When Munich’s first inhabitants built their city around a Benedictine monastery in the 12th century it was unlikely that they would have foreseen their 21st century ancestors producing jaw-smashing industrial metal in the shape of Megaherz.
The Bavarian automaton is in its third decade and has consumed numerous band members to fuel its long journey leading to the production of its tenth studio album – Komet. The new line up changed as recently as February 2018 with longtime drummer - Jürgen ‘Bam Bam’ Wiehlerbeing being replaced by Tobias Derer to join Alexander Wohnhaas (vocals), Christian ‘x-ti’ Bystron (guitar), Chris Klinke (guitar) and Werner ‘Wenz’ Wenninger (bass).
The new album marks a moment in the band’s development with some indisputably Megahertz trademarks but also with some engine modifications thrown in to keep the ride interesting. There are touches of ‘80s pop synth intertwined with the expected industrial molten metal. This is a more refined album with more depth and colour than previous releases. The spitting anger and fury is there but it is complemented by a touch of melody and dare I say it - synth pop?
Opening track ‘Vorhang auf’ is approached with the power and punch expected of this Teutonic powerhouse. The atmospheric keys and shouted chorus work in contrast with spoken verses that give the track character. The tempo changes are clever and work perfectly, increasing the intensity of both the slow sections and the pacier parts. As an opener, it’s a slab of molten steel.
The following title track ‘Komet’ features an almost nu-metal riff with a steadier pace. The bass line and staccato guitar work continue that initial impact from the first track but with a hint of melody that holds up the spoken vocal work.
‘Scherben bringen Glück’ opens with a tasty old school synth line that would easily be at home in an ‘80s arcade. There is a contemporary feel to the chorus and the vibe of the song verges on commercial but works well and doesn’t lose any credibility as a result. The chorus in particular will attract a wider audience as it has that synth pop/rock vibe that works well in many arenas. This is clear proof that Megaherz are adept at steering in and out of different genres whilst retaining their industrial blueprint.
‘Horrorclown’ does what it says on the tin and the inclusion of Donald Trump calling for a wall to be built points firmly at the subject of this finger-pointing statement on the prejudice and selfishness of modern life in the shadow of those in power. The song is well placed in the track list and employs the spoken word and lo-fi megaphone singing that hits home like a grenade in a gun turret. ‘Von Oben’ slows the pace with a tasteful piano part that complements the guitar melody. The song is another example of where Megaherz have broadened their material and blurred the lines between genres.
‘Tiefenrausch’ is heavy. Really heavy. The turbocharged bass tone and piston drumming are sublime and work in contrast with slowed guitar riffs and growled vocals. The album features a number of examples where the drums and bass are given space to simmer – adding to the overall consistency and all important attitude. This blends well with ‘Schwartz Oder Weiß’ which follows the Megaherz template and is a bad mood of a song with the isolated drum and bass, stabbed keys and overlaid guitar parts building to a resounding chorus. The subject matter again reflects on the hate evident in today’s world where the future looks bleak if we continue as we are.
‘Heldengrab’ returns to the synth driven old school approach. Kraftwerk would be proud of the electronica blend with rock that bands like Electric Six have mastered to great success. This works in contrast with ‘Nicht in meinem Namen’. This ninth track goes full nu-metal with an intro that picks up the thread of the album’s theme and cadence. The Rage Against the Machine chops are massive and will work well on stage. The string section with siren wail is pure theatre and confirm this band’s ability to paint a picture that is both layered and complex.
‘Trau Dich’ is similar in structure and style to its neighbours and again features the retro synth that screams ‘80s home gaming. That is of course until the thud of bass drum and driving guitars build to the anticipated enormity that is felt across the entire album.
Drawing a close to such a powerful and lyrically interesting album was always going to be a challenge but ‘Nicht genug’ (not enough) is a lesson in solidity. The guitar driven powerchord fest is a solid finale to the album. The song talks of hopelessness and is a final warning to bookmark the end of an album where the subject matter is all the more disturbing as it is reality for so many.
Megaherz have staked their claim on the throne of German industrial metal with Komet. Critics will always draw unfair comparisons with Rammstein or Oomph but that should be taken as a veiled compliment. Rammstein are a true global phenomenon and Megaherz have drawn alongside on the racetrack. With Komet, they have proven they have the power and reliability to last the race... and who knows - maybe win.
Komet was released on 23rd February 2018 through Napalm Records and is available through the usual outlets including iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
You can check them out at –
Scherben bringen Glück
Schwartz Oder Weiß
Nicht in meinem Namen