Last year I received the first U.S. release of multi-decade artists Girls Under Glass for review here at Legends. The name of the CD was Nightmares and I enjoyed it so much I went and contacted frontman Volker Zacharius for an interview. Both of these items ran in past issues of Legends Magazine*, so I'm not going to spend too much time talking about the band's history here, because I already did that. I still have Nightmares in my personal collection, and I still listen to it somewhat regularly.
After a year and a half (or so) wait, Volker Zacharius, Axel Armes and Hauke Harms return as Girls Under Glass and bring us the six track recording Frozen. While Nightmares spanned their multi-decade career and had examples of their work throughout it, Frozen shows a new frontier for the band. GuG are moving in a much more melodic direction - somewhat lighter, but still with an edge. Frozen also has a good collection of helper artists that joined them for remixes, vocals and other assorted things. The result is a great disc, with hints of their guitar-driven past but touches of smooth electronic melodies.
Opening with the recreation of Madonna's Frozen, which gives this EP its name. Girls Under Glass keep the original flavor of Madonna's original version, but slice it up and offer it as an industrial ballad. It retains its popular appeal and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if GuG break into mainstream radio with this one. Wings, with beautiful vocals by Sandra Bammer, gets remixing help from Das Ich's Bruno Kramm. The track is light and fluffy, with a swift rhythm lacking a pounding beat that instead remains floaty. Sandra's vocals further lift you as the track progresses. Grey In Grey picks up the pace using the chunky guitars we've come to expect from Girls Under Glass. However, it's tempered with smoother melodies and a quick up-front rhythm. Vocals are helped along by Peter Heppner of Wolfsheim fame, in a great male duet with Volker.
Girls Under Glass' latest shows some great changes within the style of the band. They've moved from heavy industrial stomps to smooth, sometimes swirly, excellently arranged melodic rock that retains the heavy edge that I've come to enjoy. Frozen is a surprise from an act I've come to associate heaviness with - but at the same time, remembering such past great tracks as their remake of Carpenter's Halloween score, I really shouldn't be. The melody-arrangement talent was already there, just not fully explored until Frozen.
Post: Van Richter Records, 100 South Sunrise Way, Suite 219, Palm Springs, CA, 92262
Phone: (760) 320-5577
Fax: (413) 215-0392
* Interview in Legends #99, June 2000. Review in Legends #97, April 2000.