OOMPH! – Richter und Henker

OOMPH! – Richter und Henker
Napalm Records
Release Date: 08/09/23
Running Time: 53:20
Review by Dark Juan

Good afternoon, dear friends. I am Dark Juan, and I have managed to fool over 10,000 people around the world that I a) Actually know what I am talking about, and b) Am able to write about it in a fashion that actually tells you about a record I might be listening to rather then bowing to my own overweening desire to make everything about me, for I am the most important person (Disclaimer: I’m not!) in my universe and I deserve to be fucking worshipped, dammit, and record reviews are merely a conduit to share my overwhelming genius (read as “overtired rampaging”) with the world at large, for I am mighty and clever and can do many things. Do you need a goathusband? Call Dark Juan and he will have those goats milked and hooves trimmed and presentable in next to no time. 1Q2 mlonob9uyv1…

That small contribution after the previous discernible sentence was done by His Tiny Satanic Majesty, Mossy Boggart Rowan Grimshaw Cravensworth III treading all over my keyboard and attacking my face (he has been named Rowan for my dear friend and wonderful artist and all round good egg Rowan Wildash, who has sadly lost her battle with cancer and has gone to go and give many fussings to Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, DFC and Bar, MM, and The Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover who are doubtless already making her afterlife a dog-hair covered “paradise”)…

I must also extend my most sincere thanks on behalf of Mrs Dark Juan and myself to Kita, a Finnish band I recently reviewed, for their wonderful dedication of their song ‘Ataraksia’ to the memory of Rowan. These are great gentlemen and should be roundly championed. They tugged at the strings of what’s left of Dark Juan’s heart, and for that they have my most sincere approbation and appreciation.

I will stop talking about her soon, I promise.

However, the Platter Of Splatter™ is spinning in a most vigorous fashion and it is playing the 14th release from German Neue Deutsche Härte pioneers (and precursors to Rammstein), OOMPH!, which is entitled “Richter und Henker” (“Judge and Executioner” to us non-German speakers).

Now, OOMPH! have always been a little different to the rest of the Neue Deutsche Härte vanguard as they have flirted with English language releases (‘Gott Ist Ein Popstar’ got translated into ‘God Is A Pop Star’, most memorably and it is still to this day an absolute Dark Juan-pleaser) and they have always been slightly more willing to experiment with their sound – giant chant-a-long choruses and a more Poppy edge than the poisonous sarcasm and pseudo-martial prowess of Rammstein and Eisbrecher are the norm for OOMPH! and this latest release doesn’t move too far from the basic OOMPH! blueprint (‘NUR EIN MENSCH’ being an ample and arse-kicking example of this). This means you are in for rather a lot of sardonic humour, much lighter-waving and some frankly jaw-dropping Industrial Metal as well as classic Neue Deutsche Härte sounds.

For a band that had its first iteration in 1989 and maintained a stable line-up until the entrance of Der Schulz on vocals for this release it is truly remarkable how fresh and energized the band sounds on this 14th full length record. Opening gambit ‘WEM DIE STUNDE SCHLÄGT’ (I only have an English keyboard and I have just come from 48 hours of child-wrangling and am not in the mood for swapping keyboard languages about, so it is literally a copy and paste job. I would apologise but I am not in the mood for that either) hits all the Neue Deutsche Härte pleasure points – a stomping, martial tempo, baritone German language vocals, an undertone of electronic wizardry, gang-shouted chorus, and a swooping, sweeping bridge and middle eight. Dark Juan is pleased by this. There’s something almost sexual about the music of Neue Deutsche Härte bands and OOMPH! is no exception in this somewhat disturbing regard… or is that just Dark Juan letting too much slip about his seduction playlist? Shh, don’t tell Mrs Dark Juan otherwise it will be your mum next…

The title track (‘RICHTER UND HENKER’) is up next and OOMPH! are at their swaggering, confident best on a tune that oozes assurance and chutzpah and employs the loud-quiet-loud dynamic to pretty devastating effect, a simple clean guitar line overlaid with surprisingly understated distortion on the verse which leads to a chorus which is specifically designed to relieve goth girls of their Hello Kitty or Emily Strange panties and to oblige their men to wave all manner of incandescent materials in the air whilst howling along to it. And if they are English speaking, to get every word of German completely wrong and sing something that instead translates as “you’re a penguin and Hitler.”

‘NUR EIN MENSCH’ is another sexy song that will have teenage goth girls falling in lust all over the place, which is rather messier than you might think – being a perfect paradigm of power, precision, and provocation. There is no-one really quite like OOMPH! for writing a chorus that you’ll be singing in your grave. OOMPH! make me wonder if there is a heaven, and if they will be the band playing in the rock bar stacked chock full of honeys and Newcastle Brown Ale and absinthe that will probably be where Dark Juan spends eternity WHETHER OR NOT THEY WOULD BE PLEASED TO DO THIS. I imagine they might be quite chagrined, myself.

I have said it before and I will say it again, there is no finer language than German for any music with an Industrial base, it adds that guttural, harsh edge to the music that English or any of the Romance languages just can’t manage. It has a puissance all of its own and it annoys Dark Juan that he was forced to learn French when German is a language that is much more to his taste. Anyhow, production-wise, “Richter und Henker” is absolutely on the money. The engineer and producer have managed to create a sound that is clean, fresh and pure and Teutonically precise, yet retains a certain warmness and knowing wink towards the listener which tells said listener, “You know exactly what you’re getting, and we know you’re gonna love it, so enjoy the fuck out of it with our warmest compliments. Have a beer!”

If you are a fan of Neue Deutsche Härte, you’re going to love this record. If you haven’t dipped your delicate tootsies into the warm waters of German Industrial Metal, Dark Juan advises that you plunge right in without restraint.

Ich liebe OOMPH!, Schnuckiputzi! Ich bin ein Ausländdeutscher!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem von Dark Juan – für meine deutschen Freunde und Leser. Meine liebe deutsche Freundin Stefie wird sich wahrscheinlich bald bei mir melden, um mir zu sagen, wie falsch ich das gesagt habe …) awards OOMPH! 9/10 for a virtually perfect example of Neue Deutsche Härte sexiness.

Büstenhalter means bra in German. I am still laughing because I am infantile as fuck. Was zum Teufel?

11. WUT feat. Joachim Witt

CR4P – Lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Flux – Rhythm guitar, samples, bass, backing vocals
Der Schulz – Lead vocals


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.