This German trio sure picks interesting word choices to represent themselves. Their band name, Steril, makes me think of something that doesn’t produce or something that possesses a drab sound. The CD title, 400 Years of Electronic Music, seems to lend reference to Steril covering the history of electronic music within this release. Band name aside, the latter seems ambitious and it is. But I must say Steril is quite experimental.
400 Years of Electronic Music is Steril’s best of compilation representing their “greatest hits” that span across four LPs and a decade of music, from 1993 to 2003. First and foremost, Steril is an industrial-rock band with firm roots in the underground industrial dance style. Their sound is true angst with the harsh, in-your-face packaged rage, hard pounding beats and metal guitar.
But Steril does this with a twist and is clearly into the EBM category. They incorporate other elements seamlessly: breakbeats, psychedelic trance, hip-hop and even traces of ambient chill-out. The result is interesting—catchy song arrangements, some with pop structure but with an industrial vibe.
For over-the-top, aggressive track “Temper” fits: it’s fast, hard, and relentless. On “Deep” and “Shame,” the duo of Axel Tasler and Jan Wilking utilize crunchy and heavy guitar riffing and throbbing beats to provide intense energy blasts. “Egoist,” Steril’s hit from their 94’ LP Egoism also pounds, as upbeat industrial meets hints of psy-trance trippiness jolted into place by super-aggressive guitar assaults.
Steril also satisfies diehard industrial fanatics with 1993’s “No Remission,” and those interested in dance floor club antics with the anthem “I Get Closer,” pulled from 2003’s Purification. Steril’s hip-hop influences arise with the scratching techniques on “Guess,” and urban styled rhythms on “Zap.”
Honestly, Steril does a stellar job combining genres and styles to concoct music with originality; free from restraint and predictability. Many electronic acts have attempted this and have been semi-successful. Steril just seems to do it better—remaining an electro/dance industrial group that isn’t totally industrial or too metal. They simply sound Steril, free from outer contaminants.
Maybe that’s what they meant with their name.