Crematory – Antiserum (SPV/Steamhammer)

Sunday, 23rd February 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Get out your rubber, faux leather shirts and Black No. 1 hair dye (hey, Type O), ‘cause Germany’s Crematory are back for another round of uber Euro Goth metal.  Unbeknownst to many on these shores, the band has never really gone away, maintaining their rank as a festival filler, with the occasional studio album (their last was 2010’s Infinity) to round things out. Antiserum happens to be their 13th album, and like we were saying – you wouldn’t know how productive or even tolerably good this band is if you weren’t glued to what’s going on in German Goth-land.

The band’s poppy, electronic elements have long been their defining traits, alongside vocalist Felix Stass’ discernable bark-in-key. Stass is the main reason why the band still has their foot in the metal ground – he’s always gruff, but usually pretty economical with his word choices. In essence, it’s an odd fit…that fits. He’s helped out in the vocal department by guitarist Matthias Helcher who is responsible for clean vocals, a lot of which are the best part of each song, like “Until the End” or the melody-driven “Irony Taker,” which is the type of song the band pulled off so well on their vastly underrated 2000 effort, Believe.

Of course, wading through the more dance-oriented (or should we say “club-oriented?”) cuts will be the real litmus test for the outlying listening audience, but a good chunk of the tunes on Antiserum stick when they shouldn’t, like “Shadowmaker,” “If You Believe,” and “Back from the Dead.” So really, that’s the innate charm of Crematory, a band who should be rendered as a non-player, when in actuality, across the pond they are very much so.

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