Germany’s Crematory is a band that has changed quite a bit over the years. They started out as an Atmospheric Death Metal band, adding Dimmu Borgir-esque keyboards to the standard Death Metal formula. After a short period of this, they morphed into Gothic Metal, incorporating increasing levels of Bauhaus and The Cure into their sound, making them something like a Death Metal version of Cradle of Filth, but without the annoying high-pitched vocals of Dani Filth. Now, they’ve gone through another transformation. Rather than sounding even more like The Cure, it’s something along the lines of Rammstein meets Peter Tagtgren’s Pain. The band is still heavily keyboard-driven, though instead of the massive Gothic synths hitting you in the face, they sound like they beat up Johan Van Roy and stole some leftover stuff from the new Suicide Commando LP from his studio. It’s executed competently, but when a band changes so radically and so abruptly, I wonder just how genuine it is. It’s not like the group has been inactive for a decade and decided to go a different direction now that they’ve reformed. No, this reeks of an attempt at regaining some relevance (though I would also argue that this band’s relevance was negligible to begin with). Crematory was never in the top tier when it came to any of the genres that they played in, often coming to the party late and only achieving modest success. The music is heavily Industrialized, but the new Cyber-Punk direction in the music isn’t reflected in the lyrics. Where a band like Mechina incorporates a lot of Science Fiction into their lyrics and themes, Crematory hasn’t changed that much outside of the obvious musical upheaval. Lyrically, it’s more or less the same old shit in a different package. It’s still angst-ridden Gothic Metal, but with a robotized voice effect added and a whole lot of Techno/Industrial keyboards. There are some nods to the futuristic, but the band really needed to go all the way. Going Cyber-Punk with the music and then dialing it back or not moving forward at all in the other areas defeats the purpose. Where Crematory falters is in this area and it’s symptomatic of a band that changes direction abruptly but hasn’t done so naturally. I did like this album more than their old stuff, but at the same time, there are plenty of other bands out there that do this sort of thing better. Sadly, this is also something that I said about their older music. If you want Industrialized Death Metal with real Sci-Fi lyrics and themes, Mechina eats Crematory alive like a horrifying cyborg great white shark chowing down on some random surfer at the beginning of a horror flick. Antiserum isn’t a predator, it’s a victim. Once again, Crematory has shown up at the party late and the only thing left for them is cheap beer and fat chicks. These guys (and girl) need to give Johan Van Roy back his keyboard parts and return to the drawing board. Change needs to be organic and this clearly isn’t it. Fans will appreciate good music as long as it’s played from the heart and the band clearly believes in it. The music on Antiserum sounds contrived and that’s what kills this for me more than anything else.
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