Zarathoustra (Cop International)
by Lex Marburger
They do a righteous cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” That’s good. They cover “Rawhide.” That’s bad. So what can I say about Deathline International? They’re stuck somewhere between those two songs. Zarathoustra is an electro-industrial outpouring that can buzzsaw your brain casing at one point, and simply be redundant and silly at others. Sometimes within the same song. I found myself dancing one minute and laughing the next (not with them, but at them).
Not to say the Zarathoustra is a bad album. I could put this on at a party and people would be jumping around, jumping on each other, rending clothes or flesh (depending on the party, but that’s another story). It’s not an album to sit quietly in an armchair and critique (God, I wish I owned an armchair); it’s an album to experience and react to. A touch of guitar, plenty of keyboards, and two Germans singing and ranting about the abyss, pain, blood, hell, greed… You know, the things that make an album great fun to listen to.
Funny thing is, Deathline International say in their liner notes that Zarathoustra is “a message of light and hope” and adorn other spiritual trappings; then they sing about the above topics. They seem slightly too serious to slip in this touch of self-parody on purpose, so the resulting effect is, once again, a raised eyebrow and slight smirk. But in the final mix, Zarathoustra is an album that can stand on its own, or at least it will when they can get over the urge to play industrial versions of TV Western theme songs. What’s next? Bonanza?