Transponder – “Hammer and Anvil” album review

 

A couple of weeks ago, we received the new release from Transponder, titled Hammer and Anvil. For those who don’t know, Transponder is the new project by Freund 424 of now, as it seems defunct, Rhesus Factor and Hanz Acid.

This is a 2 CD release with 31 songs in total of old school, mostly EBM, goodness, although there are several New Beat songs there as well. The first CD mostly consists of cover versions of various EBM artists like Front 242’s “Headhunter” and Leaether Strip’s “Croatia”. There is also a cover version of “Photographic” by Depeche Mode and surprisingly “We Want Some Pussy” by 2 Live Crew. Although the material is rather good, the first CD is slightly inconsistent, which can be attributed to its cover version nature. Also, by listening to it, you are aware that this is the work of a music fan who grew up in 80s and early 90s.

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The first CD starts with a “Tanzen” cover, originally performed by Tragic Error. The cover of this legendary Belgian New Beat project sounds more modern and pumped up in Transponder’s interpretation. The second track “Bad Blue Boys” should mean something to the Croats. The song features some nicely selected samples about the football firm of the legendary Zagreb football team Dinamo. BBB however have a notorious reputation as the country’s football hooligans and the song paints a picture about this gang from the nation’s capital. It’s always a difficult task to cover such a hit as Depeche Mode’s “Photographic”. In Transponder’s world, the song became a master EBM hit. Forget about Dave’s vocals, you will hear a unique, harsh interpretation. However unpolished and raw the track may sound, it is still a pop piece. The next track Transponder boldly chose was Front 242’s “Headhunter”. I must admit, this opens a whole new perspective. They still cling onto the recognizable chorus, but the track sounds like a new millennium version. The next few tracks undoubtedly rely on the EBM genre, featuring various artists. One of the more interesting songs is “When We Return To Bleiburg”, due to the lyrics which one may perceive as inspired by the WWII historical “event”. However, the lyrics are about Freund 424’s previous music project Bleiburg. “Body Music” featuring Leaether Strip proves once more that this album is all about the old-school EBM vibe. It really puzzles me where they found the inspiration for covering the hip-hop band 2 Live Crew. But they nailed their hit “We Want Some Pussy” incredibly well. The track however stands out from the rest, because hip-hop really stays true to its own nature even in Transponder’s version. After this hip-hop shower, they go back to the more electro oriented sound. “Totally Bass” flirts this time with New Beat and even Techno influences. Nice refreshment on the first half of this very peculiar release. The first CD offers a variety of styles and closes with the cover of Leaether Strip’s legendary track “Croatia”.

The second CD mostly consists of Rhesus Factor songs done with Claus Larsen of Leaether Strip, along with a few remixes from Transponder “Man Zane Iraniam” and “Totally Bass” singles. I personally liked the second CD much more as it has an album consistency feel and my personal preference is to always listen to an album as a whole. The CD is definitely dance material from the first track, and is a must have for all EBM fans.

Notable mentions on this release would be “Tanzen”, “Dein Alptraum” and “Dr. Mabuse” from the first CD and “Bewegt euch”, “The Return Of The New Beat” and my personal favourite, “Man Zane Iraniam” remixed by Sixth Comm from the second CD.

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