Sunday, October 24, 2010
We recently mentioned the Implicit Order in our review of the Mystified remix album, where they contributed four excelent tracks. It's a tough act to follow, but I have to say that their own release is even better. The first track starts with drones before going into a landscape of nostalgic melodies and slight distortion that makes me think of the summer rain trickling along multicolored stone walls in some iteration of an urban landscape. This fragmentary melancholy persists throughout the recording, showing us bits and pieces of something very familiar that still manages to seem very displaced. Cutlery laced with analogue strings and children playing in the background. Oddments sampled from documentaries and bouts of glitch, and simplistic analogue melodies that are followed by atonal choirs and minute sounds in buckets of reverb. It's a good mix of plunderphonics, found sounds and self composed pieces, all deftly manipulated into a whole.
The album is very short, but it's a good way to land after a day full of stress. There is nothing dark here, and nothing demanding. It's as if the world around you has been reappropriated and recontextualized to form a sonic chair for your relaxation. I say, try it on. I think you'll like it. When it's over I feel calm and strangely happy – contrasting sharply with the track titles and the Columbine connotations they contain. I'm certainly not dissapointed though. I guess murdering your class in homeroom doesn't have to be all dark and negative. All in all it's nothing ground breaking or ground shaking, but it's certainly something you should give a try. It's worth it.
The recording is available for free download here, and readily available. I just wish it was longer, as the entire thing ticks in at just around 17 minutes.
USA, CD Download, suRRism Phonoethics, 2010
1 Blind Youth
2 Dumb Generation
3 School Lunch
4 Dewy Fields
5 Murder in Homeroom
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The first track of this download covers more or less the entire spectrum, from ambient, to electronic beats and then further on to powernoise and pure noise mayhem. The impressive bit is how natural it all feels. The blend of powernoise beats and harsh electronic distortion is powerful and reminds me a bit of Merzbow's Aqua Necromancer, just more harsh. The track even manages to segue into a moody industrial "ambient" melodic part before it ends after a little more than twenty minutes of unpredictable beauty, and that is something I really didn't expect.
The rest of the tracks aren't as long as the first one, but they are perhaps even more skillfully composed, and make up an excellent blend of IDM and powernoise. It's hard to analyze the album in terms of theme or content, but it's certainly an enjoyable urban sound perfectly suited for a cold day in october. Especially a track like "Zygoma Boom" or "Salt. Wound. Sandpaper.", which contains all the distorted anger of the best in powernoise, and all the brain dancy joy of IDM. Comparisons to Converter or Noisex spring to mind. And then there's little bundles of dark fun, like "Ointment or so we thought", which makes me think of Aphex Twin on a nasty coctail of ritalin and benzo's. It's been some time since I've managed to listen to an entire album in this landscape without getting really bored, as the genre tends towards repetition and predictability. This album is dynamic and manages to stay exciting.
Something else I find very pleasing about this release is the way Absence Insolution manages to pile umpteen layers of sound in there without turning the result into a porridge of indistinguishable crap. Every single sound is audible and clear. My only complaint about the album is that the first track doesn't fit all that well with the rest of the album, despite being really good. Leaving it out would've resulted in a more focused experience. I also fear that many potential listeners can get lost in the lengthy noise ouvre.
Sadly Absence Insolution doesn't get the attention it would deserve. I've not forgotten would really have been something for Hymen, Hands or Ant-Zen to pick up. While I really appreciate the fact that it's a free download, it deserves a larger audience and support from a label.
If you're into powernoise you really need to give this one a listen. I'm serious. Smack it on your mpfree player and lace up your boots. It's not gonna revolutionize your philosophy or anything, but it certainly will make that walk through the city more vibrant. Three thumbs up!
USA, self released, album download, 2010,
1 I've not forgotten
2 Rape Sequence
3 Zygoma Boom
4 Ointment or so we thought.
5 Salt. Wound. Sandpaper.
6 Black Hole. Magnetic Pole.
7 the Inconceivable p.m.b.
8 Sorry I wrote this
9 Tender Longing
Friday, October 22, 2010
An European duo formed in 2008, consisting of Ann-Mari Thim (Arcana, Seventh Harmonic) and Xavier De Schuyter. De Schuyter has a past (and a present) in the extreme metal and rock genre and ventured into the dark ambient/neoclassical genre to explore something different. Horror/Forsaken is a double album with a horror theme inspired by Dark Wave.
I am not a neoclassical fan. I find the genre to be tedious, pompous and predictable. And I can't for life of me find anything interesting in Ann-Mari Thim's vocal work. Sure the girl can sing, but this is as interesting as watching paint dry. I think it's pretty obvious I'm not an Arcana fan either. It's my understanding that De Schuyter invited her to participate in this project to add atmosphere. In my opinion this release would have been better off without her. De Schuyter is perfectly able to create atmosphere on his own, and his vocal work combined with the soundscapes actually forms a soothing, and at times edgy listeninge experience. I can tell he has a passion for music. There is a certain humble approach that shines through, there is nothing pretentious about his work. And that surprises me with regards to his interest in extreme metal where «image is everything». My advice to De Schuyter is to have faith in his own talent and intent, and to drop the dead weight. He doesn't need the name dropping. He is strong enough on his own.
I will point out that the dark ambient elements of this release outshines the neoclassical/Neofolk elements by far. But I fail to see the horror element, and being a devoted horror fan I can say that with a straight face. Horror to me is «The Texas chain saw massacre,» not «House on the haunted hill» the remake. I'm more a «Last house on a dead end street» kinda girl. The horror vibe in this release is more your typical Halloween party, where straight people dress up once a year. To me everyday is Halloween, and as a dark ambient fan, I don't feel a connection to this release. If anything, this release makes me much more curious about De Schuyter's other projects because he has obvious talent, and I can tell he really wants to communicate through his
As to the production, I have to say it's a little too over produced. I would have loved to hear more dirty sounding soundscapes to give the release a much needed edge. There are tracks that certainly stand out such as «The descent», with just a tad more dirt and rust this could have been a very good track. I read in an interview that De Schuyter walks round town sampling sounds he finds interesting. I would have loved if those sounds could have been more prominent. They drown in a very digital production. The CD cover is true to the genre. It's a pretty design, clean and simple as it should be.
To sum it all up, if you are a fan of the neoclassical and the vocal works in style of Arcana, or if you enjoy pretty, uncomplicated dark ambient, by all means buy the CD. If you on the other hand are looking for something with a little more teeth, I'd say wait for De Schuyter next release to see if he has found faith in his own talent. I will be keeping an eye on him.
Style: Dark ambient, Neoclassical, Neofolk
Label :Black Drone http://blackdrone.com/
Format: CD, digipak
Released: 19 May 2010
Free download: http://voidwork.bandcamp.com/
2 The soulless city
3 People of the monolith
4 Marble steps
6 The serpents lullaby II
8 The serpents lullaby III
9 Forever in fire
10 Post -apocalypse
11 The decent
13 The black goat
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Halgrath is indeed ritual dark ambient, but instead of the more common humming I get so bored with in this genre, an ethereal female vocal lifts the project out from being your run of the mill dark ambient band up to a more unique and interesting project. The woman behind this Russian project is Agratha, and she certainly knows how to lure you into her world.
Throughout the tracks are highly erotic and ritual, and makes my mind wander off to some of the more selfish rituals you will find in sex magick. There is a certain intent, a sense of direction in the tracks which makes me believe this girl got her Crowley shit down.
Halgrath is an unknown project to me, and the cover is so important in making the first impression a good one. A cover should make us curious about the content, and it should reflect the genre in some way or form. Halgrath's cover is a total failure, it's damn right terrible. And that is such a shame because the musick is not. Please look beyond the cover, people. You won't regret it.
The soundscapes are very well produced, multi layered and at times unique. Halgrath has a nerve forcing it's way through all the tracks. Combined with various ethnic inspirations, organic sounds and meditative drums this will without a doubt pull you into a different world of imagery and sensations. According to her myspace, she is influenced by the spirituality of the universe, and I really do enjoy her balance between the soothing and the more unsettling moods. I can promise you this: If you lay down on the floor letting your breath be affected by this release, you will find that your body unable to let go and relax 100%. The unsettling nerve will keep you alert and aware. I love that. I really do wish Agratha played this card out with more intent, that would have made this release a real knife's edge and rather unforgettable.
Although I enjoy the occasional female vocal, I usually get bored with it rather quickly. I prefer distorted and/or experimental vocals, or male vocals just because a male vocal can be stripped down in a way a female vocal usually can't. Even though Agratha most defiantly can sing, my ears can't keep up their enthusiasm for the whole 10 tracks. Her most interesting feats are when she moves into a slight Diamada Galas'ish landscape more in the style of «The divine punishment and the saint of the pit», or the spoken word sections as in one of my favorite tracks «Euphoria». Don't get me wrong, this is indeed beautiful, soothing, sexual and fitting. I just wish she could have used her obvious vocal talent to be more experimental in between all the ethereal singing. It's a little too Dead Can Dance. Look to Ataraxia or Miranda sex garden for interesting and experimental female vocal work. You can add some texture, and still be true to the genre.
Agratha masters the art of patience. She doesn’t rush through the tracks filling them with uninteresting elements. She keeps it simple and clean. And I really love that as a whole. But for the 6th track «Spiral path», which is also the longest, I miss more experimenting and would have loved more of the previously mentioned nerve instead of more of the same. The slight noise elements in some of the tracks are so fitting, and just a tad more of that would have been perfection. To have some of the 10 tracks sans vocal would have been a good idea as well to keep the listeners interested in the vocal work, instead of growing tired by it. Or to shorten the release down to 6 tracks.
Halgrath obviously has talent, intent and will, and Agratha should allow herself the creativity to venture further. Just a little more nerve would have made this release quite outstanding. Mind you, it's really very good as it is. This release is perfect music for magick rituals, be it with others or by your self, or it can function as a soothing background music while on a long train ride as you eyes wanders over unknown terrain. In my eyes this release is worthy of Cold Meat Industries (Back when CMI was good mind you). That said ,Ambientaria Records has blown us away so far with their releases, so who needs Cold Meat.
I am really curious to see where Agratha 's next release will take this project. If she dares to venture into her own black abyss, I'm convinced she will come back out with something rather mind blowing. I can't wait.
Label: Ambientaria Records
Album Title: Liquid Mind
Genre: Ritual Dark Ambient
01. Shamaan’s Prarie (5:25)
02. Irae Seithoria (10:37)
03. Euphoria (3:38)
04. Her Winter of Loneliness (7:14)
05 Deep Underwater Darkest Tale (6:22)
06. Spiral Path (12:36)
07. Metal Scream (5:14)
08. Whisper of the Mental Hypnosis (4:07)
09. Dark Liquid Mind (5:44)
10. Palace of the Lustful Lord (5:40)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Review by Cthulberg
Following in the surge of bands reuniting after several decades, Ike Yard is no different and duly presents the first new material in 28 years. Ike Yard's cult-status-approved, self-titled album was released on Factory America in 1982 and surely must be one of the most austere and morose electronic records released. Should any of you unfamiliar with the previous output of Ike Yard, it mostly consists of barren soundscapes of modular synthesis basslines, sparse guitars and oddly paced syncopated drums with little or no deviation. The vocals are presented with a complete and utter absence of zeal and vigor, but still speaks to you at a level several times the recording one. The very essence of no-wave then.
Being a person to intensely enjoy such music I was blown away by the news that the "1980-1982 Collected" compilation on Acute (2006) was soon to be followed by first a 10 inch on Phisteria called "Öst" and then by a full-length CD on Phisteria/Desire. On "Nord" Ike Yard are one member short (Fred Szymanski) and is currently made up of Kenneth Compton, Michael Diekmann and Stuart Argabright, who I guess do way more programming now than in the previous incarnation of the band. I got to thinking that after reuniting in 2007 the guys must’ve really felt that they could add to their music rather than detract in order for them to get back in the studio and record. I’m seldom apprehensive listening to new music, but I have to admit that before listening to this CD for the first time I was mentally prepared to be hugely disappointed.
Well, I wasn’t. This entire CD, while in many ways different in approach to the original Ike Yard, still feels extremely familiar in all the good ways. There is a lot of warmth on this record and a few of the songs herein rival the impact their first album had on me all those years ago. Also, "Nord" is more of a varied experience and has more in common with Ike Yard’s debut "Night After Night" (12inch - 1981) in that is not an exclusively electronic record. There’s even the odd acoustic guitar and some pained vocals here and there without it sounding out of place. The whole album flows smoothly from start to finish with some tracks really standing out – Traffikers, Oshima Cassette, Citiesglit and Mascochistic. Desire could have charged ten times the amount for the CD and these four tracks would still have made the purchase worth it to me. In short, Nord is a really, really good album and certainly one worthy of following up the cult-status attained by the band nearly three decades ago. Now for some concerts, eh?
Denmark/USA, CD album, Phisteria/Desire, 2010
04 Oshima Cassette
05 Metallic Blank
06 Beautifully Terrible
07 Type N
10 Orange Tom
11 Robot Steppes
http://www.myspace.com/ikeyard http://www.phisteria.com/ http://desire-records.blogspot.com/2010/07/ike-yard-nord.html
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Bauhaus, Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza, Skinny Puppy, Sex Pistols, Burzum and now SWANS. All of these are names that have been absent for a long time, and then reappeared. Beatles even released music long after their original demise, and Elvis Presley defied the grave to release new material as did Jimi Hendrix. Few events create more buzz than the reunion, or in this case, reactivation of a favored musical venture. Unfortunately they also usually create a great deal of disappointment, fan rage and the realization that there was a reason the band or name was retired in the first place. Bauhaus and Sex Pistols should've stayed dead. Skinny Puppy too I would say. But not all comebacks are bad. Monte Cazazza and Burzum are examples of projects that came back with something to say and the original sentiment more or less intact. Which one is SWANS?
I have been madly in love with SWANS for such a long time. When the band split up and released "swans are dead" it felt to me a part of music itself died. Counting the hours I've spent listening to their various releases, or searching for them in stores would produce quite a number. The messiah can piss on his father and fuck his mother up the ass - all I want is SWANS. I remember the first time I heard SWANS, what track, what time of day it was and where I was. When I heard Gira was reactivating the project my fanboy heart nearly stopped working permanently.
You can see the level of expectations I have, and please keep this in mind while reading the review.
My immediate reaction upon popping the cd in the player was "Yes this is SWANS." I had been afraid that it would sound like an Angels of Light album, under the SWANS name. However, after listening for a few minutes the initial enthusiasm diminished somewhat. Something was missing. The arrangements, instrumentation and musicians are clearly set in a SWANS context, but I couldn't free myself of the Angels of Light frame. In many ways it sounded like SWANS covering Angels.
I don't expect SWANS to sound like SWANS did in 1996, or 1983, or whatever. SWANS has always been about change and growth and I appreciate that very much. But thematically the band was always about extreme discipline, submission and self hatred - both in content and style. My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky is a little too garagy and the lyrical content on many of the tracks is more along the line of Gira's later outputs. I don't mind any of this, but I don't think it's entirely SWANS. The strictness and clearness of the production is missing.
Tracks like "You Fucking People Make me Sick" and Inside Madeline are the ones that come closest to the massively towering totalitarian music of earlier releases. Most specifically they remind me of some of the moments on "White Light..." or "Love of Life". All in all the four last tracks are the ones that sit best with me after the first listen, while "Reeling the Liars in" and "Jim" doesn't do it for me. The tracks that are good are really good however, and easily worth the money on their own.
I also have to say that I do miss the softness Jarboe provided, as a contrast to the intensity of Gira. While I realize that she was not present for the first albums, and that those albums are very good - she was there for so many years, and certainly a formative presence. I have complete faith in Gira's ability to pull it off without her, and I would in no way expect her to be a part of the reformed band, but her presence is still missed.
Chances are if you've never heard SWANS, or heard very little this album will impress you a great deal. However, if you're a huge fan it can go either way. You might love it, and you might be disappointed. There is however no doubt that the review I read the other day, which said this could possibly be the best SWANS album ever was dead wrong. This album can in no way compete with Children of God, Love of Life, Filth, Holy Money, Greed or any other of the now classical albums. I realize the comparison is unfair, but I have to be honest. I'm not sure I feel SWANS are back, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
USA, CD album, Young God Records, 2010
1. No Words/No Thoughts (9:24)
2. Reeling The Liars In (2:20)
3. Jim (6:46)
4. My Birth (3:52)
5. You Fucking People Make Me Sick (5:08)
6. Inside Madeline (6:36)
7. Eden Prison (6:03)
8. Little Mouth (4:12)
After tackling the initial (perhaps childish) scepticism towards a band with a name that might sound like "ass bar" I am pleased to note the sound manipulations on this album are of a quality you rarely hear. The sounds are so crispy clear, and forceful that the only fitting description is "impressive".
Corono Veli Aurei is inspired by a series of photographs by Manel O. Company. The photos show a world of monochrome desolation – devoid of humanity, but not our cultural artefacts. The music and photos form a whole, and if you close your eyes while listening to the music it's not dificult to picture dusty ashen grey cities, endless roads and telephone poles with nothing to do except stand around. By contrast the music manages to make Cormac Mc Carthy's "the Road" seem like an upbeat depiction of a cosy apocalypse.
The literary comparison is appropriate in more ways than one. The CD's inlay contains a series of texts, poems maybe, that help us interpret the various tracks, and the philosophy of the release. The music, and it's packaging is a great deal more intelligent than your average dark ambient release. It comes with a complete mythology and a vision, and you can clearly hear how much work the musician has put into the sonic half of this. I cannot stress enough how rarely we hear something as fantastic as this. Hardly ever actually. It feels like the first time I heard Biosphere's Patashnik, or when I discovered Strotter Inst, not just because the occupy a part of the same landscape, but because they are equally intelligent and effortlessly skillful in execution. Few musicians are self confident and skilled enough to produce something as outstanding as this. The detailed textures and sonic fragments are woven together in an intricate and inspiring way.
I'm also inspired in the spiritual sense, as many of the tracks and texts are anchored in mysticism. As the cover says "ASBAAR is a meething with our ancestors who speak to us in our dreams, and teach us how to run our lives [...]." It's perhaps a little like listening to ghostly whispers of yesteryear's culture and aspirations. No answers, but questions floating around, carried by the wind through broken windows and condemned structures. Tracks like Mana and Signa or Aum speak of a connection to something like a lost shamanism or atleast a respect for our surroundings – even urban ones, that we could all learn something from.
It's a severly cold october day outside, and little birds are pecking away at the food I have hanging on my veranda. Inside the sky is anything but blue, but the temperature is the same. The world is cold, and grey and very empty. Corona Veli Aurei is intensely sobering.
If I've ever recomended that our readers buy something, it has to be this one.
Spain, CD Album, Black Drone, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
While anxiously anticipating the next full length release “The Cruelest Month” by neo-folk legends Sol Invictus, what better way to wait it out than listening to a couple of tracks from that album. “The Bad Luck Bird” is available from Auerbach/Prophecy in an edition of 500 seven inch vinyls, the first such from Sol Invictus since the “Eve” PD-single off “Hill Of Crosses”. Both tracks are highly orchestrated songs, and mark a solid return to old form for Sol Invictus. With grandeur aplenty across the board, this release comes replete with all the neo-folk markings we’ve come to expect from Sol Invictus, but were to some extent denied on “The Devil’s Steed” (2005). “The Bad Luck Bird” is an absolutely impeccable song worthy of untold praise, “Stella Maris” is more subdued and placid, but nevertheless brimming with effortless beauty. The two moods compliment eachother perfectly. After the somewhat disappointing Orchestra Noir release "What If" a ways back, this was indeed a pleasant surprise. That said, it’s more or less impossible to find fault anywhere in this release, but I would perhaps like to point out that the label might have downplayed the cover artwork a little as it seems a little uninspired as opposed to the content of the record itself. Simply put, if you are a fan of the by now classic output of Sol Invictus in any way this single truly is a must-buy. And… if the album itself turns out to be of similar quality, then surely we have a new “The Blade” on our hands. I know I’m excited!
7 inch single, Germany, 2010, Auerbach Tonträger AB024
A The Bad Luck Bird (single version)
B Stella Maris
Buy single from (it is apparently still available!):
You can find Sol Invictus/TW on various places on the web. For instance:
PS: In other related news, Tony Wakeford is currently working on a project with Eraldo Bernocchi of Sigillum S called Owls. From what has been “leaked” so far, you can expect to hear a very eclectic blend of styles both parties have made their own since the mid 80s. It certainly sounds leagues better than the Wakeford/Stapleton split-album “Revenge of the Selfish Shellfish”.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The second product to be released after the aformentioned conflict over the brand name Gorgoroth is Ov Hell's The Underworld Regime. Ov Hell was originally planned as a collaboration between Gaahl (vocals) and King ov Hell (bass), called God Seed. Gaahl bowed out however, and King ov Hell recruited Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir fame to do the vocals for the a new project Ov Hell. This knowledge, toghether with the cover of the album makes me fairly sceptical. Dimmu Borgir hasn't exactly won my heart over – you might say. Ov Hell has been dubbed a supergroup, which is no wonder considering the names on the sleeve, and the projects they've worked with. In addition to King ov Hell and Shagrath Ice Dale (Enslaved etc), Teloch (Umoral etc) and Frost (Satyricon, 1349 etc) have contributed extensiviely, while Silenoz, also from Dimmu Borgir has written some of the lyrics.
Thankfully however Ov Hell doesn't sound like Dimmu Borgir part two. Ov Hell is less infantile (with the screaming obvious exception of the track Hill Norge) and less over produced or over arranged. Still, it does retain some of the pompousness of Shagrath's more well known project – especially in visual design. The musicians are more than capable, and there is no way to fault the music, or production. To me the music sounds like a half breed child of Immortal and Dimmu Borgir, with Frost on drums, and that's all well and fine, if a bit redundant. I would much rather recommend Immortal's latest album "All Shall Fall", a much better album in the same landscape.
The tracks Invoker and Krigsatte Faner stand out as the most interesting tracks to my ears, as they have more drive and weight than the rest of the album. While tracks like Post Modern Sadist feels a bit too over the top. The progressive elements detract from the energy of the music, while the complexities aren't developed enough to merit attraction on their own. I'm glad most of the album leaves out the temptation to toy further with these elements. The final track, Hill Norge, however, is quite simply embarrassing and childish, and would've been better left at the scrap heap.
The result is something akin to pop-black-metal, and I'm certain it will strike a nerve with a great deal of listeners. Personally I don't feel it, but I think it's a simple matter of taste. I'd prefer more brutality and more credible "darkness" – for a lack of better words. It's definately not a bad album though and I'm sure I would have a different reaction if it were released a decade ago. Now however it feels a bit like something I've heard too many times.
Norway, Indie Recordings, CD Album 2010
1 Devil's Harlot
2 Post Modern Sadist
4 Perpetual Night
6 Acts of Sin
7 Krigsatte Faner
8 Hill Norge
Revenant is free release from Corpse Candle, on the eminent net lable Twilight Luggage. It starts off by kicking you in the ear, followed by some rough massage of the bruised area. The music is nowhere near the harshness of various japanoise bands, but utilizes noise as a means to create more varied drone music. And it works very convincingly.
The tracks are stylistically consistent and atmospheric, ranging from ambient soundscapes via pure drones and further on to distorted sonic fists - all with a common ground in the blend between overdrive, deep drones and moody backdrops.
Thematically the music and the titles work together with the cover to create something one could easily call death ambient or death drone. While far away from the amusing juvenalia of death metal this release shares a fascination for moldy sepulchres, and manages to convey this fascination. The sounds are bleak and have a crusty feel to them. Like damp concrete hallways strewn with moist cadavers and overgrown with cobwebs. The music is perhaps the aural counterpart to the aesthetics of films like "La Noche del terror ciego".
The two first tracks of the release are by all means the best, while the third track seems a bit like filler material to me. Still as a whole the release is absolutely worth getting.
The music is available for free download, and if you like it you also have the option of purchasing a cd-r for 6£.
UK, Twilight Luggage, Free Download or CD-R, 2009
1 Blood Powder
2 Mold on Flesh
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The prolonged conflict over the legal rights to the name Gorgoroth was well publisized and doesn't need a reiteration here. Personally I have to admit I was unsure what Gorgoroth would be without Gaahl. Granted, he was only the band's vocalist for a limited time, but the way I see it that particular period was their prime.
However, from first note of this record my fears are dispersed. The extreme aggression is in no ways dimished, and Pest (the original vocalist) certainly knows his stuff. His style is different from Gaahl's and the change in sensibility is clearly discernable, and though I personally find Ad Majorem Satanas Gloriam to be their absolute best album this one is certainly a head above most anything that goes on in the metal scene today. The style is more melodic and slower, and perhaps closer to "classical" black metal – but more mature sounding. As such the album is an absolute success, though I am afraid it might also be a bit anonymous compared to earlier efforts. A consistent feature with Gorgoroth over the years has been intense beats, despite going through quite a number of different drummers. I am happy to say that this album continues in that vein.
In fact, considering the number of musicians that have at one point been associated with Gorgoroth it's an impressive feat from Infernus to maintain this level of musical quality and consistency over the years.
If there is anything I miss it would have to greater variation. It's good moody album, but I do have trouble seperating between the songs after the first listen. Knowing that the album was formed over such a long period, and during the aforementioned conflict makes this quite understandable, but still it does detract somewhat from the final product. Tracks like Aneuthanasia, Satan-Prometheus and Introibo ad Altarare Satanas easily stand out as the ones with most personality, while the others tend towards some degree of anonymity. (Sadly the final track is both the strongest and the shortest one.)
The album cover is a tasteful and minimalist rendition of a skull, with the band logo beneath it. Some of Gorgoroth's covers have been arty and more reminicent of something you'd expect from industrial ambient – while others have been more metal'ish. This cover is a blend between the two, and the imagery serves well to communicate the uncompromising bleakness of the band.
The album is no longer news however, as it was released nearly a year ago and we are allready eagerly awaiting a follow up – tentatively set to be released next year. Only time will if the conflict has damaged Gorgoroth as a "brand", but judging by Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt Infernus will keep the name at the forefront of contemporary black metal for some time to come. We can only hope that this album is a new beginning and not a swansong.
Norway, CD album, Regain Records, 2009
4 Building a Man
5 New Breed
6 Cleansing Fire
7 Human Sacrifice
9 Introibo ad Alatare Satanas
Sunday, October 3, 2010
This is Marko Vierikko's project. A mysterious man from Finland who offers free downloads via his site. Several releases can also be found over at Because God Told Me To Do It and Kill Your Gods.
Salakapakka Sound System is Musique concrète at it's finest.
This release named "War" starts off rather unforgiving with it's first track "Class war". And being as I am a total sound freak, I instantly start decyphering the various sounds trying to figure out what he used and how. At his site he states he used "Doepfer dark energy monophonic synth, micro Korg, kaossilator, WSG, iron junk, databending, melting ice, radio noise and a bunch of other things I just cannot remember anymore." My heart ia actually beating faster from just thinking about the proses.
"Class war" is a 10:05 min long track, and it's slowly building up to a rhythmic and meditative trance inspired atmosphere. I LOVE it. Just as the first track is about to end Gird interrupts me to tell me that the release he is reviewing sucks. I feel blessed. I'm reviewing material of exeptional quality. The second track "Race war" is much harder, more noisy, cold and brutal. But still with this meditative vibe to it. This track is much more dissociative. This is the soundscape you would end up with if you place SPKs early recordings in a metal container and blew it up. It's unmistakenly noise, but not Whitehouse kinda noise. It's much more intelligent and controlled.
Track 3 "Information war" is more minimalist and dissolved, even cut up I would say. Could the title be more fitting? No. This is exactly how TV, radio and politics sounds like to me. Several samples from music and radio is raped by harsh noise elements in this track. It's the kind of chaos that makes you enraged. Fueled. Then the track calm down, but by the time this track is over, I am preparing for revolution. Track 4 "Gang war" is equally chaotic, but more experimental. For some strange reason this tracks makes me think of Dada. Maybe it's share lack of order. I don't know. It's a good thing though. At the end of the track the meditative rhythm once again appears, and then it all ends in brutality.
Track 5 "world war" is such a fitting last title. This is the longest track coming in on 14:17 mins. I guess world war takes time. It starts off rather soothing, with an eerie promise of hell to come. The first half actually being a more melodic noise ambient. I think this is an intelligent move from Marko as most would expect World war to be the most brutal track on this release. But it stays in this ambeint experimental landscape and end off with a intensely facinating sound that is really just want to steal and use for my own musick.
I love this release. Deeply and madly. If you are into Musique concrète you need to download this or buy if from Marko. He sells his musick for 6 euros post paid anywhere, paypal only. This is intelligent, this is controlled musick. And I also really love the whole concept of the release. We all love war, and Marko has given us the most brutal wars out there. I would not say this is a political release. Even though everything is political. I would say this is a misanthropic release. It's built around realism, and I would assume pessimism. And let's not forget anger.
"War" is not a moral release, Marko is simply stating a fact. The world is a fucked up place. Marko has this very special talent, he doesn't cause the listener to resign. He makes us deal. And relate. This war could be going on inside Marko's head. That's not for me to decide. And it's not important. He has managed to put together a release with such high quality, with impressive production and mastering. The sound is crisp and the layers in this production is never even once drowned out. I can't stress how much I love this release. And the cover is just pure perfection. Please buy it or download it. You will not regret it.
1. Class war
2. Race war
3. Information war
4. Gang war
5. World war 3
Hoodoo Engine is a new band, and this is their first release, in the style of Front Line Assembly, KMFDM, Zeromancer and Nine Inch Nails – or even Marilyn Manson. We're talking industrial metal with overt flirtations with pop sensibilites. The nine track album is mostly well produced and the musicians are obviously well versed in their genre. Still the album fails to make an impression, and ends up as quite anonymous. It has none of the aggression of Ministry, lacks the subtleties of FLA but is certainly on par with most of KMFDM's work.
These comparisons are perhaps unfair. Hoodoo Engine is more than capable of evoking memories of the genre as it was during its heyday, and if you're looking for a loving tribute it works. Your money would be better spent completing your collection of early FLA however.
The music is mostly electronic, with distorted guitar for drive and edge. The guitar playing is certainly technically apt, but the production drowns the guitar in synthesized melodies and removes any potential edge from the guitar. The vocals and lyrics are a clear and capable reference to Bill Leeb's style of singing, but nowhere near as atmospheric as Leeb at his best.
Track four, Elohim, sums up the album pretty well. Instant hit material on the various dance floors, with cliched synths, distorted vocals and drums you've heard a million times before. I wish the band would let the guitar carry the music more of the time, and dare to be more angry. The two last tracks show some promise, but most of the album is just simply anonymous. By the time I get to the more interesting bits my mind is numbed from the tedious cliches of the first part and I find myself unable to care about the music. All the tracks are well produced, sounds clean and the musicians are skilled, but that just doesn't cut it for me.
If you love this kind of comercialized "industrial" metal and don't really care about progress or originality you might just love this album. It's tailor made for the modern crowd of PVC rivethead chicks, and I'm not really the target audience, I know. But still I have to admit I can't find any reason why you should buy this album. If you don't allready have it go buy Improvised Electronic Device instead. If you have, treat yourself to a meal or throw the money out of the window.
I'm certain Hoodoo Engine will find their audience more than willing to spend their money on the album however, and that's all fine. I wish them all the best.
USA, self released, 2010
1 Old no. 1
5 Defcon Dawn
6 Hoodoo Luv
7 Level 5
8 the Fat and the Thin
9 Venomous Minds
Band website: http://www.hoodooengine.com
Buy the album here: http://www.hoodooengine.com/p/store.html