Originally formed in 1988, Still Patient? released their first album, “Salamand”, in 1992. Considered to be a stalwart pillar of the German gothic rock scene in the 90’s Still Patient? broke up in 1999 after producing five albums and performing many successful shows.
In 2012, Andy Koa, the original and current lead singer felt it was time to bring back Still Patient? and rework some of their songs to be the way they had originally wanted them while also writing and recording new material. The next year they were invited to perform at Wave Gotik Treffen 2013 and have been continuing to perform, create new music, and make beautiful videos since. The current members of Still Patient? are Andy Koa (vocals & programming), Bec Kes (guitars), Pogue-O (guitars), and Guido (Bass).
Released May 18th, 2018 on Dark Dimensions Label Group, “Zeitgeist Weltschmertz” reflects the maturity gained during the band’s 14 year break and explores both expansive and introspective topics. The title of the album sets the mood of the world-weary feeling of the current times. Literally, the title of the album means the mood of the current age (Zeitgeist) is a melancholy that cannot be sated by the materialism of the world today (weltschmertz).
It would be easy for Still Patient? to go back to the old days where they created the gothic rock sound that made them so popular in the 90’s German goth scene, picking up where they left off as if there were no break at all. It would be so easy to ride the wave of nostalgia that so many are tapping into and the fans are snapping up hungrily asking for more. It would be easy but it wouldn’t be Still Patient? if they chose that path. Instead, they offer a full-length release that takes us through a journey laced with social injustice, heartache, and deeply personal reflection that honors their past while standing solidly in the present.
The sonic landscape of “Zeitgeist Weltschmertz” comes on strong with heavy rock guitars layered with classic gothic guitar riffs continuing throughout the album creating continuity that makes this album a cohesive work. Still Patient? manages to create a lush gothic rock sound, heavy on the rock. There is no compromise when it comes to the guitars, they are leading us exactly where the band wants us to go, and oh, we WANT to go there! The bass supports and lifts the songs adding to the overall feeling of pushing ever forward, sometimes going light and all but disappearing into the guitars only to drop down and add a heaviness that satisfies something almost visceral.
Let’s take a look at the tracks from Zeitgeist Weltschmertz:
The Ghost of Tides - Opening the album with a single guitar, The Ghost of Tides brings in each instrumental layer and building to a crash that starts the song and overall mood of the album. This track is about those ghost of your past that have a way of coming back to you when you least expect them to and there is no escape because they are part of you. Moving forward while still using the descending gothic rock sound the lyric repeats , “There is no way in, there is no way out…” there is still a somehow hopeful sound punctuated by razor-sharp rock guitar playing.
Drag Me Down - We get a treat with a nice bass line starting off Drag Me Down and guitar riffs that stay just this side of metal while psychedelic pick dragging gives this tune a feeling close to being spun in the middle of a merry-go-round. Temptation is almost palpable in the feeling of the lyrics as they call to ecclesiatic mythos in the struggle to resist while still giving in to that bestial part of ourselves.
In The Name - Hard driving from the start the chopping guitars change key but keep that energy throughout the song, punctuating the more harshly sung chorus. In The Name addresses the perversion of religion to control the masses and force needless sacrifice and bloodshed. With the desolation of falling prey to religious corruption and turn on each other, In The Name ends with the lyric, “There is no god like this to follow, spreading hope with promises to borrow” throwing back the false promises made to gain control.
The Man - An ominous synth track sits at the bottom of The Man as rock guitar reminiscent of the early 80’s sneaks in to open up to a more modern sound that brings in it contemporary dark rock sound. This song isn’t about a specific historical figure, it is a conglomeration of the many who have been exalted as a savior only to be turned to a scapegoat when they bring corruption to light. With strong rock guitars backing the periodically scratching vocals, the breaks featuring the bass bring home the chorus “Burn, let him burn” making this song smoother than expected with its different textures.
Metropolis (Schwefel Tribute) - , Originally released in 1987 by Schwefel, ‘Metropolis’ is a tribute to Norbert Schwefel. Based on the 1927 masterpiece film ‘Metropolis’, the hard-driving guitars and aggressive bass tell the story of the workers in their lower city rising up against the capitalists in their lofty towers while also referencing the robot impostor of the iconic Maria, a saintlike character that fails to stop the uprising. Saxophone brings home a feeling of not only the original song by Schwefel but also a sonorous sound of inner strife, the catharsis of head and hands being brought together with the heart.
My Darkness Divine - From the first melancholy notes, My Darkness Divine takes us to the place of deep introspection where understanding and illumination are born. Melodic guitars combine with smooth, uplifting bass which keeps this track darkly beautiful without getting bogged down, giving it an almost elegant feel that is relatable to anyone who creates. “So nice to need you, so nice to meet you” calls in a somber voice to us at our lowest times showing the path to inspiration.
Breathe II - One of two remakes of earlier Still Patient? tracks, Breathe II shows what years of maturity can do for a song. From the strong guitar line leading the song in, the overall sound is more full which feels like it should have been this way all along. Without the echo on the vocals, they feel effortless, more free to show the emotion of a lost love. Dynamic drum tracks, forward-reaching base, and classic gothic rock guitar breathe new life into this track.
Hell and Back - As a nice change we hear some sound effects similar to a spooky cartoon opening and throughout the track. This isn’t a mistake, Hell and Back is about Andy Koa’s son and the health struggles at the beginning of his young life. As possibly the song with the most driving forward motion, it manages to convey a hopefulness echoed in the heavy rock guitars and fast drums.
Misery Galore - With a bit of 80’s style psychedelic guitar leading the way, this commentary on the trend of grotesque caricatures being voted in to the offices of world leaders weaves an almost cacophonous web around the listener. Using multiple vocal tracks, near-screaming guitars, stark drums, and sped up bass, this track leaves its harsh mark and the ear worm, “A sick fucker, that’s what you are” scratching at your brain.
Ellum II - The second remade track, this time from “Chameleon” (1996), Ellum II is based on Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The Vampire” which in turn, is written for a painting of a famous actress at whose feet a man is worshiping. Keeping the opening tympany but making the guitar less metal and more rock works well for this remake. While there is less difference overall with this track aside from it being much more polished and cohesive, the vocals stand out as the biggest difference as they are smoother with most of the echo removed adding additional balance to it.
The Last Chime - Heavy bass defines this song about loss and saying good-bye. The tune stays low with the guitar and piano giving it a depth to support its serious nature. Gently muted, this tune is more quiet during the verses leaving the more sonorous parts to the chorus making this track the most fluid on the album.
Zeitgeist Weltschmertz - The title track of the album is at once mournful and bitter, the hopeful tone of previous songs is gone. Though sonically Zeitgeist Weltschmertz has many bright tones, they don’t interfere with the frustration of the overall idea. Singing of apathy, anger, frustration, sadness, and hopelessness, the track still manages to keep the momentum that is the overall sonic theme of the album while also encompassing the range of depth making it an excellent title track.
Gimme Tears - Simple and beautiful, the final song on “Zeitgeist Weltschmertz” closes the journey by bringing down the energy from driving momentum to a place of deep contemplation. The guitar glides over more muted base and drum allowing the fluid vocals to carry the tune until it is time to build the crescendo. Toward the end the instrumentation becomes wider and sharper, the drums pushing upward the guitars edging in to more psychedelic sounds, atmospheric sounds added building up and up to even out blending in to a wall of sound that fades away in to the darkness leaving you satisfied just as a good album should.
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