Nitzer Ebb
That Total Age


4.0
excellent

Review

by Meatplow USER (111 Reviews)
April 11th, 2010 | 18 replies | 5,711 views


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Muscle and hate!

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Formed in Essex, England in 1982, Nitzer Ebb were a key force in helping to develop the industrial subgenre of Electronic Body Music (or EBM for short) into its modern day incarnation. Alongside groups such as Front 242, Die Form and Klinik, Nitzer Ebb found themselves inspired by the more danceable elements of the first wave industrial scene and post-punk (which often overlap) such as Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, Killing Joke and Bauhaus, creating their own unique niche in the largely new wave dominated music scene with their unique brand of militaristic fist-pumping synth and drum machine based anthems.

That Total Age was the groups first album, released in 1987. This album is full of beans, to say the least. The stomping pace of opening track Fitness To Purpose sets the scene, a mechanical drum machine and fat analogue bass hook placing an immediate emphasis on energetic, rhythmic grooves that just don't let up. Vocalist Douglas McCarthy is the most impressive component here however, his voice lends something of a stadium rock quality to the music which gives the impression of a band that would put on a hell of a live show. Along with its opener this works best on tracks such as Violent Playground, Murderous, Smear Body and Join In The Chant, all based around simple repetition of lyrics and music to strong effect. The catchcry of "Where is the youth?"in Murderous and its arpegiatted synths are hynoptic, capturing a rare brand of 80's energy that has been unrivalled in EBM since. Join In The Chant is a similar story, and is perhaps Nitzer Ebb's most well known track with its militaristic vocal delivery popularising one of the most iconic phrases in industrial music to date ("Muscle and Hate!").

These few tracks are a crowning achievement, but unfortunately That Total Age loses it way slightly partway through and Alarm, Let Your Body Learn, Let Beauty Loose and Into The Large Air all have the air of a rehash which results in the album tailing off a little. Fear not however as these songs are still good and don't feel out of place, they just have trouble living up to the precedent of energy the first half set so high. Some great remixes of Join in the Chant, Murderous and Fitness to Purpose are thrown in towards the end, which helps pick things up a little. Still, these later tracks feel like a slight blemish on an otherwise excellent release.

That Total Age is a superb debut from Nitzer Ebb, introducing the music world to their unique, energetic brand of pulsing EBM which has influenced countless acts over the years. The album has its flaws and its thin 80's production will certainly turn some modern listeners off but the sheer energy which manages to bleed through despite this and the few industrial standards present elevate this to a release that is more than worthy of its cult status.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Meatplow
April 11th 2010



5524 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAS_wmiYTzE

Join In The Chant

MassiveAttack
April 11th 2010



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review, btw NE own right?

Meatplow
April 11th 2010



5524 Comments


I dig what i've heard so far (only this and Industrial Complex, regrettably)

There is plenty of history to catch up on I am sure.

Slipping Away
April 12th 2010



1261 Comments


was never able to get into this band, but a nice short review anyhow

porch
April 12th 2010



8452 Comments


This is the only Nitzer Ebb that i've heard but its really good. Nice review

Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2010



15877 Comments


I don't think these guys are my thing. The new one was passable, but their old stuff hasn't kept me interested. Nice review, though.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Wizard
April 12th 2010



19231 Comments


I saw Meatplow and read the word "Industrial" which means this is a no-brainer to check out. Review was smoooooooooothhhhhhhh.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

Meatplow
April 12th 2010



5524 Comments


idk if you'll dig this much Wiz, it'll be interesting to find out in any case

Wizard
April 13th 2010



19231 Comments


The more inaccessible industrial is, the better it is to dive into. Plus, "techno" (danceable) industrial stuff is awesome to cruise to.

Meatplow
April 13th 2010



5524 Comments


hmm

you should check out Die Warzau's Disco Rigido. It's kind of cheesy, but I imagine it could be awesome cruising music.

Wizard
April 13th 2010



19231 Comments


Cheesy is my middle name ; ) hahahah. Adding to my list!

Meatplow
July 15th 2010



5524 Comments


Still rules

IAJP
July 15th 2010



378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love this album, great review man

Meatplow
July 16th 2010



5524 Comments


thanks man

mykeedee
August 25th 2011



26 Comments


This album epitomizes EBM. If I knew a club that played this stuff I'd be there all the time, even if it does sound like insane Nazi music.

Meatplow
August 25th 2011



5524 Comments


it's so good

i'm even starting to appreciate the later half of the album now, I can listen to this over and over and never get sick of it

enjoying their other albums quite a bit too

mykeedee
September 6th 2011



26 Comments


I'm obsessed with this album, which makes their other albums so disappointing. "That Total Age" is so intense. It's as if they lost their balls on their other albums.

Nice review.

Meatplow
September 6th 2011



5524 Comments


I still think stuff like Belief and Showtime is worth persisting with. their 2011 album
had some great moments, as well.

I guess there is a more of a melodicism here, with strong, anthemic hooks on tracks like
Murderous that make it distinctive. 80's EBM seems to be characterised by minimalistic,
mechanical percussion and synthwork, i'd say That Total Age was a very strong turning point
from this towards more developed songwriting. Afterwards on Belief I think they became
comparatively and deliberately inaccessible a bit, sounded more akin to earlier groups such as Die
Form and Borghesia, though still distinctively Nitzer Ebb. In some ways i've come to enjoy these works
more than this, strangely.



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