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Go to the Apoptygma Berzerk website  Apoptygma Berzerk - Harmonizer [Hard:Drive - 2002]

"Hamonizer" is the latest offering from Norwegian EBM outfit Apoptygma Berzerk. After the highly successful "Welcome To Earth" and the following live album & video "APBL2000", the new album is a logical next step in the evolution of Apoptygma Berzerk's sound. Their characteristic early EBM sound from the time "Soli Deo Gloria" and "7" were released has been replaced by a modern pop sound with club-friendly trance tunes and catchy vocals. "Harmonizer" continues in that same direction but manages to keep the typical Apoptygma Berzerk spirit.

After a short intro called "More Serotonin...Please" we get already one of the best tracks on the album, "Suffer In Silence", which unquestionably should end up as a single. The chorus is very memorable and the supporting keyboards and hard bass lines make this a great track, produced by fellow EBM'ers Icon Of Coil. However, the first single from the new album is "Until The End Of The World". It's as close to pop music as Apoptygma Berzerk can be, but still varied, heavy guitars, awesome effects in the background and of course Stephan Groth's great vocals.

But "Harmonizer" has more outstanding tracks, all of them quite different from each other. Take "Unicorn", the third track: this song is closest to the old Apoptygma Berzerk sound (especially in the beginning of the song) of the new album but is also calm and moody as some of the new works. "Rollergirl" also has some old elements but the vocals are "computerized" to create an effect that is quite different from everything they've done before, which makes this is really cool piece. The sixth song with the strange title "Ok Amp... Let Me Out" is an almost 10 minute long trance experience, with not many EBM influences to find. Still my personal favourite from the new album is probably "Spindizzy". Especially the use of the clear female vocal lines produces a touching atmosphere. Before the album ends, after the great track "Something I Should Know" and a few minutes of complete silence we get a hidden track (that seems to be one of Apoptygma Berzerk's trademarks) which pushes the playing time to almost 70 minutes. Nevertheless I do not feel the album contains any fillers. "Pikachu", "Detroit Tickets" and "Photoshop Sucks" are not the strongest tracks on the album, but fillers? No, not really.

Like I said, "Harmonizer" is the logical follow-up to "Welcome To Earth". Some people may not like the poppy sound, but that's just a part of the evolution needed to keep the music interesting, I think. It's hard to top "Welcome To Earth", if not impossible, but "Harmonizer" is certainly on the same level. I even believe the songs are more varied and better produced than ever before. The material is also more timeless; they might take some more time to get into, but in the end you'll just love them more. So, in conclusion: get it!

The world wide release date has been set to 25th of February 2002.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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