Gather around kids, your Minister of Goth is ready to deliver his new sermon of industrial-tinted, I-Be-Bangin’ goth metal. Are you ready to be enlightened? Let us pray.
In the world of industrial rock, Gothminister is a staple name. Taking the goth side of things all the way, Gothminister is led by Bjørn Alexander Brem’s bass-baritone voice belting low-growl goth anthems all to the tune of crunchy guitars and banging beats. The Other Side is the band’s fifth album.
Before anything else, let’s get this out of the way: The Other Side is shiny. It’s not the crushed velvet, it’s the PVC latex with its slick production that squeaks with every move. The guitars are crunchy and polished, the drums hit hard, the bass holds the structure up quite nicely and with contribution from the synthesizers the entire, ongoing rebellion in the heart of darkness revolves around the vocals. This quality of the album also meshes organically with the prevailing quality of the album and melds into one anthemic, fist-raised, shout-it-from-the-rooftops, industrial-tinted goth metal.
Also, The Other Side is very lite on the industrial part. Sure, there is more than just a little Deutsche Neue Harte in Gothminister, and it’s not a secret that industrial metal is often a tough balancing act between the industrial and the metal of it. The Other Side is way closer to the metal end of the spectrum, so much so that only the overall feel is industrial, and synthesizers are used minimally, as embellishments, albeit to great effect. Less is more.
The Other Side can be described with one word: anthemic. It’s all about the hard-hitting verses and soaring choruses that give songs wings to fly. This is demonstrated quite aptly in the balls-to-the-wall opening track, Ich Will Alles. The song does what every good opener should do and gets things rolling full-force, exemplifying everything that is to come but offering a comfortable enough introduction. It’s upbeat tempo, the rising chorus, the movement and the energy all prevail throughout The Other Side and make it seem like the album is tailor-fitted to spike the adrenaline of the listener.
Of course, there are exceptions. Aegir is a notable one. The track stands out not because it is exceptionally better than the others, it stands out because its mood is just too skewed to go along with the rest of the album. It’s a power balladish number that tries to be a bit more positive but all it achieves is a pale imitation of the feeling and so, appropriately, it pales. The thing to remember is that the rest of the album manages to be uplifting and the choruses quicken the pulse, all without trying to hard. Day of Reckoning is a good example of how things can go right in this respect, and in comparison, Aegir is a mis-step in an otherwise seamless record.
When all is said and done, The Other Side is just a solid album. It’s not exceptional, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel and is not the last word in industrial, metal, rock, goth, or any other genre it pools together in a coherent whole. That’s the thing – it doesn’t need to. If anything I’ve mentioned is your thing, then you probably already know what Gothminister is all about. The Other Side is unlikely to break it, but the curious thing about it is that the album can make it. Well worth a listen.
Bjørn Alexander Brem – lead vocals, programming, instruments
Christian Svendsen – drums
Glenn Nilsen – guitars
Ketil Eggum – guitars
01. Ich Will Alles
02. The Other Side – The Sun
03. Der Fliegende Mann
05. The Red Christ
06. The Other Side – We Are the Ones Who Rule the World
07. All This Time
08. Taking Over
09. Somewhere in Time
10. Day of Reckoning