Crematory - Monument

Crematory Monument cover
In their long career that extends all the way back to the early 90s, these Germans have come up with 12 studio albums, with this one being the 13th, as well as a few live ones and a few compilations as well.
The point is that following the exit of their guitarist Lothar “Lotte” Först in the late 90s, the band took a radical step from being a melodic death metal band with gothic aspirations to a more EBM/Gothic/Experimental sort of band. They did come to a hiatus early in the millennium but then continued with their “new” sound producing as many experimental albums as they did goth-death.
I’m not sure how well their previous attempt, “Antiserum” (2014), did but I can’t say I was greatly impressed by it, as it was too EBM influenced. “Monument” doesn’t disavow the EBM/Industrial connections, but it really does go and turn up the “metallic” element, with a lot more aggression and distortion creeping back and the band as usual, mixes death and clean parts with the occasional beat and thus re-creates a sound that they have been known back with a serious throwback to their pre millennial selves. The band hasn’t been able to replicate either their debut’s or their peak’s success during the “Awake” & “Act Seven” era and while this “turn” is but an echo of that eras, I suppose it’s much preferred than the largely “tasteless” and generic – majority of the previous post millennial Crematory.
Without being amazing “Monument” after a couple of tracks that aren’t exactly bad, but are probably a little like a small “test” – like the rather rhythmical “Misunderstood” and the German sung “Haus Mit Garten” begins to show it’s true colors and to constantly throwback to the past, despite the “electronic” stuff that’s going on (mainly intros – and a few songs). A song like “Die So Soon” manages to sound like a tamer and more symphonic take on what the band was doing around “Act Seven” as does, the more gothic “Ravens Calling”. There are no real surprises and the album keeps going keeping a certain style and level, until it sort of let’s its defenses down a bit for the closing “Save Me”, a much softer and melodic attempt that would have felt quite out of place if it wasn’t for the quite inspired melodies that it’s based on.
Hmm… 13 isn’t that unlucky for them Germans after all, I guess… old fans might feel an old flame rekindled, while newer ones wouldn’t feel completely out of touch either. Not a bad compromise at all.