Forgotten series: The Young Gods – Live Sky Tour (1995)

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Listening to this trio composed of vocals, keyboards and live drums, the question that arose was: “Can the Swiss really rock?” When it’s the Young Gods, they certainly can.

Vocalist Franz Treichler’s frequent channelling of Doors frontman Jim Morrison isn’t such an odd thing in rock, given Morrison’s legendary status. What’s most odd about the Young Gods rocking so sufficiently is the lack of any stringed instruments: Every guitar squeal and groaning, chugging riff is brought to life via keyboards and samplers.

What makes them most fun is that their early material is based heavily around using very recognizable guitar snippets from 1970s and 1980s punk, rock, and metal bands. The album for which the band toured to produce this live album, 1991’s TV Sky, was great fun with those who are “in the know” about music from those genres and eras, and it’s still guaranteed to stump even the best of them at times.

Live Sky Tour featured a well-balanced mix of material from each of their albums up to that point, favoring TV Sky more heavily than the others, as can be expected, but surprisingly included not one but two tracks from their Play Kurt Weill tribute album to the German composer. It’s fascinating to hear the clinical approach of the guitar samples in a live context, where the edges are blurred and it’s less distinct that you’re not really hearing guitars.

The Gods wound up in big trouble for using all these samples without authorization, so after TV Sky they got even more creative, twisting and warping their source material so it became completely unrecognizable. In fact, Sky’s follow-up, Only Heaven, ranks as one of my favorite albums of all time because their forced resourcefulness wound up spurring the band on to reach new heights.

But for those few early albums, the Young Gods had their way with rock’s most recognizable cliches, creating intriguing industrial metal at a time when the genre was in its infancy, and a sound that was so unique that it really hasn’t suffered much aging at all.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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