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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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



Die Macht - Blut unter den Fahnen (2006)

Die Macht is the conceptual creature of Swiss mastermind JF, who already released a CDr on French label Slaughter in Art last year, titled Instinct de Survie. The EP caused quite a buzz and got many rave reviews, yet it was but an appetizer for the real thing: Blut unter den Fahnen (heavy 12" vinyl, in embossed sleeve with various inserts, hand-numbered, ltd. 500) could be considered Die Macht real conceptual debut.
First side, "Mit unseren Fahnen ist der Sieg", depicts the first stage of any conflict, when the war machinery conquers all and seems unstoppable. Side B "Blut unter den Fahnen" speaks of downfall, sacrifice and final despair. This is darkest ambient / martial industrial music, with an elegant neo-classical touch, in the same league as - and it will definitely appeal to fans of - Toroidh, Arditi, Turbund Sturwerk or Les Joyaux de la Princesse. Yet Die Macht has developped its own, very unique sound, huge, powerful, menacing, like an all-engulfing darkness. Hard as Krupps' steel, heavy as lead, cold as the night. The tracks build up slowly, from the distant echoes of church organs and bells to heavy drums and full orchestral power complete with air sirens wailing. Music of fire and steel, of pride and honour, of death and nothingness. Music that arise from the blood-drenched European soil. Last track is so apocaliptically noisy you'll think your needle is damaged. One can see the bombers vomiting death upon the burning city of Dresden. As Europe history is re-written again and again, a few do remember.

Review taken from SoleilNoir.

01 - Mit unseren Fahnen ist der Sieg Part I
02 - Mit unseren Fahnen ist der Sieg Part II
03 - Mit unseren Fahnen ist der Sieg Part III
04 - Mit unseren Fahnen ist der Sieg Part IV
05 - Blut unter den Fahnen Part V
06 - Blut unter den Fahnen Part VI
07 - Blut unter den Fahnen Part VII
08 - Blut unter den Fahnen Part VIII


Monday, May 26, 2008

Arktau Eos - Mirrorion (2006)

Although it is traditional to focus on the band, and in particular, their music, this review would be incomplete if I did not mention their label. Aural Hypnox is a tiny Finnish label dedicated to releasing disturbing ambience centred around the Helixes collective, all distributed in beautiful and unique packaging with a strong handmade touch -- a refreshing alternative to the Fordian production mentality that dominates in the the music industry. (This CD is contained within an A5 six-panel cardboard box.)

Arktau Eos proudly proclaims that _Mirrorion_ is devoid of electric instruments, which would be an empty statement if uttered by, say, a black metal band, but of greater import when uttered by a dark ambient act. In lieu of electric instruments, "the natural, inherent vibrations of wood, bone and metal" are used, a description which includes the predictable and the orthodox such as an acoustic guitar as well as other, more unconventional and disturbing instruments such as kanglings (Tibetan trumpets made from human thighbones), accelerating steel-plate rolls, and singing bowls, which collectively weave a minimalist sonic tapestry. There is a strong magicko-spiritual aspect, not only suggested by the cyclopic cover sigil, but also by their own interior proclamations and song titles, which suggest a Thelemic influence; magic influence or not, strong ritual atmosphere is sustained throughout the album's lengthy playing time.

With seventeen tracks at just over an hour, this certainly is an ambitious release; however, while it may be obvious that it will not appeal to everyone, even dark ambient fans may struggle to appreciate its beauty, as drones, which provide the underlying structure for much of the genre's work, are noticeably absent. Nonetheless, it remains a stunning example of the genre.

Review taken from Chronicles of Chaos.

01 - Raising the Oceanic Alpha-Axis
02 - The Star-Sower Awakens
03 - Mana Infusion
04 - Black Tongue - Translucent Mind
05 - A Banquet for Ghosts
06 - The Bone-Orchard
07 - Secrets Concealed in Ash
08 - Language of Embers
09 - Quickening the Crystal Body
10 - The Vitric Portal
11 - Labyrinth of Thousand Lanterns
12 - Lotus of the Underworld
13 - Silver River
14 - Nether-Desert Iris
15 - Obsidian Pyramid
16 - Beacons in Polar Light
17 - Dissolving the Starlit Mandala


Nordvargr - Interstellar (2008)

Over 40 minute album inspired by the power of space, infinite distances and emptiness. Nordvargr himself speaks of this album:
„...To me there is no greater evil than the emptiness of space, totally hostile and unfriendly to all life - an opposite to existence, at the same time the mother of all we know. ...”
The album is mark out by heavy and meaty sound, strong dark ambient exhaust for creation of whom Nordvargr used only field recordings and sounds made by space objects transimtted by satellites.

01 - Transmission 1: Nothingness Approaching
02 - Transmission 2: Massive Interstellar Darkness
03 - Transmission 3: Expanding Matter
04 - Transmission 4: Returning to a Balanced Existence


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ulf Söderberg - Vindarnas Hus (2002)

Ulf Söderberg is best known for his project Sephiroth, with the excellent album “Cathedron” which came out on Cold Meat a few years ago. Ulf also released two cd’s under his own name before that, both very nice albums. Now a new, third Ulf Söderberg album has become available, released by Ulfs own label Slow Moon. The songs on it were recorded and produced between 2000 and 2002. For this album Ulf was aided by a musician called Anders Hagberg. I can’t give much more information, because the booklet is completely in Swedish.

Objective reviewers would probably complain that there is not much innovation and surprise on this new album. The compositions and sound on “Vindarnas Hus” resemble Ulfs previous albums closely. But I happen to like his style a lot, so I don’t mind one more typical Söderbergh album, and this is certainly a strong continuation. The key to many songs is the dynamic alternation of atmospheric, tranquil parts and sudden energetic outbursts. The ambient passages convey a rather solemn, sacred mood, enhanced by the nature sounds which are used throughout the electronic framework. The tension is often slowly built up, followed by irrestible climaxes, just as in Sephiroths ‘hit’ ‘Wolftribes’. The faster parts have a strong sense of urgence, they are very primary and tribal, with overwhelming percussion. They give you the feeling of a herd of wild animals which has suddenly broken loose. Untill now the third track, Neapolis’, is my favourite of the album.

As I said, this album is not full of surprises, but from the first tones onward there is a pleasant feel of familiarity. The softer, ambient parts are moving, while the sudden, tribal parts make you move. I still love this blend of serene ambient, filled with lovely nature sounds, creating a somewhat religious feel, and the ‘ethnic’ percussion driven by instincts.

Review taken from Funprox.

01 - Vargskymning
02 - Vindarnas Hus
03 - Neapolis
04 - Blåled
05 - Den Viskande Solen
06 - Sådan Var Vintern om Sommaren
07 - Porten mot Kadath
08 - Novembergudarna
09 - Nattfrost
10 - Morgonmåne


Brighter Death Now / Coph Nia - Nunsploitation (2003)

Two swedes, a perhaps surprising couple, separately paying homage to one of the more influential swedish rockgroups, The Leather Nun. BDN most fittingly chooses to dissect "Slow death" from the old Industrial Records single with the same name, released in 1979. Truly amusing in the quieter, monotonous lofi-fashion with a nice subject matter and the mandatory ticking clock. Coph Nia gladly takes on the later dated recording "Prime mover" with arms outstretched and firm hands, the preaching nature of the song a goldmine for singers of sin.

01 - Brighter Death Now - Slow Death (Slox Mix)
02 - Coph Nia - Prime Mover (Sex Mix)


Negru Voda - From Liquid Steel to Frozen Metal (2002)

From the CMI website: "Megaptera died, but not Peter Nyström, nor did Negru Voda. Eleven months after the farwell 2CD by Megaptera, "Beyond the Massive Darkness", and nine months after the comeback split 10" with des Esseintes, Negru Voda returns with another vinyl offer. This release is also a taste of what we can expect from Negru Voda in the future. The first side, "Under The Ice", is a dark rhythmic travel penetrating the ice, drilling through the water, down the abyss. The Nyström factory works double shifts, the drums are pounding, and the noises from the drones turning your bowels inside out! Flip the vinyl, and find "The Ghost at Leftwood Lake", a theme for the dark and mystical pictures of the sleeve. Look at them and listen to the whispering voices from the shadows and feel the crawling horror under your skin. A celebration of the dark forces hiding around Leftwood Lake at night! The whole set is a beautiful gatefold sleeve, limited to 600 copies.

This release shows that Negru Voda is no longer a side project. Negru Voda is here to stay as Peter's main project, and remember: he did not die..."

01 - Under the Ice
02 - The Ghost at Leftwood Lake


Stahlwerk 9 - Die schwarze Fabrik (1998)

German industrial. This is a tape rip, so don't expect great sound quality. Nevertheless, a nice release.

01 - Partisan
02 - Der Brief aus der Heimat
03 - Verbrannte Erde
04 - Drushnyje Rebjata
05 - Die schwarze Fabrik
06 - Untitled
07 - Panzerlied
08 - Nikolai Gastello
09 - Barbarossa
10 - Kinder der Frontkämpfer
11 - Timur und sein Trupp


Friday, May 23, 2008

Atrium Carceri - Cellblock (2003)

With Atrium Carceri, composer Simon Heath releases his debut Cold Meat album with a theme from deep within isolated prison walls, haunted chambers and the cerebral cortex.

01 - Entrance
02 - Black Lace
03 - Machine Elves
04 - Corridor
05 - Blue Moon
06 - Stir of Thoughts
07 - Depth
08 - Crusted Neon
09 - Halls of Steam
10 - Reborn
11 - Red Stains
12 - Inner Carceri


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Folkstorm - Folkmusik (2005)

The multifarious Swedish artist Henrik ‘Nordvargr’ Björkk is the Baskin-Robbins of the industrial scene, producing music in a bewildering array of different flavours with different project names, from the dark ambient of Nordvargr through the black industrial of MZ.412 to the black metal experimentalism of Vargr and the Goatvargr collaboration – not to mention his early EBM band Pouppée Fabrikk. Folkstorm represents the martial industrial aspect of Nordvargr’s oeuvre, and the project was officially declared inactive in 2001, with the fourth and final album, For The Love Of Hate, appearing the following year, Folkstorm having given way to the similar-sounding Toroidh. However, the Folkstorm brand was resurrected in 2005 with the comeback album Folkmusik, and according to the recent interview conducted with Nordvargr by Hoerikwaggo for Heathen Harvest, Folkstorm is still an ongoing concern. Quoth the man himself, “…I recorded a new track for a compilation last month, so I would not call [Folkstorm] dead anymore... just a bit slow.”

So just what sonic savagery lurks within the handsome digipack of Folkmusik, with its striking cover art in the ‘Bismarck’ colours of black, white and red? The sleeve promises us, “No politics or dogmas, no religion or faith, no standard or agenda, no mercy or regrets.” So that’s what you don’t get. What you get instead are nine tracks of surging and intense martial industrial, mixing vocal samples, heavy percussion, orchestral passages and bombardments of harsh noise, all served up with a sumptuous seasoning of that trademark Folkstorm ferocity.

Read the entire review.

01 - Seger
02 - Ty Han Är Min Soldat
03 - In All for All
04 - God Hates Amerika
05 - Epilogue II
06 - Folkhat / Blodsmak
07 - Armed and Unemployed
08 - Ordnung
09 - Hatewave

Bonus 3''CD

01 - Folkkonst
02 - Noisient


Legionari Romanesti - Himnos de Represión (2008)

Chilean harsh noise/P.E. propaganda. 5 hymns of repression.

01 - 98192
02 - R3PR35IÓN
03 - 4N71C0NC3R7AC1ÓN (DRY 5UBM4R1N3 V3R5IÓN)
04 - L4 3D4D D0R4D4 D3 L4 C4Z4 D3 BRUJ45 - V1OL4C1ÓN D3 DDHH
05 - M4RCH4ND0 H4C14 L4 MU3R73


Sephiroth - Cathedron (1999)

Sephiroth relates stories about the inexorable and destructive power of Time, mankind's futile attempts of resistance, and the sunken cities, fallen towers, and overgrown ruins that this has resulted in. Dark eerie soundscapes and ritualistic drums are combined with own field recordings from places like Cairo, Iceland, and gloomy Nordic forests. Sephiroth's music whispers about the Gods we are desperately trying to appease, only for then finding ourselves dying before the monuments we spent our lives building. Sephiroth bid you welcome into the ruins and down to the deep forgotten catacombs.

01 - Wolftribes
02 - Cathedron
03 - The Moongate
04 - Abyssanctum
05 - Heliopolis
06 - Dark Father


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mz.412 - In Nomine dei Nostri Satanas Luciferi Excelsi (1994)

In those times when Black Metal divided up into different styles and directions, Mz.412 clearly blur the boundaries between Black Metal and Industrial.They merge a Satanic and Black Metal image with a dark ambient, almost noise/electronic music, and release their hybrid and bewitching album "In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanas Luciferi Excelsi" in 94, on Cold Meat Industry. Their music alternates ambient sub-urban atmospheres with raw, staccato walls of noise. An almost Death-ambiant music, both inspirating and mentally agonising. The cold feeling to be in this implacable machinery. Powerfull percussions beat and reason, over a structured and moist background, carrying us through a stifling and morbid swarming of shadows, voices, distant screams.

01 - In Nomine dei
02 - Salvo Honoris Morte
03 - Necrotic Birth
04 - Black Earth
05 - Daemon Raging
06 - God of Fifty Names
07 - Regie Satanas
08 - Paedophilia Cum Sadismus
09 - Hail the Lord of Goats


Genocide Organ - In-Konflikt (2004)

The leading group in the German industrial scene, Genocide Organ joined forces in 1986 and eventually set up the notorious label Tesco Organisation. They have become a cult name among the followers of industrial music worldwide, due to their uncompromising attitude, brutal sounds and presentation, as well as the provocative and "politically incorrect" attitude. Their live performances are as rare as legendary, involving threatening terrorist uniforms, metal junk and blow torches to build the definitive wall of industrial noise. Almost all Genocide Organ records are out of print and, due to the small number of copies pressed and the luxurious packages, are sought-after collector items.
Genocide Organ members are wrapped in mystery, the real names are unknown, during their live performances they are used to wearing masks and hoods to hide their identities. Records are credited to the pseudonimouses of: Wilhelm Herich, Doc M. Riot and D.A.X. Roland Freisler (now active as Diutesc), was one of the two live frontmen together with Wilhelm Herich. Roland Freisler, in the band since 1989, left the band in 1999, his role has been taken by B. Moloch of Anenzephalia.
Another member of the band was Ray Treatment who was in the band from 1986-1987.

01 - Moral Rear
02 - Disobey Ends
03 - Industrial Strife pt. 2
04 - We Care for You
05 - Death Hypes
06 - A Peculiar Crusade
07 - Industrial Strife pt. 1
08 - No Better Culture
09 - Industrial Strife pt. 3
10 - Black and Tans Are Noble
11 - Conditio Humana


Brighter Death Now - Necrose Evangelicum (1995)

This is music created from a place beyond all imaginable Hells... a place that exists only deep within the macabre mind of its creator, Roger Karmanik. A CD of such impenetrable darkness, as if the entire world had collapsed into itself! Where the inspiration has been drawn from for these recordings can only be speculated, but suffice it to say, it's not a place one would like to spend eternity! Tormented voices announce the birth of some unspeakable horror, while heavily metallic, grinding electronics shudder like the last gasps of a dying machine. Together, they form a vision so bleak and ghastly it purges both the mind and soul of everything but the most impure of thoughts. Leave all notions of decency at the entranceway, for they are not wanted nor needed here. Only in the final title track, featuring the despondent orchestrations of Mortiis, will you find solace, but even that is a harbour deemed unsafe.

01 - Willful
02 - Soul in Flames
03 - Impasse
04 - Rain, Red Rain
05 - Deathgrant
06 - Necrose Evangelicum



Monday, May 19, 2008

Organized Resistance - Day of the Rope (2005)

Violent Power Electronics.

01 - Revolution
02 - Zombies
03 - Tools of Communication
04 - What Will You Do
05 - Where Do You Stand
06 - Defiled
07 - Setting the Stage
08 - Separation & Disposal
09 - Tools of Communication pt. 2
10 - Everybody
11 - Day of the Rope


Puissance - Mother of Disease (Remaster 2008)

In the year 1999, while mankind sat unnaware of their fate and wondering if the moon would drift away into the far reaches of space as the XXth century came to an end, Puissance would reappear, clad in shining armour.

With the Industrial rust of early days properly polished, the Swedish duo would further explore their talent for graceful arrangements set to Militaristic Neo-Classical music. Following the overtly confrontational offerings of "Let Us Lead" and "Back In Control", Puissance were now set to resurrect the ghosts of Cold War and the obsession with all things thermonuclear that haunted the planet - the Mother of Disease, as they would call it - over that period. Brooding hymns to suicidal heroism, devotional praises to a new god that would finally bring closure to the human race, the screeching of metal twisting and melting - all of this would find its place in Puissance's own beautiful vision of the impending apocalypse, that they so ingeniously depict on "Mother of Disease".


01 - Light of a Dead Sun
02 - Reign of Dying Angels
03 - Mother of Disease
04 - In Shining Armour
05 - Post Ruin Symphony
06 - Core of Revelation
07 - Human Error
08 - The Voice of Chaos
09 - The Dancing Clowns (Bonus Track)


Various - Bringing Light and Darkness (2001)

Dark neofolk for a rainy day.

Limited edition of 500 copies. All tracks are previously unreleased or different versions. Track 2 is an instrumental version.

Side A

01 - Sol Invictus - Believe Me (Live in Lissabon)
02 - Sol Invictus - The Street of Many Murders
03 - Of the Wand and the Moon - A Toast
04 - Of the Wand and the Moon - In a Robe of Fire
05 - Of the Wand and the Moon - She With Whom Compar'd the Alpes Are Vallies

Side B

06 - Matt Howden - Ganymede (From Jupiter)
07 - Matt Howden - Secrets of Callisto (From Jupiter)
08 - Matt Howden - Dione and Mimas
09 - Matt Howden - Small Dark Spot (From Neptune)
10 - Unveiled - Shatterer


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Across the Rubicon - Elegy (2007)

Across The Rubicon is a Polish newborn band with members of Cold Fusion and Rukkanor (among others). It has just issued its first album of 10 neoclassical martial industrial assaults.
The introductory sample's low quality, banal synths and repetitiveness are the very rare flaws we could point on this album. All the rest sounds as having been carefully arranged: samples are just the loudness required, percussions are varied and unusually rich and inovating, brutality stays united with sensitive melodies. It sounds as a soundtrack of a multi-oscarized movie, but such one has never been seen in the box office, yet... Both grandeur and decadence of a warlike "Elegy" are successfully praised to the skies by its skilled Polish creators... And these skies aren't clear but ambiguous, as on the pictures of the booklet: is it before or after the storm? Will we see the sun again? No doubt that many fans of martial music will appreciate this "Elegy". Pardon me this hasty risky forecast, but I just wouldn't be surprised at all if "Elegy" is the indus/martial highlight of this year! Simply delightful.

Read the entire review.

01 - Soldat Inconnu
02 - Shadows and Dust
03 - Dogs of War
04 - State of Fear
05 - The World in Flames
06 - Strength and Honour
07 - The Rage
08 - Death Smiles to Us All
09 - The Culture War
10 - We Shall Remember


Toroidh - For the Fallen Ones (2002)

Limited edition of 360 copies. A Special Edition, limited to 39 additional copies, was packaged in a box with an extra insert and a polo shirt.
Re-released on the Offensiv! CD (Eternal Soul, 2004).

Toroidh is Henrik Nordvargr Björkk's martial industrial side project.

01 - For the Fallen Ones
02 - Hail Wermland


Stalnoy Pakt - Probuzhdeniye Rossii (2002)

This is the first full-length CD release of the new project of A. Lebedev-Frontov (Linija Mass, Vetrophonia) after the brilliant 10'' release in Prometheus series and the split 10'' with Rasthof Dachau, both issued by Der Angriff. Dedicated to the Russians who immigrated to Europe, but still tried to fight for the freedom of Russia after the Bolshevik revolution.
The music is in the same vein as on the previous vinyl releases and more atmospheric than his other projects… dark, profound, and ominous ambient sounds with a churning underbelly of activity via loops, samples, and analogue noise touches. Non-standard sized silver-on-black printed cover, limited edition of 500 copies.

01 - Untitled
02 - Untitled
03 - Untitled
04 - Untitled
05 - Untitled
06 - Untitled
07 - Untitled
08 - Untitled
09 - Untitled
10 - Untitled


Wappenbund - Schlacht - The Final Chapter/Blood & Fire (2007)

CDR in gold-colored tin box, combining the first tape and mini CD together for this remastered re-release, and containing a 3-page booklet with a wax seal.

'Blood & Fire' recorded in 1999.
'Schlacht :: The Final Chapter' recorded in 1999 & 2003.

I - Schlacht - The Final Chapter

01 - Wappenmarsch
02 - Siege
03 - Schlachtsgesänge
04 - Andacht II
05 - Kraft durch Willen
06 - Wir Ziehen in der Schlacht

II - Blood & Fire

07 - Ruins
08 - Blood & Fire
09 - Neues Leben
10 - Victim
11 - End of Storm


Monday, May 12, 2008

Militia - Kingdom of Our Lord (1996)


01 - Maschinenzimmer
02 - Kingdom of Our Lord


Incinerator International - Head on (2004)

Incinerator International is Henrik 'Nordvargr' Björkk and John Balistreri. Harsh industrial noise.

01 - Life is Knife
02 - Head on
03 - Breath With Me
04 - Hour of Liberation
05 - I Keep on
06 - Talking
07 - Open Up
08 - Enough
09 - My Words They Be
10 - Cut Them Off


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blood Axis - The Gospel of Inhumanity (1996)

An absolute milestone in military-verged Neoclassical music.

01 - The Gospel of Inhumanity
02 - The Voyage (Canto I)
03 - Eternal Soul
04 - Between Birds of Prey
05 - Herr, nun laß in Frieden
06 - Reign I Forever
07 - Absinthe
08 - Storm of Steel


Blood Axis - Blót - Sacrifice in Sweden (1998)

LONG awaited and well overdue, this opportunity to experience Blood Axis in a live setting has exceeded the expectations of almost everyone who’s had the chance to hear it. Containing some of the most exquisite packaging I’ve ever seen (but look out for the hidden booklet, mind!), this endearing specimen kicks off with Sarabande Oratoria; a combination of Mosleyesque narrative and something resembling one of Bach’s very own organ-laden masterpieces. Next comes the haunting, Odinist chant of Herjafather and probably one of the most hypnotic and atmospheric pieces you’re ever likely to sample. Savour the moment (or moments, depending on how many times you intend to play it). This is followed by an excellent cover version of the Ian Read song, Seeker, a track first released through his very talented Fire + Ice project. Then, amidst the wolves echoed howl, the Electricity begins to flow as Michael Moynihan’s charismatic tones (‘Hail Victory!’) match the complimentary emissions of violin and sampled opera. Lord of Ages has always been a firm favourite of mine (as was the great Mysteria Mithrae CD itself, of which it was part), so I was glad to see its inclusion here, although the next track - The March of Brian Boru - is a pleasant surprise: raw Irish Folk as fiddle and bodhran dance their merry jig within the cold, blowing winds of the Northlands. This is followed by four back-to-back offerings from the band’s epic 1997 CD; namely, The Gospel of Inhumanity, Eternal Soul, Between Birds of Prey and the truly momentous Reign I Forever. After this little quartet comes The Hangman and the Papist, and a chance to hear Michael adopt a more straightforward - and for him, perhaps - unusual style of vocal delivery. Finally, Storm of Steel completes a fitting tribute to the recently departed Ernst Junger and so brings this great CD to a close. One minor criticism. Given that most of these tracks were recorded live, surely the absence of background noise is a trifle strange? On the other hand, either a) the Swedes make very unappreciative audiences (which, according to a later issue of Vor Tru magazine was certainly not the case during this particular performance), b) it was edited out in the studio or c) the mixing desk was unable to detect any kind of applause. But then again, maybe Blood Axis didn’t really play live in Sweden at all and Neil Armstrong did his much publicised ‘moonwalk’ in a Hollywood film studio, for that matter? Oh who cares, anyway? Just buy this CD - it’s another top notch release from the Cold Meat Industry stable and all credit to what in my opinion is still one of the very best underground outfits in existence. (Review taken from:

01 - Sarabande Oratoria
02 - Herjafather
03 - Seeker
04 - Electricity
05 - Lord of Ages
06 - The March of Brian Boru
07 - The Gospel of Inhumanity
08 - Eternal Soul
09 - Between Birds of Prey
10 - Reign I Forever
11 - The Hangman and the Papist
12 - Storm of Steel


Of the Wand and the Moon - Emptiness Emptiness Emptiness (2001)

Excellent melancholic neofolk.

01 - Lost in Emptiness
02 - My Devotion Will Never Fade
03 - In a Robe of Fire
04 - Algir Naudir Wunjo
05 - Silver Rain
06 - Gal Anda
07 - Here's to Misery (A Toast)
08 - Can I Erase the Demon?
09 - Reficul



Arditi - Omne Ensis Impera (2008)

“Omne Ensis Impera” introduces an additional strength to Arditi’s compositions - epic orchestral loops and thunderous percussions are granted a more prominent role, stirring the damp and suffocating ambiance that the duo have always produced so well.

"We sing the praise of war. Not for the way it makes people die, but for the way it makes people come alive."

The highly anticipated new album by the Swedish duo is finally upon us, under the title "Omne Ensis Impera". The sense of determination that echoes through their music and which has brought them to the forefront of Martial / Industrial Neo-Classical scene has stayed untouched, evoking the sense of duty and commitment that Italy's WWI elite storm troops, from which the name Arditi originated, were known for.

"Omne Ensis Impera" introduces an additional strength to Arditi's compositions - epic orchestral loops and thunderous percussions are granted a more prominent role, stirring the damp and suffocating ambiance that the duo have always produced so well with their use of ominous synths, obscure speeches and mesmerizing narrations.

Similarly, shades of the Italian Futuristic movement of the early XXth century, which served as inspiration in the early days of the project, remain imprinted in Arditi's work - "Omne Ensis Impera" could well be a modern interpretation of the Futurist's goal of glorifying warfare to an artistic expression beyond its inherent violence and intrinsic sense of heroism.

"Omne Ensis Impera" has been mastered by Kamrat Nordvargr of Mz.412 and Toroidh, an old ally of the band. Nordvargr has also contributed with additional arrangements on a couple of tracks, and prepared a slightly modified track list, which will feature on the vinyl version of the album that will follow soon, together with a limited edition box set. The CD version is presented in a deluxe glossy Digipak, with embossed artwork.

01 - Omne Ensis Impera
02 - Der Angriff geht weiter
03 - Decisive War
04 - Perseverance is All
05 - Profound Truths
06 - Sons of God
07 - Onwards!
08 - Cladem Nescimus
09 - Endkampf



Mz.412 - Burning the Temple of God (1996)

Satanic Black Industrial!

01 - Deklaration of Holy War
02 - The Winter of Mourning
03 - Feasting on Khristian Blood
04 - Taking the Throne
05 - Burning... (God's House)
06 - Submit and Obey
07 - Nebulah Frost
08 - Vampiir of the North
09 - De Ondas Vandring


Hexentanz - Nekrocrafte (2004)

Hexentanz, literally "the witches dance," is a collaborative conception between members of The Soil Bleeds Black and Psychonaut 75, venturing to recognize the traditional Witches Sabbat as a reality in the flesh. The music and expression of Hexentanz encompasses the practice of medieval black magic. Composed with actual period instruments, synthetic ritual devices, human bones, and authentic arcane chants of medieval and modern witch cult practice, Hexentanz is a project standing alone in its exploration of archaic music and magic. The art of Hexentanz is conceived within the living tradition of left hand path practice and maintains sincerity with its elucidation of the medieval Witches Sabbat.

Stunning release. Will send chills up your spine!

01 - Midnight Procession
02 - Mark of the Witch
03 - Devil's Mass
04 - Birth is Through Blood
05 - Binding of the Shadows
06 - Profane the Twelve
07 - Bringer of the Luciferian Flame
08 - Abjuring the Cross
09 - Dirge to the Deceased


Hexentanz - The Sabbath Comes Softly (2002)

Hexentanz, literally "the witches dance," is a collaborative conception between members of The Soil Bleeds Black and Psychonaut 75, venturing to recognize the traditional Witches Sabbat as a reality in the flesh. The music and expression of Hexentanz encompasses the practice of medieval black magic. Composed with actual period instruments, synthetic ritual devices, human bones, and authentic arcane chants of medieval and modern witch cult practice, Hexentanz is a project standing alone in its exploration of archaic music and magic. The art of Hexentanz is conceived within the living tradition of left hand path practice and maintains sincerity with its elucidation of the medieval Witches Sabbat.

7''EP limited to 500 copies.

01 - The Sabbath Comes Softly
02 - Charivari
03 - Osculum Infame
04 - Asmodeus Rise


Mz.412 - Legion Ultra (2000)

7''EP limited to 824 copies. 412 on black vinyl and 412 on white vinyl.

01 - Untitled
02 - Untitled


Folkstorm - Information Blitzkrieg (1999)

Great debut release from Folkstorm. Several releases from the mastermind Henrik 'Nordvargr' Björkk coming soon.

01 - Einleitung
02 - This is War
03 - Haus Betula
04 - Alle Sagen Ja
05 - T6 Revisited
06 - Violent Strain
07 - Epilogue 1
08 - M.H.S.M.
09 - We Control You (1989)
10 - Beendigung: Opus Rex