By Dr. Abner Mality

It is not exactly a secret that one of my guilty musical pleasures is industrial/electro rock, which will cause me to lose serious cred points with scene police. Like rules ever meant anything to Dr. Mality! I was actually kind of looking forward to my first taste of Stahlmann, two German gentlemen festooned in silver paint who belong to the "Neue Deutsche Harte" brand of electro-metal. For those who don't know about the NDH style, one name will bring you up to date: Rammstein.

Stahlmann is so much in the vein of Rammstein, Oomph! and other NDH acts that their own identity is non-existent. Even the catchier tracks on "Quecksilber" serve as echoes of stronger bands. All the qualities of fine German engineering are present...danceable synth beats, crunching metal riffs, German lyrics delivered in droning fashion. There are no exceptions. And that's what kills this. Would it have hurt the band to go maybe a millimeter past their very small comfort zone and deliver something somewhat individual? Like maybe a cut that was entirely electronic or another that was completely metal? Some vocal experimentation or perhaps a song WITHOUT German lyrics? This group is the total essence of formulaic, even though cuts like "Marschieren" (both of them), "Kaltes Herz" and "Kokain" are catchy and enjoyable.

It's no wonder these "maschienenmanner" are far too much of an assemblyline product to make an impact with this carbon based unit.