Sep 2013 04

:Wumpscut: - Madman Szpital:Wumpscut:
Category: EBM
Album: Madman Szpital
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: A step in the right direction for :Wumpscut:, but better than bad doesn’t necessarily mean good.


Here we are again. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, :Wumpscut: phoned in Women and Satan and First and stuck us with the charges. It was an affront to what remained of his legacy – even this writer, a longtime follower, wondered if Rudy Ratzinger had finally made the permanent transition from “so bad, it’s good” to “Jesus, god, turn that nonsense off.” Yet now, like some sad junkie, I pop in the album, hoping for that sweet bliss I used to get when I tried :Wumpscut: for the first time. Madman Szpital is a hell of a long way from a masterpiece, and it treads a lot of the same shameful tropes that have made Ratzinger somewhat of a joke, but it’s not without a few glimmers of genuinely interesting craftsmanship that really make it worth a shot.

Curtains up! Cue a manipulated sample, and then bring in a light, plinking keyboard patch. Got it? Okay, now the drums and a buzzing bass synth; then a sample. Perfect. Was I talking about “Die Liebe Gott Sieht Alles,” or literally any other opening track to a :Wumpscut: album from the past 10 years? Yes. It’s both. Next up is “Tod Essen Leben Auf,” which is more of the same, but admittedly has a pretty killer drumbeat and a nice organ patch. It’s the right sort of predictable – the pattern recognition centers of your brain will light up as the musical equivalent of crack cocaine hits it. Yeah, it’s terrible for you, but damned if it doesn’t make you feel good. It’s a solid dance floor pleaser for sure. Next up comes a moment of sublime surprise. “Madman Szpital” is the most original track :Wumpscut: has done since “Jiddisch is a Zwilink” a few years ago. It starts off with a shuffling jazzy loop that forms the backbeat of the song. The entire piece has a relaxed, loose feel musically, punctuated by an increasingly agitated vocal performance. It’s some of Ratzinger’s best shouting in ages, and it complements the piece perfectly. Minus 30 points for reusing the “Will/Hill” couplet that he used all the way back on “Golgotha.” When an artist places an intentional nod to the song, it’s cool – in this case, it’s hard to believe it was anything but a hackneyed attempt to make something rhyme.

The next few tracks range from pretty good to boring. “Duke of Death” has a pretty cool melody in spite of having lyrics that are stupid even by :Wumpscut: standards. “Ich Bin der Tod” gets special accolades for being a dance friendly track that breaks from the typical four chord progression that most songs these days seem to have. There’s not a ton to it, but it’s refreshing when an artist doesn’t just hammer out four chords on a keyboard and loop it for four-and-a-half minutes. Now is when shit starts to get strange. “Gabi Grausam” has excellent percussive textures and a synth patch or two, but is otherwise a vacuous piece of filler. It’s usually the sort of dull banality reserved for a closing track rather than a mid-album piece. Picking up the pace a bit, “Moshe Tokolshe” feels ripped straight from one of Ratzinger’s demo tapes. It’s raw and stripped down without a strong melodic presence or bass line. There are a few light synths here and there, but it’s mostly shouting over distorted drums. It’d be right at home on Blutkind and is a fantastic little piece. Okay. There’s no dancing around it. There’s a song on here called “Du Neger.” Let that sink in for a moment. And no, it’s not German for something else. This song certainly wins the award for “Most likely to get my ass beat when it comes on shuffle and I’m driving through one of the many rough parts of Baltimore.” It’s basically him shouting racial slurs while a rudimentary beat and synth line play. Look, I get it. He’s explored the idea of the übermensch and untermensch before (in songs like “Untermensch,” obviously), but it was always with degree of impartiality. It seemed more of a commentary then, but now it comes across as a desperate shock tactic. It’s weird and unpleasant, even for this writer who is not overly concerned with political correctness. Oh, and it’s also a boring song. Rudy, I don’t think I’m comfortable being friends anymore.

This brings us to the close of the album, “Vegan Witch.” This song is frustrating because it’s a beautiful song that happens to suffer from being utterly insane. The pads are right, the atmosphere is perfect, but Rudy is singing about a pagan who seems to have passed away from some sort of meat allergy. It doesn’t help that he insists on pronouncing it “weegan.” Don’t give me that German accent bullshit either – he says “vegan” towards the end of the song, so you know that was intentional. Credit must also be given for slipping in a couplet from his incredible song “Capital Punishment.” Unfortunately, it’s like finding out that someone put Asiago cheese and heirloom tomatoes on your McDonalds hamburger; sure they’re good accent pieces, but you know you’re still eating $0.30 worth of industrial grade “beef,” right?

In the end, is it worth it? It depends on what you’re looking for. Need a pretty decent album to spin? As usual, :Wumpscut: delivers. Need something cerebral? You couldn’t have asked for a worse album. It’s a matter of taste in the end – if you’re the kind of person who likes the musical equivalent of B movies (and this writer certainly can be), then yeah, pick it up. Otherwise, save your $12.00 (or $150.00 if you’re the sort of fan who has to literally own the most elaborate box sets in the business) and get something else instead.
Track list:

  1. Der Liebe Gott sieht alles
  2. Tod Essen Leben Auf
  3. Madman Szpital
  4. The Duke of Death
  5. We Are Immortal
  6. Ich Bin der Tod
  7. Gabi Grausam
  8. Moshe Tokoloshe
  9. Du Neger
  10. Vegan Witch

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Metropolis Records Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD (Standard)
Amazon CD (Special Edition)
Amazon MP3 (Metropolis)
Amazon MP3 (Beton Kopf Media)
Donald Beach (DXNero)

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