Cold In Berlin’s goth punk music is angry and belligerent, a dark thread running through the 11 songs on the album. It combines a punk attitude with instrumentation that is at once harsh and – conversely – somewhat restrained. The band seethes, forever ready to explode into violent displays of playing, delivering the kind of music that almost certainly attracts a dangerous crowd.
The performance of the four piece combines angst, temper and passion; and for an ostensibly ‘punk’ band the musicianship is pretty sophisticated: three chord wonders they are not. Instead, Cold In Berlin play with dynamics, letting loose whenever the mood takes them, while holding back wherever the song requires it.
This is not an album of sub-2 minute songs, all-out attacks on the listener and instruments alike. Instead each song is well written and considered, heaviness and melody combining effectively, but always apparently on the ragged edge. Each song looks at the world from a somewhat darker perspective, the inverted cross that forms part of the band’s name on the front cover of the album giving us clues to that.
So how do these songs work? Well, “…and The Darkness Bangs” uses heavy bass and harsh guitars while the production gives the drums a feeling of immediacy. Interesting name for a song too; in the world of Cold In Berlin, darkness does not simply fall: it bangs. The song has a particularly good guitar sound and the whole thing comes to a terrific climax following excellent use of dynamics throughout.
“The Visionary” sounds like a chant or incantation, with echoes of the old fashioned about it while still being very much a product of now. Its sound verges on the sinister, as if summoned from somewhere within the psyche you would not normally go. “Take Control” starts with heavy instruments which are then joined by the powerful vocals. If there’s one thing that defines the sound of Cold In Berlin, and makes it what it is, it’s the performance of female vocalist, Maya. In the past there have been criticisms of her use of words some people might find uncomfortable or offensive, but really this is a band for the open minded (look at the imagery on the cover, for goodness sake) and one hopes that this kind of knee jerk reactionary response is a thing of the past. The lyrics are one part of the total performance and, however powerful, should be seen it that context, not isolated and treated as somehow a thing on their own. Besides which, I think we’re all adults here…
In summary then, “And Yet” is a dark, angry album with a punk attitude and an altogether unconventional view on the world. There are unexpected complexities within, along with some powerful performances. Sometimes music soothes the savage beast, while at other times it wakes him by repeatedly poking him in the chest. There are days when you want quiet and relaxing; but sometimes only loud, angry and more than a little bit dangerous will do. And on those days, Cold In Berlin is the answer.