CD Review

Girls Under Glass - "Nightmares"

By Marcus Pan

NightmaresGirls 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…

Girls Under GlassFrom 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.

Contact Information:
Post: 100 S. Sunrise Way, Suite 219, Palm Springs, CA, 92262
E-Mail: vrichter@netcom.com
Web: http://vr.dv8.net

Click to Buy!
Buy It