Album review: Emigrate – The Persistence Of Memory

Rammstein guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe clears the Emigrate vaults, with varying results…

Album review: Emigrate – The Persistence Of Memory
James Hickie

The song Always On My Mind was first released by Gwen McCrae, popularised by Elvis Presley, and has subsequently been covered by Willie Nelson and Pet Shop Boys. More recently came the turn of Emigrate, the industrial metal outfit led by Rammstein guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe. Featuring a guest appearance from Till Lindemann, their version transforms an ode of respectful longing into a punky and vaguely lustful concoction. An intriguing prospect, you’d think, though it could generously be described as ‘inessential’.

You could argue that label applies to all of The Persistence Of Memory, given that it began life as a round-up of existing material that apparently turned up enough good stuff to be upgraded to the outfit’s fourth album proper. And as you might expect from a collection featuring material dating back as far as 20 years, it’s something of a mixed bag, in both chronology and quality.

At its best, in songs like Rage and I’m Still Alive you get a combination of that familiar, crunchy guitar sound we’ve come to expect and some rather unusual melodies, delivered by Richard’s thin but purposeful voice, reminiscent of Ghost’s Tobias Forge. In the album’s lesser moments, things feel even more familiar – detrimentally so. Come Over sounds like one of the joke songs from comedian Bo Burnham’s lockdown special Inside, while all the synths in the world can’t disguise the debt Hypothetical owes Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. And if you can get past the awful faux horn intro of I Will Let You Go, you’ll learn what a Bond song performed by a Depeche Mode covers band would sound like, which you’ll enjoy in the unlikely event that description doesn’t have you running for the hills.

For its faults, though, The Persistence Of Memory isn’t boring for a single second. Its 34 minutes are, in fact, full of fun and a fevered imagination run amok. And while not all of it is gold, you don’t have to be a Rammstein fan to enjoy what’s on offer (though it helps).

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Rammstein, Lindemann, Depeche Mode

The Persistence Of Memory is out now via Sony

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