Album Review: Crematory – Unbroken

Album Review: Crematory - Unbroken

Album Review: Crematory - Unbroken
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Formed in Mannheim, Germany in 1991, Crematory have been at the forefront of the German industrial scene for close to three decades, with albums released with a regularity that puts many bands to shame. Pioneers of European Gothic Metal, Crematory draw deep from the Neue Deutsche Härte sound and on album number 15 they focus their offerings as a sombre ode to transience, love and pain.

Crammed full of pounding rhythms, monstrous riffs and an edge that would cause infection should you cut yourself on it, the opening track ‘Unbroken’ leads the listener to a darkly-nuanced soundscape, a defiant statement which appeals to the strength and self-determination of the band and their fans. The band take a mellower approach on ‘Rise and Fall’, the pounding back beat overridden by a clean melody and harmonic riff. The mix of clean and gruff vocals is an interplay which will appeal, founder Gerhard ‘Felix’ Stass, one of two founder members trading lines with newest member Connie ‘Conner’ Andreszka, the guitarist who joined the band in 2018. Anthemic and triumphant, ‘Rise and Fall’ is a statement which captures the themes which surge through the album.

Album Review: Crematory - Unbroken

Huge electronica synths pump at full beat as ‘Behind the Wall’ moves into full explosive mode, the industrial pulse throbbing through the track as it powers its way forward in a method that is repeated several times throughout the album. That’s not to say it’s all the same though, and there is enough versatility contained in the 66 minutes to maintain the interest, albeit that the album is probably about 10-15 minutes too long in my opinion with a couple of tracks that add little.

‘Inside My Heart’ cools the temperature slightly, a piano intro giving way to a crushingly heavy riff whilst the vocalists harmonise on the opening verse. The track slows to a ballad in form and is one of the weaker tracks contained on ‘Unbroken’. Crematory do fist pumping, molten industrial power better and despite the huge sound on this track it’s not a favourite. Much better fare on ‘The Downfall’, the high energy dance feel and driving synths once more juxtaposed to a powerful jagged riff; this is continued on ‘My Dreams Have Died’ which has a massive feel and presence.

The jazz fusion style of ‘I Am’ won’t cause any trouble, despite its sinister overtones and punchy piledriving approach. ‘Broken Heroes’ is another weaker track but the Germans pick up strongly with ‘Abduction’ and the powerful ‘As Darkness Falls’ before closing with the fragile ballad ‘Like The Tides’, not one which I would have chosen to close an album that at times is muscular and powerful, if a little inconsistent in quality and approach. With so many years in the business, I think it would be churlish of me to tell the band where to improve. If you enjoy the whole Neue Deutsche Härte sound, then this album will probably be welcomed. It certainly is worth a listen

Crematory release 'Unbroken' through Napalm Records on 6th March

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