Since the band was founded in 2016, I have treated Schattenmann as a 3rd-tier project. And their designation of the style as “NDH 2.0” that was supposed to mean “NDH of the new generation” in the interpretation of the musicians, was perceived only as a designation of the secondary nature of the material. But the band has been quite active since then, and now, after only 5 years from the moment of the release of their first teasers, where it was proposed to guess whose project it would be (here Frank Herzig – the band frontman – seems to have overestimated the level of his fame), we are already talking about the 3rd album by Schattenmann.
So what does “Chaos” offer us? Apart from a short intro, the album consists of 14 tracks, some of which the band released as singles. By the way, none of them made any impression on me, except for a featured track with J.B.O. And thanks to the old guys that they still have gas in their tank, because it was this single that made me, if not look forward to the album, then at least have an increased interest in it. “Spring” (this is the name of the featured track) is a groovy, energetic alternative metal, a little old-school and therefore even more cool. And the vocals of Vito and Hannes fit perfectly. As a result, “Spring” remained my favorite track on the album, and indeed among the entire discography of the band. But let’s go back to the beginning of the album and take a closer look at the new Schattenmann material.
The album opens with the title track called “Chaos”, which immediately knocks down the listener with a powerful, driving guitar riff suspiciously reminiscent of the track called “Eisbrecher – Verrueckt”. Of course, I am sure: the guitar riff from “Eisbrecher – Verrueckt” track is able to make any song sound great, but when the title track of the album is such a shameless rip-off, it does not add points to the musicians` total score. If you don’t pay attention to this incident, then “Chaos” is quite a good rock hit. It is followed by “Abschaum” (as far as I remember, it was released as one of the singles of the record). In my opinion, there are things on the album that would suit this role better, and in “Abschaum” I can only mention a sudden change in rhythm to a very cool guitar riff that lasts 15 seconds… Where was this riff before and why Schattenmann came to such a compositional solution remains a mystery to me.
The album is continued by an unimpressive Deutsch-Rock track called “Extrem”. In general, of course, there is noticeably more of Deutsch-Rock mixed with Alternative Rock on the album than of NDH itself, which is confirmed by the next track – “Alles auf Anfang”. But we will dwell on this point later, but for now let’s move on to a couple of singles: “Choleriker” and “Cosima”. The vocal melody in the verses of “Choleriker” stubbornly reminds me of something else, but I just can`t remember what it is… Overall, this is a pretty typical NDH hit that flies out of your head almost immediately after listening to it for the first time, despite the band`s evident desire to create some kind of “Ohrwurm” (a melody that is difficult to get out of your head despite your strong desire). But a more alternative-pop song called “Cosima” copes with this task better, and musically it is still more interesting. It seems to me that it was reasonable to release this track as a single.
Next comes my personal highlight of the record – the track called “Spring”, but I’ve already said enough about it – we can go straight to “Amnestie”. Of course, after the two previous bangers, “Amnestie” sounds rather dull, but objectively, this is another very good Alternative Metal track. But the next track called “Voodoo” promisingly starts with an “ethnic” percussion intro that is followed by a driving, pulsating riff. If Frank hadn’t yelled the whole song like a real Deutsch Rocker at a beer fest, the song would have been much more interesting.
Next there will be the most ironic songs on the album – “Alman”. And I can also add it to the list of my favorites simply for its healthy irony, for the lightness of the mood, for the rhythmic pattern that makes you bang your head in time, and atypicality for Schattenmann; these are the reasons why it receives such a status. As for the track called “Wir gehorchen nicht”, it has one of the coolest choruses on the album. This is a completely unobtrusive, but pleasant composition. And in my humble opinion it would be perfect to complete the album. But for some reason, “Wir gehorchen nicht” is followed by “IYFF” (“In Your Fuckin` Face”). In all respects, this is a completely trivial track, both musically and lyrically. Well, if I have already named the best track on the album, then I can call “IYFF” to be the worst one. The ballad song called “Jetzt oder nie” doesn’t really save the situation. And the album closes with a completely Deutsch-Rock song called “Komplett auf Anschlag”, which does not even try to disguise itself as an Alternative-Rock or NDH track. This is a pure Deutsch-Rock track, in which the band feels the most organic, I think.
Now it’s time to come back to the issue of stylistic definition of the record. Whatever the band itself thinks about it, “Chaos” is much more an Alternative-Rock/Deutsch-Rock album than an NDH one. And from this point of view, it is really a good record. Perhaps, for me personally, the vector in which the band is developing is not always close, but this is a true fact that the band is improving. Moreover, I still believe that (no offense to the guys) they do not have any exceptional talent, but they have such crazy energy and a desire to do better what they like. And as it seems to me, such hard work and dedication are worthy of encouragement. My rating for the record is a solid 7 out of 10. And, for sure, “Chaos” is the band’s best album to date.
- Band: Schattenmann
- Album: Chaos
- Genre: Alternative-Rock/Deutsch-Rock
- Country: Deutschland
- Release: November 05, 2021
- Label: AFM Records
- Facebook Page: facebook.com/schattenmannband
- Buy: afm-records.de
Reviewer Score: 7 out of 10
Author: Irgend Jemand, specially for the NDH FM Online
Translated by Yuri Kudryavtsev.