Richard Z. Kruspe, lead guitarist of famed industrial metal band Rammstein, started his side project, Emigrate, in 2005 during a brief hiatus. For those who find Rammstein too noisy and unpredictable, Emigrate is a way to be cool without compromising your principles. Kruspe does a terrific job of including elements of industrial metal (bass-heavy pounding beats – electronic and analog alike – wild synth sounds, mechanized guitars and jarring volume shifts) while keeping the songs within reach of the casual listener. Sophmore album, Silent So Long, also benefits from a roster of guest starts who make the most of their opportunities.
Album opener “Eat You Alive” features Seeed frontman Frank Delle in a supporting role, but his voice rounds out the sound, accompanying Kruspe’s comparatively safe vocals. The song rocks from all angles; the main riff rocks, the swing beat rocks and the chorus hits on all cylinders. Canadian electronic music star Peaches takes the lead on “Get Down,” a song that never goes to 10 but doesn’t need to, especially in light of the next track, “Rock City.” This is a monster of a tune with rollicking drums and exquisitely executed vocals by none other than Lemmy Kilmister, sounding almost too sinister and authoritative for Emigrate (one can imagine chants of “we’re not worthy” repeated in the studio). Marilyn Manson joins Kruspe on “Hypothetical,” again showing the best of what this project can accomplish with the right staff.
Having used up his favors, the subsequent songs on Silent So Long lack the appeal of these initial four. Kruspe ships from a song-centric style to one that relies on layers and manufactured dynamics to attempt to make them more interesting, even if it’s not necessary. The opening stanza on “Giving Up” is strong enough to hold its own, but the added effects detract from the quality rather than enhance it. By the time a guest returns (in the person of Dirty Mary’s Margaux Bossieux), the listener’s interest may have waned. The talent in Emigrate is strong, but it could benefit from a boost of confidence, which perhaps the success of the better tracks on this album can provide.