CD, Artoffact, 2006
Many may remember German based act Steril from the days of when Coldwave acts such as 16 Volt, Chemlab, Cubanate, The Young Gods and Hate Dept. (to name a few) seemed to be dominating mainly the US side of the Industrial market in the early to late 90’s. But mainly after the release of the extremely successful “Tyranny Off The Beat” samplers from the now defunct German label Off Beat records, did bands of this nature really have the opportunity to shine in the European side of the market. Steril in my opinion, where by far one of the most influential bands of the time, and with their hybrid mixture of Industrial and upbeat danceable EBM, the act soon established a reasonably sized following for their contributions to the scene. Now with four albums, three MCD’s and a greatest hits album to their name, Steril have returned with the fifth studio release “Realism”. So what’s its like I hear you ask…?
Heavy, cold and highly addictive are three words that instantly spring to mind. My first thought from hearing the album was how pleasing it was to hear that the sound that made Steril so accessible in the first place had been kept neatly intact, with no apparent (dare I say it) outside commercial sounding influences, which in my personal opinion seems to have plagued a lot of guitar-based Industrial artists from that particular generation over the years.
Musically the album is now armed with an even meatier distorted guitar, an even stompier EBM backbeat, and an even better production quality than their previous albums, “Realism” will more than likely have most ‘old school’ Industrial fans hooked straight from the start. For the long time followers of Steril’s work, tracks like “Realist”, “Far Away”, “Statik” (and the club version of the track) will be enough to comfort them in the knowledge that Steril are back in a big way. I for one have grown particularly fond of the ultra-catchy ‘American Dream’ and I can almost certainly guarantee that this will go down as one of the bands all-time classic tracks. The only thing that I can honestly say that’s continuously bothered me about Steril though is that more often than not with their releases, I tend to find quite a few weaker tracks amidst an array of outstanding ones. Unfortunately ‘Realism’ doesn’t seem to have rectified this problem. However, in this case, I do feel the stronger tracks seem to carry off the rest of the album remarkably well.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of “Realism” and miss the days of heavily distorted crunching guitar, hard pounding beats and aggressive vocals that often switch from German to English, then I sincerely recommend this release as it’s in my opinion one of the most addictive Industrial/EBM crossover albums of the year thus far.
— Paul Marcham