Gothtronic review 2 by Bak XIII surprised last year with the Post Lucem Tenebrae EP on which they treated us on a heavy and explosive mixture of EBM, 80’s electro and techno. On Morituri Te Salutant it becomes clear that...
Gothtronic review by Bak XIII from Switzerland is back with a great new album. Ultima Ratio Regum is without a doubt the most accomplished and best balanced album of Bak XIII. Every ingredient which makes the music of...
Gothtronic review 2 by Bak XIII surprised last year with the Post Lucem Tenebrae EP on which they treated us on a heavy and explosive mixture of EBM, 80’s electro and techno. On Morituri Te Salutant it becomes clear that the band can do even more. The sound of the album roughly is a combination of German gothic electro and modern techno, with strong 80’s hints, noisy glitch sounds, sometimes a punk feel and a gift to write infective songs. The strongest tracks are ‘Thing Will Never Change’, the punkish ‘Weak’, the hit-sensitive ballad ‘Dead Again’, the parody on 80’s tunes ‘Video Star Killed My Radio’, the German languaged technogoth cracker ‘Spiegeltanz’ that starts sounding more and more like Rammstein further in the track, the lovely uptempo ‘Disco Armageddon’ and the dance cracker ‘Miracles of Love'. The nice thing with Bak XIII is that although the various influences are not that progressive as such, yet it results in good and pretty original songs. The songwriting skills are more than ok and some nice samples have been chosen. A very nice and spontaneous part in the sound of Bak XIII is made up by the use of the guitar. The vocal lines are very much 80’s sounding. It sometimes also resembles Project Pitchfork a bit. At the end of the cd there is a further hidden song, a French languaged industrial electroclash track. This band has the opportunity to get into the German market with their music and become very succesful with it.
Gothtronic review by Bak XIII from Switzerland is back with a great new album. Ultima Ratio Regum is without a doubt the most accomplished and best balanced album of Bak XIII. Every ingredient which makes the music of this Swiss outfit, who recently recruited a guitarist with Tenabras, so much fun is present here; like a high danceable factor, various stylistic influences such as electro, rock, EBM, wave, accessible pop structures, and sharp edged challenging sounds.
Actually, Bak XIII always had a special talent for great songs with hit potential, but this time around Bak XIII also managed to make an album which is well-balanced with regards to the songs too since Ultima Ratio Regum actually only has highlights.
Opening song ‘Open the Borders’ is the perfect example of what they’re capable to regarding the hit potential, since it is a gigantic sing-a-long in which Bak XIII has integrated pop punk influences in their electro style. The perfect pop tune. The following song ‘Body Religion’ moves in between pounding EBM and sensitive dreamy wave. ‘Nothing Left to Believe’ is a melancholic indie electro-rock song like Bak XIII has made before. It is comparable to the recent works of Apoptygma Berzerk. ‘Hey You’ continues in this trend with a very catchy chorus. With ‘Where’s the Party’ the pace is speeded up with a raw guitar sound, accessible melodies, and lyrics like ‘Where’s the fucking party?...I wanna give you all!’ meant to stir up, which ensure another highlight.
In ‘A Simple Day’ melancholy comes crawling in sneaky with social critical lyrics that reflect the punk background of this band. Musically this song is, however, to be categorized as synthpop and new wave. The vocals are used in a varied way with Bak XIII, sometimes being used with effects such as a vocoder. ‘Vengeance’ is a song with French lyrics and it invites to enter the dance floor. ‘The Lady in the Rain’ is a dark and gloomy thought provoking tune and because of the sounds, which have been used musically, reminds of the old Depeche Mode, but regarding songwriting perfectly fits the typical Bak XIII take on electronic indiepop.
‘Ghouls and Ghosts’ is quite humorous, with stories about ghost busting and zombie shooting, and is also right on spot and catchy as hell. ‘The End is Near’ is, like the title reflects, less of a joyful story, but it contains awesome sounds and a chorus which works like magic with the support from violins and a string orchestra. ‘Minute Men’ is next and this is an assault on white trash people and their useless lives, packed in a song with pounding beats and provocative slogans. ‘Children of the Night’ is up next and this is another catchy sing-a-long, followed by the atmospheric ‘Queen of Flowers’ that gracefully ends this CD…yet not, since at the end after some silence there is another track, named ‘I Love My C-64’ and yes this is an 8-bit electro tune and Bak XIII get it going one more time.
Ultima Ratio Regum is a big achievement for the band and it really is about time that Bak XIII becomes more than an insider tip and gets some international success. It would absolutely do justice to their talent and they really deserve it since they are one of the most fun and best electro crossover bands these days.
Side Line review by The Swiss duo of DDDMix & Baron Von Smocker have appeared, pretty much from out of nowhere, it seems with a pretty decent EBM/industrial debut, proclaiming a talented new act to take notice of. There are a number of good tracks to be found here, including "Perfect Survivor" which mixes dark melodics with more industrial effects, the danceable & upbeat "80s Are Back Forever" which, if I've judged the lyrics right, refers to the odious yuppie culture of the time, the solid & hard-hitting "Happy Slave" or the opening "Good Old Time" where the combination or excellent sequencing & effected vocals are a well-appreciated touch, one the band make good use of throughout. Christophe Geinoz's guitar adds extra bite to the nicely gritty "Remember" as well as the slowly mechanical, almost grinding cover of "Are "Friends' Electric", working well on the chorus in particular & even if the monotone vocals aren't likely to do too many favours it should at least mean the album will get mentioned by Numanoids which should help them. The classical opening of "She Knows" which is abruptly ended by the needle being hurriedly taken off shows a nice touch of the unpredictable (& humor, possibly), leaving the coast clear for another solid rhythmic track, well up to standard although they've yet to acquire the charisma to get away with lines such as "Licking yer tits/sucking yer substance" so "Paradise", which features them is a bit cringe-making as a result although "Perfect Survivor" which follows makes up for this with a track that, if promoted properly, could well have a wide appeal among all electro lovers before the short power-noise instrumental that is "Torture" &, in complete contrast the melodic "Sad Song" bring the album to a close. This album is proof that you don't have to be a slave to the usual 'club' or 'dancefloor' considerations to produce a fine album, being different enough to stand out but sufficiently catchy enough to appeal to most EBM lovers (clj:6/7)CLJ.