CD, Sub-Space Communications, 2003
Chances are that, if you know the meaning of the name “Nitzer Ebb” you’ll get a feeling you’ve heard this before. And you’re somewhat correct.
In response to the wave of future-pop, electro-pop and other genres which have been evolving out of electro-industrial and EBM with elements from trance and techno, Swedish duo Spetsnaz present us with a back-to-basics, in-your-face, old-school take on EBM. Just to remind us how it was and that the ‘old sound’ is not dead.
Is it a bad thing that Spetsnaz sound a little too much like Nitzer Ebb, with some hints of old Front 242? Not necessarily. In my opinion, it is essential (and definitely refreshing) that from time to time someone steps up to produce ‘old-school’ sound. Not only to prove that there still is vitality in this kind of sound but also to bring it to the attention of a younger generation who might be oblivious to it existence. Some years ago, it was Project-X and their Front 242 sound and now it’s Spetsnaz. The main problem lies in how the band will evolve after their ‘old-school’ debut.
Spetsnaz’s approach to their music is extremely energetic and very simple (without being simplistic): fast paced percussion and beats combined with an assault of shouted words. The music is, as would be expected from pure EBM, extremely geared for dancefloor situation and suitable violent movement (pogoing comes to mind…). The vocals are quite clear and it’s quite difficult to avoid noticing that Spetsnaz have opinions and that they intend to pass their messages to their audience (whether they revolve around politics and personal feelings). “Grand Design” is a mature piece of work and Spetsnaz clearly know what they are doing with their music.
From 12 excellent fast-paced songs, one could refer as being of particular interest the title track “Grand Design”, the excellent “On the Edge” and the “To the Core”. “Femme Fatale” may sound like a bit like immature ramblings but it’s a rather musically solid track.
After a bombastic debut, I am wondering how will Spetsnaz going to develop in shaping their identity and a characteristic (and perhaps more complex) sound.
— Miguel de Sousa