Solo projects are something of a lottery – whilst allowing an artist the freedom to express their own musical direction in a way they can’t with their main band, the natural comparison to the works of their main project will be inevitable. Spare a thought, therefore, for Richard Z. Kruspe. Although having released a quite brilliant debut album with Emigrate in 2007, the guitarist from teutonic pyromaniacs Rammstein will forever be associated with the military stomp and the dark lyrics that have, ahem, set the world ablaze. With the Germans on hiatus for the time being it has allowed Kruspe the time to revive Emigrate and release the long-awaited follow up, ‘Silent So Long’.
Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room – if you’re expecting an industrial metal album then you’ll be disappointed. In fact, apart from the opening to My Pleasure, if you’re looking for anything on here remotely like Rammstein then you might as well stop reading this review. What we have here is a smorgasbord of different elements that ultimately join forces to create a sound more focused on American hard rock than anything else. It’s also, as with the first record, in English and not German, with Richard’s sprawling vocals getting under your skin and making you shiver, especially on Born on My Own. There are also a number of guest slots on here, the most impressive being Korn’s Jonathan Davis on the title track and closing song – you don’t actually realise it’s him until the chorus kicks in. Elsewhere, the indestructible Lemmy lends his voice to fast-paced Rock City, electronic artist Peaches sings on the schizophrenic Get Down and, for the Marilyn Manson-esque Hypothetical, the man himself reminds us that he can still pack a punch with a great vocal performance.
What’s great to see is that Emigrate are definitely not looking to tag along in the shadow of their frontman’s more illustrious career; rather, they want to step into the sunlight and be appreciated for what they are and not what they’re linked with. It might take another album to cement that down, but for now this is a big step in the right direction.
Richard Z. Kruspe – lead guitar, vocals
Olsen Involfini – rhythm guitar
Arnaud Giroux – bass, backing vocals
Mikko Sirén – drums
Eat You Alive (featuring Frank Dellé)
Get Down (featuring Peaches)
Rock City (featuring Lemmy)
Hypothetical (featuring Marilyn Manson)
Born On My Own
Happy Times (featuring Margaux Bossieux)
Silent So Long (featuring Jonathan Davis)