CD, Telegrammetry/Hypervoxx, 2007
Stahlschlag is, and let me make this absolutely clear before continuing, bloody great. I say this because I’m about to follow up with some fairly unkind things and I don’t want to create the false impression that Stahlschlag isn’t worth listening to. I’ll begin by denigrating the huge banner on their site proclaiming themselves as “industrial power noise”, a statement that has to be disagreed with. Stahlschlag’s music, while redolent with heavy beats and aggressive, dissonant sampling, doesn’t quite make the industrial grade. Rather, it comes off as a very hard EBM, without the benefit of vocals. There is really not much happening in the way of noise – simple comparison with the greats of the genre (Converter, Morgenstern, Proyecto Mirage, Mono No Aware…) reveals the serious lack of noise in the music they’re giving us.
They are, however, quite happy to provide us with some serious dance floor material. Songs are short, tight and absolutely laden with tight, fast beats. The construction is damn near perfect, too – sequencing is logical, breaks are tense and dynamic and the overall balancing and EQ is of a high standard. In general, this is a fine example for other contemporary EBM artists to follow – more electronic body music, less distorted vocal angst.
The final verdict is a positive one: while listening to Stahlschlag for any length of time may result in palpitations (dancing while playing the disc is by far the recommended course of action), “Acoustiphobie” is a perfect addition to a hard EBM set, or a softer option for an introduction to an industrial one; either way, the target audience for this album is definitely club-based and, despite personal genre classification differences, destined to please. If you do, however, suffer from an aversion to hi-NRG darkness, stay well away.
— David vandermerwe