2016 wasn’t a bad year at all for the 5-piece band from Hamburg. Der Ringer published “Glücklich” EP in the spring, worked with their mates Isolation Berlin in the fall and toured with them in the winter. 2016 was happy. 2017 is the soft kill. They made an album consisting of overwhelming effects and morbid drives through estranged emotions.
When first listening to “Soft Kill”, one is immediately struck by the auto-tune and some Indie fans might never come to terms with the chorus effects, the consequent echo in the background and the use of overdrive and distortion. But those fans might then miss a synergy of text and sound that was not to be found in German pop until now. Over and over again, the text is made indecipherable so that songs like “Morton Morbid” and “Violence” can explode into post-punk orgies.
“Soft Kill’s” extreme sound can be described best through its dynamic drums and thrilling guitar, which combined with soft synthesizers remind us of 80s legends like The Cure. The album is the warm feeling of missing personal affinity, a voyage into the unconscious of the zeitgeist, but is never accusing or bashing the modern digital society.
Der Ringer is delivering a debut that leaves much unresolved. The five band members show that they do not care about demanded realness and authenticity but ask the listener to question their words and to search for meaning. Those who let themselves in on the album will be fascinated by so much punky self-reflection. (David Klein)