I first heard Germ on the radio, late at night driving down the freeway. The opening 10 minute track from 2012's Wish album showcased a mix of layered, lush synth, '80s style death rock/goth and black metal. Upon researching a little further I was pleasantly surprised to find that Germ was a project of highly prolific and talented Tim Yattras.
Yattras has played, written and toured with some of Australia's best metal bands. A diverse mix including power metallers, Lord, cult black metal outfit Nazxul, Austere, Woods Of Desolation and several more. His reach is also international, collaborating with excellent Russian black metal/post rock outfit Skyforest.
Reading interviews with Yattras reveals that, curiously, one of his primary influences is Oasis. Listening to Germs back catalogue its clear that the man knows his way around a hook, albeit a dark, harsh hook.
A tag used several times (whether in jest or not) to describe Germs output has been 'stadium/arena black metal'. Whilst to many this might be a complete contradiction in terms, bands such as Venom, Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir have all at one point played stadiums and arenas.
The title track from upcoming new album Escape is stunning: washed out, melancholic and features distorted guitar layers that give way to howling shrieks and a steady/catchy drum beat. The layered keyboards are still here, but are used more sparingly to allow the guitars to wash over you. Some have dubbed it 'odin pop', but Escape and Germ deserve better than that. Dive in and enjoy.
Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.