A document of a work designed to be performed live, and not an "official new Einstürzende Neubauten LP proper" according to the band itself, Lament is still a staggering work of soul-crushing genius, a work where a veteran idiosyncratic band takes on a broad topic and communicates myriad emotions while landing on the beneficial end of "art for art's sake." The topic is World War I and the idea that it never really ended, a concept reflected in the grinding gears and scraping metal of the opening "Kriegsmaschinerie," an arguably quintessential Einstürzende Neubauten number considering the band's avant and industrial roots. Still, as the mashed, familiar, and a cappella anthems of "Hymnen" display, there hasn't been anything quintessential about these artists since they dared to plunder the world of composition and classical music. The mashed-up "Hymnen" points out that the German hymn "Heil Dir im Siegerkranz" was spawned out of "God Save the Queen," but as the key cut "Der 1.Weltkrieg" lists the War's key cities and battles, it's obvious that it doesn't matter where you live or who you identify with, some other clan wants you gone, both in space and time. What brings us together tears us apart as well, as the title cut repeats "Macht, Krieg" ("Power, War"), sometimes with a period in the middle, but the punctuation slowly evolves into a comma. War may be inevitable, but that doesn't make it easy, as "Sag Mir Wo die Blumen Sin" faithfully covers Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" in all its sweet sadness, while "On Patrol in No Man's Land" focuses on the Harlem Hellfighters and their truly selfless sacrifice. Neo-classical, industrial, laptop electronica, and German beer hall music all fit into the mix, and even if it takes a live production (one was held in Diksmuide, Belgium in November of 2014) to get the full Lament installation experience, this audio-only version is still evocative and deep.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Der Beginn des Weltkrieges 1914 (Dargestellt Unter Zuhilfenahme Eines Tierstimmenimitators) [The Beginning of the World War in 1914 (Presented by an Animal Voice Imitator)]