The name Faderhead elicits strong responses wherever spoken. Ten years after debuting FH1, his music continues to sell both in and outside of Germany and this album will be no different. Before I proceed, you must know, if you aren’t familiar with his last album or two, whatever you think you know about Faderhead no longer applies. This album is a particular (if not entire) departure from his more pop or club influenced early discography. Much more akin to industrial rock, and in the vein of his more recent work, this album shows a more introspective and artistically serious side. Probably an unexpected description for those of you more familiar with his early work.
He achieves this through analog synths and unusual rock chord progressions that are signature of industrial rock. As opposed to the frivolity of previous albums this one feels genuine. It doesn’t TRY to be anything. It doesn’t pander to popular fades in electronic music or date itself with old clichés. Several songs, like Every Hour Kills and Someone Else’s Dream contain a timeless air of a classic album that will stand the test of time; a mix of Darkwave style vocals with dance club synthesizers. This isn’t your usual auditory junk food, easy to consume but devoid of substance. While, you still have your occasional club hits and whether through design or default it still fails to stray into the completely experimental unknown. What it does, it does well.
These songs are so unlike the dance anthems that have become so synonymous with his name. They’re melodic, flowing, and contrast well with the electronic sounds that ornament the songs. There’s still a few dance anthems like When The Freaks Come Out, a song only meant to be played by shirtless vampire DJs when Blade storms into your secret club to dispatch you one by one with a sword. He might take your unholy body but he can hardly stop the beat.
Most of Faderhead’s music leans toward EDM rather than industrial or some other electronic style. He has the build-ups, drums rolls, and sounds that are typical of EDM transitions, but the vocal composition of Atoms & Emptiness more closely resembles some alternative style not concerned with danceability. Though most of it is still dance worthy.
The end of the album has an unexpected ballad titled My Heart Is Safe. It closes out an album with a certain cheesy maturity that Faderhead has become known to sprinkle into his music to the confusion and delight of fans and detractors alike. I’m not a fan of ballads of any kind, but if you want proof that Faderhead has the flexibility of an alternative act then these songs are it. It’s the perfect song to drop your toaster in the bathtub to.