That Total Age

Nitzer Ebb

Geffen Records, 1987

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I knew there was a reason why I hadn't listened to Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age in almost a decade. The fact that it had several layers of dust on it and it had been buried way in the back of the Pierce Archives (right next to the Billy beer) should have been warning sign number one. Too bad I don't listen to those little warning voices in my head.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Once considered to be one of the big names in industrial music, Nitzer Ebb has not withstood the test of time - and, for that matter, 1987's That Total Age was outdated by the time it came out.

Oh, sure, you could claim that this band was one of the pioneers of the genre, and pioneers of music like this never sound as complex as the bands who build upon that sound. Basically, every single one of these ten songs follows the same formula: Find a keyboard and drum machine rhythm, and repeat it for about five minutes, puncuated with occasional screams that double for vocals.

Pioneering? Bullshit. Bands like Front 242 and Ministry existed at this time as well, and they were doing things even more complicated than this primitive nonsense. It almost was like someone had been given a cheesy Casio keyboard, and was learning to play it by using the pre-programmed rhythms in it. Whatever the case, the sound is incredibly bad.

Even the one song I originally bought this tape for, "Join In The Chant," doesn't have the kind of magic it had when I blindly walked into Crow's Nest in Crest Hill and snagged this one. I mean, this particular song is okay when listened to once every decade or so, I guess. But there's no excuse for making an album that follows the exact same pattern - wait, scratch that - the exact same bad pattern the whole time!

How bad does it get? There were times during songs like "Violent Playground," "Smear Body" and "Warsaw Ghetto" that I seriously wanted to cut up the speakers in my car, if only to assure I didn't have to listen to the rest of this tape.

That Total Age is bad... I mean, really bad. The hell with this noise; avoid it.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.