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Oberer Totpunkt - Desiderat (2014) - Review

Band: Oberer Totpunkt
Album title: Desiderat
Release date: 14 March 2014
Label: Danse Macabre Records

01. Es war immer so    
02. Langfristig gesehen sind wir alle tot
03. (Das ist nicht) Meine Welt
04. Geisterfahrt
05. Das Leben wartet nicht auf Dich
06. Spiegel im Käfig
07. Alle lügen
08. Nur ein Traum
09. Fremde Seele
10. Sei auf der Hut
11. Hab keine Angst mein Freund

Surprise, surprise from German duo Oberer Totpunkt... Four years after the previous bizarre album, Stiller Zoo, the band hits with Desiderat. This time Bettina (vocals and lyrics) and Michael (music and drums) went over the border and crushed some barriers of electronic music. Everything is in duality, between white and black, between harsh and tender, between desire and hope, and I can go on and on. The band distanced themselves from minimalistic bizzareness from their early days, yet served one of the strongest and dense sounds ever recorded by the band. Before I proceed you must know what's the meaning of the bands name: Oberer Totpunkt - short ::OT:: (Top dead center = TDC) is the highest point of the piston in the motor. The highest point and moment of return before the chemical reaction. And in Desiderat there are many such moments...

Like in the past there's everything centered around Bettina's strong words and her hypnotic voice. The music is on the second level, but still it's as much important as spoken, sometimes screamed words, with a punk attitude, from the mounth of the singer or better said reciter. The tracks can be divided into two or maybe even three categories. The initial four are simply blasting walls of sound, words get company of heavily distorted guitar riffs that fulfil the place, then industrialized electronic beats, apocalyptic drums, cyber elements and pumping basslines. It's pretty dense and sombre atmosphere, thus there's no proper, or at least a very little place for typical EBM dancefloor rhytms which is somehow the basis of Oberer Totpunkt musical creation, especially not in the devastating opener "Es war immer so". Multilingual "Langfristig gesehen sind wir alle tot" is a gem of its own, the vocals really penetrate your mind in this one, thanks also to the great mix and impressive production.

The harsh momentum of the first four tracks is then in an elegant manner overtaken with dark ambient bleak atmosphere of "Das Leben wartet nicht auf Dich". The spoken words, even if they have less power from now on, make a tremendous impact on the listener and the gloomy curtain of sounds in the background is simply magical. The pace changes a little bit in the next one, bass driven, another multilingual, cyber-gothy "Spiegel im Kaefig", and you must give some attention to a nice piano that occasionally softens the ambiance. It's needless to say that from now on Desiderat needs some more devotion to not become monotone. German spoken words add the necessary hardness, but the real job to achieve that is the unmistakable apocalyptic bass drive.

And then there's the part that has got my minor applause. The next two tracks dwell in rather typical danceable EBM waters and it's needless to say that Oberer Totpunkt do this with greatness, but it has to be said that it's nothing spectacular, neither something original as the innitial part of the album. Especially the penultimate "Sei auf der Hut", where we can hear also some male vocals, is really an inappropriate one. Of course I believe that it can become a club hit with its upbeat danceable rhythm, but it's not my cup of tea. Thanks god there's a nice conclusion with another recited, dark and quite captivating track named "Hab keine Angst mein Freund". Desiderat is one of the most dynamic and interesting dark-electro albums released lately, it has so many impressive twists, many great atmospheric moments, haunting vocal job or speeches, and a lot of rhytmic lines that constantly drill into the brains of the listener. I'm only sorry that I don't understand German because the lyrics in here have a lot of importance. I strongly suggest, not only to Oberer Totpunkt, but to the whole German electro scene, that they are heard all over the world and some translations of their texts wouldn't hurt, some of us are actually reading them.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10