Last week (ok, two weeks ago but I got sidetracked) was about the five best tracks on the Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation. If you haven’t come across it yet, this massive compilation comprises a four-disc box, a bonus CD, plus a 50-track download. It spans no less than 136 tracks in total with a whopping 10:18:50 play time.
Such a volume of EBM and industrial music is not something one gets through in one sitting or digests in a week. In fact, it’s taken more than three months (I bought the set in April) to get through the lot.
I can tell you that one of the surprises was the quality of what was on the Soundcard compilation. It has some outstanding EBM / industrial / aggrotech / dark electro / dark electronic stomping music / call it what you want tracks; yet the fact that it’s all on a free-to-download industrial music compilation is even more amazing. Seriously, you can get it here: Endzeit Bunkertracks [Act VII] soundcard.
Endzeit Bunkertracks Soundcard
As mentioned, the Endzeit Soundcard has 50 tracks. While many are bog-standard music in this genre, there are many more that are brilliantly quirky, if not outright weird in the best possible way. The Endzeit Bunkertracks VII Soundcard is hardly a storage bin for the cut-offs and filler. The overall standard actually well above average, and as mentioned, amazingly enough, it’s a free compilation. So when you grab it, make an effort to buy something. Induce the label that releases amazing compilations like this one to do it again.
If you need convincing, here are the 10 best* industrial tracks from the Endzeit Bunkertracks VII Soundcard.
Durandal X Xiescive: Rabid
Industrial music is always at its best when it’s doing one of two things. The first is when it’s being thunderously, face-meltingly intense. The second is when it’s being skin-crawling creepy.
Rabid is a somewhat minimal electronic track that firmly fits into the latter. Even though it has some of the old screamed cookie monster vocals, they’re kind of in the background. Most of the track is left open to allow for a long, spoken word sample, which sounds like it’s lifted straight from a medical lecture from the 1940s. The title is a giveaway, as the sample eerily describes the increasingly horrific effects of a rabies bite.
The final line says it all: “The patient becomes quieter. He lapses into a coma. Which is followed, inevitably, by death”
Third Realm: Deliverance
An amazing track that’s best appreciated by actually listening to the damn thing. This is mid-tempo, ‘contemporary’ (whatever that is) industrial music with a slight hint of guitar. The driving force behind this is the superbly shouted vocals, electronically processed in a way that gives the whole thing that much more of a tortured edge without actually reverting to the cookie monster effect.
It’s also repetitive, in the hammer-the-point-home kind of way that ensures there’s zero doubt about what the message is and where it’s going.
Diverje: All The Fakes (Touched By Stahlnebel & Black Selket)
A little bit like the above, but more tongue in cheek. It’s still slightly above mid-tempo and the vocals are still harsh (but still no cookie monster here) but slightly less so than the above.
This track is all about the soaring chorus. In fact, give it a couple of listens and the vibe of the entire track is that the whole thing is one big chorus.
I’ve got no idea what the topic is bemoaning. Something about how “All the fakes… Come together… To take over.” But it makes you want to come back again and again.
Shadow Lady: Species (Endzeit Mix)
Processed, semi-vocodered electro-ed vocals are easy to get wrong, and can work wonderfully when done well (usually if you’re Daft Punk or can otherwise afford to spend three continuous days working on three-second sequence).
Species (Endzeit Mix) has a kind of simple, catchy 4/4 electro vibe which on its own wouldn’t stand out from the pack. The inclusion of heavily processed vocals, not so much chopped up as reshuffled, is what makes this track. I don’t know the vocalist’s name but what she’s doing works.
There’s something very quirky about. Maybe it’s her disarming accent?
Synapsyche: Breath Control
A slightly generic but catchy EBM / future-pop (does anyone even say “future pop” anymore?) synth-line with some equally generic and shouted male vocals. There is, however, one dominating vocal sample: a short, repeated loop (from the vocalist herself?), that somehow just works.
They must have had thought that less is better. I’d like to fantasise that when they were making music, they somehow recorded this vocal snippet and decided to keep it and see what they could do with it.
As with the Shadow Lady track above, maybe the secret is the vocalist’s rich accent? They’re from Italy after all.
M.O.D.: Without Regrets
You’ll love or hate this. Dancey and kind of cheesy-sounding synths, with heavily accented, shouted, girly (very girly) vocals. If you’re not into this kind of thing then you’ll likely see it as somewhat whiny.
If, like me, you think it rocks, then you’ll dig the pace, danceyness, and quirkiness. This ain’t cookie monster mush; but it’ll make you want to move in just as much.
Hasswut: Nicht Für Mich
Honestly, when making EBM industrial music, who needs any sort of singing talent, let alone awareness of the concept of staying in tune? All that’s required is an utterly commanding (and, preferably, somewhat gravelly) German speaking voice.
Nicht Fur Mich (which translates as “Not for me”) is all about rather basic, sort of uplifting trancey uplifting synths, put in their place by that utterly commanding, not-even-shouted-but-still-awesome German voice.
In the finest tradition of EBM and industrial music, this track compensates for melody — and even basic singing in tune — with raw vigour and energy.
Especially when your band name literally translate as “hate-anger”.
Especially when your band name literally translate as “hate-anger”.
The mandatory tongue in cheek powernoise track. The track would be little more than knuckle-dragging, super-distorted, ear-bleeding industrial noise — until you realise that the ‘ingenious’ overlayed spoken sample that forms the basis of the track is none other than Bubba from Forrest Gump recounting the enormously long list of variations on shrimp recipes. In German of course.
It’s funny enough in the translated dub but it ought to work just as well for English speakers.
Hey, remember what I said last week about gimmicks in industrial music?
Once again, this track proves that less is often better. Like Synapsyche’s Breath Control, the hook on this track is very much based around a single sampled and much-repeated vocal sample.
In German, of course.
Which means that it’s reminiscent of Hasswut’s Nicht Fur Mich, only that it’s less gravelly and somewhat more… authoritative?
Add to that vocalists Nina’s contribution. She skips the accent entirely and goes straight for the German vocals instead (although I hear their home country is Denmark).
Neonsol call themselves “solar-powered electronic dance beats”. Seriously, it’s on their Facebook page. Whatever that is, it’s got a hard-to-ignore quality to it.
Psychiocold: Burn In Hell
Take a simple but cool synth line that sounds moody and a bit fatalistic. Play it long — perhaps overly long — until it becomes more about effect or hypnosis rather than variety. Then add some slightly ephemeral vocals.
If this had less production going on behind it they might call it darkwave. But it’s atmospheric, vaguely spooky and gothy, yet epic without being excessively stompy.
I can see the goths furiously swirling their capes to this while the scowling rivet heads (you’re not allowed to smile so this is how they show feelings of joy) stomp their boots accordingly.
* I say “10 of the best” tracks because, if you check back to last week, the best track on Endzeit Bunkertracks VII is Aim & Execute: Phantom Energy. It’s an absolute barnstormer and in my view, it’s the best track on the whole compilation.