tEaR!doWn | Shades of Apathy (review)

tEaR!doWn 'Shades of Apathy' cover artwork

tEaR!doWn ‘Shades of Apathy’ cover.

Just in time for Christmas, the latest tEaR!doWn and Sleepwalk albums were released concurrently by indie label Electro Aggression Records. The timed release of the two albums has a nice symmetry to it, because tEaR!doWn member Oliver Spring was formerly a member of Sleepwalk and contributes some to their new album. Likewise, Sleepwalk member Bruno Ruch also helped record vocals for the new tEaR!doWn album Shades of Apathy.

Shades of Apathy is tEaR!doWn’s second full-length album and also the band’s second release with Electro Aggression Records. The band, hailing from northern Germany, was first started in 2004 but did not develop into its current lineup until 2007.

At first listen Shades of Apathy reminds me of latter-era yelworC, the Peter Devin fronted albums such as ‘Trinity’ or ‘Icolation’, with complex tribal rhythms seemingly from the depths of hell. However, yelworC always had an occult, abstract basis to their music which is not present here. Indeed, tEaR!doWn tends to have much more personal lyrics, along the lines of Leæther Strip or Nine Inch Nails.

Musically, the album kind of straddles the line between dark electro and EBM. Fans of both genres will find much to like here. Dark electro fans will appreciate the synthetic strings and the complex rhythms. EBM fans will appreciate some of the more club-friendly songs and the angsty, personal lyrics. Once again, Electro Aggression Records has hit another home run. And it’s certain that tEaR!doWn Shades of Apathy will be remembered as an instant classic in the dark electro genre.

The album is rounded out by remixes from The Psychic Force and labelmates Pyrroline and kFactor.

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