Xmal Deutschland's Fetisch is the kind of album that Batman would listen to while patrolling Gotham City. A dismal, often creepy LP, Fetisch snags the dissonant gloom of early Siouxsie & the Banshees, Bauhaus, and Joy Division and gives it a German accent. Unfortunately, while the album bursts with ferocious energy, the songs are mostly repetitive and monotonous. Rabid goth collectors will probably savor every sinister groove on Fetisch, but nothing here can touch the hellish beat of Xmal's "Incubus Succubus" 12" single. Vocalist Anja Huwe sounds like a Siouxsie Sioux doppelgänger; however, even Sioux's bleakest numbers with the Banshees had keen hooks. Unfortunately, Xmal Deutschland utilizes the same eerie riffs throughout Fetisch. The album is listenable in limited doses. The dense, fuzzy guitars of "Qual" are somewhat hypnotic, and the brooding basslines of "Young Man" and "Orient" certainly catch the ear. Played loud, the shrieking riffs of "Orient" are thrillingly raucous. Xmal Deutschland knows how to bring the noise, but the eerie clamor of Fetisch is hollow. Goth pioneers such as Siouxsie & the Banshees, Joy Division, and Bauhaus similarly took listeners to life's sullen underbelly with intelligence and creativity; on Fetisch, Xmal Deutschland is lost in the dark.
AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton