Deathstars - Termination Bliss
When listening to Deathstars' debut "Synthetic Generation" three years ago, yours truly was initially intrigued by these four Swedes, but gradually found myself bored with the monotonous riffs and the droning vocals. That said, my expectations weren't too high when hearing about the follow-up. How unexpected then, that "Termination Bliss" is such a vast improvement.
The opening track "Tongues" is just one of many good examples of how Deathstars have changed their sound for the better. The vocalist Whiplasher displays much more variety in is singing; he combines his trademark deep voice with raspy whispers that could have been in a track made by Cradle Of Filth. The marching riffs are much heavier than before, and the atmospheric keyboards create an almost gothic feeling. When the chorus hits the listener with warm and soothing female voices, there's not much to argue about; this is the best song they've ever written.
"Synthetic Generation" also contained female vocals in some places, but Deathstars elaborates with them in whole new way on "Termination Bliss". On the track "Greatest Fight On Earth", Whiplasher duets with a lovely female vocalist, who almost sounds like Tarja Turunen (Nightwish's now fired singer). It's a deeply disturbed ballad, which reminisces of the title track of Marilyn Manson's latest album "The Golden Age Of Grotesque".
Even though Deathstars second album has a much softer approach than its predecessor, it has a rough contender in "Blitzkrieg". This track should give us a hint how Rammstein would have sounded today if they kept delivering the machine-like riffs that characterized "Herzleid" and "Sehnsucht" till the end of their days, instead of changing to a more organic touch.
Sure, tracks like "Trinity Fields" and "The Last Ammunition" do sound like watered-down versions of "Motherzone" and the single "Cyanide" (which keeps getting better with each listen) but when it all ends with the bombastic title track, all doubt flies right out the door. "Termination Bliss" is a shoe-in for my personal list of the top albums of 2006.