I was not sure what to expect from this album - on one hand, I wasn't all that excited about "kiss the shadow" that appeared to lose some of the beauty of earlier band's sound, on the other hand I was very impressed with controlled fusion that created a solid interesting ebm that managed to incorporate enough of interesting elements in its sound to become a refreshing surprise for the dead classic ebm scene.
it is interesting to compare this new cd to latest controlled fusion; seems like the sound of both bands is moving closer to each other. as for comparisons with old in strict confidence sound, the trend indicated by "kiss the shadow" continues - torn beauty of first releases that I cherished so much got replaced by still melodic but a lot more fast-paced electro. this is a change that will take me a while to get used to, but I already do appreciate the majority of the songs on this album - strong tracks with prominent percussion and trademark vocals; they are a lot more danceable and straightforward than previous material. the music became more solid and "conventional", "upgraded" to modern ebm standards; and it still stands out between its peers in the scene.
the album starts with "zauberschloss" where very impressive beginning breaks out into melodic and dense percussion-driven track. soft melodic synthlines, heavy beats, distorted vocals, and passion and force that always set dennis apart from the rest. "heaven is the place to be" continues with dense pummeling percussion, short cut-up guitar samples mixed with gentle melodic lines - a nice contrast that makes it a very powerful and addictive track. slower melancholic "love kills" is a look back at older isc sound - melodic and carefully arranged beats and strings without any surprises. "the truth inside of me" keeps the pace with similar intensity and power.
both versions of "spread your wings" are quite unusual for the band - they introduce a bizarre mix of dark atmospheric elements (ethereal choruses, rotating mechanized noises, minimal monotonous percussion, frequencies, variety of vocal samples in different languages including russian) and heavy abrasive technoid percussion that could easily fit any rhythm'n'noise band. at times is sounds too disjointed, but overall both versions have some strange attraction that slowly grows on you, as long as you forget the fact that it is in strict confidence. "the setting off the sun" is another epic composition that sounds nothing like previous isc; heavy dense percussion with vocals buried underneath it; almost militant at times, it takes band's sound to a new level.
overall, this is an impressive album that is a step forward for the band, introducing a different sound and trying to incorporate more new elements into the usual isc mix. a quality release for the ebm scene and something that would definitely get in my top 10 of "classic ebm and dark electro" this year.