Content: If there’s one comeback numerous EBM freaks were waiting for it for sure was the return of Pouppée Fabrikk. A new album was already announced quite a long time ago now, but we had to wait months and months to get “The Dirt” appearing 14 years after their previous full length (cf. “Your Pain – Our Gain”).
The album has been announced as a return to the early years of the Swedish masters and the least I can say is that it’s absolutely true! Well it’s not that of coincidence as the songs featured on “The Dirt” were originally written between 1988 and 1990. These songs could have been released on their official album “Rage” (1990), but were released on the old & primitive 4-track demos. All the songs have been reworked and up-lifted together with a few more songs from that period. The result is absolutely astonishing and bringing us the good-old Pouppée Fabrikk that became one of the uncontestable EBM-leaders of the 90s.
The legendary band of Henrik Björkk Norvargr (vocals) and Leif Holm (music) has been re-introduced now as the leaders of the ‘EKM movement (Elektronisk Kroppsmusik)’ which means ‘physical music that makes you want to get up and move’. I think it’s quite an interesting way to leave the EBM stamp behind, but I’m afraid this kind of music will always be remembered as EBM and nothing else!
The sound formula of Pouppée Fabrikk remains quite easy, but damn efficient. Pure dry body bass lines have been put on with a straightforward rhythm. A few metallic percussions resonate now and then while the deep growling timbre of voice of H. Björkk Nordvargr sounds like a signal from the afterlife. The production is rough and brutal, like an uppercut that smacks right in your face. This is the return of good-old retro body music. This is not the Pouppée Fabrikk from their guitar-empowered period, but simply the good-old days of pure body music.
I was a bit afraid to discover the album especially realizing that it here consists of old demo-songs from more than 20 years ago! But Pouppée Fabrikk has reworked and produced the songs with all their experience. You can hear that they’ve seriously considered their work and that’s why this old-stuff still sounds so percussive! The opening song “Bring Back The Ways Of Old” (still released as an EP) clearly indicates what you might expect here: merciless EBM! “I Am” and “Death Is Natural” both are real attention grabbers featured in the beginning of the album. “Death Is Natural” is driven by classical Gregorian chants injecting some mysterious part to the song.
Pouppée Fabrikk moves on, straight ahead, reaching some climax in power on “H8 U”. The next few songs are reminding the early years and legendary albums like “Rage” and “Portent”. “The Dirt” definitely sounds in this vein leaving you with a few more surprises by songs like “Stahlwerk” and “The Promulgation”.
The extra disc on the limited edition also is a must have. Fans will be pleased by this extra disc of 16 songs ‘with music restored from old tapes from the band’s private archives. It goes from the very first song they recorded under the Pouppé Fabrikk flag to material from their extremely rare “D-D-D” cassette that got released in only 20 copies! Just imagine the kind of bonus you get here although I’ve to say that several songs got finally released on during their early years on CD as well. This also is a way to hear a few live versions. The songs and production sound quite ‘old’-like, the band deliberately wanting to hold this ‘dirty’ sound. The EBM featured on this extra disc clearly reminds me of the great 80s EBM years.
Conclusion: “The Dirt” recovers old and forgotten songs from dust leading the huge and worldwide fan basis of Pouppée Fabrikk into a state of euphoria! Get ready for a merciless EBM assault by the Swedish pioneers of the genre!
Best songs: “Bring Back The Ways Of Old”, “I Am”, “Death Is Natural”, “Stahlwerk”, “Symptom”, “H8 U”.
Rate: (Tor Cleenics: 8/9)Tor Cleenics.