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Listen to the Brutal Industrial-EBM of Berlin-based Project XTR Human’s Latest Album “Schrank”

In a world where rapid technological progress and changing social dynamics often make traditional systems and values feel outdated, there’s a fierce drive to dismantle and reconsider established norms. Berlin’s XTR HUMAN doesn’t merely challenge these old structures—they shatter through Brutalist concrete walls with a primal scream. This isn’t just rebellion; it’s a calculated overthrow of the status quo.

Johannes Stabel delivers a compelling performance in his native German on his latest album, Schrank. His powerful vocals, forceful bass, and intense EBM blend coldwave roots with a fierce, contemporary edge. Schrank boldly confronts societal biases, encouraging listeners to harness their personal power and pursue their ambitions. This album serves as a potent catalyst, prompting self-reflection and inspiring fans to take bold actions. It’s a record that ignites movement…and commands attention.

Opening strong with Frust, the lyrics describe the stereotypical behavior and mindset of “boomers,” highlighting their attachment to outdated values, confusion, and awkwardness. They feel misunderstood by the younger generation and struggle with modern changes. Reflecting on their past and facing a critical future, they worry about societal decay and turn to radicalized online communities.

Schrank describes a stereotypical, orderly lifestyle where people value their living rooms, raise children in suburban homes, and emphasize material possessions like cars and wardrobes. They follow traditional values, seeking stability and status symbols, but this way of life is portrayed as toxic. The recurring theme is that order and possessions dominate their lives.

I Want More depicts a person driven by insatiable hunger and thirst for more, acting without remorse or scruples. They exploit others for personal gain, driven by greed and desire. They aim to profit from both rich and poor, manipulate the system, and always get what they want, symbolizing relentless ambition and selfishness.

The so-called “dream life” takes center stage in Neid, where high salaries and hard work impress the crowd. They flaunt a Rolex and a savings plan inherited from their parents, feeling invincible as their wealth shields them from hardship. Indifferent to others’ struggles, they perceive only envy in the eyes around them.

Berlin plunges into the feeling of entrapment and overwhelm, a system closing in and ambitions dying as the nightmare escalates. As the abyss draws nearer, the need for escape becomes clear. The relentless struggle for success builds pressure to a breaking point, leading to an inevitable explosion.

Next comes Beton, which celebrates the hard work of strong individuals in construction, emphasizing the importance of concrete and steel in building stable, enduring structures. The repeated focus on concrete as “grey gold” symbolizes its value and reliability. The song highlights the belief in concrete’s power to create a better – and more orderly – future.

A high-energy techno train journey takes place in EBM Train: with relentless beats at 130 BPM, the train never stops, turning every destination into a rave party with powerful bass and unstoppable energy.

Übeltäter is all about the psychopathy of aggression and violence. Emphasizing physical conflict over intellectual solutions, they question whether one is a victim or the aggressor. Violence is portrayed as a method to solve problems, though ultimately regrettable. The persona identifies as a societal outcast and troublemaker, embodying the role of a feared outsider. A chant reminiscent of a children’s game adds a sinister tone, juxtaposing innocence with the violent themes.

Finally the album ends with Letzte Chance, about the life of a party superstar, living unforgettable nights until the early hours of Monday morning. The thrill and addiction to this lifestyle lead to a self-destructive path, burning brightly but draining life. There’s an urgency to live fast, with no time to lose, and the realization that there’s no second chance.

Listen to  the album below and order here:

XTR HUMAN has carved a niche in the pulsating heart of Berlin’s underground music scene. Over the past decade, in venues ranging from bat-infested cellars to booming warehouse parties, Stabel has been skillfully cherry-picking the most infectious elements from genres the city is celebrated for, including coldwave, EBM, and post-punk.

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Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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