Sunday 19 March 2017

Album Review: BLUTENGEL - Leitbild

Blutengel - Leitbild

1. Welcome to Your New Life
2. Lebe Deinen Traum
3. Waste My Time
4. Leitbild
5. Black
6. Scars
7. Unser Weg
8. Immortal
9. The Days of Justice
10. Complete
11. Gott : Glaube
12. Say Something
13. Wasting the Years
14. Alle Wunden
15. The Way You Feel
16. Der Himmel brennt

CD2 (Deluxe Edition)

01. Eternal Souls
02. I Surround You
03. One Last Time
04. Killing Memories (Alternative)
05. The Plague
06. Seelenschmerz (Reworked)
07. Eternal Souls (Pseudokrupp Project)
08. Leitbild (Ost+Front Remix)
09. Say Something (Batfloor – Hocico Club Mix)
10. Waste My Time (feat. Helalyn Flower)
11. Anders sein (Rework 2017 – Still Different)
12. Der Himmel Brennt (Symphonic Version)
13. Wasting the Years (Acoustic Version) 

For those unfamiliar with Blutengel, they're a German Darkwave band and they're big players on the Goth scene, especially across mainland Europe. Leitbild is their tenth studio album, which is an impressive milestone to say the least. Blutengel isn't a rock band in the conventional sense, as most, if not all, of the instruments on this record are programmed. This lack of 'real' instruments may be off-putting to a large sector of the Rock scene, which is probably why they tend to reside in the dark shadows of the Goth scene, and haven't branched out that much. To be fair, they're popular enough not to need to, which helps them to maintain their artistic integrity. I also love how some of the songs are sung in English, and others are in German, as it adds to the character of the music.

Lead singer and main man Chris Pohl does the programming and has the lion's share of the vocals, with Ulrike Goldmann providing some female vocals here and there, with the exception being the excellent song Immortal, where she takes the lead.

The albums' first single Complete is a lyrically beautiful piece of Dark Electronica, and deals with the emotive subject of loss with a maturity and depth that shows Chris Pohl's ability to tackle challenging subject matters, as well as the usual supernatural themes normally associated with Blutengel. Waste My Time builds into one of the album's more aggressive moments which pulses and pounds like the offspring of Combichrist and Depeche Mode. Say Something has a Sisters of Mercy vibe but features some uplifting keyboard parts in the chorus that give the song an interesting dynamic. However, Black is probably my favourite track here, and reminds me of The 69 Eyes, The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission, while oozing every Goth cliche imaginable with no shame whatsoever, and I love it for that. There's even a cheeky nod to Joy Division with the line "Black is the love that tears us apart".

Leitbild is a long album with disc 1 clocking in at 73 minutes, but fortunately doesn't suffer from any fillers. The limited edition comes with over an hour's worth of bonus material including remixes and alternate versions, making it a treasure trove of new material for fans to sink their teeth into.


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