Review: Absurd Minds – Serve or Suffer

The one clear designation Serve or Suffer wins, right off the bat, is “most comically Teutonic album in recent memory. Perhaps the worst thing you can say about a band that takes themselves as seriously as Absurd Minds is silly, and yet all too often this album feels just that.

Absurd Minds are a German EBM band with a lot of interesting history, peaking with 2003’s very solid The Focus. The difficulty comes when one starts to listen to a lot of the band’s material and it becomes clear just how limited their range really is. You would be hard pressed to find an electronic band with this many songs that sound like each other. Serve or Suffer is much the same and it suffers from being the latest collection of “more of the same”.  The melodies aren’t bad, and on some tracks when the beats kick in it often sounds like something interesting may be coming along, and then Stefan Grobmann’s vocal comes in and the mood is broken. All due respect to Grobmann but he is a vocalist of very narrow ability and a voice that begins to grate after more than a couple of songs. As a result, even songs with a promising beginning peter out into the most cliched EBM puddles.

There are exceptions to the rule. “Tear it Down” bubbles along and makes one want to move, complete with it’s catchy, if derivative keyboard hook; “Interconnectedness” is a lovely, catchy tune that eschews the “bang-bang, bass gooood!” mentality that plagues this album and almost purrs; and “The King” is a weird, experimental song that is the best thing on the album, with great programmed drums that take enough of the edge off to let the melody peek its head through.

But these are pearls amidst the silt of drudgery like “Countdown” or the laughable “S[hell]s which is meant to make the band sound tough but ends up making them look like people performing in a make believe EBM band acting the way they believed a band like this would act in real life – and not quite pulling it off. We’ve heard Absurd Minds at their best and know what they’re capable but on Serve or Suffer the plot has been lost somewhere along the suffering trail…

Watch: The King (live)

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2 Responses to “Review: Absurd Minds – Serve or Suffer”

  1. Found your blog while looking for a review of this album. Most everyone on lastfm and elsewhere seem to love this album. While i’m a HUGE fan of The Focus, i think Serve or Suffer is largely forgettable crap. I’m also not too impressed with the rest of their catalog either. Anyways, your review reflects my own sentiments. I also read your last post about Depeche Mode and again, I agreed with pretty much everything. So yeah, I’m going to bookmark your blog and check in every once in awhile because you seem like a reviewer I can trust 🙂

    Keep up the great blog!

  2. Galaxian Driver Says:

    A good LP, way better than any others… indeed !!

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