Cannibal Anthem

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Roughly 15 years into his recording career as :wumpscut:, Rudy Ratzinger continues to make some of the most challenging, unpredictable and -- it must be said -- occasionally revolting EBM ("electronic body music") there is. He gets bonus points for singing in his native German rather than undercutting the dark power of his lyrics with unwittingly humorous translations; he also gets bonus points for being willing to step outside the sonic ghetto that holds so many of his fellow scenesters in its thrall. Yes, Cannibal Anthem's first three tracks (the ironically titled "Herzlich Willkommen," "Wir Warten," and "Die Liebe") are the typical grinding industrial slog, great stuff if you're a resentful 16-year-old boy but a real chore to get through otherwise. But then he slips into jig time on "Jesus Antichristus" and flirts, amazingly, with jazz-funk on the title track. "Pass Auf" features genuinely lovely female vocals, and "Hunger" is genuinely, unambiguously pretty (sure, he's singing about a "storm raging within" him, but...). You've got to hand it to Ratzinger: in a genre typified more by cookie-cutter angst clichés than real originality, he's got a genuinely unique musical vision.

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