ALBUM TATRA, PLAYGROUND,
METROPOLIS RELEASE: JANUARY 31,
2000 (EUROPE), FEBRUARY 22, 2000 (USA) REVIEW:
FEBRUARY 4, 2000
"Iím waiting for a sign, and to leave this place behind, where no
one knows my name". The song "Starsign" sums it up. UFOís,
aliens and space in general are key words on the brand new Apoptygma Berzerk
disc. The fans, myself included, have waited quite some time for this one, and
after really hammering it in my CD player Iíve come to realize that
"Welcome to Earth" is worth the wait.
The first sign of life came in the spring of 1998,
when the single "Paranoia" was released. Itís included on the album
as well as last yearís dance taster "Eclipse" and a third "Love
Never Dies" composition. Parts one and two are found on the "7"
Taken as a whole, "Welcome to Earth" is
more techno and trance influenced and more melodic than earlier works. Stephan
Groth, Apoptygma mastermind, also has improved his vocals now, when he uses
what heís got better. This is nicely displayed in the heartbreaking synthpopish
ballad "Moment of Tranquillity", which steals shamelessly from the
Twin Peaks theme. A few other small thefts can be spotted, including usage of
U2ís "New Years Day" and fragments from Metallicaís "Unforgiven",
in the Metallica cover (!) "Fade to Black", which is one of the
albums highlights. Mainly because itís so far from the original version, with a
substantial raise in tempo and the hard guitar walls have become pure
electronica. It also shows what Apoptygma Berzerk does best. Dance-friendly,
melodic club music coloured by both synthpop, EBM, and techno.
Other songs on the new album in this category are
the mentioned "Starsign" and the two single releases as well as the
more hard-hitting "Soultaker", which is reminiscent of the "Soli
Deo Gloria" period. If youíre to object against something, itís the
superfluous nonsense tracks in between the real ones. Thirteen tracks are
announced, but only nine are full songs.
Thereís one track that kind of caught me by
surprise, "Kathyís Song (Come Lie Next to Me)", and itís also the one
that grew the most. Itís a cool, midtempo piece with nice bass lines and strong
vocals, and it transforms nicely halfway through.
So has also been the case with Apoptygma Berzerk.
The majority of "Welcome to Earth" is progress exemplified.