Die Krupps – V – Metal Machine Music


Back to regain lost ground from their hiatus

Review by Allan Jones

Steamhammer / Oblivion / SPV

Release date: 28 August 2015

I’ve had a lot of love for Die Krupps ever since I first heard II – The Final Option back in the early 90s. By this point, the band had already been around for over a decade, albeit before Jürgen Engler and Ralf Dörper created the blend of industrial and metal that they’re best known for. By the end of the 90s, however, they’d called it quits, with Engler going on to form Dkay.com, but in 2013 they reunited to create The Machinists of Joy in 2013 as a sort of tribute to their earlier EBM years.

This album, however, is a return to that harder-hitting metal-industrial sound that they’re best known for. This is the sound of a band that inspired the neue deutsche härte wave of bands such as Rammstein and Eisbrecher, and propelled the industrial/electric blend that so many bands now take for granted. Except they don’t sound quite the same any more – they’ve come back harder-hitting this time around. Volker Borchert’s drumming is an utterly brutal accompaniment to Marcel Zürcher’s heavy metal riffing on guitar, and Engler’s gruff vocals set a very aggressive tone. The lyrics themselves echo this – ‘Road Rage Warrior’ and ‘Battle Extreme’ both do exactly what their titles suggest, and ‘Kaos Reigns’ quite literally hammers the point home with some furious rhythm section work.

Some of the songs may sound a little familiar – ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’ appeared in a slightly different version in the game Wing Command: Prophecy back in 1998, and Engler says that ‘Alive In A Glass Cage’ dates back to 1985. Just for fun, there are even a couple of songs sung in German (‘Kaltes Herz’ and ‘Volle Kraft Voraus’) to open and close the album, acting as a sort of bookend. To be honest, I wish there were more – the sound of the language lends itself perfectly to the aggressive tone of the music.

Twenty years ago, this would have been like nothing else around – but times have changed, and it’s become a far more commonplace sound in the interim. Dare I say it, the sound is now almost mainstream (at least in the industrial/rock world). Instead of pushing boundaries this time around, Die Krupps are carving out a space of their own, and regaining lost ground from their hiatus. Thankfully, this album still manages to sound distinctive and unique in a relatively crowded space. The energy and verve that they displayed in their earlier albums is still very much present and correct here, only now honed to a finer, more aggressive edge.

Since the comeback, they’ve taken us on a tour of their earlier EBM years, and now they’ve given us an album that takes us up to the end of their industrial metal years. I can’t help but feel that their next album will be the one that will see them once more pushing the boundaries and leaving other bands in their wake. We’ve had two excellent nostalgia trips – but now it’s time for them to move forward once more.

Die Krupps V20158 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Die Verdammten (Prelude)
  2. Kaltes Herz
  3. Battle Extreme
  4. Fly Martyrs Fly
  5. The Truth
  6. Road Rage Warrior
  7. Vampire Strikes Back
  8. Alive In A Glass Cage
  9. Branded
  10. Kaos Reigns
  11. The Red Line
  12. Bonded By Blood
  13. Volle Kraft Voraus