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The Big Bad Boys… Not Blue Anymore - 77%

bayern, November 6th, 2018

There was no way the band were going to produce another deeply atmospheric gothic proto-thrashism along the lines of “Symbols for the Blue Times”; there was no way they had failed to vent out all their blues with this poignant, depressively nostalgic marvel. However, a return to the classic thrashy ways of execution didn’t seem like the most viable option, not in the midst of the 90’s anyway. So what should be the next step for the valiant big city boys?

The first time I listened to the album reviewed here I liked it quite a bit; I even liked it more than the “Blues…”… no kidding. But now, 22 years later, staring at this risible cover, the creature on it a sheer prototype for the Gungans from “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” (go get George Lukas for plagiarism and copyright violations, lads!), I don’t find too many reasons to be overtly excited about it. The first time around I was enamoured with the bouncy, abrasive riffage which at least spelt “post-thrash” in a boisterous, vociferous manner, and may indeed capture the listener’s imagination on a first, more perfunctory perusal…

But surviving a sturdier, more profound old school test is simply not an option for this recording. It should easily entertain the 90’s crowd, though, with its noisier riff-patterns and the somewhat disappointing, semi-hysterical at times Lubitzki behind the mike, the man not trying that hard to sing with pathos anymore, merging with the less ambitious musical approach. Still, one won’t spend too much time wondering who the hell this band are as the characteristic alternative Depressive Age vibe can easily be detected on rowdier cuts like “Cairo Crabat” and “Teenage Temples”, the spacey speedy optimism of “Featherflute” and “Weird Boy” offering a fairly intriguing, equally as dynamic as well, alternative to the more aggressive, thrash-peppered nature of the guys’ earlier style, making one eating his/her heart out that the whole album hasn’t been sustained in the same infectious trippy, psychedelic vein.

Nah, not much room for such benevolent dissipators as the band don’t want to shift too far from the freshly selected alternative form of modern metal/rock which flag is proudly carried by the groovy rockabilia “Toyland Hills” and the Bronski Beat cover of “Small Town Boy”, the guys going all over the place later mixing abrupt riffy outbursts with lyrical flamenco motifs on “Companero Song” to mixed impressions before pulling themselves together with the cool memorable epicer “New Machine Wisdom” and the more belligerent proto-thrasher “Sports Yells” which could have found a place on Megadeth’s “Countdown to Extinction” even.

Very interesting, right after Voodoocult had a song “Electrified Scum” featured on their sophomore, came an album of the title “Electric Scum” a few months later… A lot of rubbish must have been amassed all around Germany in the mid-90’s, not to mention this free flow of electricity; and beer, of course. A diverse mish-mash in other words, nicely reflected in the album reviewed here, intentionally stirred that way, the guys not looking for a particular niche on the scene to fit into, playing with possibilities which the volatile 90’s metal roster was offering aplenty. It would be farfetched to talk about a conscious detachment from the metal roots, though; there’s a fair bit of dynamics, occasionally of a thrashier nature as well, and the latter’s presence should do the trick in placating the band’s old fans. Those would feel let down to an extent, but by no means betrayed as the preceding opus already introduced other currents, and the more visionary out there may have predicted the direction in which the band’s delivery would swing…

or thereabouts as predicting this recording correctly would be difficult for Nostradaemus even: it sounds like a slightly mutated product of the 90’s; it feels like a Depressive Age work; it recalls a distorted form of the good old thrash here and there; it exudes this uncanny gothic flair; it flirts with alternative rock tools… shall I go on? I think I should stop before I tumble (in)voluntarily into the next chapter from the band’s saga, written under the D-Age moniker; one with which the average metalhead shouldn’t bother… cause there’s no metal there… or maybe very, very little. Don’t trust the bombs and the energy there; it’s all a part of one big “electric scummy” conspiracy.