Interview/Review: Menschdefekt - Empty world

Updated: Jun 24


Menschdefekt (roughly translated as Broken man or sick man) is one of three bands that got me in to industrial /EBM in the first place. When the Human Parasite was released in 2010 I was blown away by the dance rhythms, the film samples, the harsh distortion vocals, and the completely different sound to anything I had heard before then (Having been in to Metal for the most part back then)

Plague (video below) remains my favourite industrial track to this day. So when I heard they were releasing a new album for the first time in six years, I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible!


I have not been disappointed, it is a nostalgia trip for me in a way, but it is also an album full of future club hits (I hope). 'Empty World' returns to their 2010 roots in their sound and song formula and I really do hope this album sees success far and wide. We spoke to Nik about the new release.


Interview

Q. For those who don’t know, who are the members of Menschdefekt and what is the theme your band’s music and message?


A.

Menschdefekt are Fredrik Croona (Cynical Existence) on vocals, Tandrin (Mechanical Moth, Novastorm) on guitar and me, Nik, who does all the music, programming and mixing.

The music can‘t be put in to one 'drawer'. I‘m influenced by various genres such as Electro, Industrial, Trance or even metal which is why I always wanted to have a guitarist in the band. The lyrics by Fredrik are all about the fall of humanity/society and the depravity of humans. We were always socially critical and unpleasant. We do our own thing. Fortunately, with Infacted Recordings, we have a label that allows us complete freedom in what we do.


Q.

It has been six years since the release of ‘Touch of Madness.’ What has the band been up to and what made you decide to come back with this new album?


A.

I focused on work and private life. Fredrik released lots of stuff with his own projects at the time and he still does. A friend of mine invited me to Tandrin's New Years Eve party two years ago. I didn‘t personally know him before. I knew that he played in some bands and that he was DJ‘ing, so we talked about music and I found out that he was familiar with Menschdefekt. He was one of the people who got me to continue this project.

Q.

This album seems very much focussed on the way the world is now with Covid-19 and right wing oppression. What is the inspiration and thought process behind this album; Was this the way the album was always planned or did the direction of it change a lot with the continuing madness we have seen in 2020?


A.

The biggest part of the album was finished before Covid-19 became a topic. Nothing is really planned in Menschdefekt. So… no, thats not the main point. It‘s more about trends in politics and society in general. Everything in the band is affected by personal feelings. The lyrics are not always meant literally. Soemtimes they are just metaphoric.


Q.

There are a lot of remixes for the single ‘Cursed.’ What made you choose this one for remixes, and who has been your favourite artists to work with in regards to remixes?


A.

'Cursed' is a catchy track that might do well in the clubs so I thought it was a good idea to release it as a digital single in advance. It‘s always fun to see how other bands implement your songs.

My personal favourite are Ruined Conflict's because it sounds very different, and the remixes by Frame Of Mind, Nine Seconds and Reichsfeind. Next we are planning another digital single with two remixes and a very special version of the song in question.

Q.

Now that the band is back and Tandrin has added his guitar skills, will we see live shows in future when clubs re-open?


A.

I don‘t think so. Fredrik feels at home on stage and I think Tandrin would love to play live, too but I don‘t feel comfortable in the spotlight. In the past Daniel (ES23) sometimes played live synths for Menschdefekt but it‘s not the same, you know…


Q.

As in previous album you have got some great samples in this latest album; From Vincent price, to Pulp fiction, 28 days later, Charlie Chaplin’s 'The great dictator' speech and more. Tell us what made you choose these ones and how they add to the overall concept.


A.

Sometimes I have a topic in mind or I‘m in a certain mood and sometimes the speech samples are chosen randomly more or less but anyway they always inspire Fredrik in his lyrics.


Q.

What industrial / EBM bands do you listen to the most and who were your inspirations for starting Menschdefekt?


A.

I personally prefer stuff from the mid 90s to the early 2000s. Old :Wumpscut: and Suicide Commando, Die Krupps and Nitzer Ebb but also Covenant, VNV Nation, Colony 5, Neurotic Fish and stuff like that; But I listen to all kinds of music. I love punk and metal as well. I don‘t need no pigeonholes!


Q.

You have a slightly different approach to industrial music that I love. This is best shown in the track ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Plague (The Human Parasite)’ from your first album. The mix of industrial synths, aggrotech vocals, and powerful quote samples that are commonplace in a lot of bands, mix with the energy and passion of Electronic dance music that makes your blend of music unique. Is you intention to put out incredible dance tracks, powerful messages, or to mix all the best part of electronic music together simply because that is what Menschdefekt do best?


A.

As mentioned before: We don‘t need no pigeonholes. We do whatever we feel like to do. We don‘t think about if people like or hate our stuff. We don‘t think about club compatibility. But if people like our stuff and if a song makes it to the dance floor thats great!


Q.

Is this album a one off, or are Menschdefekt back for good now?


A.

Menschdefekt are back. I don‘t know how long it will take to release another album. We‘re all pretty busy with work, private life and other projects so it could maybe take a while. But I‘m far from retirement! ;-)


Q.

Which songs are you most proud of on this album and which one means the most to you all?


A.

I don‘t know if I would say I‘m proud of them but I personally like 'Empty World', 'Cursed', 'Deliverance' and 'Anarchy' the most. The whole album means a lot to us because we put a lot of time, effort and passion in to it.


Q.

Anything you’d like to say to your fans?


A.

Thank you for your support! Please follow us on Facebook, check out 'Empty World' and buy it if you like!


Thank you Nik!


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Review



The self titled 'Empty World' opens the album up. Menschdefekt have been known to use easily recognisable samples from films and what better way to open an album than with some Morgan Freeman quoting Ernest Hemmingway. An urgent sense of foreboding steeps the beginning of this album. It is atmospheric in a sense of something vast and powerful rising up from the glacial covered depths. It is the ideal place setting for the theme of the album as the vocals sing out for the world we find ourselves in now.



The high end synths and emotional vocal distortions Menschdefekt are also known for play out beautifully in this 'abandon all hope' sense of doom in 'Cursed.' The addition of more guitar riffs to Menschdefekt's music adds a nice edge that pushes the music harder and faster than before. Even two songs in you can tell this album has a lot of that EBM 'body music' feel as the urge to dance already presents itself. Yet this contrast of positive dance urges set against dystopian songs is balanced out easily with underlying synthpop and the odd retrowave guitar twang.


In 'Freedom In Chains' we hear parts of Charlie Chaplain's 'The great dictator' speech which is certainly relevant to the modern world. This is often used in industrial songs, most famously by Detroit Diesel, but for a change from other bands, the speech is in German. The heavier guitar riffs and lyrical content most poignantly reflect on the invisible chains of modern society and the slavery we all find ourselves in to money and the whims of government.



'Guilty' is full bodied in all aspects, the vocals, the samples, and the energy borders on the EDM genre in it's dance intensity. It even dips in to the realms of God Module slightly with some of the vocals.

Audio samples of Vincent Price in 'The last man on Earth' (A film about a disease spreading Vampirism) frames the current pandemic climate admirably. This song is the first one that really starts to add in some trance elements to the album and make themselves stand out from other industrial bands.



'Vengeance' is another heavy track that adds more to the metal side with some ideal Pulp Fiction moments leading to 'Deliverance.' This tracks has more Vincent Price, this time from 'House on haunted hill.' The trance feeling and rave energy are strong throughout.

There's a sense of euphoria in the music, that soul satisfying rhythm and tempo that can get you carried away in dancing to it. Vincent dropping.. "Don't let the ghosts and ghouls disturb you my dear." occasionally reverberates in spine chilling bliss. The talent in putting such heavy guitar riffs so subtly and constantly underneath the trance like synths is a real testament to Nik's skills in mixing.


'Anarchy' has the very memorable V, from 'V for Vendetta' opening the track to some instant nostalgic love. Fredrik's vocal signature distortion still manages to annunciate all the lyrics clearly. This track is yet another prime example on this album of the messages held within and indeed... "Anarchy is coming soon, the revolution has begun."


'Sick' further adds to the samples, this time from '28 days later.' Just like in 'Deliverance', guitars alongside key synths makes for an impressive dance mix not seen too often; Incorporating the best bits of metal with the best parts of industrial. Finally we are warmed down by the track 'Isolation' and after such a stomp heavy album, a warm down is indeed necessary!



Tracklist:


Empty world

Cursed

Freedom

In Chains

Guilty

Vengeance

Deliverance

Anarchy

Sick

Isolation


Conclusion:


With most of the songs around the 120-130 bpm mark, there is no denying that this is an energetic and fleshed out album. Menschdefekt have returned with some truly memorable tracks, using some of the most iconic media sources in film culture. There are several tracks that would do perfectly on any dance floor or DJ mix regardless of what style their set is aiming for.

Some of the samples get a little drowned out when not listening with headphones but in such complex and layered music it is understandable. Although it does not quite deliver as many truly memorable tracks as the first album 'The human parasite' did, it is wonderful to have the band return and with such pleasant offerings! Truly a great album.

Top tracks:


Deliverance Guilty Sick

Scores:


Technicality: 9.5/10

Dance factor: 9/10

Energy: 9/10

Vocals/Samples: 9/10

Re-playability: 8.5/10


Overall score: 9 / 10


If you haven't heard their first album, please go give it a listen. I promise you won't be dissapointed!

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