The Bayreuth trilogy by Joachim Witt, of which this is the final part, might just be the purest distillation of German darkwave imaginable. I clearly remember my fascination on first hearing Das Ich and reading band names like Goethes Erben in German magazines in my teens. Here was a musical culture all of its own, wallowing in themes from German romanticism and using its own language, merely utilizing the gothic and EBM forms as tools of the trade. Since then, the expressions of this unique form have ranged from the sincerely ambitious to the painfully contrived, but few albums have been nearly as quintessentially German as this one.

Musical veteran Joachim Witt played an important role in the emergence of Neue Deutsche Welle, fronting the band Duesenberg, but it is his resurrected career since 1997 and this trilogy that really sees him grow to embody the famed Zeitgeist and Weltschmerz of his native lands. To describe the elements that shape ”Bayreuth 3”, all clichés must be used, if only because, in this case, they are true. The ominous landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich, the operas of Richard Wagner and the poetry of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe must all be harnessed to the carriage of Rammsteinian riffs and vocals to really make the point.

Although the comparison with Rammstein is unavoidable (and the comparison goes both ways), Witt eschews the wry humour of that band, instead infusing his music with sincerity, social criticism and poetic solemnity. During the tear drenched ”Wem gehört das Sternelicht” (To whom belongs the starlight?), a duet with Nadja Marie Saeger, it seems that this unashamed cordiality can go on no further, even if a full blown string orchestra were to be dragged in. Yet Witt manages to top it with his undeniably danceable ponderings on the theodicy problem in ”Wo versteckt sich Gott” and follows with an even grander, operatic duet with Tilo Wolff from Lacrimosa, the band now officially relegated by Witt to the position of second most theatrical group of Germany.


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