Nitzer Ebb returned after being apart for 15 years with their album Industrial Complex. Such a long hiatus can be concerning. Will the band sound as good as they once did? How have they changed over the years and how will that affect the music? With Industrial Complex, Nitzer Ebb is back, a little different and better than ever.
Slowing things down, Industrial Complex doesn’t hit the fast paced, pounding EBM music like on albums That Total Age or Belief. It continues more in a similar vein as their album Big Hit. The music is EBM, but more much melodic and relies heavily on McCarthy’s vocal work. Songs, such as “I’m Undone” and “Going Away” are slower, mostly consisting of McCarthy’s vocals up front and melodic electronic beats that sit towards the back. “Going Away” is simply McCarthy’s vocals over simple electronic tones. The song has a slow, sad melancholy feel to it. Other songs, like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “Down on Your Knees” maintain their signature faster paced electronic dance beat with more aggressive vocals. There is no screaming on Industrial Complex like that found in their older songs “Join In The Chant” or “Let Your Body Learn” but there is much more real singing.
It’s evident that Douglas McCarthy’s work with the Fixmer/McCarthy collaboration, especially their last album Into The Night, had some influence on the outcome of Industrial Complex. Compared to old Nitzer Ebb, the energy on Industrial Complex is toned down. Songs are not in your face electronic beats and that’s what makes this album different and enjoyable. The slower songs, with their low key singing and mellow tones are a nice contrast to the heavier EBM songs on the album. It’s going to be interesting to see what direction Nitzer Ebb heads now that they are back.