As a Metalhead who also enjoys the heck out of New Wave, I would have to guess that I’m a bit of a rarity in the Metal world. But thanks to the German gents in ATROCITY, I know that I’m not alone. Yes, one the country’s best Death Metal bands is back with their second cover album of 80s New Wave tunes, “Werk 80 II”. Weird? To an extent. But does it work? Definitely.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about “Werk 80 II”. As a cover album, there’s nothing to talk about from a songwriting standpoint, and being New Wave, the songs are all catchy as hell. I suppose the song selection should be looked at. ATROCITY have chosen a few of New Wave’s biggest hits, and intermingled them with some the era’s lesser known tracks, so you get a fine mixture of the well known and more obscure. For the most part, Alex Krull uses his deep and smooth clean voice, which fits the style quite well, but occasionally the Death grunts come out, most notable on “Relax”. I have to admit, it’s rather odd to hear Death Metal vocals on a FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD cover.
Despite the origins of the original songs, ATROCITY has done a fine job of Metalizing music that started out about as far away from Metal as it gets. Between the previously mentioned use of Death vox, the occasional double bass drumming, and searing solos, New Wave has never packed such a punch. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing an album produced by Mr. Krull, you know the sound is outstanding.
However, as enjoyable as “Werk 80 II” is, I wish that ATROCITY would ditch the cover tunes and get to work on the promised massive follow-up to “Atlantis”. It would truly be an atrocity if they didn’t.
(Just a note to the record label: While I may be beating the proverbial "dead horse", the promo of “Werk 80 II” would have much more enjoyable if that damn women hadn’t felt the need to remind of what I was listening every 30 seconds. It’s something to think about.)
(Online February 4, 2008)