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September 20, 2011

Apoptygma Berzerk “Black EP vol. 2” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Asleep or Awake (Spektralized RMX)” * “Eclipse (OK Minus RMX)” * “Shadow (People Theatre RMX)” * “Apollo (Flipside & Parsberg RMX)” * “Green Queen (Stanley Cupid RMX)” * “Love Will Tear Us Apart” * “Adrift (C-64 Version)” * “Green Queen (Client RMX)” * “Apollo (Rotersand Rework)” * “Shadow (Essence of Mind RMX)” * “Apollo (Alex O’s Old School RMX)” * “Green Queen (Outer/Innnerpartysystem RMX)

Order Apoptygma Berzerk’s “Black EP – Volume II” from here | Watch the compilation’s official video after the jump.

Apoptygma Berzerk – “Black EP  vol. 2” – Viva Music Review

The first thing you need to know about the new compilation from Apoptygma Berzerk is the fact that it sounds amazing! Actually, that’s the second thing, since everyone knew that much even before buying and listening to it, but the first thing you need to know about “Black EP – vol. 2” is that its cover features a scannable QR code that reads actually the hidden link to a special download package from Metropolis Records’ site. So activate your geeky side and take pleasure into this thing we can do with today’s technology. Yes, we can do it. A quick no. 1 seller on Metropolis Records’s top of the week in which we write this review (namely Sep-12-18) and incidentally its week of release, “Black EP – vol.2” is the much awaited companion disc for the band’s 2009 comeback “Rocket Science”, as most songs sampled out for the compilation (“Asleep or Awake”, “Shadow”, “Apollo”, “Green Queen”) come from the respective album. The songs are unevenly treated, as they get as much as three remixes (“Apollo”, “Green Queen”), thus making up for exactly one half of the compilation. A cover for Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” that deserves standing ovations is also included in the compilation.

The track-by-track review could not be easier. Most of the tracks, if not all, condense in a very practical manner everything we know Apoptygma Berzerk is about; king-size musical comfort and grandeur, mixed feelings beautifully penned, giant tsunami vocals. “Asleep or Awake (Spektralized RMX)” is the first in line to amaze and to get one’s (insert part of body you’re sitting on) moving. A ballad-like beginning contrasts powerfully with a very elegant music line. And if these are things known to Apoptygma Berzerk who most certainly cherish “Asleep or Awake”, there’s extra edge and danceability packed in the Spektralized RMX. “Eclipse (OK Minus RMX)” keeps the ranks with an exclusive sound and very diligently driven forces into one big composite block of beats. If “Eclipse” already gives a hint about how interesting the reworked versions of the compilation are going to look like, well, look out. There is more to it, and “Shadow (People Theatre RMX)”, or so to say, the first “Shadow” of “Black EP – vol. 2” is such a display of grandeur and simplicity at the same time, that you cannot stop and gape. It is well done in a coating of 1980’s progressive sounds and, how to put it, stunning.

The first of all “Apollos”, “Apollo (Flipside & Parsberg RMX)” gives out a good drive and a burning need to dance. It is fighting a very fierce battle with the other “Apollos” of the compilation for the neatest remix! “Green Queen (Stanley Cupid RMX)” seems more romantic than the rest of “Black EP – vol. 2”, but it also is determined, stark and conducive of a very pleasurable state. It is probably the best lead to the majestic cover included in the compilation, namely Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. The luster the song got by being covered by artists as diverse as Swans, Bjork, Dave Gahan, Nouvelle Vague, Revere or Arcade Fire (and frankly by 100+ other musicians) is not at peril when you listen to Apoptygma Berzerk’s cover. The oldie feel is not obliterated, and the cascading sound is as genuine as one can get in today’s instruments to the now rudiments of a 32 year old track. It is definitely a memorable cover, and also a good hint that Apoptygma Berzerk can actually re-work, not just be re-worked.

Adrift (C-64 Version)” deserves yet another welcoming nod, as it is sounds profound and clearly more on the side of the core EBM that was less apparent in the first half of the album. Incidentally, it is the last first-time feature on the album, as the ensuing remixes are shaped around songs the reworked versions of which have been heard before on the compilation. “Green Queen (Client RMX)”is one crucial track from the compilation with an extra feel good, propelling sound. The coming up “Apollo (Rotersand Rework)” does honor to the name of Rotersand, but does not leave one bit of Apoptygma Berzerk fame behind. It is followed by close by “Shadow (Essence of Mind RMX)”, a tempting and alluring track, as well as by dignified and very professionally sounding “Apollo (Alex O’s Old School RMX)” and “Green Queen (Outer/Innnerpartysystem RMX)”. Mention should be made of the fact, also, that “Apollo (Alex O’s Old School RMX)” is a Viva Music favorite from the compilation.

Black EP – vol.2 is a very cleverly crafted compilation, and an overall good listen – terrific if in the right surrounding. A special feel is packed in each of the songs, and even if the compilation may not be too different from the manner in which compilations are worked, therefore we speak about individual interpretations of artists and bands, there’s a red thread running from one end to the other of the compilation. Without arrogance, but with a very complete sense of self-awareness, the music of Apoptygma Berzerk sounds as good as ever, and without the background information of a compilation and not a standalone EP, our guess is, they could have fooled many people. Not their faithful ones, but still, it is damn good!

Apoptygma Berzerk – Official Website | on Facebook| Discography on Discogs

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