Music Review - Mistrust The Angels by In Strict Confidence
A fantastic darkwave journey that won't betray your trust.
So it's been a while since I've made any updates to the site. There's a myriad of reasons, but as I'm starting to type them out, they all sound like "blah blah blah" and "excuses excuses excuses". So, since things are a little slow right now, I figured I'd mine the depths of my (very!) old Amazon reviws, and maybe get some bands on some radars! That said, let's get to the reviews!
The phenomenal follow-up to Love Kills!, the modestly successful Mistrust The Angels further cemented ISC as a leader in the darkwave/industrial scene. More diverse than any of their previous albums, it is the bridge that spans the ISC of Love Kills! to the ISC of Holy. Relying less on straight industrial beats and hooks, Mistrust The Angels sees Dennis Ostermann and co. expanding their musical horizons, mixing instrumentals with industrial dance, female vocals in French and German with guitars and eerie samples. The result is an incredibly engaging album, one that paints a vivid portrait of angels and faith gone awry.
Les Miroirs - Nothing more than a collection of synths and random bleeps, occasionally punctuated with whispered vocals, this hidden track is pretty much useless. Fortunately, to hear this song, you must start the CD normally, which begins with Send A Sign, and then hold rewind until you get to the beginning of this track. Honestly, this song (and I use that term loosely) could have been left off of the album altogether, but at least you don't have to listen to it unless you go through the effort.
Send A Sign - The "true" opening track to this album, Send A Sign is, to me, the epitome of a great ISC song. The intro is very slow and ambient, with excellent samples from the Joan of Arc movie The Messenger. Definitely helps to set the religious tones of the album. The lyrics are very well written, the beats are driving, and the sequencing is top notch. Everything that ISC is now known for is here in spades.
Herzattacke - The first single taken from Mistrust The Angels, and one of the longer tracks on the album. As club friendly as any of their previous singles, Herzattacke proves that ISC can program and execute with the best in the business. Sung in German, with a simple but effective bassline, this song really pushes the listener into motion. The keys and synths really meld into one of the greatest songs of the genre.
Au Milieu Des Anges - Wait a second...angelic French vocals on a German darkwave/industrial album? Yep. And what a song it is! More melodic and relaxed, and sung very beautifully by Nadine Stelzer, this track is totally unlike any previous ISC song. It is moody, very kick & snare drum driven, and Nadine's vocals blend incredibly well with the sequencing and keys. I don't know what is being said in the lyrics, but I honestly don't care, because it's the mood of this song that affects me. My favorite song on the album.
Engelsstaub - The second single lifted from the album, and another standout track. Samples from The Matrix movie make an appearance in the opening, much like they have in many of the darkwave/industrial songs of late. Another club oriented song, but this time featuring dual vocal duties from Nadine and Dennis, which paved the way for their collaborations on ISC's seminal album Holy. The driving beat propels this song forward, and the German lyrics and sampled guitars make this the heaviest track on the album.
When The Heart Starts To Bleed - A slow synth sequence and repeating hi-hats open this track, with soft vocals by Dennis. The ambient intro gives way to the mid-tempo chorus, but then drops back into ambience once more. The synth sequence rolls from channel to channel, which makes this song really effective with headphones. Maintains the mid-tempo, ambient feel throughout, and also features some spoken word lyrics from Nathalie Sienko, who also did the makeup for the booklet and spine photographs. Somewhat repetitious, but not bad. Doesn't stand out when compared to the first 4 songs though.
Schlecht Geträumt - Tonal synths and backwards sequencing begin this instrumental. The sequencing and samples lend a sinister feel to this song, which fits the overall mood of the album. Almost an intermission between the first half and the second half of the album. Fits well when listening to the album as a whole, but doesn't stand well on its own.
Horizont - Ahh, another fine song intro. Fans of Love Kills! will feel right at home here. Another of the many songs sung in German on this album, and featuring a small bit by Nadine. Not as fast paced as Herzattacke and Engelsstaub, but still fitting very well into the established ISC sound. Like the previous track, it fits well with the overall tone of the album, but doesn't stand as well on its own as the earlier songs.
Lost In The Night - Finally, a return to the excellence of the first tracks on the album, and featuring more of the angel motif. Subdued choir vocals make a far too short appearance in the beginning of the song, before it kicks back into traditional ISC sequencing. The stuttering sequencing helps give this track its own identity, allowing it to stand out from the previous few songs. Many fans may not think much of this track, but I think it's definitely the best song on the second half of the album.
It Seems Lost - Ok, look at the track listing on the back of the CD case. This song is listed as 0 minutes and 0 seconds. Is this a joke? Nope. It's definitely not a joke. Truly, the song is lost. And no, it's not a mistake. The only way to actually hear It Seems Lost is to pick up the Mistrust The Bonus Edition EP. Sorry guys and gals...
Der Vampir Und Dessen Verwandlung - The Vampire And His Conversation? Okay...I'm game. Dark synth keys on reverb create a very dark and sinister intro, which gives way to atonal piano plinking, channel to channel sequencing, and a very basic kick & snare beat. Definitely one of the more "evil" tracks on the album. Dark room? Check. Headphones? Check. Alright, let this track play on and on. Deep vocals by Dennis, again in German, really give this song a truly dark edge. Some orchestral sounding synth strings make an appearance, as well as Nadine going all opera and then spoken word on us and then moaning in ecstasy towards the end. Did I mention that this track is evil?
Der Tag An Dem Es Frösche Regnet - The companion song to Der Vampir, and completely instrumental. Rain and distant thunder begin the song, followed by the slow creaking of wood. Guitars make an appearance, with power chords giving this track some heavy-metal leanings. The guitars, however, aren't overly prominent, and are offset by the sequencing and nature sounds in the background. The kick drum is pretty potent, but like the guitars, isn't the driving force of the song. Interesting track, fairly short, but surprisingly enjoyable.
The Prayers Of The Mute - The final track of the album, and a return to the leanings of the first half of the album. When fans were polled for the next single to be lifted from Mistrust, following Herzattacke, this was one of the top choices. Whispered vocals and a driving kick drum give way to the stomping beast that is The Prayers Of The Mute. Almost as heavy as Engelsstaub, punctuated by deceptive calm over the chorus, and filled with Dennis' patented distorted vocals. Ends the album on a fast-paced note.
Fans of old school ISC may feel a little left out in the rain with this album, as it's more experimental and broad in scope than the albums that came before. But if you are fan of Holy, and don't already own Mistrust, be sure to pick it up, as it is the outstanding predecessor to that 5 star album. With quality sequencing, male and female vocals, and some excellent lyrics, you won't be led astray with this CD.
4 out of 5 overly trusting stars!