Genre/Influences: Dark-Electro, EBM.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: This album stands for one of the most surprising and exciting comebacks from the last few years. German trio Placebo Effect was active between 1989 and 1999. Driven by the trio Axel Machens, Christoph Kunze and Achim Windel the band gained instant recognition with the referential album “Galleries Of Pain” released in 1992 on Danse Macabre. The next album “Manipulated Mind Control” released two years later on Ausfahrt didn’t get a similar success although it confirmed the status of this band. Johan Van Roy (Suicide Commando) once affirmed Placebo Effect probably was one of the true inventors of the Dark-Electro style. Placebo Effect reformed in 2014, but two years later Achim Windel passed away. But now the band is back as a duo self-releasing their first new album in twenty six years!
Content: “Shattered Souls” features 15 songs and is much diversified work. A few songs remind me of the harshness and power of “Galleries Of Pain” while most of the compositions reflect a Dark-Electro atmosphere. I can’t say that it sounds typically 90s, but you for sure recognize some elements while the vocals of Axel Machens are more polished, but still aggressive. You’ll also notice a few shorter tracks, kind of intermezzos in the tracklist.
+ + + : This album is an important production as Placebo Effect definitely belongs to the collective memory of the 90s. I think it makes no sense comparing the new stuff to “Galleries Of Pain”, the band members being now 28 years older. It probably explains why there’s no longer the same rage, which has been replaced by an omnipresent dark atmosphere. This album has something haunting revealing well-crafted songs with cool strings. “Evil Dead Trap” is for sure one of the most noticeable songs in this genre, but I can also mention “Feed Your Creatures”, which simply is a beautiful track. I however prefer the few harder cuts, like a wink to the past… “Pain” and especially “Hard Work” (which is an older song that has been reworked) both are potential hits. I also have to mention “Down On Your Knees”, which is another cut belonging to the harder side of the work. Last, but not least I also have to say a word about the artwork of this album; if you know the older releases you’ll directly notice the link with “Shattered Souls”.
– – – : I think a few songs could have been a little bit extended. And I’m not referring to the kind of intermezzos, which I’ve to say don’t really add an extra to the album. I also regret there’re not a few harder cuts featured.
Conclusion: Placebo Effect is one of the numerous comebacks and I’ve to say I wasn’t disappointed. This band still has a real potential while bringing something different to the Dark-Electro scene, which remains a music genre that is too often repeating itself.
Best songs: “Hard Work”, “Pain”, “Evil Dead Trap”, “Down On Your Knees”, “Slave”, “Feed Your Creatures”.