On his new album Shelter, Enzo Kreft (BE) takes the listener on a penetrating journey through the human experience in times of crisis and war. This album is a powerful commentary on war, conflict, and the human experience during times of crisis. Each track captures a different aspect of the devastating effects of war. The album is a reminder of the importance of empathy, solidarity, and hope in times of uncertainty and serves as a call to action against the atrocities of war. The ticking clock in the closing track symbolizes the urgent need for change and the precarious state of the world today.
Enzo Kreft (Mechelen, BE) has been around for a while: in the early 1980s he released two obscure but widely acclaimed minimal synth cassettes, “Me Is!” (1983) and “Cicatrice” (1984). Kreft represents a dark, atmospheric sound with themes of an apocalyptic society that is driven by paranoia, fear and destruction. In 2010 his music was revived on “Underground Belgian Wave Vol.2” from Walhalla Records and in 2016 “Dark Matter”, a compilation LP with his “old” songs was released on the same label. From that year on, everything has accelerated. Enzo Kreft releases a number of not-unnoticed new albums (“Turning Point” in 2016, “Wasteland” in 2017, “Control” in 2019 and “Different World” in 2021) and he performs live on several stages with intense, energetic shows and breathtaking visuals accompanying his dark electrowave.
The ominous instrumental intro "Here Come the Birds of Prey," captures the sense of impending doom and foreboding that comes with the start of a war. You can hear the warbirds fly, ready to launch their deadly ammunition, after which the synth and the guitar calls upon the doomed!
Standing on the Soil of Another reflects on the futility of war and the consequences of invading and occupying foreign lands. The lyrics emphasize that true liberation cannot be achieved by force and attempting to do so only causes further harm. The music carries influences from Telex to Kraftwork, but with nice vocals (that actually sound like singing) and a guitar. The spoken word parts makes the story telling sound strong and real!
Duck and Cover refers to the 1950s American cartoon of the same name about Bert the turtle who knows what to do in case of a blast. He encourages children to follow his example and duck and cover in case of an attack. The lyrics have been updated in an ironic Enzo Kreft style, with the suggestion that a nuclear blast can be "fun". The music is a mix of EBM and minimalistic cold wave and vaguely reminds me of Executive Slacks (The Bus).
Blood Diamonds criticizes the use of diamonds to fund wars and buy weapons, depicting the dark side of the diamond trade. Diamonds, once a symbol of love and beauty, are being used to fuel violence. The lyrics might also refer a bit to the situation in Antwerp and the traffic of blood diamonds by the local jews or to our connections with Africa. Here the music goes totally into the 80’s New Wave with a really great sound and yet again a little wink towards Telex! The vocals here remind me a bit of Peter’s voice (Red Zebra).
No to These Atrocities is an anti-war song that mourns the loss of innocent lives and calls for action against war. It’s actually one of the best tracks on this album, due to the clear message and the very catchy chorus. This one could have been recorded and appeared on the newest Gary Numan album!
The instrumental The Power to Turn the Tide conveys a message of empowerment despite adversity and inspires to never give up hope. Both songs serve as a reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference. For me it’s a filler, but the message the song is in place here and you need to get it in order to understand it. The music mixes old school New Wave with a more modern touch.
A Refugee Song describes in short poetic terms the hardships faced by refugees who have fled their homes due to war and conflict. Despite the challenges, the song conveys a message of hope. The music and vocals are really close to the original Kraftwork and with that I can’t give a better description of the sound/vocals.
War Winter is a spoken word Krautrock-like piece that paints a bleak picture of the harsh realities of war during winter, with soldiers trudging through a desolate and frozen landscape. I would skip this song, but the message has to be told and I like it that the artist brings up this story! He’s brave, courageous and wise! But Krautrock and spoken words are just like instrumentals not my piece of cake.
The pulsating On the Run Looking for Shelter describes the fear and urgency of trying to find a safe place amidst the chaos. The lyrics create a vivid image of the protagonist running for his life and dodging bullets and bombs. The music is really great and might actually make it on the dancefloor! I hear some kind of old school video game minded music that covers the action whilst the vocals bring the story! A great one!
The Last Stand is a powerful instrumental electro song that pays tribute to the courage, honour, and sacrifice of soldiers facing insurmountable odds. Yep, another skip for me, despite the message.
There Is No Tomorrow is a new wave electro song that encourages listeners to live in the present moment and embrace life, as the future is uncertain. The lyrics suggest that we should dance and celebrate as if there is no tomorrow, because there may not be. The cold vocals sound well with the retro New Wave sound. The guitar sound is a great extra touch here!
The instrumental 100 Seconds to Midnight, in which you literally hear the clock tick for 100 seconds, closes the album. Midnight on this Doomsday Clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, marks the theoretical point of annihilation and the end of the world.
The message on this album is loud and clear! This shows we have an artist with a good and clear vision on our world. Mixing storytelling with instrumentals and retro New Wave demands a lot from me, but I decided to bite through it and actually really enjoyed half of the album. Fans of Enzo Kreft will be surely delighted by this album and I hope the message gets spread!
The CD is beautifully published as a digipack with a 16-page booklet. Price: €12 (excluding shipping costs) The album is for sale: - via the store on Enzo Kreft's blog: enzokreft.blogspot.com - by contacting Enzo Kreft via a message on Facebook Messenger: https://www.facebook.com/enzo.kreft