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Megaherz - Zombieland (2014) - Review

Band: Megaherz
Album title: Zombieland
Release date: 24 October 2014
Label: Napalm Records

01. Zombieland
02. Roter Mond
03. Himmelsstürmer
04. Unter Storm
05. Fanatisch
06. Wir könntern Götter sein
07. Schwarzer Engel
08. Für Immer
09. Lieblingsfeind
10. Gegen den Wind
11. Frei
12. Hurra wir leben Noch

I am going to try really hard not to mention Rammstein at least a couple of dozen times through this review, but I can't give you any promises. After all, it was their critically acclaimed debut Herzeleid which, together with a sophomore album Sperm by their German colleagues OOMPH!, set the foundations to a newly derived genre of industrial metal, the so called Neue Deutsche Härte (New German hardness, NDH).   Also known as tanzmetal (dance metal), NDH slowly blossomed with its innovative combination of techno samples that made it into metal music, and it was non other than Megaherz, who later on joined the club and became a part of the holy NDH trinity, which set the trends furthermore. After various line-up changes, Megaherz have been a steady quintet since 2007 and with Zombieland they have shown that after 20 years of existence their ship still sails strong and has survived all the wrecks and tornadoes it went through, proving what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Even so strong, their title track "Zombieland" landed in the TV commercial for a currently super popular zombie  television series, The Walking Dead. Not bad, eh?

Moving on, whether you love The Walking Dead or not, Zombieland is a cosmos of its own and so much more than a zombie story. By merging the most essential features of NDH, Zombieland comes through as a 12 track album, rooted deeply in strong and bombastic combination of distorted, down-tuned rhythmic guitar riffs, pounding drums and a very dense use of repetitive samples alongside the heavily emphasized keyboard melodies, all of them responsible for the ''that song is stuck in my head'' effect. Besides danceable and catchy melodies, brought out with sophistication and precision, the vocal courtesy of Alexander ''Lex'' Wohnhaas really shines out and represents one of the major strengths of this release. On Zombieland he shows a major improve from  previous two albums, where he delivered more linear singing. Lex indeed did bring out the best of what he had in his sleeve (or better, in his vocal chords), stepped out of his comfort zone and with a wide variety of used techniques, that go from deep, emotional singing, through using some screams – which are at moments on the verge of growling – to raspy whispers and spoken words, nicely spice up the songs and adds the needed sensation, which results in creating all these different atmospheres. You will hear and feel him going through the world of entropical rage and infinite chaos as well as travel with him through bittersweet, tranquil and almost anguishing soundscapes.

While the opening title track "Zombieland" falls smoothly together with the devastation and vastness that zombie attacks tend to leave behind, "Himmelsstürmer" - the first single from this album - is a textbook example of how NDH should sound like. Even though the background sample sounded strangely familiar to me when I first heard it and I kept pounding my head where have I encountered this very melody before, after a couple of spins I felt it has been embodied by the song so deeply, I totally forgot about it. The uber-danceable hymn will give you a glimpse of what this album is really about as well as will let you know the band really has everything in control. As a contrast, "Für Immer", "Wir könnten Gotter sein" and "Roter Mond" are prime illustration of NDH ballads, that build a strong, almost melancholic ambiance with a use of piano-sound keyboards and with sophistication inserted and arranged orchestration features, showing the band is so much more than a conglomerate of bombastic electro metal moments. But Megaherz's poetic and romantic side really reached its peak in "Frei", a touching song, which develops the ecstasy of the sensitive melody into the darkest and most thought-provoking song of the album. Can't help to draw parallels with Rammstein once you crash into"Fanatisch"; a track, which will serve you the imaginative cold, raw and mechanical sound (which will surely remind of you of Rammstein's early work) on a plate. Most notably the guitar work is responsible for the similarity, but even Lex sounds a bit like the German oak Till Lindemann, by combining emotionally driven singing with spoken words, presented by his deep, clean voice, which portrays a dark, dirty and staggeringly asphyxiating ambient.

Groovy, catchy and noteworthy Zombieland is a small musical explosion, but just as much as their musical execution is impeccable, the creativity waters down from time to time of the album, giving you the unnecessary ''I've heard it all before'' feel; but nonetheless does not feel forced or tiresome at any point. This is a release, that any NDH fan should give a try, because the overall larger-than-life effect of the album, along with the before mentioned silver linings that shine out more than brightly, results in a solid, focused, well produced, above the average album. Moreover, I have a very strong hunch Megaherz's music must sound killer when the band's on stage (haven't had the pleasure to experience that just yet), because the killer amount of energy in their music must surely drive to the state where one simply has to let go of all boundaries and fall into the sensation of flamboyant, over-the-top dance impulses Zombieland delivers.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 7,5/10



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