Starting an industrial dance album with a mock-classical organ recital isn't the easiest of propositions, but when Grothesk kicks his arrangement in gear fully with the EBM pulse and beat of "Love Never Dies (Part 1)," then 7 hits its stride and for the most part doesn't lose it. By this point, Grothesk and his act had moved from being inspired by a sound to being one of the few straight-up practitioners of it, and like the best of his own heroes, his range of inspirations had widened considerably. KMFDM may have sampled Orff's "Carmina Burana" first, but the inclusion of source material ranging from the Shadows and Red House Painters to Aphex Twin is reflected in the just-varied-enough flow of the album. The prime Depeche Mode-inspired jones of Grothesk, in particular, is showcased to wonderful effect throughout the album, often shading the more intense songs like "Deep Red" and the amped-up remix of "Mourn" with a calmer, almost tearjerking air. Standout examples at slower speeds include the original mix of "Mourn," a ballad with a fairly steady rock beat dedicated to Kurt Cobain (using the riff from Nirvana's cover of "The Man Who Sold the World" beautifully), and the mega-ballad (and proud of it) "Nearer," with one of the best synth-string arrangements in the field or out of it. But there's one other band who started in the early '80s who gets an homage in particular -- OMD. Their debut single, "Electricity," gets a cover here brimming with the upbeat joy of the original -- the instantly recognizable hook is slowed down a touch, no more -- while spiked with a quicker pace and a winning vocal from Grothesk. That he actually sings a bit slower than OMD did, contrasted with the high-velocity music, actually makes the cover work even better.
by Ned Raggett