Emigrate – A Million Degrees
Released: November 30th, 2018
Richard Z. Kruspe // Vocals, Lead Guitar, Keyboards
Olsen Involtini // Rhythm Guitar
Arnaud Giroux // Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mikko Sirén // Drums
For any musician part of a successful band who venture on their own to create their own music, is difficult. When you are well known as the guitarist of Germany’s most successful Industrial band, one that have inspired the term for a new genre of music, Neue Deutsche Härte, it will always be a challenge for people to separate your passion project from the parent band. So, in all fairness to Richard Z Kruspe and the rest of Emigrate, comparisons to Rammstein will be kept to a minimal, cause really, if you are looking for Rammstein 2.0 you are in the wrong place.
Emigrate started in 2005 as a way for Kruspe to create more personal music that he could have greater control over and 2018 sees the release of the band’s third album, A Million Degrees. Kicking off with ‘War’ the song opens with an atmospheric industrial sound with backing vocals singing “war”. Layered guitar work, backing vocals and keyboards creates a full, bombastic sound that culminates in an impressive guitar solo before leading back to the catchy chorus. ‘1234’ begins with a driving drum beat before guest vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz from Billy Talent begins singing. The song, the first single, is a toe tapping rock song that uses reverb and sound effects to create a slightly otherworldly feel, while also incorporating a rockabilly guitar solo.
‘A Million Degrees’ electronica opening signals that this album embraces a variety of musical elements, before building to the guitar and drums, leading to the rock and roll chorus. Margaux Bossieux guest vocals on ‘Lead You On’, that again, uses the keyboards to introduce the song before the drums and guitars kick in. Bossieux’s girlish soft voice plays nicely over the electronica verses, while Kruspe comes in to sing as the guitar ups the ante during the chorus. ‘You Are So Beautiful’ is a traditional rock ballad, which would not be out of place at Eurovision (which is by no means an insult, because I love my Eurovision!). ‘Hide and Seek’ includes a very traditional rock and roll drum beat, that uses guitar sparingly but effectively along with sound effects to create a grandiose sound, that culminates in the bridge that showcases Kruspe’s imposing guitar work before a key change, which always creates drama within any song. ‘We Are Together’ takes things back, opening and closing with an electronic lullaby noise before the drums kick in one minute into the song. Once again, the song includes a guitar bridge that uses power chords to create the atmosphere. ‘We Are Together’ does not quite tie together as Kruspe’s vocals miss the mark, which takes the audience out of the song, as rather than being poignant and impassioned, it comes across as slightly creepy and unsettling.
‘Let’s Go’ is the furthest from a Rammstein song as you can get, with its electronica drum beat and sound, which is probably the point, as Rammstein’s Till Lindemann guests vocals on the song, with Kruspe singing a verse in English, Lindemann singing a verse in German, before they both duet together. It will certainly be a surprise to Rammstein fans, but it works fairly well. ‘I’m Not Afraid’ is underpinned by an echo-y 80’s dance beat, that uses layered vocals to build to the chorus, before ending with a powerful drum beat and a Gregorian-type chant, seguing into some heavy metal power chords. ‘Spitfire’ encapsulates the stereotypical rock spirit through its guitar work and chant friendly chorus, while the album finishes with a slow rock ballad ‘Eyes Fade Away’.
A Million Degrees is a solid rock album that combines a variety of other genres and their sounds into its eleven tracks. Emigrate are a musician’s band, the band’s ability to play their instruments are impressive and Richard Z. Kruspe’s superior guitar playing is extraordinary. Lyrically the band is sound, especially considering English is Kruspe’s second language. However, Kruspe’s vocals are what lets the band down, they suffice for most of the album, but a singer of greater capabilities would really lift Emigrate’s sound.
Emigrate – A Million Degrees tracklisting
2. 1234 feat. Benjamin Kowalewicz and Ian D’Sa
3. A Million Degrees
4. Lead You On feat. Margaux Bossieux
5. You Are So Beautiful
6. Hide and Seek
7. We Are Together
8. Let’s Go feat. Till Lindemann
9. I’m Not Afraid feat. Cardinal Copia
11. Eyes Fade Away