Gotta say those Germans sure know how to bring varying styles together to good effect. A Life Divided do this with great aplomb throughout their fourth studio album, The Great Escape. It’s a retro-fitted piece of new romantic, electro rock with a commercial feel and some gothic undertones thrown in for good measure.
Opening track The Lost carries the essence of Rammstein with a hefty dose of Nine Inch Nails, undercut with a commercial vibe that runs through the whole album. Jurgen Plangger’s mainstream rock vocals sit perfectly against some thumping electro-riffs and synth. It’s a powerful start to the album and carried through into next track, It Ain’t Good, at a galloping pace.
With Clouds of Glass slamming the brakes on and into a late 80s, early 90s vibe, it’s an anthemic electro-ballad that makes me think of Savage Garden, especially the harmonies in the vocals. Current single The Last Dance has a catchy disco backbeat running through it before it kicks into a Rob Zombie-esque thundering riff wrapped around the chorus. It’s a track that certainly wouldn’t be out of place in any nightclub and brings to mind the vampire club scene in Blade 2. Perfect choice for a single for them.
Game Over brings in more of those deliciously huge chunky riffs but in brief rations along with a background sample that brings to mind halcyon days of playing Turrican on the Amiga (and when you hear the song you’ll know where I’m coming from and understand the reference). The song builds to a raucous end before the album takes us on a real trip back in time with Feel, a track that pulls me back to the 80s and bands like Depeche Mode and Gary Numan at the height of their powers.
The album continues through this tour de force of electro-rock to its end. From the pace of Perfect Day and Goodbye, to the middle-eastern undertones of Foreign Rain, to the Simple Minds styled Wait for Me, A Life Divided aren’t afraid to wear their influences proudly on their sleeves or mix things up.
My only gripe with this album is that it’s perhaps a few songs too long. Goodbye, for me, would have been a fitting close to it. It’s a pounding track that once again brings that Rammstein styled heavy riffage together perfectly with a soaring chorus and while they do lean towards the heavier side of things again with On The Edge, I’m finding myself thinking I’ve heard the structure and feel of this already on the album. Space, and final track If You Want To, sadly make me feel that the album has run out of steam as it comes to a slow end with a real ecclectic mix of samples, vocals and percussion.
I loved this album up to a point, and if you’re into the likes of Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie and all things electronica it’s likely to float your boat too.
The Great Escape is released on 18 January 2013 via AFM Records.
1. The Lost
2. It Ain’t Good
3. Clouds of Glass
4. The Last Dance
5. Game Over
7. Perfect Day
8. Foreign Rain
9. Wait for Me
11. On the Edge
13. If You Want To
A LIFE DIVIDED are:
Jurgen Plangger – vocals
Korl Fuhrmann – Drums
Tobi Egger – Bass
Mike Hofstatter – Guitar
Tony Berger – Guitar
Erik Damkohler – Programming, Keyboard, Guitar