Q: What do you get when you combine the musical efforts of Die Krupps’ Jurgen Engler, Leæther Strip’s Klaus Larsen and Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares?
A: Exactly what you’d expect. Planet Fear is industrial metal that’s a throwback to ‘90s rivethead heaven while still, somehow, sounding contemporary and relevant. And all without sounding like a Rammstein clone.
Of course, if this kind of thing was your musical go-to in the 1990s, you’ll still leave the listening experience asking whether anything has changed since Die Krupps’ Metal Machine Music or Klute’s (Larsen’s harsher industrial project which changed its name to Klutæ in 2006 to avoid confusion with a drum and bass act that had risen to prominence while the project was on hiatus – and the source of one half of this band’s name) Excluded way back in 1992. Album opener, “If I Die”, barks its introduction out in synth stabs that could have been lifted directly from either of the above-mentioned albums.
Of course, the guitars-over-programmed-industrial-percussion route is one that has been seeing renewed interest for some time, now: artists from the EBM/Dark Electro scene like Rabia Sorda, Combichrist and Psyclon Nine have slowly been embracing the six-string staple – especially in live settings. However, what sets Die Klute apart is that they aren’t an electronic act turning to the dark side of “real” instruments; they were already doing this nearly three decades back and have just returned to show all these young upstarts how it should be done.
Kicking off with “Rich Kid Loser”, here’s your chance to hear the whole album!
Enlisting Dino Cazares on the guitar is definitely a great move on their part, though – having a guitarist that can play more than four chords and understands music composition and arrangement is definitely a game-changer, as Marilyn Manson historically proved with John 5’s tenure as guitarist, co-penning some of the best songs of the Antichrist Superstar’s career, like “Disposable Teens”, “The Nobodies” and “This is the New Shit”. Cazares’ contribution balances crushing industrial rhythms with understated aptitude (“The Hangman” is a great example of this): the guitar parts mesh with and underscore the electronic aspects instead of just being tacked on as an afterthought. The low-end growling strings on “For Nothing” really showcases the guitar as a compositional instrument, not just a rhythmic one.
That said, this being an industrial record, the percussion is still pretty much front-and-centre in the mix. Combined with chew-your-lips-off synth bass (“Human Error” or “MOFO”) the subsequent dancefloor-ready result is absolutely begging for more cybergoth dance memes to resurface.
One unexpected highlight has to be the cover of Public Enemy’s 1988 “She Watch Channel Zero?”; the Die Klute treatment results in something akin to Body Count or a forgotten offering from the Judgement Night soundtrack, albeit with more samples and distorted vocals. However, given Anthrax and Public Enemy’s 1991 crossover, “Bring The Noise”, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine an industrial metal/rap hybrid.
Whether or not you think “It’s All in Vain”, we urge you to check out Die Klute’s video.
In terms of balance, though, video single “It’s all in Vain” really distills the Die Klute offering: hard, fast industrial metal with call-and-answer vocals (a common genre offering by acts from Front 242 to Pop Will Eat Itself) and driving guitar work. Whether it’s Neue Deutsche Härte or contemporary EBM, or even just ‘90s nostalgia that steers you towards this release, you won’t be disappointed. Planet Fear is everything that makes industrial enjoyable – harsh, unforgiving and linear; the perfect soundtrack to any act of rebellion.
Planet Fear Track Listing:
01. If I Die
02. Out of Control
03. The Hangman
04. Rich Kid Loser
05. For Nothing
06. Human Error
07. It’s All in Vain
08. Born for a Cause
10. Push the Limit
11. She Watch Channel Zero?
Run Time: 50:33
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Record Label: Cleopatra Records