Tuesday 5 February 2013

Review: Blutengel - 'Monument'


Blutengel's lascivious blend of vampiric synthpop has seen Chris Pohl and his band enjoy dance-floor success for fifteen years and the band's eighth album, 'Monument', feels very much like a culmination of that near decade-and-a-half's work. The album's production feels more opulent than it ever has and the band have synthesized the best elements of their many hit singles to great effect across the fourteen tracks here.

There is nothing wildly different on offer on 'Monument' that fans are not already well accustomed to. The catchy synthesizer melodies, driving dance beats and symphonic embellishments coupled with compulsive sing-a-long choruses are safe and well. But where previous albums have tended to feel a little formulaic across extended listening, 'Monument' on the other hand does a great job of holding the listeners attention. Yes, Blutengel are first and foremost a dance band, but here it feels like they have sharpened their focus, blending the best that their anthemic sound has to offer.
Songs like 'You Walk Away', 'All These Lies', 'Wilst Du?' and 'Lebensrichter' are prime examples of Pohl and co.'s penchant for writing excellent club hits while 'Tears Might Dry' and 'Save Our Souls' provide a pop grounding that will work very well live. Even the emotional ballads such as 'Die Zeit', which have sometimes in the past felt a little corny, manage to come off rather well here.

The production is perhaps the best of any of the band's records, which is saying something as they have always been an act that strives to put out well constructed albums which, as a result, has seen them flirting with chart success in their native land. Yet 'Monument' overwhelmingly has the feeling of a band looking over their own back catalogue in order to craft their definitive statement, which Pohl has undeniably pulled off here. Though such a consolidation of their sound raises the question as to where Blutengel can go from here?

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