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Klagebilder opens with the instrumental title track, a surprising stylistic detour for this long-running German goth metal band; it's not even the usual pretty, proggy keyboard-based interlude one often finds on goth metal albums, but a slice of full-on downtempo electronica that wouldn't sound out of place on an Air or Stereolab album. Following that, things move into more traditional metal territory, but there's a distinctly pop-oriented cast to much of the album. "Kein Liebeslied," for example, features a catchy, harmony heavy chorus that recalls '80s pop-metal acts like Whitesnake or Skid Row, and "Kaltes Feuer" and "Hollenbrand" blend heavy guitar riffs with synthesizer pulses straight out of vintage New Order. Some subsets of the metal audience will no doubt be somewhat put off by this album, which is almost entirely lacking in the signifiers one expects of European metal these days -- the singer doesn't even sound much like the Cookie Monster -- but Klagebilder is an interesting updating of metal tropes from a couple of decades previous.

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