plead "Schuldig" (Guilty). Guilty of taking a stand, musically as well as in terms of content. 13 new songs, touching lyrics and unambiguous statements aimed at the scene and beyond. Following their acoustic album to celebrate the band's anniversary,
have come up with a codex for this kind of thing, their dogma being: "No messing about. Pure, dynamic rock music." Mind you, it's never been easy to find the right musical pigeonhole for this band consisting of three Bavarians, three Saxons and a Berlin-born Istanbul resident.
Although buzzwords such as brute romanticism, folk, gothic or rock may seem like appropriate cornerstones, the wide field in between evades categorisation. Always caught between two stools, yet straight to the heart. The same applies to their album, "Schuldig" which sounds all of a piece, despite its musical diversity. At the same time the fourth album recorded by this line-up is a statement to the German-speaking rock scene, and it's obvious that the band have gelled into a tight unit.
"Schuldig" combines the strengths of their most recent productions and is still a departure to new shores, demonstrating a consistent development. Compared to its predecessor, "Wir sind Gold", however, it's a sensational bang. To cut a long story short: if "Wir sind Gold" is a gothic chanson, "Schuldig" is pure, unadulterated rock'n'roll. As if it was all about proving to the world that despite their forays into acoustic spheres, Letzte Instanz
are still a rock band, and a loud one at that. Perhaps the album benefits from the band's having entrusted their work to a producer again after two self-produced releases.
"Schuldig" almost has you feel a breath of the legendary Principal Studios (H-Blockx
, Die Toten Hosen
, In Extremo
), where a large proportion of the album was produced, Vince Sorg
, one of Germany's most sought-after mixers contributing the mix. "Schuldig" is the most harmonious album by this septet, because the songs speak for themselves. "Eisherz", for example, makes your hair stand on end, allowing your coiffure to return to its original shape only after the last note of the song has faded away. "Mein Engel" comes along in a similarly rocky style, and "Traumlos" resolutely resists being a ballad. All this, however, is nothing in terms of savage power compared to "Feuer" it may be a good idea to take your hi-fi off the shelf and place it on the floor. Yet Letzte Instanz's brute rock side is only one facet. And while "Komm!" brings to mind that the band have always produced extremely danceable music, "Die Eine" stands for their folk roots, and "Flucht ins Glück", the first single to be lifted off the album, will work as a hit not only on the scene. Among other factors, it's vocalist Holly
's lyrics that make "Schuldig" a great recording.