Deathstars - 'The Perfect Cult' (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 14 June 2014 03:00

deathstarscultcoverIt's been almost five and a half years since the release of Deathstars' third studio album, 'Night Electric Night', a time period that has seen the departure of two band members (drummer Bone W. Machine and guitarist Cat Casino), so you'd be excused for thinking that the Swedish "deathglam" outfit's return in 2014 would be accompanied by a ferocious new album, a real statement of intent: you'd be wrong.


Y'see, new album, 'The Perfect Cult', brings with it a safe "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach that, given the band member shift and less than favourable reviews afforded the last album in some corners, might suggest that something was, indeed, a little broken.


It's not that 'The Perfect Cult' is a bad album, it just lacks the bombastic spark that Whiplasher Bernadotte and crew threaten to unleash in every interview and photo shoot: yes, the band looks great, and the whole industrial goth ethos is as dark and delicious, in theory, as it comes, but, just four studio albums into its career, Deathstars risk becoming the alternate reality version of Status Quo. And not the Frantic Four either: the cabaret Quo; still followed by besotted fans, but the butt of many jokes behind closed doors.


Die-hard Deathstars fans will, no doubt, celebrate the band's return like the second coming of Christ, but for the average outsider looking in through the window of the goth (electric) nightclub - refused entry because they wore trainers - there's little on offer that will truly pique the senses. Sure, the guy in the 'edgy' contact lenses and fluorescent vest that his mate who works on the council lifted for him might love what he hears, but for the rest of us it is wholly apparent that Deathstars have, over the space of a dozen years, gone from being pioneers of a subgenre to simply falling into the sound rut occupied by a legion of bands no doubt influenced by their initial success and cool.


There are still impressive moments littered throughout the album - the '80s alt. pop sound of lead track 'All The Devil's Toys', the Type O Negative influence smeared over 'Ghost Reviver' - but there is not one single "wow" moment, not one point in the record's entire running time when you fear for the future of similar bands as they try to compete. Deathstars have, remarkably, fallen back into the pack after spending a lengthy time leading the way - a goth pace setter, if you will.


The album is, as you would expect, almost glistening with pin-sharp production values, but the songs don't always deserve such treatment. A major dissection of each and every track might unearth more and more - and the album certainly grows in stature with every listen - but, in my humble opinion, an album should grab a hold of your rock 'n' roll heart and not let go until you've pressed repeat on your stereo, wanted to form a band, and bought everything from the band in question's back catalogue if you don't already own it. I don't feel that way typing this review with the album playing, again, in the background.


The band has had five and a half years to plan this new album, remember - that is the most disappointing aspect of it all. You can look as cool as you like in your neo-military get-up but if the needle gets dropped at many a random groove on your new record and what comes out sounds unremarkably like Lordi - as much of this new keyboard-centric material does - then you might not be as cool as you think.


'The Perfect Cult', as an album title, is probably the best thing about this new release as it sums up Deathstars in 2014 perfectly: worshipped by devoted followers who will defend the band's honour ferociously; the musical mantra a skewed new world order that, to the rest of us, sounds like something we've heard from every crazy over and over and over again.


Bands like Deathstars always offer an alternative to the status they're threatening to become them.


To pick up your copy of 'The Perfect Cult' - CLICK HERE