Reviewer Score: 7 out of 10


Honestly, this review wasn’t in my plans. Despite the fact that I have been familiar with the works of Scherbentanz since the release of their debut album in 2018, I always considered the band to be not very interesting representatives of the third tier of NDH, and I had no desire to listen to their material over again. By the way, when preparing this material, I found out that the band was founded back in 2010 under the name Feindstaat, but under this brand the guys released only one demo EP in 2012, and it can only be of purely historical interest.

Feindstaat members

Feindstaat members
So, returning to my attitude towards the band, I can say that the situation changed when I found out that the guys changed their vocalist. Musically, the direction of the band's concept has not changed much, but the new frontman, Manuel Cech, has definitely strengthened the band's line-up. Nevertheless, I would note that both in production and in songwriting, the guys improved their skills, but first things first.
So, the second album "Halbes Herz" (Half of a Heart) offers us the familiar mixture of NDH/Gothic Metal, but this time with a big tilt towards Synth Gothic Metal, which, in my opinion, is good in the case of Scherbentanz. In fact, the main NDH element here is sometimes even overly assertive Manuel's sprechgesang. But thank goodness he doesn't sound like a caricature of the academic baritone that the band's previous vocalist was trying to portray. Of course, Manuel has room to grow vocally, but his voice is already perceived much better in the context of the band's material.
I'm tempted to jump into comparisons between Scherbentanz and the latest albums by Mephistos and Kaizer. Why exactly them? Because “Halbes Herz” seems to me just a kind of synthesis of these releases (and a pinch of Schwarzer Engel, maybe). But I will not delve into a comparative analysis, but rather focus on the original features of "Halbes Herz", which convinced me of the need to write this review.

We have already talked about the advantages of the new vocals, but the updated Scherbentanz have other advantages as well. For example, melodically the album came out much more interesting than the first one. It can be seen with the naked eye that the guys tried to record a non-monotonous work, with recognizable melodies and original rhythmic transitions. And they succeeded in most cases. Thanks to well-placed keyboards and pleasant guitar solos, familiar genre patterns don't sound as boring as they could. By the way, it was the lack of interesting arrangements that I noted as a minus in the Mephistos album… Well, there were no comparisons at all. And yet, it’s worth paying tribute to the guys from Scherbentanz, compared to the 2018 album, the band has taken a noticeable step forward regarding the arrangements of their songs and the compositional construction of the tracks.

I don't analyze "Halbes Herz" song by song, because it's more important for me to convey those positive trends in the development of the band that I heard while getting acquainted with the new material. You can listen to the songs yourself. And many of them, I am sure, will sit in your head for more than one day. I personally like the end of the album more: "Meister der Magie" (to the melody of Edvard Grieg), "Die Todsunde" and the ballad "Tunnel". You will surely have your favorites among the 11 songs of the album, the main thing is that they are all quite well, tightly assembled and I would like to thank the band for this level of quality on this album.

In conclusion, I want to say that Scherbentanz, in my opinion, managed to take a second start and, I hope, will further improve their sound, not being afraid to experiment. The guys, by the way, have a very informative official site with profiles of musicians, where there are even playlists from the favorite bands of each member of Scherbentanz. And there is a very good variety of genre preferences, which means that the sources of inspiration for the guys are quite extensive, which inspires hope for a greater variety of expressive means in their own material in the future. So far I give the album 7 out of 10, but I believe that Scherbentanz are able to raise this bar.
Serj Tabu
Music journalist, showrunner, the co-founder of our radio. And just a freakin' cool man, without whom nothing would have happened!