Music » Livewire

Hanzel und Gretyl

With the Genitorturers and Guttervamps. Thursday, November 13, at Peabody's.


You don't need a year of high school German to appreciate New York electrokrieg group Hanzel und Gretyl, but it helps. For the benefit of the uninitiated, "krieg" means war, "blut" means blood, and "scheisse" means poop. The rest, you can probably figure out yourself, as in "SS Deathstar Supergalactik." The faux-Germanic motif isn't purely aesthetic; it pays off in the lyrics -- "kill" and "forbidden" don't rhyme in English, but they do in Deutschspeak. If it sounds silly, that's the idea. Granted, Nazi shtick, while easy to lampoon, isn't really funny. But songs such as "Third Reich From the Sun" manage to evoke a giggle or two at the expense of one of history's greater homicidal movements.

Led by duo Loopy and Vas Kallas, the group has been ironically sieg-heiling and goose-stepping around the industrial scene since 1993; their high-water mark came when Marilyn Manson took them on tour in 1995. That also was when their sound jelled into gothtronica fleshed out with Wagnerian overtures, sound effects usually associated with laser cannons, and guitar blasts usually associated with KMFDM -- on top of some baffling but effective inclusions like sitars and Eastern rhythms, all played by musicians wearing lots of leather.

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