Nitzer Ebb, a UK EBM (that’s Electro Body Music) outfit who rode the rising wave of industrial music to popular acclaim in the late eighties/early nineties have returned with a new album and tour.

Last I heard of them was in the early 90s, though they have sporadically released stuff over the past few years, albeit mostly retrospective work. Now they have an actual proper album, Industrial Complex, due next week for US release, though you can already order an import version, with alternate cover art, if you like.

I am also one of the few geezers still bothering to write about alternative music who can say I saw them on tour at their peak, during their extensive US tour in support of 1992′s Ebbhead. I caught them at the now long non-existent Button South nightclub, in Hallandale Beach, Florida. I remember being impressed by their electro-centric set-up. I seem to recall nary a real instrument on stage, with the duo of Douglas McCarthy and Vaughn “Bon” Harris using drumsticks to bang on these stands lined with black cylinders to re-produce their sounds. I can’t recall noticing a drummer– their music is mostly synthesized beats, anyhow. But most likely there was a third person hitting the beats while McCarthy stalked the stage shirtless, barking out his bitter words. Here’s probably their greatest hit as they played it live, when they were just beginning to hit (prior to Nine Inch Nails, I might add):

The bits that I have heard of their new album, really does not show that any of the edge of songs like “Join in the Chant” have worn away. “Down On Your Knees” has that familiar hyper-chugging synth, backed by a stark, consistent beat with other ominous sounds rolling in out of the speakers while McCarthy repeats the title over and over for the chorus with his characteristic hushed growl. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” features a melody that has a particularly mechanical quality of metal-on-metal clatter that definitely satisfies any thirst for those early industrial sounds:

Depeche Mode has long been a supporter of Nitzer Ebb. Back in the eighties, both were label mates on Mute Records, one of the granddaddies of early industrial music (begun by Daniel Miller, more famously known as The Normal for his Goth club mainstay “Warm Leatherette”). They also toured together on Depeche Mode’s Violator tour and just recently, a few months ago, in Europe. What I’m getting at is Martin Gore, Depeche Mode’s softer voice, provides backing vox to “Once You Say” on the new album. Hear it here:

To top it off, Alan Wilder, formerly of Depeche Mode (he now does Recoil, a side project once featuring McCarthy), has been a consistent remixer for Nitzer Ebb. His latest is a remix for “I Am Undone”:

Nitzer Ebb are on the verge of undertaking an American tour of the American continents, which seems the most ambitious in years for the group. One of those stops will allow me to add some new memories of the band live, as they are set to appear at Miami’s Grand Central, on Nov. 13. Yes, the night of the Roger Waters performance of the Wall. Well, that means a double header, as Waters’ show seems to be kicking off on time at 8:30 p.m. and doors at the Grand Central are not scheduled to open until 11 p.m.

The Miami show is early in the tour, which will have the Ebb traveling as far south as Argentina. I’ll leave you with the tour dates here (Nitzer Ebb’s website, of course also has the dates, which they still seem to be adding to, and links to buy tickets):

11-3-2010       San Diego, CA @Brick By Brick
11-6-2010       Orange County, CA @Galaxy
11-9-2010       Los Angeles, CA @Echoplex
11-11-2010     San Francisco, CA @Mezzanine
11-13-2010     Miami, FL @Grand Central
11-16-2010     New York, NY@Gramercy Theater
11-18-2010     Detroit, MI @Magic Stick
11-20-2010     Chicago, IL @Double Door
11-23-2010     Dallas, TX @Granada Theater
11-24-2010     San Antonio, TX @White Rabbit
11-26-2010     Houston, TX @Numbers

South America Tour 2010
12-2-2010     Mexico City, Mexico @Lunario
12-4-2010     Lima, Peru @Teatro Leguia
12-7-2010     Santiago, Chile @Blondie
12-9-2010     Buenos Aires, Argentina @Teatro Colegiales
12-11-2010   Sao Paulo, Brazil @Clash Club

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
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