Tim Yatras can do a lot of things. Those currently unfamiliar with that name perhaps know him as “Sorrow” from the Australian black metal duo Austere. As musician, programmer, producer and sole founder of the experimental project Germ, it’s safe to say that this impressively wide variety of talent is somewhat rare in the heavy metal world. Given the plethora of outside influences Yatras has chosen to bring into this project, the comparison between Germ and something like Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon is somewhat of a fair one. However, where Lucassen brings in tons of guest musicians to occupy various positions within a given album, Yatras has chosen to tackle everything on Germ‘s debut unaided.
Germ was originally conceived in 2003, but due to the busyness of Yatras’ schedule as an electronic pop producer, band member of numerous other side projects and all-around renaissance man, nothing has ever been released until now. Given the flawless production that went into an album that breaks down so many borders, it makes sense that Yatras was waiting for the right moment during which to release this new born baby into the hopefully ready metal world; but despite the amount of time, effort and talent that went into Wish, a bit of bluntness is in order here: this album just isn’t all that Eisenwald Records has built it up to be.
Pretend, if only for a split second, that you’re a huge fan of electronic music on a website that generates daily electronic album reviews. Now add to the fact that you have a knowledgeable background in heavy metal music, and have just heard that an album is coming out that will further unite the bonds between two seemingly opposing genres. Would you find the album that progressive if it coupled a very progressive style of electronic music with say, something that sounds likeParanoid-era Black Sabbath? The year is 2012, and although 70’s electronic musicians such as Jean-Michel Jarre should be held in high esteem for producting a few timeless classics, his style of music has greatly advanced since then. Therefore, mixing some arguably outdated rock chords with much more obviously oudated electronic music should not really excite anyone currently reading these words. (We’re talking like 40 years here.)
That said, Wish is a worthy enough effort for an artist engulfed in so many different projects, including a musical day job that must pay relatively well. If Germ isn’t a worthy enough project for noble reasons alone, then it’s at least not laughably bad. Well, except for the Austere-like shrieks, you know, where Yatras sounds like he’s running naked through some Australian cornfield while simultaneously trying to avoid the pitfalls of various venomous creaturs of the outback — all while flailing his arms around and eventually passing out due to the aneurysm he just gave himself. Yeah… if you actually listened to Austere and took that shit seriously, then have fun doing it with that description in mind.
The verdict: Wish receives high merits for its honest efforts, quality production and tight musicianship, but not enough to make up for its lack of true substance. If you’re looking for something up this avenue that’s much more personal, creative and still has a nice genre-bending flair, try Blutmond‘s Thirteen Urban Ways 4 Groovy Bohemian Days — an album that blends genres and smashes boundaries in a much more up-to-date fashion.