Apoptygma Berzerk Harmonizer

Could Norway’s Stephen Groth (aka Apoptygma Berzerk) possibly follow up 2000’s stellar Welcome to Earth? That’s the problem, if you must find one, with one such phenomenal album; oh how very high our expectations are for the next release. Groth attempts this follow-up by launching us headfirst into it all with "Suffer in Silence,” a bang-up of a track guaranteed to make any synth-pop enthusiast go positively multi-orgasmic; this song is perfection and the melody lives on in your head long after the number is over. The 125 (or so) bpm rhythm sequence bounces around next to it, making your grey matter want to take shape as two big feet and hit the dance floor. He keeps this up for the next few songs as well, setting a definite "Euro” tone to the disc. He breaks things up by throwing in a few oddly minimalist pieces near the end, giving an early ’80s flavour to the finish, and it’s a good thing he does, as a little variation is just what the doctor ordered after about ten songs. Vocally, Groth stands out as being among the cream of the synth-pop crop, using a clean, emotive delivery with a few effects here and there. Several female voices also pop up for duet and backup work. Oh, and hang on a few minutes after track 12 for a few hidden goodies. (Metropolis)