Industrial/EBM/synthpop/gothatronica act ALTER DER RUINE is back, after a somewhat brief breakup/hiatus that was stated in a cryptic video of theirs that ran on youtube on the 4th of January, 2012. The simple, yet no less cryptic, message “The Gang has disbanded” appeared on their website very shortly thereafter. Having formed in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2005 as a much more violent sounding powernoise *(ie: another and pointless genre name for industrial music) act. The “breakup” in early 2012 came as somewhat of a surprise; it was unexpected, and quite understated. ALTER DER RUINE had released many an album on many a different label. They disbanded two albums into a proposed 3-album trilogy, with no real other info to go on. In 2013, the third part of the trilogy was finally released as an out-takes and B-sides compilation.
However, at some point in 2013, the band secretly, and very quietly, reformed, and in 2014 released this, I WILL REMEMBER IT ALL DIFFERENTLY, their seventh full length album to date.
A little different in sound (as all their albums have tended to switch it up a bit here and there while remaining distinctly in the static, technology-driven and cold realms of EBM), this finds the group leaning quite heavily on a combination of synthpop/coldwave/EBM, with a slight spattering of goth here and there, the overwhelming industrial brutality of some of their earlier work completely absent from the proceedings.
Does that mean it’s “watered down” at all? No, it just means that this is more or less something you sway to, as opposed to beating someones face in to, on the dancefloor *(I’ve usually been partial to the latter, personally, but have over the years developed a slight appreciation for the former). It’s growth of an ever expanding experiment.
It’s certainly catchy enough, and seems to at times attempt some form of “warmth,” but being as it is mostly electro-digital, that “warmth” never really comes forth, the music remaining fairly cold and far too digitized *(for my own personal tastes). Very transhumanistic. But that is something basically inherent to the aspects of genres they fall into. Nowhere on this recording will you find an actual organic instrument, except maybe for some sparse piano work *(which still sounds like synthesized piano to me), and apparently the drums. I would say that is my one and only major drawback to the album *(really I should say the genre, perhaps, as the album is decent). Anyone who reads this column with any regularity at all knows EBM and digital-based musics are not often among my list of favorites; it’s very band dependent. There are a number of bands doing a similar kind of thing currently, but still blending more organic instrumentation and recording techniques along with the structured *(or sometimes not so much, usually deliberate) digital pulsations to put truly different spins to well aged genre conventions, retaining a certain freshness to it.
Unlike JUSTIN SYMBOL, VOLTHEQUE, or POUND OF FLESH, who fall under certain similar categories very little overtly stands out about the sound, though the production is astounding; every electroblip and zang and beat pops through the speakers with a complete, astonishingly crisp clarity. A good thing, especially as the layers upon layers of digital sounds never get lost amongst each other, even in their more ambient moments, something that could very easily happen *(and often does) with improper or lazy digital production. But not here. It sounds as though much time and care was taken during the mixing/mastering process to create an aurally clean, silver-sliver of uncluttered gothatronica.
As for the songs themselves, my personal favorites were the intensely gothic closer “Leviathan,” which ends in a manner similar to that of a newer SKINNY PUPPY song, then just stops, with a low, burning fizzle; a neat sound and a nice touch, the particular way in which it’s done. “Tiny Wars and Quiet Storms” really caught with me, perhaps the song to evoke the most emotion, rounded out with beautifully haunting female backing vocals. Probably my favorite song on the album. “Poltergeist” is easily the “heaviest” track, the structure of the song built around a deep and thick, almost anthemic muck-synth rhythm that drowns you down to the otherside like unexpected quicksand with its general vibe of the wonderfully paranormal, disorienting strange it elicits.
On some interesting side notes, the band’s name, ALTER DER RUINE, is german for Age Of The Ruin. Additionally, the members are in a number of various side projects, including synthpop act DUST IS NOISE (featuring MIKE TREVELONI on vocals, MIKE JENNEY on drums, and former ALTER DER RUINE member JACOB ROUSE on synth). Mike Jenney also does live drumwork for the classic KEVORKIAN DEATH CYCLE *(a long-running act, and a GREAT name) and ASSEMBLAGE 23. Busy little bees, they be.
Overall, if you’re looking for some generally lighter gothatronica/industrio-synthpop EBM to sway your night away to, whether it be horizontally or vertically, or you just want to sit around with something chill to listen to and a handful of valium, ALTER DER RUINE’s I WILL REMEMBER IT ALL DIFFERENTLY would be a good way to go. *(NOTE: If you are in fact listening to this while gulping down fistfuls of Valium, you probably won’t remember much of your night at all, generally speaking.)
Additionally, ALTER DER RUINE will be our live on-air guests on 2 IN THE SAME BOAT with MoJoe & Vincent this Monday, June 22nd, at 9pm EST. Tune in, call in, ask them some questions, or us, at (619)924-0762. I’m curious as to their *(and YOUR) dalliances with the paranormal – – – aren’t you? Hear us on iTunes, Stitcher, BeyondPod, & more. If a jewish Zeta-Reticulan, as well as a demon stuck in Hell’s septic tank (hell-o, Carlos) can receive our transmissions, so can you. Only on THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE RADIO NETWORK. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theintestinalfortitude
More info on ALTER DER RUINE:
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email firstname.lastname@example.org