CREMATORY – Klagebilder

CREMATORY - Klagebilder
  • 4.5/10
    CREMATORY - Klagebilder - 4.5/10


Massacre Records
Release date: August 4, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Crematory are haunting the German Metal scene for a long time now. After the release of their debut in 1993, they put out no less than another eight studio albums, so that Klagebilder (translation: Pictures of Mourning) is their tenth full-length album! Not a small achievement, especially when one takes into consideration that Crematory always polarized the German Metal scene.

Their earlier releases were published by Massacre Records, after which they changed to Nuclear Blast Records — both labels being two of the best addresses in German Metal. After the band retired in 2001, and reunited, they returned to Massacre to record a follow-up album to their 1996 German album Das Deutsche Album. So, this new release consists of 13 tracks, and except for the instrumental intro, all tracks are completely sung in German.

This is good

There is much prejudice about German lyrics in Germany, as strange as that may seem. Since everybody understands what is sung –- note that maybe 90 per cent of the music played by radio stations has English lyrics –- people tend to be much more critical. That probably is of no consequence for everybody else, so this is for those who speak German mainly: The lyrics are better than before, sometimes even more than bearable. Occasional blunders like “Der Nächste” aside, Crematory create nice Gothic lyrics, although they probably will not be remembered for their outstanding poetical abilities.

Almost over the whole album, the guitar is very audible and heavy, which was not always the case on earlier releases. That is also because of the production, not due to a new style, that they changed not a bit. It is still the same Melodic Goth with lots of keyboards that fans love them for, and what gave them a decent following, but also made a lot of Metalheads sniff at them. So basically, if you liked them before, this is definitely one of the highlights in their career, not the least because the clean vocals are often dominant and are better than ever.

This is bad

The above mentioned clean vocals are still not used enough. The verses sung in a deep guttural voice sound very drunk and anything but evil or threatening. Too many other bands can do that better. Also, the omnipresent simple and kitschy keyboards are a strain to one’s nerves, especially when it seems they were borrowed from 80s Pop acts like in “Höllenbrand” or “Ein Leben Lang.” Fittingly, some songs have the heaviness of German Schlager: “Kein Liebeslied” or “Der Morgen Danach” are mostly as brutal as Feargal Sharky or Billy Ray Cyrus –- and as unnerving. Also “Kaltes Feuer” has to be mentioned, which leans into the Electro / Dancefloor direction, and although most different from the rest of Klagebilder, this is what causes Metal fans to turn the radio off.

After ten studio albums, Crematory can no longer surprise. They have to be measured by what they are, and old established act of veteran musicians who did not manage to make it to the top group of their style — occasional accidents like a chart entry and under a handful of club hits aside, of which the biggest was a 1997 cover version of “Temple Of Love” from Sisters Of Mercy. And, for the demands one makes towards such a release, the songs on Klagebilder are simply too similar. One finds himself humming a chorus while listening to the album, only to find that the chorus belonged to the track before. Strange enough, that it would fit several other songs as well …

Crematory’s was not a reunion that was absolutely necessary. What was original ten years ago can not impress much today. But, they are a part of Metal history, and as mentioned before, they always had quite a steady following, so one should at least know them. If you do not yet, from their discography, Klagebilder is definitely the recommended purchase.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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