Cover songs are fairly common place in the world of Industrial and often done so very well, take Solar Fake or of course.. Apoptygma Berzerk to name just a couple who consistently do justice to older tracks. Blutengel now throw down their own answer to the challenge of covering songs well with 'Fountain of Destiny' which provides ten cover tracks finished off by two new Blutengel tracks. So just a short review from me today for a change as this is a mainly covers album but it is still most certainly worth writing about!
Blutengel dedicate again themselves to the eighties and dress in “Fountain of Destiny” ten iconic songs from probably the most musically formative decade in their own garb. In doing so, they manage the incredible balancing act of respectfully retaining the original essence of the pieces on the one hand and putting their own stamp on each track on the other.
Perhaps this works so well because his songs.. “still sound a bit retro today”, explains mastermind Chris Pohl; And so the two new Blutengel songs fit in perfectly: The instrumental “Journey to the Edge of the World” is simply great, while “Unsere Zeit” gives the hope that is so urgently needed right now, without sounding pathetic.
The cover songs were of course handpicked by Chris and Ulrike Goldmann and are those tracks.. “That seemed to me from today’s point of view not of this world”, explains Chris with that certain sparkle in his eyes that you only get when listening to eighties music. Whether it’s the emotional “Forever Young”, the already in the original wonderfully wacky “Dr. Mabuse” or the dystopian “Down in the Park” – there’s heart and soul in each of the cover versions. In combination with the professional skills and a natural feel for the right sound “Fountain of Destiny” offers a high delight for the ears.
Ulrike Goldmann and Chris Pohl
If you're gonna start a cover album off in style then with who else but Duran Duran, although I suppose Frankie goes to Hollywood may be comparable. (oooh controversial) Either way 'The Wild Boys' is one hell of a good choice to kick things off.
It has a little less impact and energy than the original but it has a deeper, more satisfyingly mature tone to it which hits a whole different spot and I don't think I can fairly judge this with headphones, I'm gonna have to wait till it kicks me full force in the teeth at a nightclub and I cannot wait for that day! (DJ's take note)
The next song that made me howl with joy is 'Down in the park' which is a cover of Tubeway Army, of which Gary Numan was their frontman and that's one hell of a beautiful tribute to one of the pioneers of alternative electronic music. Dare I say it, I MUCH prefer the Blutengel version, Chris' voice is just perfect for the feel of this track and makes it a truly relevant piece for the modern age whilst still respecting the hell out of historical roots. I love, love, love this!
This then leads in to Ulrike's wonderful tribute to Heart's 'Alone'. Possibly one of the most loved songs in pop culture history and my Gods it takes a brave person to want to professionally cover something that beloved. This version although again not as powerful as the original, hits a slightly more emotive level that feels a little different and refreshes the whole song subtly yet most enjoyably.
There are no bad covers on this album put it that way. They're all good but I am just covering the ones that really stood out for my personal taste, the last of which being a cover of a-ha's 'The sun always shines on T.V'. Blutengel give it a much slower, gothic edge that creates equal parts joyful relaxation as it does nostalgia. The way they have altered those very distinctive keyboard synths and drums is astoundingly impressive because it almost feels like listening to a new song entirely. Truly a wonderful, more futuristic approach to a beloved classic. 'Unsere Zeit' is a nice blast of modern dancefloor energy to pull you out of the retro reminiscence. It's uplifting and catchy and of course, undeniably the winning musical formula that Blutengel have become so successful with.
Finally 'Journey to the edge of night' feels like a cinematic theme park ride through old school sci-fi B-movies with its alien like tones. It's a nice piece to finish off with as it seems to clear the mind and give you time to process the weight of such incredible covers in -somewhat- peace.
The Wild Boys
Down In The Park
The Sun Always Shines On Tv (Blutengel Version)
Ship Of Fools
Unsere Zeit Journey to the Edge of the Night (Instrumental)
Well I guess my short review ended up quite a bit longer which I hope indicates some of the joy this album has provided me. It's certainly not what I expected but I have been pleasantly surprised and I am in awe that Blutengel would not only attempted to cover some tracks that most would consider off limits, but that they have done so beautifully. It is a masterful blending of retro classics and modern age spin that makes for one of the most enjoyable albums of the year thus far.
Dance factor: 7/10
Overall score: 7.7/10
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