Herrschaft
Tesla

Judging by their name, you’d expect Herrschaft to be a German industrial act, all brooding Teutonic sturm und drang. You’d only be partly right – they’re actually French, and spew a harsh, danceable mix of pounding industrial, bristling electro and crunchy metal riffs.

The vocals – heavily processed, of course – are definitely the most striking element of Herrschaft. Corrosive and serrated, they add a truly vicious edge to the experience. (If you’ve heard Leather Strip or God Module, then yeah, like that.) In a break from the grim, measured delivery of many industrial acts, Herrschaft‘s screams are varied and emotive, further raising the intensity. They’re not quite black metal, but there’s an undeniable link to that level of madness.

Tesla opens with “Valliant”, a mid-tempo thrasher that, while certainly a fine track, feels a bit on the familiar side. The second track, “Human Soul,” is much more arresting – a purer, harder example of busy, whirring EBM stomp. Crazed vocals slice through clouds of electronic ephemera, and during the chorus, Herrschaft shows that they’re not afraid of a little melody too. From there, Tesla streaks forward into track after electrifying track of beatscapes, beepspasms and buzzsaw guitars. BPMs vary from breakneck firestorms to a couple of grinding dirges, and all of it designed to kill.

If you don’t instinctively crank the volume when the first huge riff of “The Grand Architects” kicks in, check your speakers. Both “The Defenders” and “I Am the One” pump with the kind of echoey dance-club synths you expect from most Eurotrash dance music (or the Russian techno they play on Vladivostok, for those of you ‘cousins’ cruising around GTAIV‘s Liberty City), then get cut to shreds by the driving guitar pulse and razor-sharp vocals on each. Herrschaft even expands to a few refined, exotic inclusions, like the ghostly choirs on “Vortex,” or the Middle Eastern female vocal that weaves in and out of the title track.

(Speaking of female vocals, If I had to compare Tesla to anything in recent memory, it’d be The Kovenant‘s Animatronic, which I just listened to again today. That album is still as ridiculously infectious as ever, but almost too eager in its attempts to be maniacal and extreme. Those industrial gears grind and churn, but they’re also clogged with cheese.)

Industrial metal seems to have been quietly rusting away as of late. Ministry are shutting down, Fear Factory seems to be on creative strike, and it doesn’t seem likely we’ll ever see a sequel to Front Line Assembly‘s metallic classic, Millenium. Herrschaft definitely brings it all screaming back – a sleek, sharp, liquid T-1000 for the dancefloor. I can only imagine what kind of firepower the next model will arrive with.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
May 15th, 2008

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