PAKT â€“ Berlin
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Label: Out of Line
Website: paktprodukt.de (German)
Review By: Grant V. Ziegler
Departing from the EBM sensation And One was obviously a grueling task for Gio Van Oli and Chris Ruiz as their farewell video to And One fans was solemn and tearful. They displayed hand-written cards explaining their exit from And One while â€œPlaying Deadâ€ resonated in the background of the video. They posted on their Facebook pages that â€œthe attitude towards life and music was too differentâ€ and they â€œhad to go on different paths.â€ However, what was born out of the less than amicable split was something new, something great, something the duo called PAKT.
Back in August 2011, PAKT released their first single â€œFreiheit,â€ giving fans a pleasant taste of what was to come and proving that even without Steve Naghavi they could produce something of quality that the EBM/Electro-pop scene could appreciate. â€œFreiheitâ€™sâ€ militaristic rhythm and bouncy synths instantly sounds like an industrial movement fans can get behind immediately.
Eight months passed in between the release of â€œFreiheitâ€ and their full-length album Berlin. The delay was littered with live show cancellations which, they accredit to trying to complete the album. Was the album good enough to warrant all the cancellations? Absolutely, but then again, I didnâ€™t buy any tickets to those shows.
Berlin begins with an instrumental intro called â€œFreitag der 13â€ (Friday the 13th). Itâ€™s a fun to start an album and would be an intense opening to a live show but after youâ€™ve heard it once, youâ€™ll probably skip over it. Following that is the aforementioned â€œFreiheitâ€ and then â€œBurn.â€ With â€œBurnâ€ you start to recognize PAKTâ€™s very own sound. â€œBurnâ€ truly pulls the And One flesh off the musical bone and PAKT becomes its own monster.
April 16, PAKT released a video for â€œLichterloh,â€ which is by far one of the strongest songs on Berlin. It starts with a quote from Charles Manson, so right away you know itâ€™s going to be a â€œkillerâ€ track. Iâ€™ll admit the video is kind of goofy compared to the intensity of the song. â€œLichterlohâ€ is very anthem-like and in the video it shows Ruiz and Oli doing mundane chores such as sweeping floors and washing dishes. In this reviewerâ€™s opinion, â€œLichterlohâ€™sâ€ impactful sound and lyrics donâ€™t go with the video at all. Anyway, the song is amazing and should be on every DJâ€™s set-list this summer.
Ruizâ€™s love for photography may have influenced a couple of the tracks on Berlin such as â€œSchwarz und Weissâ€ (Black and White) and â€œGrey into Red,â€ which are colors he toys with often when behind the lens or using photo-shop. Both tracks paint a picture with words and sounds that give an interesting insight into how Ruiz views the world.
And whatâ€™s an industrial album without a political jab? PAKT delivers one with their song â€œThe Fish.â€ It tackles the topic of businesses getting away with Wall Street robbery while others starve on the streets. A true to life statement with thudding beats to accompany it.
PAKT rounds out their album with â€œEgoshooter,â€ â€œRevolutionâ€ and a ballad titled â€œLiebespakt.â€ A slow, subtle but appetite filling song about unity. â€œRevolutionâ€ didnâ€™t really jump out at me so much. Itâ€™s a decent track but generic compared to the rest of the album. â€œEgoshooterâ€ is my favorite song off Berlin due to its simplistic and driving beat. Fans of Nitzer Ebb or Jager 90 will most likely enjoy â€œEgoshooterâ€ like I did.
Berlin has the ability to jump right out of the gate, grab you by the ears and make you listen with full attention. This is exactly what PAKT needed in order to separate them from their past and give a middle finger to those who said this was just going to be another And One album.
1. Freitag der 13
3. Burn Home Burn
4. Schwarz & WeiÃŸ
6. Grey into Red
7. All Reminds me
11. The fish…