With a brooding and shrouded bass sound which pulls the listener immediately in at the deep end, Siegfried 1969 is a swirl of gothic and post-punk sonic troupes. Clinical, electronic beats, buzz saw guitars, chilling and obscured lyrics…even if you are fluent in German…explosives dynamics releasing salvos of sonic shards, Cold War allusions, stark European imagery, and all the time that low-slung, no nonsense depth charge bass driving relentlessly on and on and on…
But just because the individual elements are familiar, doesn’t mean to say that the results are predictable. Anything but. The City Gates create a darkwave chill which seems fabricated partially from wielding traditional instruments but also by somehow harnessing the wind as it blows across the front of the stark, grey buildings of old Berlin.
As we get further away in time from those Cold War days, such a sound seems to take on extra resonance, perhaps a reminder that it was only a generation ago that the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union fractured, a warning against world leaders making the same over ambitious moves and blatant mistakes again.
But politics and prophecy aside, it is a great song, one that evokes the clinical cool of the likes of The Sisters of Mercy, the dark majesty of Joy Division and the brooding, primal soundscapes of the early Cure. It might echo such bands but it also easily sits along side them as an equally sonic partner.