CD Review

Steril – “Realism”

By Theo DeRoth

RealismI knew I liked Realism the moment I heard the opening of The Unknown, the third track on the album. Unlike Realist and Statik, the previous two tracks, it begins softly, with a tiny, beautiful, music-box sound. This soon fades into a dark forest of synth, and is joined by an enchanting female vocal. Suddenly a low, gnome-like voice joins in. Then the beat picks up and the song really starts.

This opening is what characterize Steril’s Realism and makes it interesting, rather than another drum machine. While the sound is often angry and industrial, there are moments of beauty reminiscent of the early 4AD sound.

But the anger of Mähne Meenen, Steril’s lead vocalist, is incredible. His voice is raw and strong when he sings and carries the wrath of a Lovecraftian god when he shouts. It’s really something. And this is in keeping with the rest of the music. Jan Wilking and Axel Tasler, the band’s guitarist and keyboardist respectively, as well as the joint programmers, do an excellent job.

Actually, if any fault is to be found with the album, it’s with the lyrics. While sometimes they’re quite interesting – Swordsmen of the Crown reminds one of Dying Earth-style science fiction a la M. John Harrison – too often they simply express a rather hackneyed political viewpoint or post-modern angst that this reviewer finds dull. However, the music that surrounds the lyrics is so powerful yet delicate, rich but strong, that what they’re actually saying hardly matters.

This album creates frightful soundscapes, conjuring images of blasted cities and evil machines. If this is the kind of thing you like, then I suggest that you go straight to Amazon and buy it.

Contact Information:
ArtOfFact Records
Post: Box 68039, RPO Osborne Village, Winnipeg, MB, R3L 2V9, Canada
Phone: (905) 707-6283

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