In Strict Confidence started out as a quartet, but stripped down to a duo (Dennis Ostermann and Jörg Schelte) in 1992, releasing two demos tapes on the way to their debut release 'Cryogenix' on Zoth Ommog in 1996 (the initial pressing of this album sold out in one week), shortly followed by an EP 'Collapse'. The band left the label after releasing follow-up effort 'Face The Fear' in 1998, releasing their third album 'Love Kills!' on Bloodline two years later.
Founding member Stefan Vesper then re-joined the group in time for 'Mistrust the Angels' in 2002 with subsequent albums 'Holy' and 'Exile Paradise' appearing at two-year intervals. These albums saw the project's sound diversify further, notably with increasing use of female vocals from Antje Schulz, vocalist of the band Chandeen, and the addition of female vocalist Nina de Lianin
Dennis Ostermann has a side project called Controlled Fusion. Stefan Vesper has produced material under his own name and also as Steve Dragon.
It's always a pleasure to hear something new from this band as they cross genre boundaries and experiment and grow with each new work. The band has been busy with various live shows and along with this full-length album they've also released a pair of singles from the album in Morpheus and Tiefer. None of this has slowed them down and this album comes packed with great music across eleven stellar tracks that fans will love.
The album has a great mix of musical styles but all easily recognized as In Strict Confidence with Denis' deep vocals and on this album the female vocals are presented by Nina de Lianin for an excellent diverse sound. It starts off the the pair of singles with "Morpheus" and "Tiefer". The former includes a symphonic approach that fades into a dark, electro-pop sound, while the latter brings on the heavier guitars and both include a heavy, dance-friendly beat and moving rhythm coupled with german vocals that add a slightly harsh edge to the sound. A noteworthy element of this album as with previous works, there is a nice bilingual approach with the german and english vocals, making understanding the lyrics more available to a wide audience.
Archangel has a neat keyboard melody, dual vocals, and is an all round great song. In many ways this treads familiar ISC territory but is no hindrance to being a hugely enjoyable song. Irgendwo Im Nirgendwo gets all gothic sounding and has some great guitar playing.
Being Born is a true highlight of the album. A wonderful brooding energy, and nice musical flourishes. Dennis Ostermann takes a back seat on this one, letting the female vocals shine through. And shine through they sure do! This is a really powerful song, competing with Morpheusfor being ‘song of the album.’ This paves the way for the first of two instrumentals on Utopia;Karasevdah. I’m not generally fussed by instrumentals, sometimes finding them underwhelming, and sometimes finding them downright boring. So it is not to be taken lightly when I say that I really like Karasevdah. This has a niceorchestral touch, and a wailing women’s voice. As you can imagine, this track is rather atmospheric. If Tiefer is a Rammstein impression, then just wait to hear the David Bowie impression at the end of Silver Tongues! The song is excellent in its own right, but that ‘Bowie’ voice at the end just puts a few cherries on top of a very lovely, dark chocolate cake.
CD 1 Tracks:
04. Forever And More
06. Irgendwo Im Nirgendwo
07. Being Born
09. Silver Tongues
10. Silver Bells
11. She Came With Knives
CD 2 Tracks:
02. In A Land So Far Away
03. Salvation (extended version)
04. Morpheus (Andy K Remix)
05. Shadow Hides Sun
07. Morpheus (music video)
08. Blewe Mone (music video)