Girls Under Glass - "Nightmares"
By Marcus Pan
Girls Under Glass have been thrashing and
stomping their way through the electro-industrial German scene since the mid
80's. That's quite a legacy. Starting in '87 with Humus and following
that up with eight more Euro releases, GUG have a long list of successes. Their
last release previous to Nightmares, which is billed as an anthology of
their work by label Van Richter, was Firewalker - also in Europe. Band
line up consists of Hauke Harms on electronics, Volker Zacharias on
vocals/guitars and Axel Ermes on keyboards/guitars.
Nightmares has various remixes, unreleased material
and other doo-dads for the industrial elite. All of the music contained here is
industrial/electronic fare, good for doing the Industrial Stomp [tm] across
whatever dance floor the DJ spins it over. While standard with the expected
chunky guitar riffs, heavy bass, electronic grooves and some German / some
English lyrics, it's quite good for its genre. And no qualms can be passed
here, as GUG have been playing and pioneering this form of music for nigh on
fifteen years. Nightmares is a long CD with a playing time of 74
minutes. There are 17 tracks ranging in size from 2:19 to the 5:52 minutes of
I Will Follow You. You'll also hear remixes by KMFDM (Ten Million
Dollars). You'll see the Die Krupps remix of Die Zeit as well.
The album opens with a remix - which is unusual for any CD.
But very ingenious for the CD moniker when you realize that what you're
listening to on track 1 sounds strangely familiar - and scary. After all, it is
John Carpenter's Halloween score from the classic thriller/killer flick
of the same name featuring the infamous Michael Myers - the man who can take a
coat hanger in the eye and keep going. The score is untouched at the outset,
electronic piano tripping you away back into the nightmare, but rather than
suspense it's just pure violence this time. The barrage of techno-stomp
rhythms, guitar riffs and the lone whine of the guitar solo up on high turns
what was once a cower-under-the-blankets feeling into a stomp-ass raunch
through the industrial wasteland of modern dance floors. It turns the fear
around and projects it from you rather than on you. Very impressive. We'll kick
Michael's ass something serious, this time
From this point on, you're
thrown against an infections groove. GUG's music is fast, aggressive, and so
danceable it hurts to just sit here and write this. They have this knack of
putting the guitars against the beat and rhythm tracks at just the right time
and moment - KMFDM have that knack too. Industrial Stomp classics abound
throughout Nightmares. Another highlight is the fifth track, We Don't
Care. This is simply pissed-off-kick-something music, here. Hell, the
opening of the track is Volker screaming "We don't give a fuck!" with all vocal
decibels at max output. Talk about slamming you out of your reverie. And the
song is actually more of a cheezy Who-We-Are rant than anything serious,
anyway. And that's fine.
By track seven, right around the time the dreaded dancefloor
dehydration kicks in, I Will Follow You opens with a slow, ambient
choral arrangement. And the following When I Think About You isn't as
stompy as the others either, but does have a good dance floor vibe. Another
highlight that bears mentioning is Reach For The Stars. The vibe here is
more of a groove with ethereal whispers and keys. The guitars that come in
later are brash but controlled, powerful but checked. GUG then close their
anthology release of Nightmares with Hidden Track. I beg to
differ. Look, it's right there, clearly labeled! Track 17 - Hidden
Track! It wasn't hidden very well at all.
Van Richter pushes their "aggro-industrial" schtick with
their latest offering from Girls Under Glass. Rhythmic, powerful and in your
face, GUG are one of the mid-80's pioneers of this sound. They're still doing
this sound, but it's forgivable as this IS an anthological release after all.
Additionally, previously unreleased tracks like Halloween and a DAF
cover, Der Mussolini (for that German flavor), make it a good buy. Like
I said, there are seventeen tracks here - that's a lot of music. And the songs
included make a wide sweep across the previous European releases and places
them here, on American soil.
Post: 100 S.
Sunrise Way, Suite 219, Palm Springs, CA, 92262
Click to Buy!