Remember These Things?
It’s at this point in the history of Wumpscut that we hit a point where albums are appearing faster that I’m able to find fresh ways of describing what are really only slight variations on the same theme. If you’re only here for the big hits, I’ve covered almost all of them by this point. If you’re already tearing me or Rudy to shreds for not-being-as-good-as-we-once-were, probably best to go and read something else. But if you’re sufficiently intrigued and are still hungry for more, keep with me. Because there IS still some worthwhile music to discover.
Cannibal Anthem arrived in 2006, and with it, Rudy’s second album in German and a back-to-basics production style closer to his earlier work. The German language isn’t a problem for non-speakers as Wumpscut’s lyrical creativity was already past it’s best anyway. The dead-cert banger here was fourth track Jesus Antichristus – you don’t need a translation to know from the title alone that it’s conceptually similar to the likes of “Golgotha” and “Christfuck”. However, the shuffle-time groove was exactly the kind of thing the futurepoppers were filling floors with back then, and Rudy successfully adapts the concept for his harder’n’harsher style.
Wir Warten is essential and totally unsubtle listening for those purists who just wanted Rudy to keep remaking his first two albums. If you’re into his more cerebral works, Die Liebe offers plenty of arpeggio trickery, whilst the title track builds it’s flesh-eating fantasies around a static beat, hard bleeps and, by means of compromise, a surprisingly clean guitar sample. Again, the key tracks front-load the album – the remainder lacking in anything really memorable, but still of interest to long-time fans due to it’s old-school feel. Sadly, the two female vocal songs (featuring new singer ‘Onca’) are disappointing in comparison with those offered on ‘Evoke’.
Singles: The format now dying, there was just a joint Jesus Antichristus/Die Liebe with an edit and remix each. Lovers of the outer fringes of dancefloor industrial are going to want the Feindflug remix of “Jesus Antichristus”. It’s not intense as some of their album tracks, but the concept of marching in 6/8 time is enough to mark out this tune at least. Recently Deceased’s take on “Die Liebe” is less notable, a complex mix without any real highlight.
Versions: The regular versions were back to single CD size, with the ‘Remix Kultur’ bonus disc restricted to the box set. Again, Concentrate Camp delivers the lot, including the single mentioned above and more remixes than most people can handle. “Jesus Antichristus” gets the most remixes, though this sadly only proves that a rhythm that catchy is really hard to remix without losing its impact. Most of the remaining mixes focus on “Die Liebe”. Once again, Yendri’s mix is the highlight, correctly identifying that a female vocal was the right way to bring out this tune’s subtleties.
Next up – Body Census in 2007. It’s initially a likeable affair by Wumpscut standards. The Beast Sleeps Within You is a suitably haunting slice of eevil electronics, whilst Remember One Thing could have been passed off as scene-friendly darkwave-synthiepop if it wasn’t for the vocal gravel. This song was aching for a female vocal take – a pity he didn’t use Onca for this, as her talents are once again wasted on the overly drawn out closer The Fall.
As for being “scene-friendly”, things get dubious in that regard with tracks like You Are A Goth and Homo Gotikus Industrialis. The former is lyrically nebulous enough to conceivably be referencing the goths of history (not Andrew Eldritch) but the latter is clearly making a statement about the very people who make up Rudy’s fanbase. Writing an album about Cannibals isn’t an invitation to bite the hand that feeds you a year later! Still, by this point only the most devoted fans were paying much attention anyway, so no harm was done.
The remainder of the album is the usual sort of thing, with My Dear Ghoul and Adonai, My Lord trying the hardest in terms of catching a DJs ear and achieving some kind of club play, but both are a little short of ideas in terms of development and hence come across as quite repetitive.
Singles: The format is almost over by this point, but Metropolis put out an EP Goth Census, featuring two tracks from the album plus three remixes from Yendri, of which the Club Mix of “You Are A Goth” is the most successful, injecting some life into the rather static original.
Versions: Standard CD, box set (with bonus remix CD) and vinyl versions issued originally, and several subsequent alternate versions, again culminating in the Concentrated Camp Edition, which adds the ‘Goth Census’ covered above and plenty more besides. There were too many attempts at making “Adonai, My Lord” more interesting than the album version, with the remainder of mixes split between “You Are A Goth” and “Remember One Thing”. The latter gets a particularly attractive mix by God’s Bow, finally adding the female vocal that the original needed all along.
Another year, another album. Schädling clearly wants Schäbiger Lump to be its standout track. Despite learning more than I wanted to know about the Third Reich’s legal system when researching the sample source, none of this means this tune is particularly notable, trying to crescendo like his late 90s classics but never quite hitting the mark. Album opener Rusty Nails From Hell sticks in the mind for longer, even if the lyrics suggest this is something Rudy came up with whilst gardening (the album title translates as ‘Pest’, which might also be a clue). Otherwise, it’s the usual everything, Rifki working best in the shout-the-title-enough-times-and-they’ll-remember it stakes, and Moloch a now rare example of a huge, drawn-out atmospheric epic, highlight of what isn’t the worst Wumpscut album ever, simply the most average.
Versions: CD and vinyl editions of the regular album, a box set, and a ‘polybook’ 2CD, which is really the box set without the box, with Concentrated Camp arriving later. Other than a 12 inch remix of “Rusty Nails From Hell” which draws out an essentially promising concept long past it’s welcome, all of the remixes are of “Schäbiger Lump” and “Rifki”. By now, it’s becoming clear that too many of the same names are being called upon each time – other than Der Blutharsch and possibly Yendri, all these projects are becoming more prolific as Rudy’s client remix team than musicians in their own right, and hence these bulk loads are becoming as repetitive as the albums themselves.
The Soviet-style imagery on 2009’s Fuckit is one of the more fetching designs from the recent run of albums, but it musically it’s Rudy Ratzinger thinking he’s found himself in a groove when really it’s just a rut. The title track succeeds by virtue of not being too clever – run a big riff through a phaser, insert the usual hard bleeps and then issue an obscenity laden rant over the top and we’ve got instant Wumpscut – just add dancefloor. But who’s dancing these days?
The acoustic plucks that provide the basis of Cut To See How Much I Bleed do inject some life into the increasingly listless atmosphere surrounding this most studio-bound of projects, but it’s an rare highlight. The Boo has fleeting moments of ‘oh that’s kinda neat’ but is too structurally and lyrically awkward. Pooch might have worked if it developed its core loop further than it does, and Bloodbathing Tub is one final shot at getting a shuffle-time dynamic to work, but there’s just not enough interesting concepts in play – a statement which sums up the album as a whole
Versions: You know the drill now – CD issues multiple times, a limited LP version and the Fuckitbox with bonus remix album. This box also included a 7” single with two instrumental versions (Cut The Boo) which also saw a limited standalone release, but who’s paying top dollar (or Euro) for instrumentals? The Concentrated Camp edition later delivered the complete story. The mixes are the usual suspects plus competition winners, sensibly focusing on “Cut To See How Much I Bleed”. A few promising concepts, especially the EK Remix attempt at orchestrating the song, but nothing compulsive.
The 2010s began for Wumpscut with Siamese. Clearly a reference to a now-antiquated term for conjoined twins, this album is a still a high point in the later stages of the catalogue. Like ‘Cannibal Anthem’, there’s a sense that some of the raw anger and despair that drove the Slaughtering Tribes and Embryodeads out of their Bukertor is back, for one night only. Admittedly, the song writing isn’t all that memorable – there isn’t an equal to “Soylent Green” here in terms of an anthem, neither do we get the deep-rooted emotional swings of “Thorns” or “Angel” nor the dynamic hit of “Capital Punishment”. But aesthetically, at least, it has that old school noisy-as-fuck, hammering-on-the-senses feel. By recent standards, that’s an improvement.
Ironically, the two stand-out tunes are those that match this fury with a more contemporary influence. Boneshaker Baybee is built on a searing synth lead befitting the EBM/hard dance hybrids that were doing the rounds in what passed for the ‘industrial’ club scene of the time, but the core is still pure Wumpscut. The bell-ringing chime of Loyal To My Hate is the other stand-out from the industrial grind, but traditionalists will tend towards the others.
Versions: Choose between Single CD, vinyl or double CD with remix album – in or out of a box set, plus a unusual CD+DVD version, with a rare Wumpscut music video for “Boneshaker Baybee”, though the dance of the two headed skeleton is a mere novelty in this field of creativity. As usual, the bulk download version came several years later.
Most of the remix action was focused around the title track, “Boneshaker” and “Loyal To My Hate”, with the later of these the more interesting in terms of alternate versions. Suicide Commando had previously rescued sub-standard tracks come remix time, but here he puts in a disappointing ponderous interpretation that removes everything that was good about the original. So Solar Fake is our bonus disc saviour this time, the new-style oontz bass and synth lead giving the tune some real club hours relevance. W-Remixing stalwart Advent Resilience also puts in a strong showing, the urgent tech-beat for once avoiding the ‘too technical’ trap, building new energy into the song rather than taking it away.
3 thoughts on “Wumpscut – A Listener’s Guide”
I really wonder how someone who can make such fantastic music lacks the ears and insight to know when he is producing utter garbage…last 5 albums, minus about 2 tracks.
Nice review 😉
Hey, this is such an awesome review.
I agree with almost every word of it. Also, Iv’ been going back to W albums often at some points in my life and was recently thinking how I would write the full story of his music myself. No need to do that anymore…
Big fan of early days Wumpscut, but all the remaining of his catalogue although obviously less cutting edge still remains close to my heart somehow. There is indeed 2-3 good songs per album which is already something, right.
I’d like Rudy to know that his catalogue as a whole does accompany the life of people like me, even though I think he failed making money out of it, the point here is that I may play some of his music in my head any day.
I was hoping this article had info on where the sample from Funeral Diner came from…. I was watching season 3 episode 18 of X-Files, and they used the same sample…. I assume Wumpscut used it first…. But pretty cool in any case.