1997’s Uber Amerika, released on BYO, is the only Terrorgruppe album to have a proper release in America. However, that album, like many of Terrorgruppe’s albums, is entirely in German (except for a cover of the Gun Club’s “Sex Beat” as an album closer and the Spanish “La Sociedad Tienne La Culpa Que Yo Se Asi”) and I am simply not smart enough to be bilingual. Luckily, Terrorgruppe apparently are, so I’ve opted to review the other album of theirs that I own, 2000’s 1 World – 0 Future, released on Epitaph Europe.
Terrorgruppe are supposedly a better band when they sing in German. At least, that is what the Internet told me. But since I don’t understand German, I really miss out on the satire and humorous lyrical content of those songs. 1 World starts off upbeatly singing “One world, no future / Ooh / Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Before Enemy No. 1 begins and Archi Alert sings “I am your enemy” with background vocals providing “number one.” Pretty simple, straight forward punk rock. Catchy, somewhat aggressive. And often funny. Terrorgruppe calls their genre of music “aggropop.”
After a few songs that keep up the quality of music and the pace of the album, but that I don’t understand because of the German lyrics, we get “What is Wrong With The Americans?”--the first solid example of Terrorgruppe’s humor (at least in English) on the album. Starting out making fun of American lifestyles: "Stage dive till they break their neck / When problems start they smoke some crack." Then the track turns more political: "Their policy might be violent / Invasion of some sunny island / Bombs and missiles always right / Cause the lord is on their side." Terrorgruppe is not unlike a German, more politically-charged Vandals with the punk rock attitude and sense of, often ridiculous, humor intact.
Two songs later, “Esoterik Lied” totally changes things up with a reggae song. It is in German, so I have no idea what they are saying, but it is a change of pace and shows Terrorgruppe’s diversity, although it sounds slightly out of place among all these fast, catchy punk songs to have a slow reggae song. Honestly, as much as I chose to review this album over Uber Amerika because of the presence of some English songs, there are still a whole bunch of German songs on it. Next up is “Steiner III,” another song sung in German, but it is damn catchy. “Destroy the Krauts,” despite having an English title, is mostly in German, except for the English chorus of, you guessed it, “Destroy the Krauts!” Still, it, like “Steiner III” and plenty of the other songs, is very catchy and makes me want to sing along despite not being able to pronounce any of the words, so I’ll have to settle for dancing along.
Two songs later comes “Pequeno Pero Mal” and I know just enough Spanish to recognize both the title and the lyrics as clearly not German--making that two for two on the Terrorgruppe albums that I own with Spanish songs on them. Maybe Terrorgruppe are trilingual. Using my barely existent Spanish skills, the song is about being small, but mean.
Then “Do You Mind?” plays, starting off with "Do you like it spicy or do you like it hot?" but then it becomes clear the song is about a failing relationship based entirely on the partner’s cooking: “Love means killing time now / Words nothing at all / Your food’s my only passion, nothing more."
After one more song, we get album closer “Afterburner,” which brings back the song from the opening track, “Warm Up,” before skipping and then the sound of a record stopping. After a few minutes of silence, a woman sings a song in what I assume is German. Some fairly mellow music accompanies her with a steady drum beat.
I can’t help but feel like I missed out on quite a bit by not understanding German. Uber Amerika’s booklet contains translations of the songs, but it isn’t quite the same as actually knowing what is being sung. Apparently Terrorgruppe’s final album, Rust in Pieces, is entirely in English. That may be the best place to hear Terrorgruppe for monolingual morons such as myself. All the same, the album has lively, catchy music--it just makes me feel like I’m being left out of a club, although I have only myself to blame for not learning a second language (specifically German.)