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Girls Under Glass was originally formed in 1986 by the trio Volker Zacharias (guitars), Hauke Harms (electronics & keyboards) and Thomas Lauke (vocals).  They would release their first two albums under this lineup and in 1990 were joined by Axel Ermes on bass guitar.  Soon thereafter, vocalist Thomas Lauke left the band, leaving Volker Zacharias taking over, leaving us with the current actual lineup.

Over the span of more than 20 years, this band has continued to be a solid foundation in the goth/industrial scene.  From their first release Humus they managed to enter into the spotlight, supporting bands like Fields of the Nephilim and later allowing Project Pitchfork as their supporting act.  Over these years they have released 9 European full-length releases as well as four North American releases.  With that said, their presence in North America during all of this time was somewhat scarce with the exception of these releases.  Three releases appeared on the aggro-industrial label Van Richter Records and 2005 saw the band have their album Zyklus released by the prominent North American label Metropolis Records which was licensed from  Dependent Records for this audience.

With each release this group continues to show how they cross and bend genre lines for something unique and accessible to everyone.  Over the years they've managed to please fans of hard-core industrial, metal, electro-pop and EBM.  This is the basis for the style of music from this band.  While you can easily recognize them by their music, from album to album, you're never quite sure what you'll hear.

Regular listeners of the Gothic Paradise radio shows will no doubt be quite familiar with this band.  They have had a prominent presence here since the foundation of this site.  From the first time I heard "The Bitter End" and later "The Colour of Truth" and "When I Think About You", I was hooked and have been a fan, constantly looking for more great music from this group.  Over the years I haven't been disappointed and have always been pleased to hear the wide variety of music presented.

Equilibrium (US Release) - Review - 02/23/2006
While this album was originally released in Europe in 1999, for many readers and listeners this is the first time hearing this album.  However, even if you happen to have or have heard the original, this album features three extra tracks that did not appear on the original that might make it worth picking up for the die-hard fan.  But the main reason for this release is to bring the excellent music contained therein to the N. American audience, and the music on this album is definitely worth having.

The first question I ask when I hear about a new album from this group is "what music style do they use on this album?" because it varies so much from one to another.  Almost as a break from the grinding harshness of Firewalker which was the previous release to this album, the band really uses a mellow tone and goes back to their gothic and dark wave roots.  "Roses of Death" kicks off the album with a myriad of subtle electronics setting a very somber mood that quickly gives way to the powerful, mid-tempo percussion and grinding guitars that is really such an integral part of their sound.  The emotional element runs deep throughout this album as portrayed in this opening track that sets the tone and overall mood of the entire album.  Gothic ballads are pieces that have long been favorites of mine and as the album winds on through an emotional roller coaster there are plenty of these ballads to please fans.  Pieces like "Protean Dream" really express this overall feeling and put the female vocals of Jenny Kahler in the forefront which is something that appeared a little more often in their earlier years, but never quite so prominent as on this release.  With tracks like "Love Is" and "It's You", it's easy to tell the theme of these tracks and that these help to form the moody and somber elements of this album.

While the overall mood remains somber throughout the album, there are several tracks that pick up the intensity and on a few of them even pick up the pace to a dance-friendly beat.  It's not just the dance beat that sets these tracks apart as favorites, but the overall moving and melodic nature that I really enjoy.  "Is This the Place" is the first of these that really stands out in my mind with a nice harmony between Volker and Jenny's vocals along with a great beat and a perfect blend of the stand-out guitars and electronics that easily identify this group.  "Wings" is another favorite with a great moving beat and soaring vocals that form such a sweet tapestry and foundation to this album.  As the album starts to wind down (and the finale on the original album), "Desire Lasts Forever" is an incredible piece that I've been enjoying since the appearance on the Frozen EP.  The somber moods are punctuated by the grinding guitars and incredible climax that's reached through vocoded vocals along with deep piano, synth and angelic vocal accents.

At this point we're left with the three bonus tracks on the album.  The first of these is actually by the side-project Trauma and is a cover of the legendary electronic artists Kraftwerk's track "Radioaktivitat".  This rendition takes the spatialization to new levels with a myriad of electronics to form a cross between sci-fi ambient and dark wave.  Carrying on in the somber moods of the album we're left with two untitled tracks, the first in something of a gothic ballad fashion and the last and finale to the album delving back into a subtle ambient mood that leaves the listener floating through the ether.  With that another great work is finished and we're left with another masterpiece and for many of us I'm sure will get many hours of play for years to come.

Rating: 4.5/5

Zyklus - Review - 03/13/2005

Since the last full-length release Minddiver, we've been presented with a few odds and ends of singles, a live album and the Frozen EP, but it seems the band took a little break for a while.  So it's been a long and anxious wait over the last four years for the new LP.  Now we have Zyklus which continues and expands on the excellent powerful music from this band.

The hard part about being a fan of this band over the years has been trying to round up their releases.  So now that they've released this album through Metropolis Records, I was extremely happy, and it should please long-time fans and create many more fans in the North American scene.

This album is another great selection of the wonderful powerful ballads and club-hits we've grown accustomed to over the years.  From the introductory track "In Die Einsamkeit" with the powerful driving guitars, emotional vocals and commanding rhythm to the ballads and club-friendly tracks, this album is packed with great material.  "Ohne Dich" is the first single released in Europe from this album and features the deep, growling vocals of Peter Spilles from Project Pitchfork.  The pounding club beats on this track mixed with the harsh german vocals are excellent for a club hit.

As a long-time fan of gothic rock, I was especially pleased to hear "Touch Me" which is an upbeat driving tracks with many gothic-style guitars providing a backdrop for the dominant and moving vocals.  The introductory guitar and slow beat of "Love Is In My World" immediately reminded me of 90's goth favorites Nosferatu in their earlier, more enjoyable years with the guitar riffs that constantly build to a powerful climax throughout the track.  "In The Darkness" and other tracks follow close behind in these darker styles that goth fans will love.  Driving guitars in most of the tracks will please many goth-metal and industrial-metal bands as well.

The true ballad sound of "Whatever Makes You Happy" is a staple that we've also grown to enjoy and have created a huge following for this group, especially since their cover of "Frozen".  All of this shows the many talents and great music this band has been able to create over nearly two decades.  For fans of any of these genres of music, that love powerful and meaningful music that varies from club-friendly electro-pop to the powerful goth and industrial soundscapes, don't hesitate to pick up this album.

Rating: 4.5/5

North American Releases: Van Richter Records
Metropolis Records
European Releases: Dependent Records - www.dependent.de

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