It amazes me when I hear artists who can take fuzz and distortion, crafting it into something musical and even dancefloor ripping. Hamburg is home to Sebastian Sünkler and he is STAHLSCHLAG, a mind blowing project that creates electronic/industrial power and rhythmic noise. Literally music that slams into your cranium at full tilt, boring into your skull but in a fun way. August saw the release of STAHLSCHLAG’s newest album, A Zone Of Silence.
“Dawn Of Man” is the starting point with Mikrometrik, as it lurches into being, crawling out of the primordial swamp, for what comes into being, mankind, will eventually destroy themselves, after reeking destruction on their environment. Rick Keiyer is Mikrometrik, whom counts down the end of days and man’s crimes, nicely nestled within the drone. The pace is stepped up, with Sünkler diving into the thundering power noise with “Profusion“, that rumbles along spewing forth an antediluvian sludge of sound, touched by mercurial synths of a god like being.
Lena Heiler of Ultra, graces her vocals on the single, “Doomed“, a track filled with oppressive atmosphere, a portent of catastrophe in the ever pushing rhythm and Heiler’s direct tone. The circular hammering of “Crushed March” draws you into the smashing electronics, while Christian Sander of Morbid Echo, sings you a savage ballad of onward movement, until you no longer can….broken bodies, broken souls. A march towards oblivion.
A change with “Signs” as we are granted cleaner synths with abrasive beats, “Deliverance” is so good with its dance beat maelstrom and what sounds like tribal chants within, like beams of light to give one hope in the dark. There is something about “Static Souls” that fair sends a shiver down my spine. It could be the mix of sweet synths over the heavier fuzzed out electronics but it feels intense.
Hunkering down is something ancient and forgotten in time about “Lost Dream“. Alyx Weaver of Sublimenal Stimuli, creates a whirlpool doubt and fractured conscious stream. You will move with “Stunde Null” with those static filled rhythms and electronics full of stardust. Behold the drums of battle that herald in “Always War 2022” slamming against the abrasive wall, and yet the battles continues with men’s thirst for conflict.
“Spem liberationus” has an incredible beginning and continues from there. Tribal and fierce, it reaches into the primitive parts of your psyche, bringing to the fore, the fight or flight anticipation of Germanic ancestors watching the Roman Empire invading. Eerily creeping through the cracks in the fabric of time is “Thanatophobia“. Shuddering and pointedly sharp with the possibility of archaic wisdom carried on the winds.
It is a near visceral response to this particular album. Sünkler really has reached a point that he can use electronics and programming to elicit an emotional reaction from the listener whilst painting pictures for your imagination. The last album, ALIVE, indicated that Sebastian was growing and changing his style, so the inclusion of vocalists have brought a new facet to STAHLSCHLAG’s sound and while there is still the rhythmic/power noise, a thoughtfulness of using less to state more. It is a beautifully crafted album which is name your price on Bandcamp and all monies are being donated to a charity. Get yourself A Zone Of Silence.