RADIO GOETHE presents German bands Vol. 4

    * Sonic Front: Wave Goodbye
    * Elke: Adrenalin
    * Snakeskin: I am the dark
    * IFF feat. Alexx: Königin der Nacht
    * Nik Page: Dein Kuss
    * Samsas Traum: K.haos-Prinz und Wind-Prinzessin
    * Ancient Gallery/Kamikaze52: Very hard to
    * Davantage: (Jajaja)
    * Echolot: Das Boot
    * Nail: Soma
    * Megaherz: Gott sein
    * Kingdom Come: Silhouette Paintings
    * Fiddler's Green: Tarry Trousers
    * Geist: Wer, wenn nicht ich
    * Stendal Blast: Schmutzige Hände (Remix by Dein Schatten
    * 2raumwohnung: Sasha (Sex Secret)
    * Enno Palucca: Wenn ich tanze

    * Faust: The last dream
    * k.d.a.: Allein
    * Die Farben: Rivals
    * Weltraumorgel: Phase IV
    * Weltraumservice: Lustige Riesen
    * Polyspace: Express
    * Catastrophe Ballet: The Key to your world (Radio G.Edit)
    * The Invincible Spirit: Mon-Key
    * Lacrimosa: Der Morgen danach
    * Corvus Corax: Hymnus Cantica
    * Merlons Lichter: Weltenlauf
    * Infamis: Hofgang
    * Toni Kater: Liebe ist
    * Regy Clasen: Fischer Fischer
    * Freideuter: Freideuter

Review by Gregory E. Pilling -

In what has now become somewhat of a summer tradition, Arndt Peltner has released the new "Radio Goethe Presents... German Bands, Vol. 4" compilation. This double disc collection of 32 modern German songs has something for just about everyone, no matter what genre or style of music you prefer.

The compilation starts out with a heart-felt tribute to the former Sonic Front guitarist Christoph Renne who tragically lost his battle against cancer in December 2004. "Wave Goodbye" is an emotionally powerful song in remembrance of this talented musician, and a musical work of art in itself. Elke has quite an act to follow with "Adrenalin", and they have a little trouble doing so in my opinion. Their pop-rock sound is catchy, but nothing too great. The third track is by Snakeskin, a side project of the Lacrimosa singer Timo Wolff. "I am the Dark" is a very unique and impressive song that almost sounds like some weird goth band out of the 80s. I like it a lot.

Regular listeners of the Radio Goethe broadcast will instantly recognize the next song, "Königin der Nacht" by IFF featuring Alexx Wesselsky of Eisbrecher. It seems to be one of the new favorites on the show. Anyone who hasn't heard it yet is in for a treat. Just when you think you found a new favorite, hard guitars combine with smooth vocals on Nik Page's hit "Dein Küss". His 2004 album Sinmachine is a definite must have for any German music fan today. I have heard mixed opinions about the next band, Samsas Traum, and I am still not sure what to think about their song "K.hoas-Prinz und Wind-Prinzessin". It almost sounds like some kind of an epic song. It's good, but not my particular taste. The Ancient Gallery and Kamikaze 52 team up on the next song, "Very Hard To". It is very dark with deep meaning, and the combination of heavy guitars with synth elements really sets the perfect atmosphere for this song. The synths are also a perfect transition into the electronic sounds of Davantage and "Jajaja". A strong dance beat is the background for this great EBM track.

"Das Boot" by Echolot is one of my personal favorite songs that I have discovered thanks to Radio Goethe. Echolot is the side project of Peter from Fiddler's Green, and can be described as a combination between Rammstein and Eisbrecher. Originally, Peter actually offered the song to Rammstein, but they were not interested in working with someone else's music. This is an absolutely brilliant track, and the Radio Goethe compilation is the only place you will find it. The more traditional rock sound of Nail's "Soma" cannot really compare with "Das Boot" and seems somewhat lost in the impressive lineup I've heard so far. Fortunately, Megaherz shatters the silence at the end of this track. The band's new lineup featuring vocalist Mathias Eisholz performs an incredible remake of their original hit "Gott Sein". You can find this song on Megaherz' current album, 5. It's another must have.

Kingdom Come is a really new band to me. Their song "Silhouette Paintings" has an enticing intro and some hard guitars, but it failed to capture my attention for too long. The band may be German, but the lyrics are in English and it sounds almost like an 80s metal ballad. A live performance of the Fiddler's Green song "Tarry Trousers" is up next. Unlike Peter's side project Echolot, I cannot give this song a good review. I am simply not a big fan of this folk-rock style of music, as you may remember from my review of "German Bands, Vol. 3". Geist displays a lot of potential in their song "Wer, Wenn Nicht Ich". It is a solid hard rock song, and it could become a real gem with a little bit of polishing. Stendal Blast has been making regular appearances on Radio Goethe compilations from the beginning, but this new one is a little bit different. This time, Dein Schatten did a remix of their song "Schmutzige Hände", but I was honestly expecting something more lively. It was actually rather slow and unexciting. I was glad to hear that 2raumwohnnung brought some life back to the compilation with a nice light synthpop song "Sasha (Sex Secret)". Disc 1 comes to an end with a very calm and relaxing song. "Wenn Ich Tanze" is a great song to just sit back and chill out.

Disc 2 begins with one of my favorite classic German acts, Faust. Whenever you listen to Faust, you are hearing musical experimentation at it's finest. "The Last Dream" is a hallucination, a wild fantasy of screeching guitars and other primordial sounds. KDA re-introduces a recognizable music structure with their cold electronics and accompanying deep guitars. There has been a lot of this general style on the compilation so far, but I am certainly not going to complain about that. "Rivals" by Die Farben is another great techno song. There are no guitars this time, but it's just as good with it's dancy electronics and almost tribal drum beats.

The next segment continues in the electronic genre with some ambient instrumentals. Both Weltraumorgel's "Phase IV" and Weltraumservice's "Lustige Riesen" provide you with a relaxed, yet sophisticated atmosphere to lounge in. It's a real nice change from all the excitement of disc 1. "Express" by Polyspace brings out stronger drum beats as well as some melodies from the piano, but keeps the overall calm mood. All of a sudden, as their name seems to suggest, Catastrophe Ballet abruptly ends this relaxing mood with their rock song "The Key to Your World". I was not impressed by this track at all; it lacks any sign of life or inspiration as far as I can tell. The Invincible Spirit is next with a very weird song entitled "Mon-Key". The main feature of this song is a sci-fi beat and repetitive lyrics. Once again, nothing too impressive. Lacrimosa breathes some life back into the compilation with their eclectic mix of gothic and rock styles on "Der Morgen Danach". Despite not being a big Lacrimosa fan, I have to say that I enjoyed this song more than I thought I would.

The traditional instruments and old tunes that Corvus Corax uses helps to create a "medieval" sound that is the trademark of only a small number of German bands. "Hymnus Cantica" is an excellent song that draws you in and evokes a sense of history. "Weltenlauf" by Merlons Lichter is in somewhat of a similar style, but combines this history with modern instruments. However, it did not compare with other bands that perform similar music. I didn't really like it. The last few tracks of disc 2 remind me of the end of "German Bands, Vol. 3". They are all pretty soft and slow, not my style at all. "Hofgang" by Infamis has been played on the Radio Goethe broadcast several times but it has never really captured my interest. "Liebe Ist" by Toni Kater is almost entirely unappealing to me, and Regy Clasen's "Fischer Fischer", which is basically a German R&B song, is no different. The final track, a song by Freideuter of the same name, picks up a little bit, but still cannot compete with the rest of the compilation.

Overall, the fourth Radio Goethe compilation is the best one so far. The vast majority of the songs are fantastic, easily outweighing the few that lack real substance. Arndt almost makes it too easy to discover great new German bands.

Review by Mikki Landers -

Radio Goethe IV is the 4th (obviously) in a series of German music compilations brought to us by Arndt Peltner and financed through the German Consulate. It is also a close rival to my, up till now favorite edition - RG III!

I was told that I could make this review short by saying that it included Samsas Traum and thus ruled but I'll try to make this a bit more comprehensive. ;)

Radio Goethe IV is a double CD which includes 32 artists. It's dedicated to Christoph Renne from Sonic Front who died last year at 28 from cancer and the first song, "Wave Goodbye" by Sonic Front was written with this in mind... A rather sad way to begin but certainly a proper tribute and a powerful song, especially knowing the story behind it.

I was afraid this might be setting a theme but it was unjustified. "Adrenalin" by Elke really rocked!!! I liked it so much that I'm hoping they have more of the same! Snakeskin's "I am the dark" was just a tad bit bizarre... Sounds like it was made by people called Snakeskin, with satanic noises and weird singing... It started to grow on me as I listened but I'm still scratching my head over it, or maybe it gave me a rash, not sure... anyway... next was "Königin der Nacht" by IFF featuring Alexx, 'nuff said! If it has Alexx (Eisbrecher, ex-Megaherz) it's good stuff by default!! Sounds like a very Alexx-y song, what more can I say? "Dein Kuss" by Nik Page was pretty cool, kind of pop goth or something, whatever and "K.haos - Prinz und Wind - Prinzessin" by Samsas Traum was a good upbeat song by an excellent artist! Next was Ancient Gallery / Kamikaze52 with "Very hard to" - a quite decent song we've heard many times on Radio Goethe. Heavy guitars but kind of slow and gloomy. "Jajaja" by Davantage seemed a bit heavy handed w/ the synthesizer as the vocals were almost drowned out by them but that's probably just me anyway... I prefer electronics as flavoring to conventional instruments, not as replacements... This will come up later ;) "Das Boot" by Echolot sounded so much like Rammstein & some earlier Megaherz to me that I found the similarities much too distracting... "Soma" by Nail was alright, a bit too mainstream sounding, though. Megaherz's "Gott Sein '04" was obviously very rocking! A re-make of an old classic with their new singer Matthias. "Silhouette Paintings" by Kingdom Come started out very pretty but then this guy started singing... made me think of 80's hair band ballads. Pass. Fiddler's Green is always a fun medieval sounding band so "Tarry Trousers was quite nice! "Wer, wenn nicht ich" by Geist was deep and heavy sounding though it picked up the pace eventually but the next song I didn't quite "get"... "Schmützige Hände" by Stendal Blast but it's a Dein Schatten Remix... that I understand, but it sounded like Dein Schatten/Dieter was singing on it... I didn't know that was part of the normal remix "thing" but I'm sure I'm completely wrong anyway... I have an aversion to remixes normally so... what do I know? ;) Reminded me of a Falco song for some reason... Next was "Sasha (Sex Secret)" by 2Raumwohnung... it wasn't so bad considering I don't much care for female vocals and had some strong beats... Last song on CD 1 was "Wenn ich tanze" by Enno Palucca... I know he's not making me dance but anyway...

CD 2: First song on the second CD is "The Last Dream" by Faust... I'm not a fan of Faust but it started out promising enough & kind of stuck there & didn't move much & I saw there were almost 7mn of this so I just moved on... "Allein" by k.d.a was ok but was also in this same electronic vein... a pattern was exposing itself! *covers eyes*! "Rivals" by Die Farben was more of the same ilk & was 7.5 mn long, GiH!!!! (I know there are much longer but that's too much already in mn anyway!) "Phase IV" by Weltraumorgel, "Lustige Riesen" by Weltraumservice"... more of the same... "Express" by Polyspace, well, it at least had some piano soundish music that made it seem like it embraced conventional instruments at times... All those songs are getting shoved into the corner & getting ignored!!! "The Key to your World" by Catastrophe Ballet was kind of dull poppish blah but it did rescue me from electronic hell so all is forgiven ;) Next was "Mon-Key" by The Invisible Spirit... a rather silly repetitious club type song telling us "The monkey won't cry, the monkey won't die"... I guess that's a good thing! Weird but sort of amusing. Lacrimosa's "Der Morgen danach" wasn't so bad considering I've never really been a fan of their's... "Hymnus Cantica" by Corvus Corax is medieval type music, not bad. Merlons Lichter's "Weltenlauf" continued with the medieval influenced sounds of Corvus Corax but started out with a heavy bagpipe sound or what I imagine is a bagpipe, I dunno... too bad they had to start singing, completely ruined the effect! Next came "Hofgang" by Infamis... made me think of spaghetti westerns or something... it was ok... Better than the rest!!! "Liebe ist" by Toni Kater was a boring female singing a slow boring song, like the title wasn't bad enough!!! & Regy Clasen's "Fischer Fischer" was even worse!!! I don't even know how to describe it, like new age-y uck or something! Keep away!!! The last song... self titled by Freideuter, at least moved away from the icky females but it was also nothing impressive, kind of boring...

In any case, there's alot to pick through and plus shipping is well worth the cost even you just liked a couple bands! I liked much more than a couple bands but I do think I'll be playing CD 1 alot more than CD 2 unless I really have the need to hear how "the monkey won't die" because that was, in my opinion, the best song on the second CD and that's not saying a whole lot ;)

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