London SE1 Ministry Of Sound
The living dead look worse than you think.
Fittingly, the Bavarian techno pranksters have been allotted the graveyard slot: a post-3am 15 minutes, sandwiched between the bread-and-butter trance of Paul Oakenfold and Brandon 'Blockster' Block, the group's appearance adding to the bemusement of several hundred shiny-shirted revellers here to celebrate the club's ninth birthday.
In what amounts to little more than a pop-style PA, this is Zombie Nation's chance to prove there's more to the sound of the Munich underground than 'Kernkraft 400', that world-conquering sliver of niggling, squelchy electro-rave currently nestling inside the UK Top Five. Ostensibly the layman's 'Knights Of The Jaguar', the track, krafted by chief Zombie Splank! and his errant partner Mooner (crazy names, mild-mannered guys) two years ago, has since slain continental Europe - Ibiza in particular - and has even spawned a bootleg version in the States, where it's used for major sporting events.
Tales abound too, of 'Kernkraft 400''s melody bleeping from mobile phones throughout the White Isle, whilst here it's been adopted as a terrace anthem by football clubs in every league. Yet its unequivocal massiveness doesn't help Splank! and his two grinning assistants as they face the podium-strutting masses, whose preference for hypnotic trance whoosh over Zombie's twitching Teutonic techno manifests itself in polite applause - as rugged acid efforts like 'Breakitdown' and 'Rythmbox' stutter to a close. "Just one more!" pleads Splank!. "It's coming!"
All the dry ice and swirling lasers in southeast London can't hide the fact that the first ten minutes, great as they are, act as a lengthy introduction to this summer's omnipresent choon. But such is 'Kernkraft 400''s insidious charm, that any doubters are soon with them, arms very much aloft.
Zombie Nation met the trance nation, then. It's the start of a bizarrely entertaining relationship.
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