Emigrate | Spinefarm Records | 11/18 | Score: 7/10
▣ By Anthony Coy
New Music Alert! This is a special one too. The “sechs months of feuer” as I’m calling it has begun! Richard Kruspe’s side gig, Emigrate, released their new effort “A Million Degrees” today. Rammstein is due to drop their new album in the spring, and reports of Till Lindemann’s side gig lovingly called Lindemann is rumored to be out in April. We’ll handle all that fan girling when the time comes, because today is about Emigrate!
Richard has always been the Rammstein member who was always looking for advancement. He wants records, he wants tours, he wants to be busy. Not everyone in the band feels the same so as a creative outlet, Richard starting writing songs himself with then wife, Caron Bernstein. With a collection of friends, the self-titled debut released in 2007. As a Rammstein uber fan, I can comment on the reception. Casual Rammstein fans brushed it off as a terrible record but real Rammstein fans, like myself, took it for what it was. This was not a Rammstein album and if compared to one, would fall short every time. The album featured Kruspe as the sole vocalist which was the pain point for a lot of casual listeners. Richard could most definitely speak English but having been back up vocals and lead guitarist for so long, he didn’t have the vocal skills of someone who was doing it fulltime. I personally had a great time listening to the album because you can pick out where his ideas are placed in Rammstein jams based on the riffs he has 100% control over.
Having heard the feedback, the second release “Silent So Long” featured multiple guest vocalists including Korn front man Jonathan Davis, a man needing no lead in, Lemmy Kilmister, and Jon Lovitz cosplayer, Marilyn Manson. The music was more polished, the guest vocals added another level previously unseen, and Richard’s vocals were also far improved. Fast forward to now and we’ve got A Million Degrees, another upgrade to the Emigrate persona. This album felt like It came out of nowhere to me. I caught an Instagram post with a short video and a number 4. The countdown continued and on D-Day, a video for 1,2,3,4 was released for the world to see! It was our first glimpse into the new album and features Ben Kowalewicz from Billy Talent on guest vocals. It’s a high energy party song that calls “Eins, zwei, drei, vier everybody down” in the chorus. As could be expected, the studio quality is superb.
The opening track “War” is heavily reinforced with synth and crescendos into the chorus nicely. “1234” is the next track and as described above, is much quicker pace than the opening track. Also heavy with synth, Ben and Richard take turns in the verse and the chorus is a gang vocal section. The title track “A Million Degrees” starts with a soft synth and choir intro that Richard sings onto. The verse picks up into a funky jazz guitar riff and rolls into a fuller sonic wall of the funky riff in the chorus. Margaux Bossieux guest vocals on the duet “Lead You On”. This is, in my opinion, her best addition yet as she also sang a song on the previous release. The second prerelease song “You are so beautiful” Is a rock love ballad you’d expect to hear in a rom-com which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary as one of his original singles was featured in a Resident Evil film. “Hide and Seek” features a stripped tom drum and bass line verse with a full chorus. Nothing of huge note with this track. “We Are Together” starts with a circus driven glockenspiel line reminiscent of “Spieluhr.” When the chorus finally kicks in, the vocal melody follows a minor scale and almost still feels like the carnival for me, but it works very well. “Let’s Go” is the song I was waiting for to be honest. Bandmate Till joins this track for guest vocals. Hearing Till on a new song just made my morning. His verse is in German, but they gang vocal the chorus in English. Unremarkable song in other aspects but hearing them together on a new song makes the whole album if it didn’t stand on its own otherwise. “I’m not afraid” features guest vocals from Ghost vocalist Cardinal Copia. This track follows the albums formula of slower synth intro which picks up for the chorus. “Spitfire” again follows the song formula used in many other tracks. “Eyes Fade Away” is another ballad-esque track following the aforementioned formula.
Two videos have already been released for the 2 pre-release tracks, 1234 and You Are So Beautiful. Check those out below! Taking the album for what it is, compared to the previous ones, I’m personally calling this 7/10. The first was very cohesive, the second was very different with a lot of guest vocalists, and this one is a culmination of both. Great songs, great quality, though I’m planning on going into a coma until Rammstein is here.
3. A Million Degrees
4. Lead You On
5. You Are So Beautiful
6. Hide And Seek
7. We Are Together
8. Let’s Go
9. I’m Not Afraid
11. Eyes Fade Away
Check out the videos, check out the album, check out our site, and keep an eye open for my Mexican adventures coming soon!