Funker Vogt was formed in 1995 by Gerrit Thomas and Jens Kaestel. Hailing from Germany, the band takes the name of one of Gerrit's close friends, a radio operator ("Funker") in the German armed forces. This name became indicative of the overall theme of the music from this band, full of various military and political themes along those lines. The history of this band has become quite extensive and impressive just over the past several years. The members and their various side-projects have been extremely busy and are very well known with the myriad of remixes they have done over the years. You can always tell a Funker Vogt remix with their pounding EBM beats and melodic additions to every track they touch.
As Funker Vogt they have presented us with a number of albums and EP's with about seven full-length albums, a number of remixed works and as many EPs and singles. Each album is a powerful expression of Gerrit's music and Jens' vocals. They delve into the chosen themes on each track with power and emotion.nbsp; While their music is pretty much solid, danceable EBM music, they manage to mix enough harshness in the vocals to entreat industrial fans, yet they always combine tons of melodic elements to keep die-hard synth fans happy.
Their history is impressive and their music is good. This band has plenty for everyone and they just keep going after all of these years.nbsp; Check out the band's website and you can always catch tracks old and new from this band on Gothic Paradise radio.
Blutzoll - Review
Continuing the tradition of single word titles and various war and military themes, we have the latest work from this talented duo. This is a band that has found a style and niche and just sticks with it. You won't find them changing their style or approach much and I suppose most of their fans can appreciate the predictability. So along those lines we have another driving album with harsh vocals, melodic synths and driving beats across a dozen dance-friendly tracks.
To kick it all off is the recent popular single "Arising Hero" that was released as a teaser EP for the album. The album version presented here is my favorite version of the track and one that listeners will be familiar with. It really sets the pace and reminds listeners of the band's long-standing style. Another track that also appeared on the EP is "My Innermost" which shows a slightly different style for this band, a little less intense and featuring some backing female vocals for another nice twist and added variety. This pair of selections that appeared on the EP also give a nice snapshot of the mix of tempo, mood and style on the album. While obviously with Funker Vogt we're going to get a ton of heavy-hitting, electronically layered dance-friendly tracks, but we do get a change here and there between tracks whether it's tempo, structure or overall mood such as with these two pieces.
A few pieces do stand out on the album that I think are worth highlighting above and beyond the two previously mentioned pieces. The german track "Genozid" is a slower mid-tempo piece with a lot of really heavy electronics which underpin the powerful, emotional german vocals which also reference the album title for a catchy chant. Immediately following this piece we have "The State Within" which I think will pass for another club anthem from this band, it has all the elements of a fast-paced beat, plenty of varied percussion and the EBM-style vocals that made bands like Nitzer Ebb popular on the dance floors. There are several tracks along these lines without a lot of variety, but all hold their own well enough. As the album starts to wrap up, the darker piece "Bloodthirst" breaks the mold a bit once again with a slower beat and heavier electronics. This gives way to the last final, heavy-hitting driving piece "Black Waters".
So once again we have another fairly homogenous album with just enough variety, melodic synths and chorus to each track that it remains interesting and keeps the hard-core fans happy.
Aviator - Review
Here we go again, another hard-driving EBM album from Funker Vogt and I think you get exactly what you would expect here. So it really depends on the reader's personal tastes, because the quality and style of the music on this album picks up exactly where they left off with Navigator. So if you liked the previous album, you'll love this one. In fact I could probably refer the reader to the previous review and have it done and over with, but I'll build on it a little as the band has with this album by adding a bit more diversity and power behind it all.
As I stated in the review of the previous album, it does really seem that the band has taken more time with their lyrics and delved into the meaning behind war, whether it's current wars and political affairs or from a past crisis. However, the fun remains as the powerful percussion continues to beat hard and fast for the dance floors. After the first piece builds up with a sort of introductory style and vocoded robotic vocals on "Welcome to Destruction", we're off and moving with "Paralyzed" and into the depths of "Child Soldier". Each piece with melodic electronics and though the vocals are a bit distorted, they remain clear enough to understand and melodic enough to keep the listener's attention without becoming overbearing. This latter piece is really catchy and moving, even with the somber lyrics overshadowing the heavy bass lines, synths and pounding beats.
The beat goes on from "City of Darkness" with it's anthem-like emotions, chants and music all meshed together over that dance-friendly beat. The intensity picks up in "My Fortune" and "Hostile Waters" with some infused harsher industrial sounds but give way to the fast-paced "Thanatophobia". At this point the rapid pace gives way to the slow, pulsating tempo of the appropriately titled "Frozen in Time". This piece has quickly become a favorite because of the emotional intensity portrayed through the slower, heavy beat and electronics mixed with the equally powerful vocals.
With "One" we're back in the fast-paced rhythm and powerful electronics and beats continue through the rest of the album across "Darwin's Nightmare", "Blind Rage" (which Gothic Paradise listeners will be very familiar with) as another favorite from the album and finally ending with "Babylon". This servers as an excellent finale to the album as it slowly fades and wraps up the disc in classic Funker Vogt fashion.
There you have it, if more of the same plus a little variety and more emotion and continued powerful electronics are what you crave, then here is your fix. This is another great album in the same style as previous works that fans can really enjoy on or off the dance floor.
Navigator - Review
If you're a fan of pounding, melodic EBM music, then you just can't go wrong with just about any release from this band, and so it goes with their latest album Navigator. Some critics may call it "more of the same" because it really is more of the same great music, but in my opinion, if you have something good, build on it for all it's worth. Much like their previous albums they continue on with themes of war mixed in with the harsh vocals, melodic synths and pounding beats. The disc contains thirteen excellent tracks that will please fans around the world.
I don't know if I'm listening more closely now as I get older, or if the lyrics and music seem to delve a little deeper, either way it all seems to hit me a little harder and goes beyond the surface of the pounding rhythms. While every track from this group seems to have some message, it seems the latest from this album have more of a serious note and the music remains a little more somber, which really relays the mood well. As the listener progresses through the album it's one story after another, some become ballads like "Thoughts of a Soldier" or the driving piece "Fallen Hero". The lyrics become thought-provoking besides the awesome dance-friendly beats and the way the vocals and synths become melodic and catchy. Every piece hits this one way or another, but favorites have quickly become "Friendly Fire" and the track that kicks off the album, "Killing Ground".
The tempo changes just enough to provide a bit of variety. The beats still pound in "Reject" and the tempo slows slightly, but nothing like the beautiful little german ballad "F�r Dich". I love this piece, partly because the pounding drums are left behind and the sweet synths are really brought out, and partly because it shows how this band can broaden their horizons and talents, and also by including a native-language track which probably means so much to people from their own country. The album could end perfectly with this piece, but continues on with one last pounding piece "Vorw�rts" which could be considered as something of an encore and a great finale. This awesomely powerful track really brings out the power from this band between the gruff vocals and they pour on the industrial elements even more on this piece.
That pretty much sums it up. This album has taken the great talents from this duo and comes together in the thirteen tracks on this disc. This comes very highly recommended for EBM fans.
Label: Metropolis Records