Girls Under Glass: "Equilibrium" Reviews

While this album was originally released in Europe in 1999, for many readers and listeners this is the first time hearing this album. However, even if you happen to have or have heard the original, this album features three extra tracks that did not appear on the original that might make it worth picking up for the die-hard fan. But the main reason for this release is to bring the excellent music contained therein to the N. American audience, and the music on this album is definitely worth having. The first question I ask when I hear about a new album from this group is "what music style do they use on this album?" because it varies so much from one to another. Almost as a break from the grinding harshness of Firewalker which was the previous release to this album, the band really uses a mellow tone and goes back to their gothic and dark wave roots. "Roses of Death" kicks off the album with a myriad of subtle electronics setting a very somber mood that quickly gives way to the powerful, mid-tempo percussion and grinding guitars that is really such an integral part of their sound. The emotional element runs deep throughout this album as portrayed in this opening track that sets the tone and overall mood of the entire album. Gothic ballads are pieces that have long been favorites of mine and as the album winds on through an emotional roller coaster there are plenty of these ballads to please fans. Pieces like "Protean Dream" really express this overall feeling and put the female vocals of Jenny Kahler in the forefront which is something that appeared a little more often in their earlier years, but never quite so prominent as on this release. With tracks like "Love Is" and "It's You", it's easy to tell the theme of these tracks and that these help to form the moody and somber elements of this album. While the overall mood remains somber throughout the album, there are several tracks that pick up the intensity and on a few of them even pick up the pace to a dance-friendly beat. It's not just the dance beat that sets these tracks apart as favorites, but the overall moving and melodic nature that I really enjoy. "Is This the Place" is the first of these that really stands out in my mind with a nice harmony between Volker and Jenny's vocals along with a great beat and a perfect blend of the stand-out guitars and electronics that easily identify this group. "Wings" is another favorite with a great moving beat and soaring vocals that form such a sweet tapestry and foundation to this album. As the album starts to wind down (and the finale on the original album), "Desire Lasts Forever" is an incredible piece that I've been enjoying since the appearance on the Frozen EP. The somber moods are punctuated by the grinding guitars and incredible climax that's reached through vocoded vocals along with deep piano, synth and angelic vocal accents. At this point we're left with the three bonus tracks on the album. The first of these is actually by the side-project Trauma and is a cover of the legendary electronic artists Kraftwerk's track "Radioaktivitat". This rendition takes the spatialization to new levels with a myriad of electronics to form a cross between sci-fi ambient and dark wave. Carrying on in the somber moods of the album we're left with two untitled tracks, the first in something of a gothic ballad fashion and the last and finale to the album delving back into a subtle ambient mood that leaves the listener floating through the ether. With that another great work is finished and we're left with another masterpiece and for many of us I'm sure will get many hours of play for years to come. - Jacob L. Bogedahl, Gothic Paradise

The press release for this album said that Girls Under Glass has gone back to their darkwave roots on this album, and that's true. This is definitely a much more gothic sounding album then their previous more electronic 'Minddiver'. While there are slight electronic elements to be found on this album, it's definitely the guitar, bass and drums that make up the majority of the music here. The male vocals are deep, clear and emotional singing in a gothic rock style. And there's female vocals featured on almost every track as well giving the songs an even more gothic rock sound. There's a good mix of heavy rock songs and slow darkwave songs. But fans of 'Minddiver' might be a little disappointed by the more rock direction the band has taken this time out. This is definitely NOT an electronic album. This is a rock album with slight electronic programming in the mix. I like this album, but being more of a fan of electronic music, I like their previous album more. But I can't deny that this album offers very quality music showing off the talents of the band members. Fans of their earlier more gothic sound should really like what this album has to offer. But if 'Minddiver' was more your thing, you might want to pass on this since it lacks the electronic edge of that album. - Darklight, Wrapped in wire
Fundamental reality of the german gothic scene of the eighties/nineties that of Girls Under Glass. The led band by Zaphor (Volker Zacharias), indeed, got distinguished for an elegant and refined style in elaborating the industrial electronic music, gothic rock and synth wave in a not standard context. The re-release of "Equilibrium" by Van Richter Records, seven years after the previous release, is a precious confirmation of the poetry heart of he german guys, especially thanks to an aesthetic intimate pop-oriented approach (in particular in the Depeche Mode-like "Is This The Place" or in the remix of "Wings" of Das Isch), often embraced in ethereal ambient refinements and dark doom phrasings, just shortly troubled by the bright EBM vibration of "Future Assault" (with Eric Burton of Catastrophe Ballet as guest voice) and the glacial electronic of the former of the two untitled ghost tracks. The cover of Kraftwerk added in the end ("Radioaktivitat" is a work of Trauma actually, one of the many side projects of Girls Under Glass, insisting in adopting the minimal charm of the most alienating synths. The female vocals o fthe clever Jenny Kahler (in the little known Obsidian) make the atmospheres of romantic ballads like "Protean Dream" worthy being compared with the work of The Gathering and mates, without seeming as mere imitations. The tribal percussions of "Desire Lasts Forever" (in the appeared version in the e.p. "Frozen" soaked into liquid streams with metal chromes, and the synthetic hammerings of "New World Order" grant the satisfaction of all the fans of the gothic word of middle European matrix, as well as of all the holy lodge of the lovers of the eighties, for what can be considered a vital injection for a band celebrating twenty years of career. - Flavio Ignelzi, Silent Scream zine
The first time I heard Girls Under Glass was back in 2001 when I did a write up on the "Frozen" EP, which did absolutely nothing for me. I can't remember what I had to say about that release. But, it wasn't kind. After going through this release, I'm still not impressed, still not a fan...not even a casual listener. Although, this time, my opinion isn't as harsh as it was before because there's actually some substance to be found on this recording. I am a bit confused though. I was doing a little online reading and, if I'm not mistaken, this release came out before the "Frozen" EP. "Frozen" was 2001 and "Equilibrium" was released in 1999 and, the site I was lookin' at featured a different album cover. Either somebody messed up and put the wrong information out there or this is a re-release. I'm not really sure and, to be honest with you, I did a limited search because I'm really not all that interested in spending too much time on this band. Anyway, I am aware of the fact that Girls Under Glass is one of the biggest gothic/electronic/darkwave bands on the planet. It doesn't mean I have to like 'em though. Although, I'm not gonna down 'em simply because they're not a style of music that I happen to enjoy and, as I said above, my opinion on this release isn't as harsh as the last time and I say that because I actually found a song or two on here that was actually worth listening to. I made it through the opening track, "Roses Of Death," without wanting to hit the fast forward button. It was kind of a slow moving song and it wasn't really that bad. The second track, "Is This The Place," was probably the tune I liked the most. This is the kind of song that I can get into. I heard it once and it stuck with me after that. I actually went back to this one a few times in order to let it sink in a little more. They kind of picked up the pace with "New World Order," which is a good thing. If the music is slow for too long, I tend to get bored with it. This tune had a bit of energy and it held my attention. "Protean Dream" had a chick singer and a little bit of acoustic flavor before the heavy stuff kicked in. A little variety...good stuff. "Desire Lasts Forever" was on the "Frozen" EP and I could've done without that tune. All in all, I would have to say that this is a much better release than "Frozen" and, if I had to listen to a Girls Under Glass album, it would probably be this one. But, the thing is, since this really isn't my style of music, the few times I went through this disc was more than enough for me. I doubt I'll ever spend this much time with the album again. However, if you're into Bauhaus or Nine Inch Nails, this might float your boat and, yes, those comparisons came from the press material. I figured I would name drop to give you some idea of what you're getting into with this release and now that my work here is done, it's time for me to move on to another album. - Paul Autry, Ballbuster Hard Hard Music Magazine
I've always had a bit of a weakness for girls under glass, so I was eager to review their new album, equilibrium. However, the first time I played it, my initial impression was one of disappointment. I thought the girls had gone horribly awry with the excessive use of female vocals, and a bit more German sentimentality than I'm comfortable with. I gave it another shot, then another, then another, and I found that each subsequent spin on the disc player has made me like this album more. The fact is that I love the Germans for their sentimentality, and this is true German-ness on every level. There is sorrow, love, loss, death, sentimentality and poetry in spades. Track 1, the Roses of Death is a fine example, and one of my favorites on equilibrium. With the deep, poignant vocals of Zaphor (Volker Zacharias) and lyrics like, "the more you love, the more you suffer, you understand no love is forever, this is a love song, an ode to our love, I want to be chained by our sweet blood," you just can't go wrong in this genre. New World Order, (track 3) with its dance-electro beat, grinding bass-lines and ethereal choirs sampled in the background could certainly find a happy home on the dance floor. Protean Dreams (Track 4) was one of the songs that I especially didn't like at first, though I now find it soaring, plunging, and passionate in a way that evokes visuals of a wind-tossed woman pacing the sea cliffs in torment and frustration, screaming out her challenge to dreams, gods, nature, lost lovers, and the void. Girls under glass have always appealed to my eighties sensibilities, and my love of old-school wave. The song Wings (Track 5) is the embodiment of what makes me love girls under glass, wave, and the eighties. It's catchy, uplifting, sweet, and just plain happy. Continuing on the uplifting path, the sixth track, Love Is is just so German and hopeful. It's full of faith and optimism, and in these days of jaded dissatisfaction, it's always pleasant to find a gleam of hope in the black scene. Marching forward to the most aggressive and industrial track of the album, Assault the Future (Track 7) is a driving, thrusting assault on the rhythm receptors that makes me, for one, want to haul ass to the dancefloor. Desire Lasts Forever (Track 9) is another of my favorite tracks, and it complements the Kraftwerk Radioaktivitat (Track 10) cover very well. Again, very German. Holy voices soar above the electronically distorted vocals, and crushing bass-lines provide a forceful stage for the deep, philosophical, sentimental lyrics. Apparently, the Radioacktivitat cover was recorded by girls under glass's sideproject Trauma. Regardless of its source, this is an honorable and praiseworthy version of the song, and a fine tribute to a great band. Equilibrium also contains a pair of ambient bonus tracks that are well worth listening to. They provide good mood music for a mellow gathering on the homefront, or a night of lonely self-reflection and philosophy, German-style. I have to admit I would love to hear more from this band in their native tongue, but the English lyrics are meaningful, the music is strong and varied in its approach, and overall, equilibrium is a pleasure to hear and feel. The girls don't limit themselves to any one style or formula, and the result is diverse and satisfying with appeal to lovers of darkwave, elektro, and industrial music'in other words, people who love the German Schwarzescene. (That's the umbrella term for black-wearing lovers of the dark arts and music in Germany, for those of you not in the know.) - Dharmageddon, Groove or Die Magazine
Equilibrium is the U.S. issue of Girls Under Glass' 1999 album of the same title, out on the Van Richter Records label. The album includes the original 9 tracks, plus a cover of Kraftwerk's "Radioaktivitat" by the Girls Under Glass side-project Trauma, as well as two additional hidden tracks. The first track, "Roses of Death", sets the tempo for the album - slow, melodic and definitely falling somewhere between goth-rock and goth-metal. The mixture of male and female vocals on this album is quite a change from the previous album, Firewalker, a very hard-edged industrial inspired album. The interplay of guitar/bass/drums and electronics is well done, with the electronics not overpowering, but complimenting the rest of the sound, such as the song "New World Order". "Wings" and Future Assault" are some of the catchier songs, and "Desire Lasts Forever" has a unique, electronic vocal style that is refreshing. Equilibrium is a much mellower album than earlier works. The songs are well crafted, diverse, and stand the test of time, having been produced nearly seven years ago. This album would be a welcome addition to anyone who enjoys goth-rock/darkwave music with a bit of a metal edge to it. - legion, this is corrosion
GIRLS UNDER GLASS is surely a familiar name to those interested in the more electro inspired goth scene. They have been active since mid 80s and the album "Equilibrium" was originally released in 1999 and was then a step back into the more goth/dark wave ?ish sound from the previous album "Firewalker, which was considerably more aggressive. Seven years later this re-release of the excellent album "Equilibrium" is then released and strengthen with a cover on KRAFTWERK's song "Radioaktivitat" together with two nameless songs that has a considerable more electronic approach to them than the rest of the album. This is as I already mentioned the album where GIRLS UNDER GLASS took a step back into the more atmospherically charged dark wave direction and the harmonious and beautiful atmosphere is something of a main thread throughout the album. The only real exception amongst the songs that were included in the original release is "Future Assult" with has a considerably faster and somewhat aggressive approach to it. On "Equilibrium" the band also took the help of vocalist Jenny Kahler, who in majority of the songs get to play a quite role in the vocals. The mixture of her beautiful voice and Zaphor's, with the somewhat gothic feel to his vocals, works perfectly and brings out the harmonic atmosphere even stronger. It's especially "Is This The Place" that I have fallen for and the song is in my mind the brightest shining jewel on the album, though "Love Is" and "New World Order" doesn't lie far behind. "Equilibrium" is simply a really strong album where every individual song contributes with its own fair share. Furthermore, to get the track list increased with an additional three songs is always nice. If you like GIRLS UNDER GLASS or dark wave in general, you shouldn't miss out on "Equilibrium", since this one of the better albums that the band has released, which in a way looses some of its significance since GIRLS UNDER GLASS has always managed to present a really strong material on their albums. - Jan Erik Nyman, Metal Only Zine
Girls under Glass is one of the most important bands of the electro-industrial-gothic szene. They have left their footprints by influencing and inspiring a lot of other bands as well as by creating a lot of hits. The band was founded in 1986, and they have been around since then. Well, a long period, with lots of changes, but their cult status has never changed and Equilibrium shows why: Gothic, electro-industrial sounds, dark wave and heavier parts are very well mixed and balanced. Equilibrium is an intense, diversified and emotional piece of music. It is a re-release with two hidden tracks and a very interesting cover version of Kraftwerk's song Radioaktivitat (this cover version was done by Trauma, a side project of GUG). The beginning of the first track "Roses of death" reminds me a little bit of Raison d'etre and I definetly love the whole song. Vocalist Volker Zacharias does a very good job, supported by female vocalist Jenny Kahler who sings soft and very playfully. Especially on "protean dreams" Jenny Kahler shows that she is a talented gothic vocalist. No wanna-be operatic style, no girlish voice but a remarkable voice that fits very well to the music. This release is never boring, the songs are complex and vary from balladesque (love is) to heavier (future assault, that has in my opinion a few glimpses of Rammstein). Therefore, instead of reviewing every single song, I just write my personal stand out tracks: Roses of death, new world order, protean dream, love is, future assault and the cover song Radioaktivitat. This release really got me. Even if you are not into this genre you should give it a try and listen to it. - Blake, Tartarean Desire Zine
GIRLS UNDER GLASS has long been known as a key factor in the industrial-rock world. Releasing tracks since the mid 1980's, Girls Under Glass also has a large amount of experience. However, when many groups would have long ago reverted to formulaic track assembly, Equilibrium is a re-release that is diverse and exemplifies this knowledge. One of its core beneficial attributes is its added charm through sound variation, although, through the variation, some amount of inconsistency in quality is present. The atmosphere permeating this collection of tracks is a wild one; the guitar and drums display feelings ranging from laid-back to raging, but the core element that makes songs so untamed is the scarcity of electronic elements. Use of synthesizers can be so subtle that, unless actively sought, can go totally unnoticed. With the exception of the last five tracks, the songs make full use of physical media. Where synthesizers are, they are constructed to match the theme and style of the other instruments. For example, in "New World Order", Girls Under Glass presents strong guitar work in front of a chilling synthesizer background. In "Wings", the several guitars almost completely mask the periodic pads, which are so gingerly introduced. Combining these two aspects, electronic and non-electronic, thickens the sound and adds to the album's integrity. Other aspects of the songs can't be ignored either. The tempo varies between songs, as is demonstrated in the consecutive slow "Protean Dream" and much quicker "Wings". Alternating between many affects, the songs display a wide selection of emotions, and, to assist, many unique sounds are employed. "Is This The Place" begins with bells, and leads into a winding synthesizer. "It's You" features cut-up vocals that give the song an unearthly edge. And, to top it all off, the tracks routinely take into consideration worthwhile tenets of good mixing and other production. One notable aspect is the use of vocals. Many of the songs feature one vocalist. These vocals are generally powerful and emotive, and quite versatile. It should go without saying that "It's You" would not be nearly as good as it is had anyone else sung the vocals. The same would probably be true about many others as well. However, as in many of these tracks, the male vocals are paired with female vocals, with varying results. Mixed vocals, especially some of those on this album, are an acquired taste. When the sung parts are separate, or harmonizing, they turn out wonderfully. When they are simultaneously singing the same thing, the outcome is something that many groups do not feature, most likely for its odd sound. This sort of vocals appears in "Protean Dream", "Love Is", and "Roses Of Death", whereas "Is This The Place" features the harmonic style. Also, some tracks, such as "Hidden Track I", have vocoded and heavily modified vocals that are a severe disparity from the others on the album. All of the vocals are well made, but the differences in style make enjoyment more of a gamble.This album is not without its hitches. These range in style, from simple gaudy sample application to unnecessary repetition. In "Desire Lasts Forever", a badly recorded bongo sample loops, with noticeable divisions. The ambient noise drops out, there is a brief pause, the cycle repeats frequently, and the song starts with this sample soloing. "Radioaktivitat" starts with an expansive and unreal atmosphere, but goes nowhere for the entire song. Such can be said about "Hidden Track I" as well, but it has a minimalist approach that reduces its appeal even more. Transgressions such as these don't necessarily affect much, but they do make the album seem generally more thrown-together. While the extensive use of guitar may not go intrigue those more rooted in the electronic realm, the tracks are constructed and thought out enough to appeal to most others. With its great variety, and some excellent songs such as "Wings" and "It's You", Equilibrium is quite solid. - Rendaw Baxter, Subculture Magazine
Attivi ormai da 20 anni, i tedeschi GUG sono uno dei nomi punta del panorama gothic non solo per longevita, ma anche e soprattuto per la qualita dei loro album. Sbagliarono un disco nel '97, ossia quel "Firewalker" che tentava di fare il verso ai KMFDM, ma gia dal successivo lavoro si rimisero in carreggiata, inanellando un trittico inappuntabile comprendente "Zyklus" (2005), "Mind Diver" (2001) ed "Equilibrium" (1999). E proprio quest'unltimo, che diede il via alla rinascita artistica del trio dopo il flop di cui sopra, viene oggi ristampato dalla californiana VR con l'aggiunta di una bonus - track (un'onirica e spaziale versione di "Radioaktivitat" dei Kraftwerk, firmata pero dai side-project Trauma) e due tracce nascoste. Una buona occasione per riscoprire quello che senza dubbio e uno dei lavori migliori della band di Volker Zacharias, contenente 9 brani superiativi che vanno dall'incipit solenne e raffinato di "Roses of Death" fino agli scorci new age desertici della ruvida "Desire Lasts Forever", passando per autentiche hit come "Is this the Place?", "New World Order", "Wings", e la triste "Love Is", senza scordare episodi eccezionali come "Protean Dreams" (dove la bravissima Jenny Kahler, ospite alla voce, si esalta e da i brividi), la tagliente e cyber-goth "Assault The Future" e la stupenda, intensissima "It's You". Detto della cover di cui sopra, restano le due tracce nascoste: la prima si muove suadente e lasciva tra suoni elettronici che evocano atmosfere apocalittiche, mentre la seconda evidenzia sonorita piu darkeggianti e sognanti, ed entrambe paiono provenire da qualche archivio del summenzionato side-project Trauma. La sezione bonus non sara granche, ma "Equilibrium" resta un disco da avere, e fare un pensierino a questa ristampa non fara male a chi ancora non lo possiede - Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi, Rock Hard Magazine
De Europese editie van het "Equilibrium" album verscheen reeds in 1999, nu ligt de Amerikaanse release voor op het kleine, maar daarom niet minder interessante, Van Richter Records. Uiteraard is deze release in eerste instantie voor de Amerikaanse markt bestemd die nog volop kennis maakt met dit Duitse fenomeen. Voordien verschenen bij van Richer Records reeds de gebannen Madonna cover "Frozen" en de compilatie "Nightmares" Zowat één tiende van het volledige Girls Under Glass oeuvre zeg maar. "Equilibrium" werd in 1999 bij ons onthaald als een teruggreep naar de wortels van Girls Under Glass en deze wortels liggen in de melancholische wave rock. Hun singel "Never Go" blijf ik op heden trouwens nog altijd hun beste nummer vinden. "Equilibrium" laat ook duidelijk invloeden uit het goth metal genre toe. Opener "Roses of death" bijvoorbeeld klinkt als een premature Within Temptation. En ook "Desire Last Forever" of "Wings" zijn evenwichtsoefeningen, vandaar de albumtitel (?), tussen een ingetogen metal geluid en weemoediger gitaarwerk. In "Future Assault" komt de elektronica op het voorplan, terwijl "New World Order" aansluiting vindt bij de rock wave die Girls Under Glass in hun thuisland een op heden onverwoestbare reputatie bezorgde als één van de grondleggers van het genre. Maar uiteindelijk zijn dit ook de nummers die je op de Europese versie van "Equilibrium" terug vindt. Voor ons, Europese consumenten, moeten vooral de extra’s motiveren tot een aankoop. Die extra's zijn de ingetogen doch niet onaardige cover van de Kraftwerk klassieker "Radio Activity" hier, "Radioaktivität" en twee titelloze nummers die best kunnen concurreren met het reguliere muziekvoer op "Equilibrium" Beide extra nummers hebben een meer uitgesproken elektronisch karakter en gedragen zich als een soort gedreven ballades. "Equilibrium" in Amerikaanse versie voegt al bij al niet echt iets onmisbaars toe aan de Europese versie, of ik zou één van die zeldzame Girls Under Glass die hards moeten zijn. Niet slecht, maar om echt goed te zijn net iets te melig, een evenwicht is dan ook niet makkelijk te vinden, al slaat de balans ook nooit over naar prul of superspul. - [KI], Dark Entires Muziek Magazine
Originally released in 1999 in Europe, Equilibrium is a new GUG for many reasons. First of all it contains three brand new tracks that can not be found in the original release and secondly due to light promotion people are not aware with it at all. Van Richter records grab the opportunity and releases a very strong and musically worth listening album that deserves your attention. Taking under consideration the music profile of Equilibrium, it reminded me of The Cure's Bloodflower for one reason. Its roots takes us back in time where dark wave dominated the world, so considering our age if one is not aware that this has already been released it can be easily confused and think that the band is running back to resurrect sounds that are dead to the world, like The Cure did with Blood flowers. Like in all GIRLS UNDER GLASS releases what I admire most is the abilities and possibilities to combine all kind of emotions into their music. Their songs and above all their lyrics like the one found in the first track Roses of Death proves why GUG is one of the top gothic bands of the scene. Moving to the next tracks we will hear mixes from dark wave to electronic and back to electric guitars and gothic rock, a pandemonium of music styles all filled up with deep gothic male vocals accompanied with emotional female ones giving us a macabre romantism that can be hardly found in up to date releases. The more you love, the more you suffer, you understand no love is forever, this is a love song, an ode to our love, I want to be chained by our sweet blood. Strictly Gothic music for romantic people. - John Gedeon "Vassago", The Enochian Apocalypse e-zine
German industrial/darkwave grouches Girls Under Glass take a trip in the wayback machine for this surprisingly airy throwback to the 1980's. Apart from the icy electronica of their Kraftwerk cover ("Radioactivitat" most of "Equilibirum" sounds like the Psychedelic Furs' long lost disco album. With maybe a few spooky Oingo-Boingo tracks slipped in. And possibly an Evanesence remix or two, when the female vox kick in. It's all very easy on the ears, but a sharp departure from the typical Girls Under Glass sound. Fans of dark, danceable 80's rock and contemporary goth metal will flip their asymmetrical wigs over this, but the rivetheads among us will just shudder. And then go outside and kill a puppy.- Ken, Sleazegrinder
Germany's Girls Under Glass combine almost every known genre in the history of music. Carefully, they create smooth transitions between Gregorian-like chants to heavy guitar riffs, all the while maintaining a hypnotic ambiance. Girls Under Glass are very gothic and romantic without being too melancholy or too metal. It's definitely music that creates an ambiance and sounds like a soundtrack for a vampire movie; a disc to play around with and discover how cleverly one can concoct a musical m'lange. - Christine Hughes, Concussion Magazine
Lovers of darkwave music may find solace in this third American release by these German veterans (they've been around Europe since the 1980s). Although progression seems to be out of the cards for this disc, keep in mind this album was made seven years ago, before it found its way to this side of the pond. The dark, melodramatic vocals are typical of any goth influenced work; the music accompanying, unfortunately, can grow far more tedious. Some exceptions to the boring are "Future Assault," a more powerful, heavier, and sinister side of GUG; and "Desire Lasts Forever," a resourceful track of echoing vocals, bongo sounds and sharp guitar riffs that stands as worthy b-side material. As a bonus, the group also include a cover version of Kraftwerk's "Radioaktivitat" by the GUG side project Trauma. If you miss the '80s sounds of goth rock, this is a good place to rekindle your love. Buyer beware though, for when taken into analysis under the dark music spectrum, Equilibrium is the lightest shade of grey possible. - Mike Adair, Exclaim Magazine
GuG carry a perception that they're an industrial band but break out of that mold with this album. It's less industrial, more goth rock. But don't think 'Sisters of Murphy'. It's more similar to L'Ame Immortelle and features some supporting female vox from Jenny Kahler and Sandra Hammer. This domestically re-releases a 1999 CD originally on a small label by the guy from Lacrimosa, remastered with new art, and adds 3 unlisted tracks from the long out-of-print GuG sideband Trauma album Fractal (orig on Machinery label), including a Kraftwerk cover and the long version of 'Desire Lasts Forever', previously issued in short form on the 'Frozen' ep. It combines traditional rock instruments and EBM tools and sounds but is neither a 'rock' album or a purely 'industrial' CD. If you're the type who likes yer peas and carrots seperate, this ain't for you. If you like them mixed, then you may eat this and like it. - Tsanger Banger, Temple of Horror Webzine
The first time I came across Girls Under Glass was back in 1997. In some Dutch mailorder catalogue, which was focusing on metal mainly, was a short review in the Gothic category of GUG's album "Firewalker". It basically said that it was very good music, but one shouldn't be ashamed of not having heard of this band before, as they are quite unknown. I should find that catalogue and reread the review just for melancholic pleasures. Now, a decade later, a reissue of their 1999 album "Equilibrium" falls into my hands. First released on Hall Of Sermon, as well as their only release on this label. Hall Of Sermon is founded and managed by Tilo Wolff in 1991. You know, of Lacrimosa fame. Reissued three years after the original date, in 2002, this is the third GUG release on the American label Van Richter Records, with some bonus tracks as well. Earlier albums were "Nightmares" and "Frozen", and in 2006 the album "Frozen" was released.
Girls Under Glass have quite a history. Started out in 1986 by Thomas Lücke, Hauke Harms and Zaphor (Volker Zacharias), the band has seen a few changes in line up. In 1990 Thomas left the band, and Zaphor took over the vocals. On this release, the credits mention the basic three members; Zaphor on vocals and guitars, Axel Ermes on guitars and bass, and Hauke on electronics. But if one listens to the album, it's overly apparent that there are guest vocalists. Jenny Kahler on tracks 1-4, 8 and 9; Sandra Hammer on tracks 5 and 6 and Eric Burton (of Catastrophe Ballet) on track 7.
The combination of Zaphor and the female vocals result in a really romantic feel. While the lyrics are overly cheesy at times ('I am your rain / I am your dust / You are my pain / You are my trust'), they loose all cheesyness when heard being sung. Somehow, these vocalists have a power to change it for the best. The lyrics are focused on "I" and "you" figures, with sungs about love, trust, confusion. This is very romantic gothic rock indeed.
The tenth song is a cover of (and tribute to?) Kraftwerk. The lyrics are not printed in the booklet. Could also be because there was no more room. But the lyrics are printed rather sloppy really. There are a few typing errors, as well as structural errors. At worst, the lyrics simply are not what is being sung. It really doesn't compare with GUG's very entertaining music. From the ballad-like "Protean Dreams" to the highly energetic and danceable "Future Assault", the music is easy to digest and sticks in your mind. I'd say that the music with Girls Under Glass, on this album at least, is more important than the lyrics.
Packagewise, the art is simple but quite effective. The frontcover shows the GUG logo over a picture of what seems to be a hurricane from above, while the CD is printed with an indecipherable picture in blue/turquoise. The booklet is simple; just one sheet of paper, with on the inside the credits and lyrics.
Musically, there's little that can be done to make this better. The booklet however certainly can, and should, get more attention. This is not a release you buy for the complete thing, but for the music only. Because of that, I fear for Girls Under Glass that there are other albums that'll be sold better. Simply because a lot of releases just look better. Too bad, because the music is worth it. ChAwech, Heathen Harvest E Zine
Gothic music hasn't died yet. Girls Under Glass brings us seminal music on the shoulders of those who know how to create art. Equilibrium is of one of the albums whos structure and influences much of the alternative music that we hear today. Equilibrium is not only a classic gothic and darkwave crossover release but a must have, brought to light in 1999 and re vamped and remastered by Van Richter Records The album is a defiant piece of work that cant be ignored. If its not in your goth library today , then you haven't heard superb goth music. Equilibrium includes two unreleased bonus tracks plus a standout Kraftwerk cover of "Radioaktivitat". Vin K-otic of Normality, Real Industrial Radio