Noblesse Oblige - Privilege Entails Responsibility
Former East London but now Berlin based electro art punk duo Noblesse Oblige released ‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’, their debut album in 2006. They think big with their sound and why not. Every aspect of who they are seems to be extremely well planned. They leave no room for error and that is a brilliant quality to have. Everything about them seems to be about impact. From their twisted lyrics and song titles to the dark electro chaos of their music. The lyrics spit in the face of the listener. Wiping away the filth, what’s left are confrontational electro-rock vignettes depicting the Noblesse Oblige universe, a distinctly militaristic zeitgeist one where they dominate the whole world. ‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’ is a powerful album and a very melodic one with the storming yet disturbing electro-clash of ‘Bitch’ and ‘Daddy Don’t Touch Me There’.
There is respite from the uneasy atmosphere that pervades the album in the form of the marching swoon of ‘Quel Genre De Garcon’, a cabaret like song with lyrics quickly changing from French to German. ‘Offensive Nonsense’ incorporates a mangling mash of guitars and keyboards set to duelling vocals from the duo Sebastian Philipp and Valerie Renay. It finishes with a gunshot. Gun sounds are prevalent throughout from a pistol shot to the head on ‘Offensive Nonsense’ to the riot police machine gun fire, firing unremittingly on protestors on ‘Bite Back’, itself a call to arms for the protestors to continue the fight.
The oppressive atmosphere of the album makes for a slightly uneasy experience. Classical music samples, gunfire, pomp, whipping and screaming evil lock you away in the Noblesse Oblige basement, throwing away the key, leaving you to never to see the light of day again. ‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’ sounds like a real life horror film and is not for the faint of heart, more for those who like to be challenged when listening to a band who know their craft and how to use it and who are not frightened of perhaps offending people in the process.
Noblesse Oblige are controversial, they’re unafraid of unsettling those who listen to them but more importantly, they’re vital.
A new civilisation has dawned. It is a utopia of order where everyone lives for the greater good. World peace is a reality after the previous civilisation became extinct, living beyond their means in a cesspool of greed which led to their own oblivion by way of nuclear war.
The impossible became the possible as man rose once again into the totalitarian society it has now become, by way of teachings from surviving lost books, found from the civilisation of yore. The rule of the new civilisation was a long and fruitful one but it nearly ended with the rise of one young man discovering one book, the one book that should never be read.
Rising through the ranks, he led his political party with an iron will, attracting activists with his charisma and effortless charm. Fervent in his beliefs he gained followers, lots of rich and powerful followers till the point came where he finally rose to power taking his place and command at the heart of the military. He sought to slaughter his closest enemies that fought him for power and did so without mercy. Now standing unopposed, the time was rife. With the building of the war machine, the world stood by and watched. They watched too long.
Resolute in might, with a formidable military arsenal at his disposal, the young man and his legions took one territory after the other conquering all by brute force. By the time the world knew something was to be done, it was too late or was it?
‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’ was listened to by many. The album was a chastening bombardic experience delivering its bombs of electro-glory throughout that chained the listener to its ideals once was heard. Such was the album’s influence, riots ensued between rival factions, those that preached the album and those that didn’t. Chaos reigned supreme on the streets as riot police tried but failed to separate both factions from warring with each other. Martial law was declared, the people revolted. The revolution was at hand. All over the world countries disintegrated into anarchy. All this was happening in light of invasion from an altogether different enemy, an enemy with greed and furious ambition looking to take advantage of the world’s new found perilous situation.
My left hand shakes against my will. I use my right hand to steady it. Tremors course through my body. I take more of the pills to keep the infernal disease that is crippling me at bay. I’m ill. Years of warmongering have taken their toll. My enemies are closing in. I am suffocating in this room, my chamber, and my home, home to my life for who knows how long. There is no god, only yourself. Everything I have done, I have believed in, still to this day. Right, wrong there has never been such a thing, only your own world and your own life experience from which to draw upon. I have directed huge military campaigns and seen untold success at the expense of the world leading the motherland into its finest hour, a new era from which we will flourish. Yet here I am, cornered in this prison. The world looks to topple and defeat me, yet still in my army’s finest hour, they fight! Fight for a cause they believe in! Those brave young soldiers, they fight for the cause and they shall get their just medals and rewards.
The shelling of the enemy artillery is getting closer. I can hear the gunfire; I think I can hear the gun fire. I’ve heard so much of this I don’t even know what I’m hearing or seeing anymore. My mind is tired; I don’t know how much more of this I can take. How dare they come this far into the heartland. How dare they venture this close. My reserve infantry are supposed to be keeping them at bay with whatever firepower they have and yet still they pound! Where are my generals? I meet with my generals and they tell me lies! Lies!
The army regiments supposed to be re-taking the enemies territories they tell me aren’t even there! Why! No reinforcements they tell me. Blasphemy! They are not worthy of the motherland! I pour over the strategic maps and I don’t understand it, they should be there! I make an example by shooting one of the generals with my pistol for gross insubordination. The other generals don’t even show emotion, the cowards.
I receive word that the enemy forces have infiltrated the bunker. My generals have given up and are swigging from their hip-flasks drunkenly singing old folk songs. The light flickers, dust falls from the ceiling, beads of sweat pass my brow, my heart races, pounding my will to live on the rest of my body. My hands sweat profusely. I will not succumb to the hands of my enemies! I do not believe in defeat!
My general’s have failed, I’ve failed! The bottle of whisky’s finished, I’m finished! I throw my glass against the wall in a fit of uncontrollable rage. The sound of impending doom fills the floor as glass shards shatter into a thousand pieces glittering the floor. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve made the decision, my fate inevitable. With everyone taken care of, I know what to do now. My journey into knowing what it is to truly be alive is almost complete.