CD Review

Stromkern – “Light it Up”

By Marcus Pan

Light It UpI was very excited when WTII sent me Stromkern’s full length. I really liked their maxi-single for Stand Up(1) and Light It Up is definitely a harbinger of spit-style industrial rap. Or something like that…it’s groovalicious really. Their last release, Armageddon, was their fourth studio album. Light it Up has reached slot 1 on the DAC, the single Stand Up hit number 4 on the DAC and they did an international ad campaign that didn’t include me – but hey, I’m used to that by now.

Nonetheless, I really dig this. Reminiscent of PTI(2) (also submitted with their package was their latest, Exhaust) and SMP(3) stylistically speaking. Televised opens Light it Up, grooviness abounding. The vocals are swift but muted, giving off an element of deep rooted anger without having to scream it. Reminders slides in some subtle guitar riffage, clipping it under the vocals secretly. It’s the subtle use of guitar strains like this that make industrial music still worthwhile – if you’re not Ministry, you should probably try to be creative like this.

Slow Cascade is a drum ‘n bass classic, with swiftly moving lyrics that would rival any gangsta type(4). And they use English when they rap instead of making up words so they could cut a rhyme like gangsta types. The chorus is alliteration at its finest. The track’s progressive growth as melodies build upon melodies is just phenomenally good. Forgiven slows it down into a metallic drone with more subtle guitar movements…one of the few and maybe only usages of guitar in what could be considered a trance influenced tune, really.

Sentinel Sigue Sigue’s into the fray, lurching on its robotic spindly legs making interesting rhythms and beat change-ups. President Bush yarbles a bit as the phasers warm up to chunk for a swift firing of lyrical content. And after this comes one of my all-time favorite industrial anthems – Stand Up. I went into this one in detail in the maxi-single review, obviously, so I won’t go on much here about it with the exception of saying – it’s still awesome. I can’t sit still when listening to this song. Delete brings Light it Up to a banger of a close.

This is a good album and I’ll be holding onto it. I love the lyrics – alliteration, rhyme, subtle but inwardly strong. A tad political, definitely angry, but it’s a mature grown-up anger. Stromkern are SMP with more maturity – yes, I think that about sums it up.

Contact Information:
WTII Records
Post: PO Box 13495, Chicago, IL, 60613, USA
Phone: (773) 989-4317
(1) Reviewed in Legends #152.
(2) PTI’s Blackout was reviewed in Legends #148.
(3) SMP’s Terminal was reviewed in Legends #104.
(4) I’m not a hip hop fan…I find the music a shouting receptacle for illiterate bantering, unintelligible verbiage and I can’t remember the last time I heard a hip hop top ten that didn’t rip off something from my generation both lyrically and musically.