Atrocity - Werk 80 II

11 songs
46:24 minutes
***** ***


Eleven years after their first foray into Eighties pop cover versions, German metal veterans Atrocity take another tackle at those obnoxious songs that we don’t really like anymore but still have to hum along to, due to intensive conditioning in our youth. The recipe is the same as on the original Werk 80: take eleven songs everybody really has to know and redo them in a metal way. Fortunately Atrocity have changed their approach considerably. In the past, they flirted with Neue Deutsche Härte elements, adding a lot of cold and clinically sounding synthesizers to their music. This time they hired a real orchestra and choir, which immediately makes for a warmer and more organic sound.

The song selection is classic and always works best in the more sombre moments, like when they interpret the gay anthem Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat) or the exquisite Fade To Grey by one-hit-wonder band Visage. Other highlights include Such A Shame (Talk Talk) and Keine Heimat (Ideal), the only German sung track on the album. Mediocre originals like Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me or Icehouse’s Hey Little Girl don’t take advantage of Atrocity’s more symphonic approach, but then that’s probably my subjective impression as I really don’t even like the source material.

Atrocity are dangerously running the risk of becoming one of those bands where people expect them to play cover versions instead of working on worthwhile own ideas, and the fact that between their two cover albums, there were only two regular albums released in eleven years emphasises this. Nonetheless, Werk 80 II, while not as surprising as their first album of covers, has again made a selection of important Eighties classics that will be enjoyed by oldtimers like myself, but also by the younger generation that looks back at these songs as oldies that were written before they even were born. And fetish model Dita von Teese on the cover artwork looks as appetising as ever!

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