You have to admire this band's sense of humour. The lyrics to the track Karl Found Out: The Definition read, in part, "Testify. 3 - European project. A poor mimicry of Ministry. Extremely non-innovative, cheap and trivial beyond acceptance..." That this is read out by the God-like Karl Bartos makes a Kraftwerk-obsessive like myself warm to the band immediately. And since they called the album Triviality Beyond Acceptance, it's clear that they're not a set of po-faced one-foot-on-the-monitor metal merchants.
The thing is, they do sound a lot like a Psalm 69-era Ministry. Only with a great deal more of those monster guitar riffs that I previously thought only Rammstein could do well. I now firmly believe that there's a factory near Dusseldorf that produces machines that are nothing less than splendidly efficient guitar-lathes. You feed in the billet alloy of your choice and within minutes it produces a series of laser-cut and diamond-polished riffs that are moved to the studio on a low-loader before being slid into the back of the mixing-desk in the correct order. Rammstein obviously had the first one - you can tell because the polishing's a bit suss sometimes and the riffs come out sounding a bit dirtier than the specification calls for. Testify followed the maxim 'never buy version one of anything' and so got the one with all the bugs ironed out. It produces great mirror-finish slabs of guitar noise with edges sharp enough to cut you up badly if you're careless with them.
It almost goes without saying that the typically English lack of investment in manufacturing infrastructure means that local guitar-riff production is largely carried out as an ad-hoc cottage industry, and while they have a certain ramshackle charm they can't compete on the international stage. The Americans, meanwhile, are still using hugely inefficient pre-war processes that call for vast manpower, waste huge amounts of energy and only really sell to a domestic market that is distrustful of superior European products and protected by punitive import tariffs.
I should, in the interests of road-safety, point out that it is probably rather dangerous to operate a motor-vehicle while listening to this recording. It is entirely likely that you'll find yourself traveling in excess of many locally posted speed limits within a very few minutes.
Anyway. Buy this. It's damn fine.
Post: Van Richter Records, 100 South Sunrise Way, Ste 219, Palm Springs, CA, 92262