Ost+Front – Ava Maria by Victoria Fenbane

Rating: 2/5
Distributor/label: Out Of Line Music

Band line-up:
Herrmann Ostfront – Vocals
Gernhardt von Brüh – Guitar
Siegfried Helm – Guitar
Wilhelm Rotlauf – Bass
Eva Edelweiß – Keyboard and Percussion
Fritz Knacker – Drums

1. 911
2. Ich Liebe Es
3. Dawaj Dawaj
4. Heimat Erde
5. Ein Alter Mann
6. Gang Bang
7. 1&1
8. Nur Fuer Dich
9. Heimkind
10. Fleisch
11. Dein Kanal
12. Denkelied

According to their press release Germans Ost+Front present themselves ‘like the evil brother of the famous German band that has re-popularized the rolling “r” and take us to an apocalyptic world of masquerade, hatred, scorn and unbridled sins of the flesh’. That band would be the world famous Rammstein, the obvious comparison of Ost+Front’ Neue Deutsche Härte sound. But are they just another Rammstein clone? Er….yes….Unfortunately it is near impossible review this album without mentioning Rammstein at every turn. It is a shame that this is a barrier to hearing this well produced release on its own merits. But Rammstein got there first and did it so very well. However to give the new guys a fair chance here’s a synopsis of what Ava Maria contains:

Opener ‘911’ is punctuated with cries of ‘Jihad’ which makes one think of the ‘Sisterhood’ song of the same name. With this whole release being in German, and this reviewer possessing (mostly forgotten) schoolgirl German, one assumes 911 is a reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and not the emergency phone number. Perhaps a few political shock rock tactics? Anyway, it is strong start to the album and draws the fans of the genre in further.

‘Ich Leibe Es’ has a similar in structure to Rammstein’s ‘Engel’ and that is the last direct comparison I will use here because it is far too easy. The video to this particular song caused the production of the bonus-DVD for the limited edition of “Ave Maria” to be delayed, due to the original cut being deemed too shocking to for even an 18+ rating by German censors. Probably the stand out song of the album.

‘Heimat Erde’ is one of more interesting songs, being heavier than most, and possessing a cold wave Industrial sound with synths. Here they have a sound more of their own.

‘Gang Bang’ (guessing sexually explicit lyrics here) starts with a slightly Eastern sound but otherwise doesn’t stand out.

‘1&1’ has a synth intro not to be expected due to the cloned sound of everything else, so it is a shame that it comes across as a filler.

‘Nur Fuer Dich’ is a long ballad with hints of Type O vocally. Would be nice to hear more of this style

‘Heimkind’ is heavily laden with sounds of the ‘other band’. Not much else can be said here.

‘Fleisch’ is a great metal song with a ‘Kovenant’ vibe.

By the time we get to ‘Dein Kanal’ and ‘Denkelied’ you are hearing much of the same.

Ost+Front are very good but their lack of effort to not distinguish themselves (or conscious decision to be a clone) lets them down massively. There are elements here which are their own, however not enough to make them identifiable in a blind listen. Furthermore they don’t enamour even the biggest Rammstein fan into repeated listening; nothing here is as catchy, however it is less cheesy than the newer material. If you feel you have a shortage of Rammstein material in you collection, this is for you, otherwise it will just make you crave the original.

I look forward to Ost+Front’s second album, which I hope would be an expansion of the good points above.