Testify - "Crack the Mind"
By Dan Century
Just think of all the incredible music
Germany has given the world over the years: Wagner, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream,
Faust, Can, Heino, and of course relatively recent bands like Einstnrzend
Neubauten, Rammstein and KMFDM. Take a moment to just to marvel at this rich
musical legacy. Testify, a newcomer to the scene, is ready to prove that
Germany makes more than just great beer and cars - they also make great
Testify is a metal band, the same way Ministry and Rammstien
are metal bands. Overwhelming thrash guitars, brutal percussion and guttural
vocals adds up to metal, regardless of the fact that it is "programmed" and
"sampled," orchestrated by sequencers or cut, pasted and Acid Looped. Testify
should be marketed to the metal scene despite the fact that their roots are
firmly planted in electro-pop. If metal fans are willing to accept "rap-metal"*
they should be willing to forgive the drum machines, keyboard effects and
Wizard of OZ Munchkin samples.**
Crack the Mind is a remix album, featuring remixes by fellow
"drum machine metal" dudes Die Krupps and Die Warsaw - a couple of nice guys
that have been around forever, but never quite made it big. One of my favorite
concerts ever was a Die Warsaw gig, but I doubt you care, so I'll spare the
details... oh, OK, you twisted my arm. It was a Nine Inch Nails/Die Warsaw
concert at a club called Shitty Garbage in Trenton, New Jersey. I was going
totally apeshit while Die Warsaw was on stage (especially after a really cute
female offered me flesh in exchange for my Acid Horse T-shirt). The singer from
Die Warsaw asked me how may drugs I was on . I answered "7," a number which
pleased the crowd. Now the truth is I was sober, but I didn't want to let the
band and the crowd down. Later that night during the NIN set I was forcibly
removed from the club for punching a bouncer in the head. He was strangling a
very small woman, and I objected to his actions with my fist. I never had the
opportunity to swap the shirt.
Testify's weak points...
The language barrier: Testify's
singer, as far as I noticed, vocalizes 99.9% in English, despite the fact that
he's German. Rammstein sings in German and they sound awesome. How about it
Testify? Sometimes it's best if you can't understand what the singer is saying.
Despite the singers raw, growled vocals every awkward moment shines through,
like this cryptic gem: "the morbid lord called humiliation rose from the throne
one day the primal order exploitation had ceased to make him gay so what?" Or
this nugget: "my tasty earwax drops into your mouth." What the fuck? Either the
singer's concepts don't translate well into English or the concepts are so
banal they just don't mesh well with the music. It's metal for Lemmy's sake!
Let's hear some sex and drugs lyrics, or if they must, social commentary, but
most importantly, in German!
Testify's strong points...
This is some of the best
studio produced metal you're likely to hear. They take full advantage of the
full audio spectrum from the programmed cymbals and growled vocals to floor
shaking bass and thrash guitar. The true test of a recording is whether it
sounds great through a good stereo system.*** Testify passes the test. All the
thrash metal cliches you're likely to crave are here: hooks, riffs, power
chords, over-the-top drums, dirty beast man vocals. New Jersey will love this
My advice: if you love brutal, aggressive "Industrial-metal"
in the vein of Rammstein, Die Krupps and Psalm 69 era Ministry, you'll probably
enjoy Testify. Their web site has the whole album on-line so decide for
yourself. If you're a fan of bands like NIN and KMFDM that are more electronics
than metal, you might think twice before checking out this disk. Go to the Van
Richter web site and check it out: http://vr.dv8.net/.
* Basically a really bad idea dreamed up by
flabby-ass record company executives. We really can't blame Anthrax. Rap-metal
is like "Metal, by Tommy Hilfiger."
** Oh yes, I think I'm going to throw
*** With the growing popularity of "downloadable music," which is mostly
listened to through feeble headphones, quality, full frequency music may become
a thing of the past.
Click to Buy!