Die Krupps’ Stahlwerksrequiem: Hide Behind The Sofa, it’s Scary Krautrock

1st July 2016

Die Krupps

Title: Stahlwerksrequiem

Label: Bureau B

I suppose the word I’m looking for is ‘bleak’. Not disheartening but certainly bare and harsh in tone. Die Krupps was formed in 1981 as a duo. Firstly the vocals, guitar and keyboards of Jurgen Engler. Informed readers will recognise the name from the German punk outfit, Male. The other half of the group was Ralf Dorper formerly of  Propaganda plus Bernward Malaka. If you’ve ever heard Front 242 then you’ll be on the right track with Die Krupps, that mixture of metallic rock and electronic framework with an industrial content that gives the edge to the arrangement. The band’s first three albums Stahlwerksinfonie(1981) Volle Kraft Voraus (1982) and Entering the Arena (1984) were innovative, alive and very much on the forefront of the Euro rock perimeter before later albums in the 90s added a more metallic guitar sound.

 That first album, though is the focus of this new release. See it as a remake but with new friends including krautrock legends Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru), Zappi Diermaier (Faust), Pyrolator (Der Plan) and Scott Telles, a US-based post rock musician. The music here is relentless. The percussion is insistent and driving. Not particularly fast or nasty but it just goes on an on like a Tiger tank. It moves through sonic walls as if they were rice paper.

There’s an inevitability about the percussion that seems set up to slowly drive you completely mad, such is its thorough emphatic and dogged nature. It’s the guitar, though, that is the aggressive  instrument on this album. It screams, it shouts, it dives in and out of distortion, it writhes around like a deadly poisonous snake. It jumps up and down in sheer fury, shaking its fist at the world and issuing forth expletives. Gracious, this is a guitar in a bad mood.

Surrounding both of those key points are synth-based sonic constructions and industrial noise that adds up to a planetary deconstruction of noise.

Me? I just want to lie down now, if you don’t mind.