Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sophia - Aus der Welt (2001)

Shortly after the debut album comes a new 4-track vinyl relase by this solo-project of Arcana’s Peter. This 10″, on brown coloured vinyl, follows the same line as the debut of Sophia, bombastic ritual music, especially the title track is majestic and overwhelming.

After a misleading heavenly intro suddenly the thunder breaks loose with some fierce drumming, which makes all dark dungeons shake on their foundations. The other tracks are a bit calmer, but also make a good impression.

Taken from Funprox Webzine.

01 - Strength Through Sorrow
02 - March of the New King
03 - Aus der Welt
04 - Sono de Ignis


Death in June - Cathedral of Tears (1993)

This is the CD single, not the album of the same name. Tracks 3-5 were recorded live in Paris, January 5, 1993.

01 - Cathedral of Tears (Studio I)
02 - Cathedral of Tears (Studio II)
03 - To Drown a Rose (live)
04 - The Fog of the World (live)
05 - Europa: The Gates of Hell (live)


Friday, October 10, 2008

Halo Manash - Language of Red Goats (2008)

Mystique is an important but elusive concept. Like charisma, it’s not really something you can strive to acquire. You either have it or you don’t. And the Finnish underground label Aural Hypnox has it in spades. I’ve been absolutely hooked on their releases ever since the first one, Par-Antra I: Vir, also by Halo Manash, appeared in 2004. Since then, they have maintained enviably high standards, releasing a mere nine CDs, by Halo Manash, Zoät-Aon, Aeoga, Arktau Eos and Aural Holograms. I own eight of these pieces, most of which have been reviewed here on Judas Kiss, and every single one of them is excellent. Very few other labels I can think of have been so consistent, although the Seattle-based Glass Throat Recordings, home of Ruhr Hunter, The Elemental Chrysalis, Beneath The Lake and At The Head Of The Woods, also springs to mind. The personnel behind the Aural Hypnox releases maintain a studied anonymity, and there is considerable interchange between the various projects, so it makes sense to think of them collectively:

…the personae involved in Halo Manash is not central – rather it is the face of Halo Manash itself that is at the heart of all. The members of Halo Manash are the Dream that It dreams, the mask that It wears.

Language Of Red Goats is the fifth release of Halo Manash, and their third for Aural Hypnox. There have also been the Se Its En CD-R release on Blue Sector in 2003, and the r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA DVD and vinyl LP which appeared in 2007 on Kaosthetik Konspiration. Halo Manash’s music is dense, ritualistic ambient, thick with occult signification and the potential for producing altered states of consciousness. It’s so potent that if the government ever finds out about it, they’ll probably make it illegal. As the press release puts it:

Guided by nether nectars and dream herbs, oneiric visions and the light of lunar tides… Language of Red Goats aims to be a cartography of cavernous elemental realms and regions, sources and springs that run deep and thick with the fluids of life, death and dream. What was seeded at the Thin Veils has been gathered at Harvest time, and is offered to the seeker as a libation and guide into the ever-liminal, shrouded spaces, for dream-vigils and awakenings.

If nearly any other band said something like this about their music, I’d dismiss it as pretentious piffle, but Halo Manash put their music where their bold rhetorical claims are, and fully justify them. Don’t be driving or operating machinery whilst listening to Halo Manash. No, seriously. And you needn’t just take my word for it – search the internet, and you’ll find it littered with reviews written by people who’ve been driven a bit nutty by listening to this stuff.

The three lengthy tracks on Language Of Red Goats are officially untitled, but the sleeve contains three cryptic texts which it’s tempting to regard as song titles. The album opens with the 22-minute ‘Through The Gate Of Horn - Slithering Spiraling Fluttering - Shrouded Messengers Gather’. It’s immediately apparent that Halo Manash have stripped down and refined their sonic armoury. Language Of Red Goats deploys only acoustic instruments, including gongs, singing bowls, bells, and wind instruments, as well as field recordings of birds. There are no keyboards or synths here – this is an entirely organic trip. Parallels can of course be drawn with the work of other creators of ritual acoustic music, such as Ruhr Hunter, Hati, Chaos As Shelter or Exotoendo, but these parallels are beside the point. Sublime and impassive, the music of Halo Manash exists within its own hermetic realm, sufficient unto itself. Austere yet resonant, these sounds reverberate through the most elemental aspects of your psyche. This is music from before music existed, the music of the earth singing to herself before the dawn of time, music which seems to have been mined rather than composed. Deep, smooth gong beats vibrate though space like a planetary heartbeat, answered by mournful, wordless cries, wading birds lost in a fog. The album also seems less threatening in tone than previous Halo Manash releases. Maybe I’ve just got desensitised, but Language Of Red Goats feels quite calm and placid compared to the restless chaospheres of Par-Antra I: Vir or SYoMA. (Incidentally, whatever happened to Parts II and III of Par-Antra? That was supposed to be a trilogy.)

The next two tracks are ‘Feast On The Bitter Fluid - Flowing Through The Lips Of Her Vulgar Womb - Ingest Inebriate Initiate’ and ‘Earthen Wheels Turn - Shifting Chariots Of Moon - Drawn By Red Goats’, but actually, it’s difficult to tell without checking the player exactly where one track ends and the next begins, and it’s more accurate to regard Language Of Red Goats as a single 50-minute piece divided into three parts. In any case, you’re in for a deeply absorbing journey to the underworld once you start listening to Language Of Red Goats.

Aural Hypnox have always displayed the most painstaking attention to detail in the packaging of their releases, and Language Of Red Goats upholds this proud tradition. The album is a limited edition of 920 copies, and it comes exquisitely presented in a custom-made, cross-shaped, fold-out sleeve of roughly textured, deep red card, with hand-stamped artwork, including a cover image of a herb which I feel confident in identifying as mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Mugwort has considerable associations with magic and witchcraft, both in its own right and as a member of the venerable Artemisia family, sacred to the moon goddess Artemis, and which also includes wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), the principal ingredient in absinthe and Artemisia tridentata, the sacred sagebrush employed in traditional medicine and religious ceremony by American Indians. Mugwort is no doubt enjoyed by goats too! And all this elaborate packaging is just for the standard edition, mind. There also exists a deluxe, 71-copy, boxed edition whose intoxicating aesthetic delights I shudder to contemplate.

For those sufficiently initiated and illuminated to have experienced an Aural Hypnox release before, merely being informed that there is a new one will suffice to energise the engines of desire. For those who have yet to discover their otherworldly darkling joys, Language Of Red Goats is as good a place to start as any – you’ll be speaking with a goat’s tongue in no time. All hail Aural Hypnox! May your revelation sunder the veil of illusion! May your blessings rain down upon us like the urine of the gods! So mote it be!
Review taken from Judas Kiss.

01 - Through the Gate of Horn - Slithering Spiraling Fluttering - Shrouded Messengers Gather
02 - Feast on the Bitter Fluid - Flowing Through the Lips of Her Vulgar Womb - Ingest Inebriate Initiate
03 - Earthen Wheels Turn - Shifting Chariots of Moon - Drawn by Red Goats


Karjalan Sissit - Karjalan Sissit (2002)

Karjalan Sissit is the work of Markus Personen, a one man outfit from Finland. The name is derived from the Karelian Units and according to an interview with Cold Spring's Justin Mitchell the album is inspired and dedicated to Markus Personen's uncle who fought in the Winter war, against the Soviet invasion of Finland.

Karjalan Sissit is an epic release of cinematic proportions where classical strains segue into period music. Karjalan Sissit use massed voices very effectively alongside the deep solemn strains of symphonic music that ably conveys the battlefields of lost lives. Slow paced swathes of dark ambience recall the darker strains of various Cold Meat Industry groups, and the thunderous tirades of percussion remind of Der Blutharsch. In fact the reliance on period music to provide context is also similar to Albin Julius's Viennese Aktionist outfit.

Karjalan Sissit represent a new entry into the neo-classical genre inhabited by Les Joyaux De La Princesse and countless others but this is a sombre and intense piece of work that should appeal to listeners with interests in any of the acts named above.

01 - Viinanjuontikoulu
02 - Eläma Juoksuhaudoissa


Of the Wand and the Moon - Nighttime Nightrhymes (1999)

The promotional preamble material for Of the Wand and the Moon alluded to a sound akin to the works of Sol Invictus and Death in June and while this may be true to a point it in no way does justice to the originality expounded in this release. To be honest I did not know what to expect at first but any preconceptions were soon laid waste after the first hearing. Employing a variety of ethnic instruments, including string and wind, Kim Larsen gives each track a confident and accomplished sheen.

Through the music the hushed, whispering, vocals manifest themselves, at times brooding then summoning and plaintive. A number of tracks stand out such as 'Raven Chant' and the majestic 'She, with whom compar'd, the Alps are Vallies'. The excellent scope of musicianship evident for the entirety of Larsen's project propels the songs along and adds a unique flavour to each. Much of the background to this CD resides in the blue/black twilight of the Northlands and I found that rich, heady mead of music contained therein gives a fleeting blush of radiance amongst the pale shadows which lie at it's heart.

The CD is further enhanced by a booklet containing photos of Nordic 'sand sculptures'. Silently contoured by deep shadows, they allow for a physical expression of the mood within the music. Brilliant, unexpected and highly evocative, I look forward to more from Saturnus' Kim Larsen.

Review taken from FLUXEUROPA.

01 - Gandr
02 - I Crave for You
03 - Lion Serpent Sun
04 - Sól Ek Sá
05 - In the Colours of Night
06 - The Substance of Simplicity
07 - Raven Chant
08 - She With Whom Compar'd the Alpes Are Vallies
09 - VargQld
10 - Wintry Mantle
11 - Nighttime Nightrhyme
12 - Mauna


Nazi UFO Commander - Radiant Entropie (2008)

Claims that the Nazis secretly developed futuristic disc-shaped aircraft towards the end of World War II, technology which may or may not have been swiped by the Americans and/or Russians during the liberation of Europe, leading to the flying saucer scares of the 1950s, are a hardy perennial of conspiracy theory, right up there with the Knights Templar and the Kennedy assassination. Nazi UFO theories are often elaborated with even more fantastic and improbable claims concerning secret post-war SS bases in South America or the ‘Neuschwabenland’ territory of Antarctica, claimed for the Third Reich by an expedition in 1938, links with an extraterrestrial civilisation based in the distant solar system of Aldebaran, the hidden Himalayan kingdom of Agartha, and Nazi occult orders such as the Thule Society and the Vril Society. These mythologies have inspired numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, including Wilhelm Landig’s Thule trilogy, the bestseller The Morning Of The Magicians by the French authors Pauwels and Bergier and many works by Chilean esotericist Miguel Serrano. They have also inspired a certain amount of post-industrial music, notably Inade’s album Aldebaran and Allerseelen’s Neuschwabenland (both reviewed by Judas Kiss). For further information on these bizarre but admittedly highly entertaining topics, I recommend Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s invaluable book Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (New York University Press, 2002). Allerseelen’s Gerhard also devoted issue IX of his journal Ahnstern to Andreas Epp, who allegedly worked on flying saucer projects for the Third Reich.

Radiant Entropie is the second and – I have it on good authority – final transmission from the mysterious and elusive Nazi UFO Commander, following 2006’s Strange Monasteries CD-R, also released by Old Europa Café. There are also two compilation appearances, on the David E. Williams tribute album The Appeal Of Discarded Orthodoxy (also reviewed – twice! – by Judas Kiss), and on the 7-CD set The Old Europa Café, celebrating the Old Europa Café label’s 100th release. Nazi UFO Commander has now lit out for unknown territories, whether that be Aldebaran, Neuschwabenland, Agartha, or somewhere else entirely. What we are left with is, according the Old Europa Café, “a last warning from beyond to the hive mind extant on this planet.” 14 tracks occupy 43 minutes of playing time, in which dense, abstract electronica is combined with vocal samples and male vocals delivered in a conspiratorial whisper, imparting much information on the subjects of the NASA moon landings, evolutionary DNA coding, extraterrestrial social engineering and, yes, Nazi UFOs and rocketry (all texts are also given in the album booklet). The short track ‘Fylfot’ interrupts vertiginous, penetrating sheets of metallic drone with urgent beeps, like a launch pad being cleared for blast-off. ‘Ahnenerbe LD’ overlays Tibetan Buddhist chanting with processed choral vocals and cold, mechanistic ambient atmospherics. ‘Declaration’, which is, at nearly ten minutes, the longest track on Radiant Entropie, has an ominous heartbeat rhythm and harsh swooping tones acting as a backdrop to the whispered vocals, which narrate a complex and sinister tale of the development of the Haunebu flying disc aircraft and the involvement of the Aryan aliens from Aldebaran.

Conspiracy buffs will love Radiant Entropie, and fans of hard electronic music will also find it a rewarding listen. And of course, should you happen to be both a conspiracy buff and an electronic music fan, then this is like your dream album, ideal soundtrack music for watching the skies while sipping a German wine. Just don’t be surprised if some men in black appear, impound your copy and tell you to forget ever having heard it.

Review taken from Judas Kiss.

01 - The World Set Free
02 - Fylfot
03 - Conda
04 - Ahnenerbe LD
05 - Sein Name ist der Mond
06 - Flugscheibe Var. 1
07 - Declaration
08 - This is Where We Go When We Are Sad
09 - Werhner Von Braun
10 - Fluscheibe Var. 2
11 - Why We Fight
12 - Ecstatic Trance
13 - Exit
14 - Retreat


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Survival Unit - Murder for the Mission (2005)

2005 tape release from swedish noise artist Kristian Olsson. Comes in a plastic box with a 24 page booklet. Limited to 101 numbered copies.

01 - Dragna Tjuringar
02 - Beyond the Edge of Depravity
03 - Stigande Styggelse
04 - Derelict Dwellers
05 - Undergångens Ohejdbara Led / Silence the Snitch
06 - Behind Bars
07 - Slaktmask / Plitjävel
08 - The Rats Are Coming...
09 - Sender Werwolf


Green Army Fraction - Conservative and Full of Hate (2004)

Power electronics project from Sweden. Harsh industrial sounds mixed with offensive vocals. The result is powerful music which is truly against the modern world with all it’s false myths and false hopes.

01 - Vi Kommer Dansande
02 - Conservative and Full of Hate
03 - Ta Er Jämlikhet Och Kör Upp Den
04 - The Grief and Wrath of Donar
05 - A.C.A.B.
06 - Last Attempt (Stuka)
07 - Let Us Shine
08 - Sodomizing the Gyneococracy
09 - Älgstängsel Och Granskog (Hem Till Norrland)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Genocide Organ - Remember (2007)

A merciless onslaught of oppressive Industrial/Power Electronics. Live tracks from 1989-2000.

CD 1:

01 - Dogdays
02 - Patria y Libertad
03 - Burn
04 - 1... 2... Tod
05 - Mind Control
06 - Slap in Your Face
07 - Death is Looking for Him
08 - Und sie hatten noch die Frechheit zu weinen
09 - Death to China III
10 - Intro
11 - Vive la Guerre
12 - Klaus Barbie
13 - White Power Forces

CD 2:

01 - God Sent Us
02 - Hail America
03 - Justice
04 - Painful Corpse
05 - John Birch Society
06 - Intro
07 - Klan Kountry
08 - City Breed
09 - We Grow
10 - No Return
11 - GOVC
12 - Warmth of the Earth
13 - Harmony
14 - Killing Cause


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Triarii - Triumph (2004)

Debut 7''EP release by Christian Erdmann's TRIARII. Epic, bombastic martial music.
Check out his 2 albums and the Imperivm single which are also posted on this blog.

01 - Triumph to Triumph
02 - Military Order


Triarii - Imperivm (2005)

Extremely rare and limited 7''EP from one of the best martial bands around.

01 - Imperivm
02 - Agonia


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brethren - Savage Inequalities (2005)

Freak Animal Records presents this release which offers ten original power electronics assaults with violent shouted vocals, leaving no doubt in the listener's mind that Brethren means every word. Each structured track on this American power electronics release takes on subjects deemed controversial and/or politically incorrect by today's standards. Brethren's outspoken political views are perfectly represented by the brutal electronics, thought provoking lyrics and provocative images.

01 - Freedom
02 - Bloodland
03 - Alien Nation
04 - We Have Come to Purify
05 - Swarm of Ignorance
06 - Hail AIDS
07 - The Light
08 - Not for You
09 - Cold Slavery
10 - Criminal


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hentai vs. Nordvargr - Semen (2006)

Semen is a collaboration between Jakob Nybo (Hentai) and Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (MZ.412, Toroidh, Folkstorm). Hentai and Nordvargr ejaculate their audio semen into the cold electric womb, and watch in fear as an unnatural sonic offspring mutates, squirms in agony and slowly comes to life. A unique and extremely disturbing masterpiece of fleshy, cold and perverse avantgarde dark / death electronic soundscape nightmares.

01 - Feeding Frenzy
02 - Cage Rape
03 - Sanitized Soul
04 - Sick Beauty
05 - Mechanical Pain
06 - Insect Cock
07 - Libido Creature


Merzbow vs. Nordvargr - Partikel (2004)

When the likes of Masami Akita (MAZK, SUNN) and Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (FOLKSTORM, TOROIDH and MZ.412) get together, you know that you're in for something really special. This Japanese-Norwegian collaboration brings together two of the world's most well-respected Noise artists on possibly the only record label capable of carrying it all off.

The cover art is superb. Blacks, whites and greys framed in a desolate Icelandic wilderness of rocky outcrops, bloody feathers and half-buried ribcages. The three tracks on this release, amounting to a total of over 56 minutes, are based on mutual respect and understanding. Akita and Björkk have created a tapestry of sound each inspired by the other. Based on Albert Einstein's Luxon Theory, 'Tardyon Storm' opens up like a burst vein gently spraying blood across an operating table. It's very steady and controlled, too, with gull-like squeals, pulsating atmospherics and the sound of passing transmitters being thrown into the mix. More whistling bird samples emerge from the shadows like the dawn after a nuclear holocaust. The cautious, nervous activity soon joined by the pitter-patter of tiny electronic feet and the kind of metallic creak you get when there is a wheel missing on your shopping trolley. The hubbub of whistles and cheeps increase as a slow, booming sound like a distant B52 bomber is heard groaning its way above the ambient-infested skies of light Noise. Eleven minutes in and the track begins to increase in both tempo and volume, becoming a bass-march through the shimmering marshlands of spitting plug sockets and broken power cables. This leads to some great moments of rhythmic intensity, before the atmosphere becomes pretty oppressive and completely shatters Einstein's Theory altogether by losing control and sending out a series of speeding lightning bolts between Far North and Far East like a gift from Thor to his Samurai comrades. The steady beat soon returns, however, and the watery trickles in the background sound like melting ice. This is a little similar to Kraftwerk's 'Elektro Kardiogramm', but without the heavy dub beat and accompanying breathing exercises. Minutes later the track is concluded with the (very) odd backward voice sample, adding a Lynchian effect to the stifling commotion in general.

'Kyoufu-O', Japanese for 'terror', hits out like a heavyweight jab to the kidneys. It's a cacophony of bouncing beats and the rattling of dissonant electronic pitches, fused together with as much care and consideration as Dustin Hoffman's dentist in 'Marathon Man'. After six minutes the beats begin to distort, bending like steel girders under the weight of a collapsing World Trade Centre before escalating into a shrill imitation of 'Driller Killer' and jagged shards of electronic fallout. It's like a gravitational free-for-all at a ten-pin bowling alley, with nothing but the driving beats to twist and shape this formless mass into some kind of coherent direction. Meanwhile, like an advert for Co-Proxamol, a sustained squealing and desperate scraping resemble somebody attempting to clean out the bottom of a dustbin with one of Uri Geller's spoons. Halfway through the track and my ears feel like they're going to spontaneously combust and throw lashes of hot wax all over the keyboard. But then there's a two-second pause in the proceedings and a slight change in direction. Unfortunately for my eardrums, albeit necessary in my quest for tonal aestheticism, the style of the track becomes even more high-pitched and I'm caught between the grey twilight zone of pleasure and pain. This must be Akita's influence. Only he can induce such punishment and thoughts of British P.O.W.'s incarcerated in Japanese camps begin to flash through my mind as though they were being broadcast as part of the final cinematic biography of a drowning man. Towards the end of this brutal odyssey, Merzbow and Nordvargr seem to achieve that certain pitch which always leaves me feeling rather nauseous (I'd last discovered it on a Coil track). In this case, however, it was being transmitted through my right ear and then travelling on down into my stomach. Quite a strange experience, in fact, but certainly revealing in terms of the actual short-term effects that systematic Noise can have on the listener.

Finally, 'Tachyon Paradox' - a mere seven minutes - makes its appearence and carries on in much the same vein. At least primarily. One momentary screech gives way to a pitted heartbeat of sound and a calm, humming ambience. This is followed by disjointed bursts of fizzing power, grinding swathes of explosive electronics and whirling frequencies, slowly returning to the decidedly more Ambient beginnings of the first track. It becomes increasingly hollow and minimalist, too, before a rising wind and slow metallic dragging bring the album to a comparatively beautiful end. There are some incredibly 'difficult' periods on this album, but all credit to Merzbow and Nordvargr for allowing us to put ourselves through this mangle of sound in the first place. The way the album is structured tends to ease you into the harsher parts that make up 'Kyoufu-O', but like a dedicated sports instructor or someone guiding you through a bad trip it also brings you down slowly so that you can safely emerge into the silence at the other end. I'd be very interested to see what other people make of this recording, it's quite an experience.

Review taken from S Y N T H E S I S.

01 - Tardyon Storm
02 - Kyoufu-O
03 - Tachyon Paradox


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sophia - Herbstwerk (2001)

Imagine a choral work performed in a cathedral of ice with distant rumblings of war and you have 'Miserere', the opening track of Peter Pettersson's second album as Sophia. The second and title track, 'Herbstwerk', is brutally penetrated by martial/industrial hammers. This seems to reflect real anger and sets the scene for much of the rest of the album.

'March Of Strength' continues in the same robust mould - grim and claustrophobic, it conveys the grueling agony of war. It concludes with a quiet piano passage, a reflective 'after the battle' survey of the scene of carnage.

'Inner Turmoil' is a piece of rumbling ambience while 'Copper Sun' has a grand martial choir, synth brass fanfares and strident percussion. In penultimate position is 'My Salvation', a more mellow piece transcending the clamour of battle and coming as a contrast and relief.

I wish this grim, Nietzschean, martial music had existed when I was an adolescent - I'd have loved it! But now that my attitudes and tastes have mellowed with age, I am inclined to prefer Peter Pettersson's more melodic work as Arcana.

Review taken from FLUXEUROPA.

01 - Miserere
02 - Herbstwerk
03 - March of Strength
04 - Winterflame
05 - Inner Turmoil
06 - Copper Sun
07 - My Salvation
08 - Prost!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arditi - Marching on to Victory (2003)

Launched in the wake of the excellent 'Unity of Blood' EP, this latest release from Martin Bjorkman (Algaion) and Henry Moller (Puissance) is accompanied by images of defiant warriors and fallen soldiery. Europe's tragic past is regenerated for thirty-seven minutes of symphonic heaven. The Arditi, meaning the 'Daring Ones', was an elite commando unit operating in Italy between the wars.

There is a hollow, empty feel to the first track and 'Determination' shudders nervously like a brutalised child locked in a psychopath's bathroom. Military snares and wooden taps compete for space with a shrill Italian voice sample, creating a fine ambient atmosphere. 'Sturm V' begins like an approaching train, before the heavy percussion and classical synths build into a tumultuous mish-mash of excitement and expectation. The leader and his followers captured for posterity in a cacophony of Germanic time-capsules. 'Unity of Blood', which is already known to us from the 7" single of the same name, sweeps in like a gloomy overlord. Mixed with the heady strains of a looped choir, a sustained barrage of ambience is battered senseless with devastating drums and militaristic entreaties. It sounds like someone is giving Mickey Mouse a damn good kicking behind the scenes of 'Fantasia'.

'Marching On To Victory' is an eerie combination of merry flute and attentive drum, like ghostly troops winding their way through the shattered ruins of Europa. And whilst the track is woefully brief, on the other hand, it is easily compensated for in terms of representing one of the more bombastic tracks on the album. 'Bless Our Arms' is heavier still and the awesome drums and screeching ambience take it in turns to assail the ears. An English voice can be heard appealing to God and commentating on the vast importance of obtaining victory at the earliest possible stage. The sheer power and supernatural overtones of this song, meanwhile, leave one in little doubt that the call has been answered. 'Sun of Predappio', a reference to Benito Mussolini's hometown, continues the obsession with brutal percussion and the occasional choral interjections make it sound like a cross between 'The Omen' and the 1922 March on Rome. Cheering crowds and a truly mystifying soundscape make this the best track on the album.

'Holy Order' functions like a contextual reinvigoration and adds a more spiritual tinge to the proceedings. This time the ambience almost resembles a human whisper, but the high-pitched tones that lurk in the background make it unnerving and uncomfortable. For those who fail to establish the connection between war and the sublime, this track may seem rather out of place. But the relationship between selfless martyrdom and the occult forces which operate in the world like a law unto themselves, ensure that this song commands an important place in the general scheme of things. Which brings us to the final and conclusive track, 'Militant Struggle', which seems to put the whole thing into perspective. A church organ plays like a requiem for the dead, as extreme percussion and deep bass tones cry out for more volunteers. Defeat is not failure. It is a cathartic trigger for future action. The fallen are replaced by those of new blood. When the percussion disappears from time to time, albeit momentarily, there is time to reflect. But when everything comes together again with an unrepentent and dynamic energy, the message becomes clear. This is the time for the warrior to re-emerge from the shadows, to take his place among the few willing to lay down their lives for the struggle. A struggle, of course, which is perpetual and never-ending. A fantastic album with an important message. For more information about Arditi, please contact: .

Review taken from S Y N T H E S I S.

01 - Determination
02 - Sturm V
03 - Unity of Blood
04 - Marching on to Victory
05 - Bless Our Arms
06 - Sun of Predappio
07 - Holy Order
08 - Militant Struggle


Monday, June 30, 2008

Brighter Death Now - Kamikaze Kabaret (2005)

There are many, possibly into the hundreds, of artists out there who specialise in the Power Electronics genre. Each day / week/ month / year another will join the throng and bung out what they consider to be the last word in this style of music. There is though one man, the big daddy, who firmly put this music on the map. Who over the years - and it goes back an awfully long time - has continually released the most obstinate and difficult music ever to come out of Sweden, if not the world. That icon of cool, the ultimate purveyor of noise is none other than Roger Karmanik. No one else has ever strived to not only put his own music out for everyone’s personal damnation but encouraged and released like minded souls through the Cold Meat Industry label. Though it must be quickly added, to stave off recriminations, that CMI releases music from many other different genres as well. He’s the man for all seasons. The consummate professional, although seeing the way he dressed in the last BDN live DVD outing ‘Disobey’ I do worry about him somewhat.

Here he returns with a ten track opus that is so typically BDN. "Kamikaze Kabaret" bares all the usual hallmarks associated with his work. The rhythmic electronics that thrust and grind in never ending loops. The occasional blurts of high frequency white noise and the slowing down to a snails pace throbs. Some samples. And of course, the trademark completely distorted and horrific vocals. The spectres of Throbbing Gristle overhead here float strongly with this old Jedi. Hard going, no real shock there, yet comforting at the same time. It’s like he’s never been away. The stall has been laid out…come feast one and all. All the BDN releases eventually melt into one whole with nothing to separate them. Which in my eyes is perfectly acceptable because as someone who truly appreciates his music I gladly soak up and welcome with open arms every recording he cares to put out. Long may he continue to do so. Ask me though to name the best BDN recording and I would be flummoxed.

There isn’t one definitive BDN. All are great, all have their minor faults, all are essential listening for those of the darker persuasion. This then is the real crux of the matter. "Kamikaze Kaberet" joins that long illustrious list. You need it. You know you do. So go bathe in the warm glow of depressing sound in the latest BDN chapter and enjoy the third best thing to ever have come out of Sweden.

Review taken from Aural Pressure.

01 - Untitled
02 - Oh Baby
03 - Crimescene Nostalgia
04 - Destroy
05 - Testing
06 - Big Happy Family
07 - Washing Day
08 - While You Sleep
09 - Take Me Away
10 - Untitled


Cold Fusion - Simmetria (2007)

The begging of ‘Simmetria’ is a completely visual experience. It is as if a postindustrial world developed through ones eyes. The marching background, the broken beats splashed through the middle, bells, synthesized vocals and longing notes… One can almost feel the dead sand crunching under their feet while a city full of smoke, smog and fire unfolds in the valley below. Definitely this composition could become a soundtrack for some apocalyptic movie

‘One’ moves the pace higher up and introduces many new elements, move percussion, better-defined background voices and vibrant energy surrounding every blow. It takes a small step back to then be lounged forward with a reciting martial voice. The short seconds that include the voice recall late 80s industrial artists, transforming the song 180º into a crude wry line. Not to worry, for ‘Palace of Illusions’ comes in a grandiloquent epic way, with many female chorus voices and a steady trumpet line that gives the song a strong bellicose spirit – something that is encountered so obviously for the first time in the record at this moment. This statement is a perfect testimony of the different ranges found in the record.

‘Simmetria’ is Marcin Bachtiak’s fifth long play. Personally I think it is one of the most complete and variable. Obviously it can’t be compared to their previous work, ‘ORP Orzel’, which was absolutely thematic, oppressive and evolving. This new record is wider ranging, and it is also much wilder than what we had heard in the collaboration with Stahlwerk 9 and Rukkanor. Throughout its development, Cold Fussion takes the listener into different worlds, from the hectic martial sound to old school experimental industrial to a calm and gelid dark ambient.

The turning of a page comes with ‘Distant Impression’. The atmosphere is darker, claustrophobic at times. Every single detail comes sharply into light: the creeks, the clashes, the drum rolls, the hanging piano notes… This is not the end of the attack, though, and ‘Blue is the Flag’ proves itself worthy of the battlefield with its pulsating pace and martial spirited melodies. The reciting voice returns once again, as it appeared in ‘One’ yet in a much more story-telling way. Sort of as it was an epic adventure being composed, unfolding as it was being told. It shifts the record once again, as if the diversity in sings were weaving themselves together.

With ‘Into the Depth’ the atmosphere is the main character. The song pulsates and is full of contrasts: a light clear melody is crushed by the strong beat, the heavenly voices are surrounded by alarm cries and the entire song has a very rhythmical industrial feeling to it. It ends suddenly and is trapped in the absorbing epic spirit of ‘...And They Kept Marching’. At first I wasn’t attracted this song, I though it was too full of sound, too exaggerated, too baroque. Until I listened closely to the song as a whole: the threatening alarm is combined skillfully with a unique sense of apathy brought by the clearly digital construction. The voice is clearer than in previous songs, and the lyrics are highly understandable. ‘Simmetria’ follows, with a very complex start, bringing to mind some IDM or rhythmic industrial artists with the use of the pads and distortion in the synthesizer, yet it manages to remain in a midpoint between epic and avant-garde.

After the bizarre pause that ‘Simmetria’ becomes, ‘Melencolia’ appears. Including a sophisticated base line with intertwining percussion elements, the atmosphere flickers around them and a ghostly piano melody appears flightily. ‘Cold and Forgotten’ is a much more haunting composition. The sounds again speckle and disappear with the flicker of an eye. The guitar notes are like a backbone, as if they where the light in a dark industrial cement tunnel, with dark shadows menacing outside the light’s sphere. The entire song is organic, as if the machinery noises were breathing. The song becomes less menacing and more intimate as it grows. To close, ‘Sleepless Thoughts’ bring a surprising oriental spirit that had been flirted with in previous moments through the voice introductions. The sounds are crystalline, and crash into the song as drops. With the background noise, the sound of cables shaking in the wind comes to mind.

‘Simmetria’ has ups and downs, but as a whole it is a masterpiece, a canvas where the desperate wildness of Dubuffet mingles with the crude drawings of Bacon and Goya, under the wings of Devyatkin or Eisenstein. Cold Fusion’s composer can be proud – he himself has made War Office Propaganda climb another notch in the list of classic labels to admire.

Review taken from Heathen Harvest.

01 - Lost Anger
02 - One
03 - Palace of Illusions
04 - Distant Impression
05 - Blue is the Flag
06 - Into the Depth
07 - And They Kept Marching
08 - Simmetria
09 - Melencolia
10 - Cold and Forgotten
11 - Sleepless Thoughts


Namanax - Cascading Waves of Electronic Turbulence (1996)

This is Namanax's first brain melting full-length, after the single 30 minute track EP Multi-Phase Electrodynamics, as well as the 21 minute track on Release Your Mind Vol. 1, and the 28 minute contribution to Exit 13's Ethos Musick in 1994. Cascading Waves... follows similiar lines in minimalist idealogy to the earliest recordings, yet does manage to be a little more diverse in shifting phases and tones. If "less is more" then Namanax is the ultimate in absolute minimal noise electronics.

Basically, this is 2 tracks of minutely shifting and pulsating white noise. The first one- "Contaminating Influence," is similiar to the older recordings- a single cerebal current of over 11 minutes. The title track though is over 47 minutes and is more shifting and looping in textures. It stretches out, kind of similiar to early Merzbow, but of course still not too far removed from similiar repeated tracks throughout the Namanax history.

Despite the similiarities and recurrent themes of minimalism and monotony, Namanax have never completely repeated itself, just produced variances on the themes of grinding waves of power electronics.

01 - Contaminating Influence
02 - Cascading Waves of Electronic Turbulence


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nazi UFO Commander - Strange Monasteries (2006)

Cosmic Industrial with elements of neoclassical music and power electronics. This release is inspired by theories connected to nazi occult researches and some actual events that took place at Neuschwabenland right after WWII.

No Happiness Without Order
No Order Without Authority
No Authority Without Unity

01 - The Coming Race (Vril Chant)
02 - Sacrificial War
03 - Führer
04 - Morfee
05 - Mercer is My Name
06 - Pioneer


Monday, June 16, 2008

Genocide Organ - Save Our Slaves (1991)

A lesson in Industrial Noise/Power Electronics. 'nuff said.

01 - Patria y Libertad
02 - Death With Dignity
03 - Kill Useless Nations
04 - Violent Coordinating Commitee
05 - I Want James Meredith
06 - John Birch Society


Folkstorm - Sweden (2004)

This album is billed as the very last Folkstorm release, although the project itself has been scheduled to end on no less than two previous occasions. Flanked by charcoal-style sketches of noble peasants, slaves, slavemasters and agricultural rebellion, this CD - limited to 1500 copies and delayed for over two years - is a fitting epitaph to the Industrial legend that won't go away. Like a stubborn Michael Myers at a Hallowe'en bloodfest, Lord Nordvargr simply refuses to lay down and die.

There are a total of ten tracks on this album, each completely nameless apart from the fact that they have been listed as Roman numerals. Accompanied by an electronic fizzing, 'I' opens with a sweeping boom effect like a macabre ferry departing for the gates of the Underworld. This is following by a soundscape of scrambled power, rumbling its way through the track like music from a radio that has been dropped in the bath. There's Noise, but there's also rhythm. 'II', meanwhile, is deeper in tone and moves from ear to ear with venomous intent. It's a scratching Enola Gay flypast combined with robotic lyrics. Metal Mickey with tonsillitis and a bad attitude problem. An inexplicable squeaking reminds me somewhat of 'Tardyon Storm' on the new Merzbow/Nordvargr collaboration, 'Partikel', before the growling throat returns to bring the track to a close. At first, 'III' is a drifting cloud of hushed ambience combined with a riff-like drawl. After 90 seconds, however, it becomes a scathing blast of electronic intensity as a series of communicative beeps try to control the headlong rush into Noise purity. Several of them, it seems, attempting to imitate wayward ambulance sirens on their way to cause an accident or perhaps even force a pinball machine into one of your ear canals.

'IV' sounds like a cross between a fucked-up cartoon soundtrack and a musical hall novice prior to being shown the door. This soon escalates into total chaos, as though one hundred wurlitzers were being played simultaneously by a madman on the verge of missing the last bus. 'V' approaches slowly, a humming wall of darkness pock-marked by a metallic graffiti of tiny ripples. But not for long. The sound of a drum kit being kicked down a flight of stairs soon breaks the ambient monotony. For twenty-eight seconds 'VI' rises into yet more ambience, before a sudden change in direction leads to one of the more brutal moments on the whole album. Surging power and snarling vocals are fused together in a bombastic ode to revolution. 'VII' is sinister and restrained. Like the footsteps of a one-legged man in a minefield of sound it carefully picks its way through the ethereal minimalism, before a slight movement can be heard tearing its way from the gluey landscape and emptying its wicked contents into the atmosphere. Like a torrent of aggression, it unleashes itself on your senses like a swarm of angry wasps. As someone who prefers to avoid wasps altogether, I found the similarities rather unnerving (damn, now They'll know what to put in Room 101). 'VIII' is a more traditional cacophony of power electronics. An indescribable mush of tortured frequencies put through a mincer and served up on a platter of discord. It does pause from time to time, quite inexplicably, but then tends to carry on in the same unrepentant vein. There are even attempts to maintain a semblance of rhythm and consistency, always difficult when the objective is to frazzle your brain in a microwave of agony. Towards the end a few more robotic utterances can be heard pushing their way between the barriers of din, but Kraftwerk it ain't

'IX' seems to momentarily imitate a standard club beat, a theme that returns slightly afterwards, but this trend is regularly kicked into touch by a cutting breeze that often evolves into a high-pitched scream. As the track slows down, 'X' is phased in almost immediately. This has an almost-mystical quality to it. Odd backing chants quickly evaporating into sharp eruptions, yelling vocals, gurgling violence and accelerating trains of savagery. Hideous, out-of tune, samples muscle their way in like stereophonic gatecrashers. Ten tracks are listed on this album, but surprisingly there is an eleventh. Again, there is an uncomfortable buzzing sound like a nightmare lunch in a pub garden when you just so happen to be covered in the sweetest raspberry jam known to humankind. Towards the end the sneering vocals ('Europe States of Europe? United Trash of Europe') and a selection of Eurovision-style anthems take over completely, with spasms of Noise punctuating the proceedings alongside committed Hitlerian rants and rapturous Nuremberg applause. This is a very interesting album, not least because the finale is rather similar to early Nurse With Wound, with Nordvargr moving from Noise to Experimental in one fell swoop.

Review taken from S Y N T H E S I S.

01 - I
02 - II
03 - III
04 - IV
05 - V
06 - VI
07 - VII
08 - VIII
09 - IX
10 - X
11 - XI


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ordo Equilibrio - Reaping the Fallen... The First Harvest (1995)

"Reaping the Fallen" is the striking debut from Ordo Equilibrio, a duo who have added an intensely erotic and fetish-oriented tone to the genre of Dark Wave / Ambient music. The album combines a post-industrial ambiance and decadent flavor with a few acoustic Dark Folk anthems, all revolving in monotonous manner to create fascinating audio tapestries, where the slow drones seem to conceal moans and other peculiar sounds trapped underneath, which surface on occasion to match the sensual voice of Chelsea. One will find in her voice gracious eroticism in a heavy and imposing tone that sounds not only alluringly seductive, but also deeply obsessive, as if mesmerized by the cyclic sonority that evolves on the background. Somehow, a very 'physical' and 'visual' album, which combines an hypnotic mood with haunting and erotic soundscapes.

01 - De Profundis
02 - Where Hapiness Ruled
03 - Reaping the Fallen... The First Harvest
04 - This is Darkness. There Will Be Light
05 - Safe, Sane and Consensual
06 - Angels of the Highest Order - We Are Seraphim
07 - Dominatrix Purgatory
08 - Silent Hymn for Ms. Anthropy
09 - In Nomine dei Nostri, Satanas Luciferi Excelsi - In Hoc Signo Vinces...
10 - ...Again - Encore


Monday, June 9, 2008

Rasthof Dachau - Blut und Boden (1998)

‘Blut und Boden’, blood and soil, life and the earth, a deeply intrinsic belief not just endemic to Germany and the oft-used ideology by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists, rather one that translocates into all cultures. Rasthof Dachau’s tractive charm is the ability to ritualise, to render aural cerements about the listener from agglutination of the interred in biers, catafalques and sepulchres, examining the passing into the next state of existence from such varied cultures.

Heartbeat establishes the scene with pendant drones approaching like a flock of bombers before the flensing clangour unleashes, a noisome abrading of machine like pumping, almost as if the heart was replaced by primitive industrial engineering. Germanic vocal samples vociferate over nitid bubbling as diversion breaks the raucous pistoning chamber. Asiatic throat singing steeped in a subterrene grotto forms a dark ululating choir to the rill of running water before slumbering ambience and explosive symphony concatenates into turgid electronic rhythmic noise. Japanese taiko drums and chants peel indistinct in the smorgasbord of falling rain treated with irregular clatter and stop-start industrial motion.

The organic is represented not just by vocal tracts and carnivorous growls but by the entire process Rasthof Dachau approaches noise and electronics, aleatoric in its facets as much as life, but with one ultimate end. Frequencies swell and soar like coloratura over immured wraiths that flit and languish, the treads of tanks roll with percussive momentum into sinistral horizons where alien sirens reign. Ranging the gamut of castellated ambience and distinctive noise, Rasthof Dachau foment bleakness with onus of an organic decay.

Review taken from Heathen Harvest.

01 - Exitus
02 - ...Das andere Licht
03 - Viva Santeria
04 - Kompression der Gegenwart
05 - Fenris' Erben
06 - Nun Volk steh auf
07 - Multikultopia
08 - Vor der Flut
09 - Endsieg


Rasthof Dachau & Stahlwerk 9 - Blood Soil (2003)

Cooperation 7''EP from both german acts. Limited to 150 handnumbered copies.

01 - I
02 - II