Style: NDH
Release date: 11 February, 2011
Playing time: 50:34

I recently had a discussion with a fellow metalhead about Viking Metal. We soon branched out, and ended up debating the plasticity of sub-genres, and - in a giant leap for mankind; this has not happened inside an internet forum before - actually agreed on something. That some sub-genres are far too wide. That a lot of them are based more on the lyrical themes or even visual appearance, than on the music they play. We renamed these sub-genres ”categories”. One example is Viking Metal, which we used as the focal point, another - and more relevant for this review - is NDH.

The term Neue Deutsche Härte was apparently coined back in 1995, when the Herzeleid album was put out by Rammstein, who was to become the avantgarde pioneers of the style. Since then a lot of bands has earned their NDH colors, even retrospectively as was the case of Ooomph! and Die Krupps. Now, it seems every single band gets to be NDH as long as they use German lyrics! For example Tanzwut who use more synth than most bands, but also traditional German bagpipes in every song (and incidentally has the exact same line-up as Corvus Corax). Or Terminal Choice, an electro-rock group on the verge of the endless German goth-scape.

As NDH’s right to the status as a well-defined genre is rapidly dissolving, Ihresgleichen put out the album II - the subject of this already rather chaotic review.
I can't say if this is a musical coupe de grace or perhaps the cornerstone in the rebuilding of NDH as a category rather than a sub-genre. The reason for this doubt is that II contains so much, so many different elements, used in so many ways. This is not traditional NDH, but is could be a signature album of the genre anyway, as it is obviously possible to put anything into the mix and call it NDH.

At its very core II is a well-known substance based on rock hard riff-work - simple and efficient, like a Russian assault rifle. This core is more hard rock than real metal. The metal parts are a strange mixture of power metal semiquaver-drumming (in other words: Helloween-style) and very dense Pantera-like marching chords. On this fairly simple skeleton Ihresgleichen stacks a cornucopia of musical spices.

The song Der Untergang has operatic male vocals (and good ones at that), naturally blending in with majestic Wagnerian keyboard-pounding. Deutsche Stahl, the first real song on II is more in the veins of soft-core industrial than the rest of the album. The clean vocals and female choir of Goetter is somewhat echoed in the power ballad Nimmerland, that also has a sort of medieval touch a la Subway to Sally. As does Schattenweil der Qualen but that song is far more powerful. Engel der Nacht reeks of drama and theatrics.

II is indeed a difficult album to place - both within its category (as I am now convinced NDH should be termed) - but also on the generic scale of 1-100. This album will probably bore the hell out of you, if you are into harder stuff. But most power metal fans, as well as all with a heart for soft industrial, NDH and German roc
k, should give this album a try - it's one of those you either really dig or can not stand.


01. In Chalybis Veritas
2. Deutscher Stahl
03. Nimmerland
04. Der Untergang
05. Götter
06. Schattenwelt der Qualen
07. Das Böse ist in dir
8. Engel der Nacht
09. Schmerz
10. Meister
11. Regenbogen

Label: Twilight Zone Records
Distribution: Twilight Vertrieb
Reviewed by: Martin Schjonning
Date: 27 January, 2011
Website: www.ihresgleichen.de