Anyone who is familiar with Alexander Donat’s project, Vlimmer, might be be surprised to find that after eighteen EPs releases (yes you read right, 18!!!) , he has unleashed his debut album, Nebenkörper. The literal translation of Nebenkörper is secondary body or auxiliary body and maybe a part of this title refers to the fact that this is a full length album which was released on the 24th of September, 2021.
The dreamy, instrumental, “Farbenmüde” is the prequel to the album and in no way prepares you for the onslaught that is the angst filled “Fensteraus” and it is a bit like a Faustian epic in sensory overload. It has a wicked life of its own. Blasts of electronic beats mixed with tribal rhythms is “Mutem“. A sublime mix of metal shoegaze with industrial. There is a constant drone behind the “Restfall” as Donat’s vocals tether you to this reality and the guitars jangle and wail while it climaxes in a maelstrom. We have the single “Meter” which actually reminds me of Oomph! a little, if they had been more post-punk and it definitely deserved to be a single. “Minusgesicht” is full of foreboding atmosphere, a pall of darkness that is trying to drag everything into it and a sense of falling or fading away.
“I.P.A.” is truly a post-punk hybrid beast. Dark and brooding with just the right amount of noise to mix with the discordant voices while “Ad Astra” is like a wild ride of ecstasy and screaming insanity that bears you along, occasionally drops you, just you pick you up for the next part of the ride. The insistent “Wangendruck” is absolutely a gothic/EBM hybrid of beauty. It gloriously powers on with bursts of beats. There is a subtle change with “Kartenwarten“, slowing down things, a mellow shoegaze vibe before we vere off into noise inspired “Kron“. It is crunchy and sounds rather unhinged, though in a good way, as it ramps up. The last song on the album is “Nebenbei“. It is the wind down, giving a sense of introspectiveness and grief in a way, possibly full of longing. It is a lovely way to end.
Vlimmer is on Blackjack Illuminist Records and had the much-in-demand, Pete Burns of Kill Shelter handling the mastering. As a native English speaker, I am unable to tell you what the German lyrics are about and it is far more about the impression it gives and in the end, this is exactly what music is supposed to do. Expression in any language that still resonates with those who listen. Nebenkörper for the most part is a swirling amalgamation of gothic darkwave with shoegaze and a big helping of industrial. It is raw and at times won’t let you stop hearing new and unique things in the musical aether. At times you can almost swear you can hear a choir in the mix backing up Donat but this is an illusion and a rather masterful one. After eighteen EPs, Vlimmer have unleashed a beast of an album, so it was worth the wait.