I’m not overly familiar with work of Gotterdammerung, but I have always noticed it is full of life, bordering on rampant. Hearing the different sides to their sound on this compilation which spans over ten years, including some previously unreleased tracks, somewhat blunts the excesses and confuses the listener initially. Increase exposure makes you realise how shrewdly focussed they usually are, despite the occasional wayward bleepy nuances or hyped up, pumped up noisefests, where the vocals are forced to endure second place. The closest comparison I can muster is a modern day Killing Joke, for people who remember Killing Joke’s late 80’s phase, which was a groaning, thrashing sound, with cross-connecting rhythmic assaults, where the variety of the songs was always united by that central, thumping attack.
It doesn’t matter to me that this covers a wide time period, or how best they might have suited the Gothier era, or Industrial dalliances, or even the dance collisions. I just go along for the scary ride, impressed by the creepy background of ‘Lesser Deity’, and the skittish Goth fog of ‘Left Hand Rapture’, where they are slithering quickly, as if Bauhaus and the Sisters had some secret pact. As choppy as it is stroppy, a snakelike bass fashions it into poppy poison.
The dance elements in ’Skincree’ are very controlled, with attractive vocals and accessible rhythmic bruising, before we find ourselves with the isolated ‘Rogues In A Nation’ which is a traditional Celtic number, sung by Iris Van Dongen, with doomy sparse percussion. When that is followed by some grime which glitters, in ‘Echoes Of Despair’ you’re being swept away by more rabble-rousing, then pulled sideways, after an interesting poetic opening, by ‘Dance In Devachan’ whose energy constantly expands.
‘Bodybag’ is a fast-shuffle rave item, harking back to early Prodigy with snapping, sharp vocals, but ‘Lust – the Agony’ is a piano doodle, followed by the frenetic squalls of ‘Pile On The Agony.’ ’Life a$ Art’ is wonderful, with slower, stompier dance intentions, sturdy bass, piercing guitar and saucy vocals, while we hit two more linked tracks, with ‘Fears – Interlogue’ ticking slowly, allowing whispers through some dense guitar smog, before ‘Fears Behind The Mask Of Untold Mystery’ takes a less obvious route, being a slow chiming crawl which wriggles playfully and ends abruptly.
After that you have the flowing, flaming guitar gawf which zigzags happily in the drama of ‘Hall Of Fame’, the shimmering live morass of ‘Fortress’ and an oddly purposeful, if weird closer, ‘Vision Of Wane’ going from children’s singalong to lumbering noise with strident vocals.
They’re not really like anyone else, with their lack of unnecessarily complex or obfuscating Industrial-style overlays. They always seem to just want to get on with it and smash their noise at you. And it works.
Here’s to the next decade.