Die Krupps are about to round the corner on forty years of musical excellence. This outfit, perhaps more so than any other, is responsible for the rise of rock-oriented, guitar-driven industrial music. Were it not for Die Krupps, the genre of industrial would look and sound very different today. Were it not for tracks like “Nazis Auf Speed” or “High Tech/Low Life,” the game would not be played the way we know it now.
Even in their fourth decade, the band still sounds like they are in their prime. With their eleventh studio album, Vision 2020 Vision, Die Krupps are bringing together industrial, metallic percussion, heavy, crunchy riffs, and a fine sense of groove. For its fifty-seven minute runtime, the disc has nary a weak track, only those that are catchier or heavier than their counterparts. Even when they let off the gas and cruise a while, it still is dripping with prowess and precision. Cliche as it may be to say, it seems like, with this release, Die Krupps have proven that they age like a fine wine.
Kicking things off is the title track, which wastes no time bringing down a groove with a synth line which the guitars soon duplicate. It sets the tone for the album perfectly, in that it will make you dance, it will make you bang your head, and it will make you smile a shit-eating grin all the while. “Welcome to the Blackout” has some lovely pinch harmonics to go along with the drop-tuned riffage, and the synths intermingle with the guitars so well, it could almost be illegal. Almost.
“Trigger Warning” has a dry, German sense of humor to the lyrics, and the klaxon blaring away in the background helps drive the song along. “Wolfen (Her Pack)” is a great track overall that doesn’t have just one singular high point. “Extinction Time” manages a groove, a danceability (not sure if that’s really a word, but we’ll go with it), and even a fun guitar solo all into one composition.
“The Carpet Crawlers” gives the guitars a minute to rest, as the synths take over for a more electro-industrial sound to start things off. For “Fires,” the percussion dips out for a spell, as the guitars and synths fill things out. “Obacht,” the first German language track on the album, is absolutely crushing in its execution. It comes roaring back, reminding the listener that this is a Die Krupps record, and they will sing in their mother tongue whenever they damn well want to, bitte und danke.
Further bringing the right-hand riffing is “DestiNation Doomsday,” which has a stompy, dare I say marching beat and a catchy chorus to boot. “Allies” brings together layers of vocals and a stubborn synth riff to make the track stand out. “F.U.” has a sense of urgency, and is simple in its execution, but that is far from a bad thing.
“Active Shooter Situation” could not be written by an American band. If it was, that band’s members would likely be wanted for some bullshit inducing panic charge, and touring would become difficult for a couple of cycles. Speaking of tours, if there isn’t a call and response for the album’s closer, “Human,” that is a wasted opportunity. The riffs are catchy, and the pre-chorus begs to be sung along to.
As many American acts are embarking on, or have completed, their final tours after several decades, this industrious bunch of Germans that are Die Krupps have not lost a step, and have capped off decade four of their careers with a banger of an album in Vision 2020 Vision.
Vision 2020 Vision is available via Metropolis Records and the band’s Bandcamp profile.