Crack The Mind |Van Richter, 1999|
01. Violin, 02. I Am The Gas To Burn, 03. Guevara, 04. The War Of Minds, 05. Wreck Me, 06. Dumb (Die Krupps Remix), 07. Under Queen Whore's Grim Protection (She Is Me), 08. Head Of Compassion (Plastic Attack Mix), 09. Quest Of Nothing (Warzone Pharmaceuticals Mix)
Testify was an American-German band featuring musicians like Rascal Nikov, Myk Jung, Moses W., Eddie Logan, George McKinley and Mathias Black. Rascal and Myk had known each other before they formed Testify since both played in an EBM band called The Fair Sex in the 80's.
The song "Violin" opens up the Crack The Mind album dynamically with repetitive guitar riffs and the rough voice of Myk Jung. This is the exact sound of Testify which will be present on Crack The Mind and every other album in the bands discography.
The next song on the tracklist is called "I Am The Gas To Burn" and reminds me of an atmosphere similar to Motorhead songs with such typical twisted guitar riffs and a fusion of guitars, drums and bass getting very dense by the end of the track. Other than that "Guevara" has an industrial-metal drive with edgy guitar riffs involved, perfect for headbanging, an sounds kind of cool. It lasted exactly as long as the previous track (4 min. 58 sec.)
The music of Testify is full of pure aggression, expressed with simple, heavy and brutal arrangements filled with anger, that is very much illustrated in a song called "The War of Minds", which additionally brings up the album name of "Crack The Mind" in the lyrics.
I like "Wreck Me" the best of all the songs on the tracklist. It is represented by genius guitar solos and smart mood manipulation through interesting arrangements and sampling, which begin around the time of 1 min. 52 sec. "Wreck Me" may be considered to be a template of what an industrial metal song should sound like (but not rip off!), coming up with absolutely everything that a perfect track of that genre should have.
Because this album consists of five brand new songs and four remixes of a few original tracks released on the Mmmyaoooo album, this is the point where I get to address the remixes.
The first of them, "Dumb" was rearranged by Die Krupps and doesn't sound as stunning as many of the songs by the band. Whatever they make, it seems to become limited, with repetitive arrangements and unsatisfying rhythms. Crack The Mind was released in 1999, so two years after Die Krupps had recorded their best album ever entitled Paradise Now and the DK split afterwards (they reunited in 2005), I assume that Jurgen Engler wasn't quite sure of what style of music he wanted to create next, finding his way into a new electronic-dancey side-project DKay.com finally, giving me the idea of how hastily the remix was made for Testify in regards to the situation as well.
The second remix was made by Testify. The leitmotiv of "Under Queen Whore's Grim Protection (She Is Me)" keeps the original guitar riff of course, but there are new and clearly drawn beats tin the arrangement too, borrowed from drum’n’bass and techno styles, comparable to music by Acumen Nation.
"Head Of Compassion (Plastic Attack Mix)" was remixed by Plastic Noise Experience and wasn't very interesting to me. I've never been a fan of remixes, however I must admit sometimes they happen to re-do the original tracks in cool ways after all. That didn't happen in this case; dumb, 'gummy' beats had a fatal impact on this remix. It sounds like if somebody was hitting a huge tightly pumped tire with a crowbar. Besides the empty beat, the remix may be appreciated by fans of Frontline Assembly thanks to similarities in the electronics and guitar riffs used like on their Millennium album.
The last remix "Quest Of Nothing (Warzone Pharmaceuticals Mix)" was made by Die Warzau, but it doesn't sound like anything the duo has been better known for previously. It was rather aggressively arranged, however you will hear a violin as well as an entire spectrum of ambient electronica. The guitar riffs were kept though, resulting in a dark and heavy approach, common to music by Decree or Unit:187.
It's been eleven years since Testify recorded this album, and it still proves they were the best European industrial metal band of the 90's. Testify's music is a saving grace of sorts, offering a counterbalance to a bunch of pseudo industrial metal clones in the style of Rammstein with their predictable flat marching music that has been burgeoning in Germany for the last few years.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/22/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Triviality Beyond Acceptance |Van Richter, 2002|
01. White Skinned Heroine, 02. Fragile Puppet, 03. Grinning Sun, 04. Invisible Hell (The Plumsack), 05. Abuser's Gabble, 06. The Entaglement Of Sexus, 07. Karl Found Out: The Definition, 08. Braindead Friction, 09. The Seed Of Wrath, 10. Dumb/Numb/Gun, 11. Under The Cold Moon
The last Testify album (released when the band was still active yet) fortunately contains the same guitar driven industrial metal tunes which brought this American-German band worldwide recognition and respect. At the same time, Triviality Beyond Acceptance holds the heaviest music in all of the bands discography because the guitars were tuned somewhat lower and the electronics were subdued.
"White Skinned Heroine" begins the album with a bit too many repetitive rhythms and looks like the content of this album may be less experimental than any previous Testify release, however, this song isn't the best choice for an intro to me.
"Fragile Puppet" suddenly jumps in on the tracklist with guitar riffs reminiscent of Skrew (it is not far from comparison because one of Testify albums – Mmmyaoooo was produced by Adam Grossman, a guitar player and leader of Skrew), but the song lacks that typical Skrew power. Other than that, a psychotic moaning boy and his German monologues draw the listeners attention. "Grinning Sun" comes up with a metal-industrial-gothic vibe and I found the song quickly boring.
Finally, Testify proved why they have earned the listeners' respect with the next few songs. There are three songs on this album that I do recommend you remember, so listen carefully - "Invisible Hell (The Plumsack)", outstanding "Abuser's Gabble" and masterpiece "The Seed Of Wrath". They are all truly amazing tracks thanks to perfect arrangements and somewhat demonic moods coming from distinctive guitar riffs, vocals, drums and bass lines mixed together. "Abuser's Gabble" and "The Seed Of Wrath" are also the examples of perfect industrial metal compositions with powerful drum and bass lines, easily drifting guitar riffs (becoming wayward in a few spots!) and of course repetitive choruses, yelled or at least grunted out with the memorable voice of Myk Jung, the charismatic lead singer of Testify. I think the three songs above are the best ones the band has ever written. Expect your head banging to the rhythms of guitar and drum fusion, then feel free to have a natural need to replay to the songs right after they are finished. Moreover, the apocalyptic song "The Seed Of Wrath" should have gotten a meaningful award for awesome writing and performance ensemble.
If you listen carefully to the spoken words in "Karl Found Out: The Definition": "Testify: Third. Testify - European project, a poor mimicry of Ministry, extremely non-innovative, cheap and trivial beyond acceptance", then it seems the band probably ironically paraphrased one of the reviews which may have been addressed to Testify's music. I have no doubts Ministry was some sort of example and influence for the band on how to make solid industrial metal songs, Skrew alike, but it doesn't make sense to speak about ripping those bands off and especially about "non-innovative, cheap" content (read above about "The Seed Of Wrath" and “Abuser's Gabble").
"The Entaglement Of Sexus" brings a lighter rock sound with heavily sampled backgrounds, but sincerely the monotone beat becomes boring almost immediately.
"Braindead Friction" sounds more rock, Ministry-style ;) but "Dumb/Numb/Gun" presents a little bit of a blackmetal mood mostly thanks to the vocals, however, it still keeps its main industrial metal vibe. I liked the kind of 'glassy' samples used in the background, maybe not matching the song that much but intriguing enough by contrast. This track also brings some Skrew sounding music echoes like in "Fragile Puppet" as I described above.
The last composition on the album is called "Under The Cold Moon" characterized by less edgy guitar riffs, slower tempo, and more fun with the use of electronics. It's undoubtedly a very trance induced sound, but also the weakest song on the album, moreover it lasts... over 10 minutes. I wish "The Seed of Wrath" was extended for that long!
The songs released on Triviality Beyond Acceptance sound full, the writing was also deeply thought out and it's clear to me that Testify has utilized their experience.
The has band worked out their sound over the course of almost ten years; ever since their first EP (Testify '01 was released in 1993) and it is very disappointing that they quit right after putting out such a memorable album. However, I am getting a satisfactory feeling that the musicians put 100% of themselves into their involvement, so Testify didn't end up releasing a bunch of good-bye remixes. I'm not sure if the band was getting along well or being responsive to their fan suggestions in terms of the new album to be, but it feels like Triviality Beyond Acceptance was based on an individual initiative.
Myk Jung joined the band Schuldt (German Tim Schuldt's project) to record an album entitled First Error Code. Then he kept releasing solo albums under his own name, but they don't bring the Testify sound back.
Rascal Nikov has been continuing his electronic passions as a member of well known German future-pop band called Rotersand since 2002.
Triviality Beyond Acceptance along with Mmmyaoooo are two obligatory albums to listen to, both proving the real power of the music of Testify.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/21/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Mmmyaoooo |Van Richter, 1996|
1.Pink Goblin,2.Head Of Compassion,3.Block In The Eye,4.Lethal Viper,5.Dumb,6.Under Queen Whore's Grim Protection,7.B.Blaster,8.Trash 21 (The Noble Knights Of Testify Reject Malicious Joy),9.Mouth,10.Persistent Circulation,11.Quest Of Nothing
Testify was to me the best European industrial metal band, which surprisingly didn't become popular on the scene, however released a few full CDs and gave several shows as well. Maybe if they were an American band things would go in a different direction and they built a wider fan base. Nevertheless they drew attention of an American guitarist and the leader of industrial metal band called Skrew
, who decided to produce this album. Adam Grossman went to Germany and spent quite a short time spicing the album, but the CD contains all what the remarkable CD of the genre should have - angry vocals by Myk Jung, edgy guitar riffs by Moses and very interesting compositions.
This kind of music is rather easy to make so that's even better Grossman took care about this album and added his refreshing ideas to the songs. There is lots of chaos, lots of cold control too, a variety of straight forward guitars while you cannot stop your foot tapping. I mean songs like Lethal Viper, Under Queen Whore's Grim Protection, Trash 21 (The Noble Knights of Testify Reject Malicious Joy) and my favourite Persistent Circulation. It's one of the albums you should definitely have if you claim to be an industrial metal fan and it represents a very significant European-American venture on the scene.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Testify '01 EP |Rough Trade/Our Choice, 1993|
Testify'01, A.N.G.E.R., Get Bursted, One Man's Gang
It's a single for the first Testify album. Songs suitable for the fans of Treponem Pal or older Klute. The last song reminds me one of those tracks used for Quake II video game ;)
( Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Testify on Van Richter Records