Schattenmann – Chaos

Chaos Album Cover Art

Schattenmann – Chaos
AFM Records
Release Date: 05/11/21
Running Time: 49:10
Review by Simon Black

Neue Deutsche Härte for most people outside of Germany begins and ends with Rammstein, or maybe if they’ve been adventurous they’ve dipped a few inches to the left and found Lindemann – which probably doesn’t count to be fair, given it’s the same front man. The reality is this is a movement that started with, and is dominated globally by those guys, but which has plenty of stablemates or followers and has been chugging along ever since. However, it’s a market very much focussed on their home territory, as I found whilst trying to research a bit more about them and found only German language web sites. Schattenmann are relatively young in comparison, “Chaos” is their third album and with a major label like AFM in the picture, they clearly have their herzen set on appealing further afield than their native Germany. They may find that harder than Rammstein did in the current climate, although to be fair those guys kicked the door down by refusing to compromise and proved that you don’t have to sing in English to become global stadia rock stars, which probably really pissed off everyone in Scorpions at the time.

Why is it that much harder for Schattenmann? Well, because you don’t really need to speak German to get where Rammstein are coming from and their lyrics, with their repetitive Industrial delivery, accentuated by outrageous theatrics, means that the meaning of the words is rarely the first thing an audience has in mind (wondering where your eyebrows have just gone to after that last pyro fireball being a common one). Not focussing on the language but on the live experience made them a huge success against all odds, but it doesn’t get any easier for anyone else in the same genre who is focussing on the music first and foremost, rather than the theatrics. And musically and lyrically this stands on its own two feet very, very firmly. Rammstein are fundamentally a live band with a reputation that is focussed on a stage show, but Schattenmann start and end with damn fine, catchy and hook laden song-writing that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Schattenmann, although from the same Industrial Synth stable, are lyrically far more subtle, complex and eloquent, but again the fact that an audience does not speak German is not a problem because the songs here are incredibly catchy, well-crafted and enjoyable. A quick scan on the streaming platforms indicates that their earlier material is a bit more Gothic/ Techno / Industrial in nature, but this beast is a much more Metal influenced affair. Although the synth sounds are still there, they are just not dominating the melody lines, as this baby is heavy and melodic in equally brutal portions. The Production is top notch – warm and heavy and full fat in sound, allowing you to appreciate each instrument and a great improvement of the tinier sound of previous releases. The fifteen songs on here blast pass in a dizzying fury of delivery and take you bobbing along with them for the duration. This is top notch stuff, full of bounce, zest and energy but plenty of uncompromising attitude from the snarlingly charismatic vocal delivery of frontman Frank Herzig, who like all great frontmen communicates every ounce of emotion through lyrics I, for one, need a translation app to interpret. This was an unexpected find, but a fantastically enjoyable one.

01. Die Ruhe Vor Dem Sturm
02. Chaos
03. Abschaum
04. Extrem
05. Alles Auf Anfang
06. Choleriker
07. Cosima
08. Spring
09. Amnestie
10. Voodoo
11. Alman
12. Wir Gehorchen Nicht
13. IYFF
14. Jetzt Oder Nie
15. Komplett Auf Anschlag

Frank Herzig – Vocals
Jan Suk – Guitar
Luke Shook – Bass
Nils Kinzig – Drums


Schattenmann Promo Pic

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