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