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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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Triarii - Imperivm (2005)

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

01 - Imperivm
02 - Agonia

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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: http://www.arditi.tk .

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Rasthof Dachau & Stahlwerk 9 - Blood Soil (2003)

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

01 - I
02 - II

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Various - ...And Even Wolves Hid Their Teeth and Tongue Wherever Shelter Was Given (1995)

Yet another Cold Meat Industry compilation, and one of my faves. In "...And Even Wolves..." the music styles are quite varied; from the medieval/neoclassical sounds of Arcana to the death industrial of Mz.412, and from the eerie dark ambient of Aghast to the isolationist mood of Ordo Equilibrio. Enjoy.

Let our dreams become your nightmares!

01 - Arcana - The Song of Mourning
02 - Raison d'être - Euphrosyne
03 - Ordo Equilibrio - Reaping the Fallen... The First Harvest
04 - Mortiis - En Mørk Horisont (excerpt)
05 - Aghast - Enter the Hall of Ice
06 - Mz.412 - God of Fifty Names
07 - Mental Destruction - Wound
08 - Ildfrost - That I May Drink, and Leave the World Unseen
09 - ConSono - Beyond the Ocean
10 - Desiderii Marginis - Solemn Descent
11 - Atomine Elektrine - Voices of Trinity
12 - Memorandum - New Primitivism
13 - Morthound - Whole End (excerpt)
14 - Deutsch Nepal - Gourge Free Market
15 - Brighter Death Now - Soul in Flames (excerpt)

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Schwadron - Operation Gomorrha (2004)

"An interesting combination of Power Electronics, dark ambient and some minimal "Martial industrial" summarize as a whole this work from Schwadron.
The variety of strategics used on the record is what makes it different (something not easy to obtain with the monochromatic and monolithic structure of just Power Electronics).
The music sometimes is very peaceful and tranquil but always with this background of darkness and sorrow. Then suddenly comes some brutal assault of noise and distorted voice that later will be switched by some minimal but ultra powerful drumming like beat that reminds us some typical martial industrial influence, that would be the general mood and balance of the record."

01 - Tribut
02 - Dunst
03 - Nur die Toten wissen
04 - Vorwärts!
05 - Lautreamont
06 - Mistral
07 - In Ketten
08 - Kinder des Saturn
09 - Tribut 2
10 - Operation Gomorrha
11 - Germanium (Interpretation)

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Atrax Morgue - Exterminate (1995)

"A classic powerelectronics, obscure ,violent, oppressive soundtrack for the gas chamber. A work inspired in the brutality and madness of the anti-semite persecution, idelology and extermination. To be listened at maximum volume."

01 - Gas Chamber for Humanity
02 - No Remorse
03 - Ready to Die

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Gruntsplatter - The Aberrant Laboratory (2006)

Scott Candey, the moving spirit behind Gruntsplatter, describes his work as “... a malleable creature that hovers in the grey area between abrasive noise and dark ambient...”; you certainly won’t get any argument from me on that score. Candey seems to use Gruntsplatter as a means to spit bile, plague and acid on the virus that is humanity – there is often an undeniable misanthropy coursing through the veins of the musical beasts he engenders. Certainly on some of his previous outings, such as ‘The Death Fires’ and ‘Chronicling the Famine’, he laid bare that misanthropy in the rawest way possible. I must admit that I too harbour a distaste for the vast majority of the steaming pile of turds that claim to belong to the race of homo sapiens – sometimes their blinding stupidity leads me to believe that it is only by sheer luck that we have survived thus far. This is one of the reasons why I have a soft spot for the work of Gruntsplatter (plus I think the name is quite wonderfully evocative...).

Once again we have harrowing and brooding death ambient atmospheres, cavernous and cathedral-like torch-lit spaces, filled with the ever-burning fires of madness and destruction and peopled by the vile architects of filth and defilement. The earth churns, groans, fractures along fault-lines and spews the hot bile of magma amidst the engines of mass annihilation, the very machines that will do the work of ridding the planet of the parasite that we have become. This is a culling and mass death on a gigantic industrial scale – what’s more there is nothing that we hold dear or have faith in, be it science, religion or military prowess, that will either save us or hold the legions back. Everything will be laid to waste, the earth burned, cities razed and civilisation brought to its knees and beyond. All that will be left will be scorched and blackened earth, unmourned ruins, and the still-smoking funeral pyres of the world we created – the wheels were set in motion long ages ago and however much we try to fight it there is a relentless inevitability about it.

What Candey seems to be saying is that this is our doom and there’s nothing we can do to defer its arrival at the appointed time. We don’t know how long we have left, but whether it is tomorrow, next year, next century or in ten million year’s time, the prognostication remains depressing – the cancer that is humanity will keep on running its destructive and antagonistic course along with its unwillingness to change or uplift itself. One can look upon Gruntsplatter’s music as either a warning or an anticipatory hymn to the eventual demise of the human race and all it represents – they may even stand as testament to those few individuals who possessed enough prescience to see our end coming. There’s definitely a part of me that would love to see the devils and demons dancing on the graves and piles of doomed humanity – I even hope they’ll let me join in with them. If they do, then some album or other of Gruntsplatter’s will be on my mp3 player at the time....

Review taken from Heathen Harvest.

01 - Sifting Genius from the Taboo
02 - The Furnace of Hippocratic Transgression
03 - Experiments in Circumventing Evolution
04 - Deliberating Galvanic Animation
05 - The Singular Accidents of Life
06 - Clamoring Torches Ring the Hives of Science
07 - Inhospitable Genetics and the Mythology of Monsters
08 - A Congregation of Regrettable Biology
09 - Repercussions that Empty the Streets
10 - Can You See the Blood on the Burgundy Sea?

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tribe of Circle - Children of a Weakened God (2006)

The new Tribe Of Circle album has been a long time coming. Closing the trilogy begun with “Rien Ne Disparait Jamais Vraiment....” in 2000 musician Jean-Paul Antelmi returns with a fresh offering of bombastic looping exaltations. “Children of a Weakened God” continues the exploration of man, religion and God that was introduced in the two proceeding chapters. The third and final chapter in this industrial exploration of man and faith focuses upon the concept of God in the modern world. This discussion is one that fits well with martial emphasis given the radicalization of religious beliefs we are witnessing on all sides of the world today.

The offerings of “Rien Ne Disparait Jamais Vraiment....” and “The Advent of Redemption” came to many of us at a time when the martial industrial sound was just establishing a foothold in the post industrial landscape. Now six years later Tribe Of Circle attempts to impress once more. The only question is whether the bands six years of dormancy have lost them the essential element of relevance. In the six years since the last Tribe of Circle album the martial industrial vein of music has exploded with a wide variety of new acts and labels redefining the scene and expanding the breadth and width of sound it has come to encompass.

When I played “Children of a Weakened God” I was immediately struck by the similarity in the songs structure with the previous albums by Tribe of Circle. This immediately put me on guard as I was not anticipating such similarity but was anxiously anticipating a new direction that would part from the rather repetitive sound of previous albums. As the album unfolded it became clear that though the same song structure and emphasis on looped sound and orchestral samples was still present Jamias had indeed managed to breathe new life and drama into this already familiar format.

The songs collected for “Children of a Weakened God” carry the listener through a sacral battlefield of mechanized, industrial sounds and gushing choruses emphasized by thundering drums and invigorating percussion. The songs structures show true maturation as Jamias has learned to build the songs gradually without smothering the listener in a congestion of samples and sound. The songs feel more open in general and carry a similar strength to previous offerings with less instrumental weight. And though the coveted emphasis on dramatic compositions is still apparent Jamias also now gives equal time to exploring more lethargic songs with an emphasis on atmospheric impressions and dark ambient mood setting music that gently hypnotizes the listener. Vacillating between droning passages of industrialized masses and confidential confessions and the onslaught of conflict driven cataclysm Tribe Of Circle drives the listener through a terrain of ideology and sound that knows no master.

Jamias captures the force of religion as manifested through a multifaceted analysis of humanity and faith. Songs veer between seducing the listener in introspective moments of spiritual self-reflection while others songs unleash the force of mass religion and the power it wields amidst faithful populations. The power of the music matches the task of describing the experience of religion, revelation, inner conflict, and worldly conquest. The music of Tribe Of Circle has never shied away from the harsh reality of religion and the concept of God as a force of war and oppression and this can be readily felt within the marital moments of the music. To discuss God in the modern world one must confront the specter of God and war. Man has waged war in God’s name since we have known religion. Today the willingness of radical believers to kill one another and those who they see as non-believers is a defining ideology in many parts of the world and in many conflicts around the world. Killing and violence in God’s name is becoming synonymous with religion and Tribe Of Circle is not one to turn a blind eye to this reality.

It is pleasing to report that after the nearly six year hiatus Tribe of Circle is as relevant as the day the band debuted. I would encourage those familiar with the band to secure a copy of the new album if you have not already. Those new to martial industrial music who missed this bands offering six years ago are encouraged not to miss the train this time. Tribe of Circle has found a home on the now infamous Hau Ruck label for good reason. This is the voice of the French martial music scene!

Review taken from Heathen Harvest.

01 - The Land of Fallen Suns
02 - Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
03 - Children of a Weakened God (Dii Minores)
04 - Algolagnia... Spaltung... Delight
05 - Alea Jacta Est
06 - Coranic Submission Part 2 (Sourat XLVII - Verses - 1:21)
07 - Freres Humains... Freres Ennemis
08 - Tablu Rasa
09 - L'Une ou l'Autre de nos Failles
10 - In Dulci Iubilo

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Grunt / Clinic of Torture / Nicole 12 - Nihilistic Paraphilia (2005)

Finnish Power Electronics/Noise. Japan only 3"CDr release for the Grunt tour April 2005.

01 - Grunt - Streets of Decadence pt. 2
02 - Grunt - Caught (Original version)
03 - Clinic of Torture - Sniper S/M
04 - Nicole 12 - Nippon Lolita Substitute
05 - Nicole 12 - Always Wanted (Original mix)

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Suuri Shamaani - Mysteerien Maailma (1999)

Experimental/minimal ambient from Marko Laiho, ex-Beherit.

01 - I
02 - Valve
03 - Tähdet Ja Avaruus
04 - IV
05 - A17
06 - Jännite
07 - Säde
08 - VIII
09 - IX
10 - Okkultismi

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Aghast - Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternis (1995)

Nightmarish and disturbing dark ambient.

01 - Enthral
02 - Sacrifice
03 - Enter the Hall of Ice
04 - Call from the Grave
05 - Totentanz
06 - The Darkest Desire
07 - Das Irrlicht
08 - Ende

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Lustmord - Heresy (1990)

“Heresy”, the album that launched and defined the dark ambient genre when it was first released in 1990, has been hailed by critics and fans as one of the most important works of its time.

01 - Heresy Part I
02 - Heresy Part II
03 - Heresy Part III
04 - Heresy Part IV
05 - Heresy Part V
06 - Heresy Part VI

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Various - In the Butchers Backyard (1993)

Cult 2CD compilation from Cold Meat Industry. Limited to 666 copies.

CD 1:

01 - Morthond - First Gate
02 - Morthond - Second Gate
03 - Morthond - Third Gate
04 - Megaptera - Stroke
05 - Megaptera - Metal Process in Work
06 - Defekt - Ex Cre Mental Part II
07 - Defekt - Intellekt Kollaps
08 - Defekt - Entschuldigung wo ist mein Kopf - Teil 3
09 - ConSono - Onus Uteri
10 - ConSono - Nefarior
11 - ConSono - Insect Dawn
12 - ConSono - White Light
13 - Raison d'être - Apres Nous le Deluge II
14 - Raison d'être - Memento Mori
15 - Raison d'être - Death Brightens With Sorrow
16 - Systema - Zyringe
17 - Systema - Lost in Lies
18 - Systema - Deeper Movements in the Ocean
19 - Systema - Let Me Come Inside
20 - En Halvkokt I Folie - Den Maktige Tor

CD 2:

21 - Deaf Machine - Door to Death
22 - Deaf Machine - Noise Destruction
23 - Archon Satani - Scotophobia (Bring the Light)
24 - P/D(B) - Joy
25 - P/D(B) - V.S.L.I.D.K.
26 - Un-Core - Sicarius
27 - Inanna - Grip Thou Mental
28 - Inanna - Rest in Hell
29 - Inanna - Hedonic
30 - Ordo Equilibrium - Dum Vivimus Vivamus

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Triarii - Ars Militaria (2005)

12 tracks of finest heroic and bombastic military music. Layers of snare drums, heavy orchestral strings, overwhelming fanfares and marches, historical samples and noises break down over the listeners head like a fatal thunderstorm. Essential!

An absolute masterpiece of
martial orchestral music.


01 - Anthem from the Iron Flame
02 - Europe in Flames
03 - Mother of Pain
04 - Dark Skies Over Europe
05 - Der Verwundete (In Memoriam Arno Breker)
06 - Legio Vi Ferrata
07 - Regicide II
08 - Marche du Capitulation
09 - Neuropa
10 - Serpent, Sun and World Ending
11 - For the Fallen Ones
12 - Son of the Sun

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Triarii - Pièce Héroique (2006)

Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant. So creep Triarii on ‘Pièce Héroique’, their cindery follow-up to ‘ars militaria’, a triumphal arch of bombast and orchestral swells limned with choir and dark vocals. Encapsulating the Trajan typeface dominating the album’s cover in strong caps – puissant blocks of line, crisp geometrically carved serifs, and curving harmonic arches – so enfolds the music that launches with the opening track, ‘Le Crépuscule Des Dieux’. Accentuating a dark glory of Empire strings lend the air minatory aplomb, marching without percussion usher arteries of choir and strings offering skyward libations to swell in a grandiose climax.

This initial inertia drives the entire album, a military mantle of resolute and unequivocal delivery, crepuscular as it is uplifting. Without detracting from the inexplicable presence of ‘Pièce Héroique’, this album picks up where Puissance reached, if rarely. Tracks like ‘On Wings of Steel’ lash bone, flesh and iron as carapace of an army streaming death on a battlefield, a chilling anthem that give pause to all those that would oppose, growling sinister lyrics of inescapable intention. Triarii plough an epic across earth and sky, churning the defeated with ritual percussion, eddying strings and heralding the end of dawn, the end of day on French horns. Not all tracks feature lyrical content, preferring instead to mix instrumental movements amidst thunderous military argot, breaking the intense aphasiac bolides with valedictory parallax as one’s body bleeds under the booted feet of the passing legionnaires. Guest featuring on the album on ‘Roses 4 Rome’, comes welcome repast with Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, in a folk epic classic meshing Tomas Pettersson’s fomenting vocals and guitar with the aegis of Triarii’s orchestration. ‘Kingdom of the Blind’ peels away journey for destruction, a dark ambient monologue of chaos and ululations from the deep as the very earth quivers, illumination of a stark aftermath where surface the subtle symphony experimenting in desperate dimensions. Incarnation emits from ruins of ‘Heaven and Hell’, like moths from chrysalis the dark symphony scatters at the demagogue commandments.

The entire album falls short of a full sixty minutes, yet by the end of the fusillades the listener is well and truly mollified, subdued, peeled of skin and dreams of anything else but a world crowned in crumbling Corinthian pillars and ashes of civilization. With ‘Pièce Héroique’, Triarii have supplanted the mettle of their previous recordings, showing the potency that they so keenly deliver here.

Review taken from Heathen Harvest.

An absolute masterpiece of
militaristic neoclassical music.


01 - Le Crépuscule des Dieux
02 - On Wings of Steel
03 - Heldentod
04 - Kameraden
05 - Overkill
06 - Roses 4 Rome (featuring Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio)
07 - Victoria
08 - Kingdom of the Blind
09 - Heaven and Hell
10 - The Inevitable Farewell of Democracy
11 - Blood and Toil
12 - Sun and Reign

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Goatvargr - Goatvargr (2006)

This Swedish-American collaboration involves two of the world’s most brutal purveyors of Noise, namely Nordvagr and Goat respectively. Having already reviewed his excellent collaboration with Merzbow (‘Partikel’), which was also released on the Cold Spring label, I was already familiar with Nordvargr’s devastating craft and his ability to work alongside other leading lights in this genre. Other projects - such as those with Folkstorm, Toroidh and MZ.412 – have also converted legions of warped disciples to the Nordvargr cause. The lesser-known Goat, on the other hand, comes from a vaguely Black Metal background, although many believe this has more to do with general aesthetics than with the actual style of music on offer. However, the packaging certainly looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in a Black Metal collection, with images of blades and spikes, a five-pointed star flanked by Hebraic symbols and a hand-signal locked in the now semi-compulsory gesture of two demonic horns. The first of these seven tracks, ‘Goatlord Rising’, is a whispered mush of faraway rustles and reverse speech. Soon enough, these early markers are flanked by an electronic throb and continuous beeping, slightly rough at the edges and losing their sense of co-ordination a little as significantly harsher forms of interference muscle their way into the mix like an unwelcome guest at an aural free-for-all. The whole shebang flattens out into a steady ambience, a pancake of tranquility, but torrents of aggressive feedback eventually flip everything 360 degrees until we enter a state of crunching energy. Meanwhile, batten down the proverbial hatches, because here comes the second ‘Fix’. It’s an immediate onslaught of Noise power which throbs through the sewage works of your mind like a rubber turd bouncing off the sides of your skull in a display of rhythmic cruelty. I can imagine this being used in a chase sequence, although given the metallic scraping in the background it would have to involve several cars with their exhaust pipes hanging off. ‘Realms of the Goatvargr’ is even livelier, a dozen coat-hangers in a tumble dryer grinding to a halt as low groans appear to resemble a yawning Bagpuss disappearing beneath the approaching mass of a five-ton steam roller. It’s true, I tell you! ‘Filthdaemon’, on the other hand, is like entering Goatvargr’s Earl Grey period, as a more traditional brew of Noise comes whistling from the tip of a giant teapot like streams of radiation rushing towards a fresh crack in the Chernobyl reactor. There are no points of reference here at all, just total electronic wipeout. ‘Droning Hades’ seems far more restrained, a slightly boisterous hum that sounds like Bomber Harris warming up the engine of his Lancaster before psyching himself up for another night of carnage and mutilation in downtown Dresden. But whilst there are one or two radiophonic beeps milling about, on the whole it’s a fairly low-level affair that never really gets off the ground. ‘Beyond the Quorthonian Realms’ is an obvious reference to Thomas ‘Quorthon’ Forsberg, the legendary founder of Bathory and Black Mark Productions who died of heart failure in 2004 at the tender age of 39. It is to him that this album is also dedicated. The track conjures up images of omen-filled skies through which shafts of bright sunlight come to rest upon melting snow, as a heavy-handed beat begins to hammer its way through the semi-tranquil waters that continue to shimmer with a light metallic ambience. But this romantic elegy is shattered completely by a barrage of impenetrable sound that wavers between and static interference and electronic frequencies. It’s almost as though somebody approached our discordant duo beforehand and said ‘come on, do your worst’. Play this at top whack and you’ll create your own ghost town within several minutes. Not a bad idea. As this track gradually controls itself and fizzles out, my brain slowly returns to the comparative realms of normality (as well as the sound of goats!) and I’m left rather shell-shocked at the sheer power that just assailed my senses for a good twelve-and-a-half minutes of total fury. ‘Drunk on the Blood of the Goat’ is, again, pretty rhythmic in a strange kind of way and probably the closest you’ll ever come to tapping your foot on an album of this kind. Oscillating its way through various tempestuous stages, it finally assumes an orchestral role for a final fifteen seconds and soothes your ears as a parting shot. The poison finds its own cure. Perfect. But no Black Metal here, missus.

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

01 - Goatlord Rising
02 - Fix
03 - Realms of the Goatvargr
04 - Filthdaemon
05 - Droning Hades
06 - Beyond the Quorthonian Realms
07 - Drunk on the Blood of the Goat

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Various - Hopes Die in Winter (2005)


Between 1917 and 1951, in Europe, the staggering number of 54,6 millions Europeans had to leave their homelands or were forcibly displaced. Hopes die in Winter is devoted to them, refugees and victims of indiscriminate dislocation. An excellent theme of choice for this very international compilation, where each band contribute 3 tracks.
It lifts off quietly with some dark ambient sounds and a spoken word by Troy Southgate, the man behind La Rose Noire and Synthesis website, then builds up into a very beautiful martial neoclassical piece, with cellos, snare drums and all the bombastic symphonic qualities typical of the Dutch/British project H.E.R.R., quite simply one of the very best names these days, musically as well as aesthestically or intellectually.
Der Arbeiter (who appeared first on Wir rufen deine Wölfe, the wonderful compilation dedicated to Friedrich Hielscher, on Allerseelen own label Aorta) is a new name coming from the other side of the world: Chile, not exactly the kind of place where you'd expect this kind of music to flourish. But like Allerseelen, Der Arbeiter manages to mix technology and tradition; electronic beats and soft, warm atmospheres, danceable melodic tunes with a ritual feel, Spanish and English languages.
Storm of Capricorn is a French band walking into Dernière Volonté footsteps, but not always as convincingly. Un Dernier Souffle is good though, starting with the mandatory WWII samples about German surrender in an atmosphere of infinite sadness, then turning into a great marching tune with good male/female vocals (and lyrics, by the way).
Ghosts of Breslau (from Breslau, nowadays Wroclaw, Poland) close this collection with 4 ambient tracks, full of ghosts and memories.
One quick word about the amazing packaging: limited to 170 copies, it comes in an A5 fold-out package, including several photographies, a Polish poem, a Leon Degrelle citation and a stalk of wheat (a nice touch I hadn't seen since the seminal "Östenbräun" box by LJDLP/DI6). This is already a cult release, so don't hesitate too long if you manage to find a copy.

Review taken from SoleilNoir.

01 - H.E.R.R. - Hopes Die in Winter
02 - H.E.R.R. - Fifteen Tokens
03 - H.E.R.R. - Fruhlings Erwachen
04 - Der Arbeiter - La Virgen de los Hielos
05 - Der Arbeiter - Lichtgeburt
06 - Der Arbeiter - El Hijo del Viudo
07 - Storm of Capricorn - Un Dernier Exode
08 - Storm of Capricorn - Un Dernier Refuge
09 - Storm of Capricorn - Un Dernier Suffle
10 - Ghosts of Breslau - Train in the Fog
11 - Ghosts of Breslau - Dig Your Own Graves
12 - Ghosts of Breslau - Lullaby
13 - Ghosts of Breslau - The Beauty and the Nightmare

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Puissance - Back in Control (1998)

A fine effort this. Beautifully crafted Classico-militarism from the disturbed minds of Möller and Soderlund. As the opening track - Actinium - begins to unfold, the sound of dragging weights and the repetitive tick-tocking of what sounds like a simulated clock can be heard measuring the Earth’s rollercoaster ride to what Puissance would have you believe is the inevitable Apocalypse. Evolution comes next. Herein lies the unmistakable sound of a loading rifle, nicely combined with a vocal exercise in ultra-pessimism: “Mother earth cracked open like a cheap whore/Open wide and take a cruise missile between your thighs/Swallow/You will be fucked by the humans to whom you gave life/The death of the world/It will be a glorious day and god will be up there in the sky smiling for all his work is done/The divine comic strip ends and we never understood.” Next up: Love Incinerate. Wow! Carl Orff meets Tubeway Army in a neo-operatic dreamscape of winding keyboards. Meanwhile, Bloodwed gives you some idea how a London Underground platform announcement must sound like to a hallucinating rat, as it lies hunched in the darkness of its tunnel lair. Command and Conquer is a Caesarean odyssey, and the thumping power of this track defies you to do anything but. Clearly something to which the more literal interpretators amongst you can raze whole villages to the ground. Artificial Sun is Black Metal without the metal. Resembling, perhaps, a less frenzied interlude on your average Emperor CD. But whilst this track is futuristic Classical at its most poignant and extreme, Stagnate and Perish (Resculptured Version) represents a more Industrial sound similar to that of Lustmord, albeit with an inadvertent sprinkle of something resembling the Timesteps Excerpt from the soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange thrown in for good measure. Finally, we are treated to the sheer brilliance of Totalitarian Hearts. A real battle anthem this, and very Allerseelenesque. Cross an Apprentice Boys’ parade with the ‘here comes the cavalry’ scene from your average Western and you’re on the right lines . . . I think! Make no mistake: The Puissance army is truly on the march.

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

01 - Actinium
02 - Evolution
03 - Love Incinerate
04 - Bloodwed
05 - Command & Conquer
06 - Artificial Sun
07 - Stagnate and Perish
08 - Totalitarian Hearts

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