by: Zoe Necrosis
When I first discovered Funker Vogt their music was already laden with themes involving international conflict, war, and mechanized combat. However, their sound and similies were more internal, personal: a song belating the horrific atrocities committed by one's Fatherland might be represented by a song addressed to one's patriarchial "Father." Now, however, with their new release "Survivor," (Metropolis Records) the metaphors have been all but tossed out the window in favor of blatantly addressing the themes at hand.
Funker Vogt has become the staple and most accessable German EBM (Electro Body Music) outfit in the realm of industrial music. "Survivor" departs from 2000's "Maschine Zeit" in that what had previously been best characterized as a fetishized, electronic cabaret of uber-masculine, techno-wartime anthems has turned a slight corner - their music now has a distinctly mournful tone, and now manifests itself in the form of dreadful elegies for a pre-apocalyptic society. This is a decidely different approach to industrial dance music describing the perils of living in a world that is constantly ten kestrokes away from complete annihilation, and
an unavoidable transition given current events. I needn't belabor with pointing out the obvious reasons.
The album begins with nearly two minutes of ominous, ambient rhythms before launching head-first into "Date of Expiration," a club-ready track that attempts (vaguely) to parallel the nature of humanity's impending doom and the futility of human affection. One of the more stunning songs on the album, "History," is remarkably simplistic and catchy - yet the chorus of German voices singing about the inexorable nature by which humanity embarks upon enterprises to end all biological life sends shivers down my spine each time it plays. You won't find this knives-out poetry in the chorus's lyrics themselves:
History repeats itself
The war will soon begin
It's already ten to twelve
We are almost within
Not only does Funker Vogt never go out of their way to create a rhyme (if at all) but the content is, in written form, simple to the point of inanity. The terrifying magic of it can only be gleamed from allowing oneself to be enveloped by the song itself without distractions or expectations.
As for the sound of the album as a whole, Funker Vogt has been on a steady but slow descent from the subgenre of "Harsh EBM" towards simply "EBM." In lay terms this means two krauts and a keyboard. No complaints will be voiced from this reviewer, however, as the trade-off has yielded an emotional impact unprecedented in their work. The packaging even reflects this change in their aural history - rather than being decorated with cyber-soldier gear and star wars weaponry, the liner notes depict merely a lone figure, a "Survivor" lost in the desolate aftermath of human endeavors.
The most remarkable thing about Funker Vogt's music is that their compact disc is the "Survivor" itself. Punk rock reacts to current events with acrimonious diatribes aimed at society's values or the tyrannical nature of G7 nations. Others chime in with scathing Jello Biafra / Michael Moore-esque rants about how better off the world would be without industrialization or wealthy white people. Funker Vogt is without opinion. Funker Vogt has a different agenda. Their electro-baroque German war ballads are an artifact. Their music has been left for the space aliens to find 1000 years from now. And perhaps with the aid of Funker Vogt they will understand, at least on a normative level, why we marched so enthusiastically towards oblivion.