Released: 2009, Bieler Bros. Records
Sweden’s Deathstars formed in 2000 as an industrial metal band with gothic overtones and released their debut album SYNTHETIC GENERATION in 2002 on an independent label. The album was strong enough to attract the attention of metal label stalwart, Nuclear Blast who re-released the album in 2003. The band followed up with TERMINAL BLISS in 2006 to a warm reception, and three years and some lineup changes later we arrive out 2009’s NIGHT ELECTRIC NIGHT. A few things are quickly evident when examining the new album. For starters, the band is promoting a different image than most industrial metal bands, with a mixed goth/glam look for the album cover. Turn the disc over, and you will find from song titles like “Mark of the Gun”, “Death Dies Hard”, “Blood Stains Blondes”, “Opium”, and “Venus In Arms” that the chief themes of rock music are present; sex, violence, drugs and rock n’ roll.
The band promotes itself as death glam, but the truth is that they are not really either of these except for leaning towards a mixed glam/goth image. Even the industrial element from the past albums is subdued, as the band has boldly embraced a more commercial gothic/symphonic metal style. Occasional black metal vocal styles are interspersed within the songs, but Whiplasher Berandotte’s vocal style is firmly entrenched in the syle of Beseech’s Erik Molarin, and at times almost directly lifted from Symphorce’s Andy Franck, in that low register we have come to expect with Goth metal. None of these elements are bad, as the vocals are perfectly suited to the keyboard driven and melancholy melodies that are present on most of the album.
It would be a mistake to assume that this is an album composed solely of prissy keyboards however. The guitars are heavy and driving, serving as another layer of rhythmic pulse to provide added crunch and aggression to the symphonic elements of the songs. “Mark of The Gun” is one of the stronger tracks that feature a more forceful approach, despite some of the most ridiculous lyrics to emerge in quite some time. In truth, you are going to need a glass of wine to help wade through the abundance of lyrical cheese on this album because it is overflowing. The lyrics are a minor flaw, because the music and the songs propel the album to a highly listenable level. “Death Dies Hard” is another dark, atmospheric track that showcases Bernadotte’s vocal styles, while “Fuel Ignites” integrates more black metal vocals during the verses. “Arclight” and “Via the End” would be the choice cuts for those interested in the more keyboard driven songs of the album, and closer “Opium” ends things on a positive note, being one of the best tracks on the record.
Mainstream success does not necessarily equate to good music, but NIGHT ELECTRIC NIGHT cracked the top 10 in Sweden and has charted in several other countries. They are doing something right, at least in a commercial sense. For fans of the Goth/Symphonic style of metal, there is much to like here. The elements are familiar, and while nothing groundbreaking has been attempted, the production and the songs are all professionally and competently executed. If you like Beseech, Rammstein, and ETERNAL era Samael, you will probably appreciate and embrace Deathstars newest album.