REVIEW: Fury In The Slaughterhouse, Hearing and the Sense of

Balance (RCA)

- Sean Eric McGill

Fury In the Slaughterhouse hail from Hannover, Germany - hometown to Germany's other major rock export, The Scorpions. And while The Scorpions flourished in the eighties, the members of Fury In the Slaughterhouse have been plugging away since 1987, first gaining success in their homeland before making the great trek across the Atlantic where they ended up on RCA Records. With their second US release, Hearing and the Sense of Balance, Fury In The Slaughterhouse recall a certain sense of the Eighties, but bring it into the nineties with style.

But while some of the music is reminiscent of the Decade of Decadence, this isn't a bad thing. Sure, I caught traces of Mr. Mister and The Outfield in a couple of songs, but I caught merely that - traces. What the band accomplishes is successfully bridging the gap between the eighties and the nineties, giving them a sound that is unique in its range and impressive in their musicianship.

Vocalist Kai Uwe Wingenfelder is superb, providing the perfect vocal style for the band. Nothing too polished, nothing too shabby, much like Peter Gabriel, in the sense that neither of them are the best vocalists in the world, but they suit their music fine. Wingenfelder also shows his skills as impersonator, doing a damn good Sting on the band's cover of "Next to You".

The rest of the band (Torsten Wingenfelder and Christof Stein, guitars; Gero Drnek, keyboards; Hannes Schafer, bass; Rainer Schumann, drums) are equally suited for the music being able to go from catchy pop tunes like "Kiss the Judas" to the Pink Floyd-esque "Down There" with ease. Like their vocalist, the band members provide just enough on each song to make it distinct, but avoid going over-the-top with anything.

But the musicianship isn't the only attractive thing about this album, because the band's songwriting abilities are superb as well. Many people can write a song "like" Pink Floyd, but if you are constantly thinking of Pink Floyd when you hear it, then their attempt was a failure. This process is generally known as "being ripped off" and is usually a good sign that a band either has no mind of its own or that they're trying to cash in on a popular craze. But with songs like "Down There", "Kiss the Judas" and even their cover of "Next to You", the band doesn't "rip off" their influences, they pay them homage.

Their songwriting also shows that this is a band with something to say, although they don't feel they have to beat you over the head with their message to get it across. Topics like world peace are contained in this album, but not on every song, and not to such an extent that you began to get bored with the band's ranting. Some of these songs are actually fun, which is becoming more and more unusual these days.

Finally, this is an album which fits no specific demographic. As for right now, you hear the band mentioned in alternative circles, which qualifies them as such until Top 40 Radio gets hold of a couple of these songs, then they'll become "sell-outs". Basically, just buy the damn thing and enjoy's one of the best releases of the year so far.