Apoptygma Berzerk

Welcome to Earth

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    8
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Stephan Groth (the young Norwegian techno-head who records under the name Apoptygma Berzerk, as well as other aliases) has found a winning combination of industrial textures and the beat-happy grooves of the techno subgenre known as Electronic Body Music. On "Welcome to Earth" he keeps things dense and mildly sinister (lots of chord washes in minor keys), but gives in to his poppier side on the choruses, and good for him. "Starsign" starts out creepy enough, but features a genuine sing-along refrain; similarly, "Paranoia" is built on a pounding techno beat and barely-there chord progression, but the melodic content builds up layer by layer until it arrives at a chorus New Order would have killed for. And there are even some funky breaks that provide welcome relief from the skull-numbing techno rhythms. Highly recommended.

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