Massiv in Mensch, the masters of ebm/dark rave, return with their fourth full-length release, Clubber Lang. This album definitely goes in a different direction than previous releases. Instead of painting with a large brush and bright colors, Massiv in Mensch explore shades and the use of finer strokes.
The album starts out with the intro track, "In Mensch". The track is a warm-up for what to expect on the album and is full of bit and pieces of other tracks. I've always questioned the point of intro tracks, but I guess they prepare the listener by getting them in the right "mood".
Track 2 is a cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday", with guest vocals by Sven Enzelmann of The Promise. This is an interesting synthpop-styled translation of the classic song, done in the flavor of Massiv in Mensch, but with a lot more refinement than previous works. MiM usually has a much more "in your face" style, but here we see subtle soundscapes over a familiar song.
"Einen Augenblick" has playful female vocals backing the main vocals. The track has a slower tempo than usual, but still has the MiM sound, although a more fully mature sound. "Menschdefekt", which has the same name as Massiv in Mensch's last album, has a feel more in line with the previous release. The synths and female vocals are familiar to long-time MiM listeners.
"Klang Der Unsterblichkiet" has harder edged vocals and guitar samples, which remind me of KMFDM in some way, but still has the pounding beats than are a mainstay of MiM. "Hass Kot (Reloaded)" follows with a drum 'n bass beginning, but then quickly switches to a harder, yet slower tempo song; pounding and methodical.
The title track "Clubber Lang" is next, which mixes many different samples, some playful, some melodic, a track that seems to be somewhat tongue in cheek.
"Green" is a much mellower song, almost ballad-like, with softer, blended male/female vocals. This is definitely a departure from older material; another example of the band experimenting with different styles. "Endless" is an almost instrumental track that increases the tempo with heavier beats, but again, has a more melodic style. The classic Massiv in Mensch sound is there, but more refined, more thoughtful.
Track 10 is another cover, this time of Sandra's 1998 song, "Around My Heart", with vocals from new singer Anna-Maria Straatmann and maintains a very "pop" sensibility. This cover is followed by a remix of Helium Vola's song "Selig" called "Selig [Reloaded]". This song is an interesting blend of the Helium Vola track and Massiv in Mensch's sound. I have found that Massiv in Mensch remixes often overpower the original track completely, but this song has a nice balance of the two sounds.
"Bitterfeld" kicks back into the dark rave sound, giving us a good, high-energy, dance-friendly track. "Toast" is a playful, energetic song, with the dead-pan "toast" declaration being interjected here and there. The last track is "Offenes Schuhwerk", a short, all spoken track, which is lost on me as I do not speak German.
Overall, "Clubber Lang" represents another musical change of direction for Massiv in Mensch, but one worth following. Upon first listen, long-time listeners who expect to hear the classic MiM sound may not appreciate the album at first, but give it time to grow on you.