I first heard Gestalt via their website and it was their Spirit of ’76 thrashiness that initially hit me, albeit that it was aided by modern technology. There was one track that blew me away, but more of that later. Anyway, hearing their debut album, Forge A New Noize in its entirety reveals they are more than a one trick pony.
The album opens with Dance With Gestalt and vocalist Stef Cox telling us to "dance the Gestalt" in a neo Germanic voice that belies their Midlands (England) origins. It’s got a great a driving beat and a bass riff that sounds like a punky take on Stereolab’s French Disko. There are also some of the best screams I've heard on a record this side of Roger Daltrey’s legendary throat thrashing on Won’t Get Fooled Again.
Danceschlag, meanwhile, is pitched somewhere between DAF’s Der Mussolini and Dead Or Alive’s altogether poppier You Spin Me Round whilst the closing track Ausgang is a cross between two other early Mute acts, The Normal and The Silicon Teens. Elsewhere there are several bass riffs that are reminiscent of Joy Division but the two highlights for me, however, are the two punkiest numbers. Razorblade (To Your Mind’s Eye) with its infectious "we only wanted everything" hookline is almost impossible to get out of your head, and X Killer (the track that I initially fell in love with) opens like Cabaret Voltaire’ s Nag Nag Nag, before Cox yells "there’s a panic in the air..." over a two chord thrash and a beat that matches his sense of urgency. It’s a great track!
The nucleus of Gestalt, Cox (bass, vocals) and Steve Sma5h (synth, drums), have now been joined by a full line-up including the wonderfully named Blink Cyclone on guitar who guested on this one. They’ve also just moved labels to Electro Blip Records so hopefully there will be more to come from them in the not too distant future. I await it with interest...