Rudy Ratzinger was a Gothic/EBM DJ for many years in Munich, Germany when he heard Leaetherstrip and was intrigued by the music and felt a desire to begin to record his own.  By 1991 he had recorded his first tape titled Defcon and quickly sold all 50 copies.  Another would soon follow and by 1993, after signing with VUZ records the first album Music for a Slaughtering Tribe appears with the hit “Soylent Green”.  Over the next few years he would work with other labels and finally create his own Beton Kopf Media.  1996 would see Metropolis Records licensing releases for the North American audience and by this time :Wumpscut: had a wide audience all over the world.  With several full-length albums, limited edition releases, numerous compilations, MCDs, re-issues and remix albums released, the discography from this artist is impressive to say the least.  And the fact that the releases keep coming year after year is promising and exciting for fans.

I can’t even begin to try and describe the solid electronic sound that :Wumpscut: produces.  It’s actually to the point that other groups that create Industrial/EBM music mimic :Wumpscut: in so many ways.  However, I think the key to the success and reason why I enjoy his sound so much is because of the variety and emotional power in it all.  If you go back to the Industrial bands in the early 90’s and before, the sound is not so similar to the modern synthpop and EBM sounds of today.  There are more experimental hooks, harsh rhythms, distortion and other elements all combined together, sometimes with a 4/4 beat, other times more experimental percussion is present, usually bombastic and mechanical.  This mixture with modern elements, the occasional dance track and variations on this and even Gothic tendencies bring it all together into the solid, emotional, oppressive sound of :Wumpscut:.  This gives us a very popular and dynamic base for many Electro-Industrial bands of today and what has made this project so popular all over the world in all different underground Goth/Industrial genres.

Over the years I’ve found that many of the tracks from this talented artist have become my favorites, but there are exceptions too and so it’s been a hard relationship, enjoying to the extreme certain tracks like “Thorns”, “Angel”, “Mother” and “Wreath of Barbs” and not being able to listen to others like “I Want You”.  But with these stellar tracks released on each album, I continue to be a fan of much of his music.

I’ve always included one track or another from this legendary group on the Gothic Paradise radio shows, so be sure to enjoy some of the latest as each new release comes out.

Cannibal Anthem - Review

Here we are again, with yet another release from Rudy R. who has become legendary in the dark electro / industrial music scene.  The initial reaction from fans worldwide has been a big sigh of relief as the musical style on this album drifts back into the harsher industrial realms, coupled with lyrics being entirely in German, the edgy atmosphere really gets thick. It seems that about eleven tracks is the magic number for :Wumpscut: albums, and that's what we have here.  I can't comment much about the booklet and full artwork as I have a simple sampler with just the cover art (which looks gross enough to emulate the album title well).  Unforunately my german is not the greatest and I don't have a copy of the lyrics to read, so I can't really comment on the overall nature of the lyrics either.  So what is said here mostly just relates to the overall feeling of the vocals, what lyrics I can understand and the music.

It's probably not necessary to break this album down track by track so I'll just touch on some of the highlights.  After an oppressive introduction of "Herzzlich Willkommen" we dive right into the harsh industrial rhythms and vocals in "Wir Warten".  But then it's right to the popular tracks that appeared on the single from this album Jesus Antichristus.  "Die Liebe" brings on the loops but keeps up the harsher sound and starts to develop more of the story of the album (as I understand it from broken german).  This leaves us with the popular single from this album "Jesus Antichristus".  The rhythm and compositional structure of this track is what makes it such a catchy club piece with layered synths and dance-friendly beats.

Of the remaining tracks a few stand out, with the remaining tracks (including instrumentals) being somewhat weak and come off more as space filler for the disc than for anything of substance.  We get some smooth female vocals from Yendri (sweet vocalist) on the tracks "Pass Auf" and "Hunger" for some nice variety.  And we're finally left with "Recht Vor Gnade" as the finale to the album which drifts off into the electro-pop realm in many ways despite the inclusion of a few distorted beats and harsh vocals.  This is OK for a final track as it sort of wraps up the mood as well as the album.

So there you have it, in a nutshell it's :Wumpscut:, pretty much what you can expect with some variety and interesting hooks, but still sticking very much with the status quo.

Rating: 3.5/5

Evoke - Review

After listening to the Blondi single, I was looking forward to this release because of the nice work on the track "Rush". Like I do with any album reviewed here I've listened to it several times to try and form an objective view and opinion.  The album we're presented with contains eleven new tracks as well as two new remixes.

If you thought this album would be full of pounding industrial or electro tracks like the Blondi single had, you're in for a bit of a surprise.  It turns out that besides the featured tracks on the single "Rush" and "Don't Go", the rest of the album is fairly down-tempo.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but fans of the harder-edged industrial tracks from this artist will have to wait for a future release to hear any more.

As a fan of a wide variety of music, this album still has many appealing sides to it.  Kicking it off is "Maiden" with a unique blend of electro and folk styles with Jane M. taking the lead on the vocals for a unique and enjoyable track.  "Churist Churist" brings out the more prominent industrial style we're familiar with on this pounding german dance track.  Besides "Rush", this is probably the most typical and accessible track fans can relate to.

The album versions of "Don't Go" and "Rush" are very similar to those presented on the Blondi single.  So there aren't any strange or unexpected twists here.  As with previous releases there is also the inclusion of some instrumental work which shows the more creative side of this artist.

After the eleven new tracks on this album we have two remixes.  This was the most disappointing part of the album for me.  I enjoy the variety on the album, but the remixes are pretty irritating to say the least.

In summary, excluding the remixes, the album comes together well with a nice variety of musical styles, clean sound and excellent synths.  If you enjoy the slower marching rhythms from the previous work, then the majority of this album is excellent for you.  Fans of the faster-paced industrial or cleanly produced electro-pop sound will still enjoy a couple of selections on this album.  Also, the work on this album stands out again as a nice work without anything repulsive, gruesome or pornographic that anyone into electronic music can really enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5

Blondi - Review

After what seems to have been a short break from pounding club hits with the previous album, we're treated with a prelude to the album Evoke with this driving dance single :Blondi:. Featured on this single are four different mixes of "Rush" and two of "Don't Go".  So fans of the previous works from this project which features driving industrial tracks have something new they can get their hands on and enjoy.

"Rush" is the epitome of the driving dance-friendly industrial that Wumpscut has developed over the years.  With the four mixes on this disc, we can see how the sound can vary and evolve through just a few tweaks and variations.  The kick-off track is the original version which is a stellar dance track with harsh elements and pounding beats and Rudy's rough, yet almost melodic vocals.  Dismantled presents the first remix of "Rush" with a few variations, mainly the intro is the part that you can really tell that is different in this remix.  The sirens on the original provide a great intro, but on this remix the subtle electronics building up to the pounding beats also set the tone well.  Naked Beat really take this track apart into something of a trancey instrumental track.  Still enjoyable but lacking much of the intensity and meat of the previous remixes.  As a fan of Der Blutharsch and the excellent dark ambient noise experiments presented, this next remix was a real treat.  Not something entirely expected from Albin Julius, but definitely a favorite mix of this track with the added guitar, harsh undertones and additional sampling, while maintaining the bombastic nature of the original.

The extra track "Don't Go" presents another dance-friendly side of Wumpscut, also known as possibly the "softer" side with Jane on female vocals.  This track also has the driving industrial beat, reaching more into the EBM style without such a harsh sound.  The remix of this track, also done by Wumpscut really drifts away from the industrial styles right into electro-pop with a softer, yet fast-paced beat and the female vocals coming to the fore-front even more.  The electronics delve right into pure synthpop without any distortion or dark, oppressive themes.

Overall another good work from this dynamic and mysterious EBM / Industrial artist.  As always, surprising us with more and interesting ways to create and present his music.

Rating: 4/5

Bone Peeler – Review

From the minute I put this CD in my player I knew we had another great work from :Wumpscut:.  But what’s even better about this album is that you can really enjoy it from start to finish, without any tracks that stand out as overly gruesome, pornographic, meaningless or hateful.  The cynical and disturbing nature continues as he continues to sing about the various problems that plague our world today.  But it’s done in such a way that is mature and thoughtful, yet stays true to the harsh and pounding Industrial elements we’ve grown to enjoy over the years.

The pounding beats start from the very beginning after the sample “I’ve seen much of the world, it’s brutal and cruel and dark”, and then building up with the catchy rhythms of “Crown of Thorns” with the vocoding effects and usual sounds we have grown to expect.  While a definite club-hit, it’s not real heavy, but almost melodic in many ways, mainly in the vocoded vocals.  This lighter mood is quickly abolished with the cursing in the introductory samples of “Just a Tenderness”.  This is probably my only complaint about this album is the cursing in the samples, that I’m not sure how they really go along with this otherwise nice track.

The oppressive moods build and overflow as the we progress through the album with the pounding and slow “March of the Dead”.  The beat on this track really has that marching feeling that is really great for this track.  Along these same lines and another highlight on this album is “Rise Again”.  Again we’re presented with pounding tribal beats and war-like rhythms and anthems in this track.  This is probably an example of the classic :Wumpscut: sound that we’ve grown to enjoy and expect from Rudy.    There are other classic elements on this album such as “Fallen Angel” and “And Life Goes On”.  Each track moving through a study of the disturbing human psyche continues to build and provide us with a more in-depth look into our own souls, our subconscious and desires.  Maybe this, along with the raw emotional power and moods in the music is what attracts fans to this music as we’re presented again and again with powerful music and deep, thought-provoking lyrics.

I even found some fun in listening to this album as “Our Fatal Longing” starts with a child chanting stuff out in German, which is incredibly “cute” for such a dark and dramatic track.  This moves along with the pulsating rhythms and slow chanting vocals.  A few more of these moody tracks and we’re led to the final track “Your Last Salute” which presents us with the spoken word of Clara S. with her smooth and hypnotic speech sequenced with the cadence of the music.

Overall another great album that fans can enjoy.  Some people may say it lacks the upbeat and harsh Industrial elements present in classics like “Soylent Green” or ?War?, but I think overall the mood is consistent, the music presents what was intended by the lyrics and vocals and it all comes together nicely.

Rating: 4/5

Label: Metropolis Records