-The track "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" sounds like a filler instance that doesn't work. Despite its 3 minute track time its still a glaring hole on an otherwise consistent piece of work. The always raging lyricist, McCarthy still brings his sarcastic calming tone to their latest.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
February 27th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There is a part of me that says you may be over-thinking this, but majority of myself is saying: "Holy shit, what happened during those tour dates to make them this modern and fucking amazing? (still were, but fuck this the best they've done)". Listening to their past work Big Hit is technically the only thing that comes close in sound with this, but this wipes that album on the floor like its little bitch. Fan of industrial, especially old school, synth-laden stuff then Nitzer Ebb is your group. This album still uses that structure, but it adds a lot more then you'd expect, I mean a lot more!

EliteChiefModerator
February 27th 2010



251 Comments


I've only heard That Total Age, but it's cool so i might check this out

MassiveAttack
February 27th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

http://www.myspace.com/nitzerebbmusic

this should help with that decison. All, but the last 4 tracks on the player are from this album. Go for it.

bloc
February 27th 2010



34499 Comments


Never been a fan of Nitzer, but I am curious to hear this.

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

EliteChiefModerator
February 27th 2010



251 Comments


Thanks mang i'll have a listen to that in a minute

MassiveAttack
February 27th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I suggest "I Am Undone" first, its my favorite track on this album and its like nothing they've done. Really harrowing and the atmosphere is perfect.

Meatplow
February 27th 2010



5524 Comments


Great review. That Total Age is a personal classic, i'm yet to hear anything else they have done.

I'll definitely put this on my list, a lot of promising 2010 albums to get through at the moment.

MassiveAttack
February 27th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm..of all the people on this site I'd expect you to know this group well, but hell That Total Age is an amazing debut for these guys, their next two were great, if not better. You should check it out, other than Willie and I, don't know if anyone knew this was coming out.

Meatplow
February 27th 2010



5524 Comments


Yeah, discovering this band was a real "why haven't I listened to this before?" moment. I had often heard them namedropped, just never bothered to look into them.

bloozclooz
February 27th 2010



1770 Comments


what does the first sentence mean? "densely thin"?

MassiveAttack
February 28th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It pertains to their music during the 80s and early 90s. It was compact with the amount of synth, but it still lacked a weight within the music in terms of it being thin on other instruments. Good enough? =)

Hope you check 'em out bud!

Meatplow
February 28th 2010



5524 Comments


Yeah, this was pretty damn good.

I have some catching up to do I think.

AggravatedYeti
February 28th 2010



7684 Comments


I am thoroughly interested.

Geist
February 28th 2010



371 Comments


Wow, I just gave their Myspace a listen and I'm very impressed. You captured the sound well in your review. Pos'd, and bought.

MassiveAttack
February 28th 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First feature (because I actually reviewed a new release lol). Glad you liked it Geist I was blown away, it sounds like they've been doing work the past 15 years they were away.

Geist
February 28th 2010



371 Comments


It certainly does seem that way. The album actually reminds me quite a bit of Primal Scream during their XTRMNTR phase, but much more consistent. Early contender for AOTY for me.

Meatplow
February 28th 2010



5524 Comments


Its homage to their past works is delightful, yet the sound is more modern and refreshing that will open up a new fan base.


I just realised how much this reflects my thoughts on The Prodigy's Invaders Must Die, even if it gets panned quite a bit.

MassiveAttack
March 1st 2010



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lowered your score? =( It was a 4

I don't want to push your rating or anything since it is your opinion, but this owns. Up there with Total Age / Showtime (I rank it higher than both, mwuahahha). This has been in nonstop play for quite awhile.

Best Tracks:
Promises
Never Known
Hit You Back
Down On Your Knees
I Am Undone
Traveling

Meatplow
March 1st 2010



5524 Comments


I think I was a little too quick to give it a high rating, it really hasn't sunk it properly for me yet. I do like it a lot though.

sexpoi
March 1st 2010



597 Comments


I have never been a huge fan of industrial because I used to be in an industrial band and all they wanted me to do guitar-wise was chug and play bar chords over some synth lines. Well it was industrial metal though. Is this anything like that? If so, I might not check it out. I myself require a little more substance than chug, chug, synth line, chug, synth line. Well written review though



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