Posted on February 20, 2010 -
Eisbrecher’s anticipated sophomore release on Dancing Ferret Discs has finally arrived, and it’s sure to please fans of their brand of looming electronic-tinted throaty-vocalled German guitar damage music. Antikorper seems to want to live up to its name and take your ears apart piece by piece – nothing wrong with that, of course! – but something’s been lost since the band’s superlative self-titled US debut. As good as Antikorper is, it dwells in the shadow of its predecessor.
Vocalist Alexx is certainly no stranger to Laibachian growling, and he does more of it on Antikorper than ever before. It’s immediately evident with “Adrenalin” that this is a harder, heavier Eisbrecher, with increased jagged guitar riffs, pounding percussion, and weighty synths. The sky-high energy level continues with the excellent single “Leider”, followed by the mind-blowing midtempo jackhammer “Antikorper”, which is arguably not only the album’s best, but also one of the band’s finest songs to date. “Entlassen” keeps the pedal to the metal, and at this point Antikorper is sounding mighty indeed.
Unfortunately, following this lovely cataclysmic beginning, the album seems to lose momentum, although it’s worth considering that maintaining its initial power would be a near-impossible task. “Ohne Dich”, “Kein Mitleid” (a KMFDM tribute?) and “Kinder der Nacht” are mid-level efforts, and you can almost hear the album slow down and start to wander.
The explosiveness almost returns with “Phosphoer” and “Eiskalt Erwischt”, but Antikorper never fully regains the crushing force with which it begins. Perhaps a song or two could have been trimmed in favor of remixes akin to the fine dancefloor reworkings found on the Leider/Vergissmeinnicht single, which would have fit very well with Antikorper’s focus.
The strength of Eisbrecher’s debut album was its song structure and creativity – “Schwarze Witwe”, “Eisbrecher”, “Fanatica”, and “Angst?” in particular – but it seems as though Alexx and musician Noel Pix left behind melody on Antikorper in favor of pummeling the listener into sonic dust. While Antikorper definitely succeeds in its mission and has moments of true brutal brilliance, one can’t help but feel that the band has taken a small step backwards in terms of refining its sound. Perhaps the bar was set too high by the debut!
All this considered, Antikorper is a solid effort that gets the blood pumping, the body twitching, and the head spinning, and fans of Rammstein, et al. will eat it up. Antikorper is certainly worth owning, especially for its dizzying beginning (and title track!), but just be prepared to sacrifice some style for its twenty-ton substance.