Genocide Organ – Under-Kontrakt

Genocide Organ – Under-Kontrakt LP Tesco Organisation 2011

This new album for German power electronic legends was highly anticipated, being seven years on since ‘In Konflikt’, and thankfully does not disappoint.  Thematically G/O have always worked with interesting subject matter and this time round is not exception, being based on mercenary soldiers throughout the ages, including the current trend of private military contractors used in various conflict zones around the world.

Given that G/O have matured in both sound and conceptual content, ‘Under-Kontrakt’ sees a further honing of their aesthetic.  Clearly less brute force than early material, here the tracks are more considered and ‘composed’ for what of a better term.  Tracks are primarily driven by multiple synth lines, noise layers and looped sounds to create loosely constructed and abrasive elements that weave, interlink and overlap.  Yes, this is a noisy album, but noisy in a way that the layers have clarity and most importantly – volume.

Noting that a number of compositions incorporate vocals, interestingly rather than an standard power electronics vocal attack, they are delivered here in a spoken, reserved tone and almost apathetic in places – sort of akin to a nihilistic resignation of circumstance which can descend with age and the passing of years.  However early album track ‘It’s Over’ with its queasy wavering noise layers and radio static include a more animated vocal delivery with a mantra like delivery of the song tittle towards the end.

The track ‘Denard’ seems to be concerned with Colonel Bob Denard, who was a French mercenary operating in Africa from the 1960’s to the 1990’s.  However the vocal sample used throughout appears more akin to a Black Panther Organisation speech (“white man can’t fight a guerrilla warfare”) which is placed over repetitive and drilling / burrowing noise elements.  The aforementioned apathetic vocals are most evident on the relatively ambient noise of ‘Armour Group’, allowing the lyrical message to be clearly articulated.  Arriving at the final piece ‘We’re Here To Have a Good Time’, this rounds out the 11 album tracks, with its composed pulse, droning noise and restrained and spoken lyrics delivered with a mix of spite and cynicism.

At this stage in the game G/O may be a stalwart of the scene, but with the strength of this album it is clear why they are so well regarded.  Obviously the LP is long sold out, but still available on unlimited CD.  Without a doubt highly recommended.

Funerary Call – Beckoning at the Black

Funerary Call – Beckoning at the Black CD Fall of Nature 2012

This new release from Funerary Call, does not contain new material per se, but constitutes the resurrection of earlier material previously released on a limited CDr via the Fossil Dungeon in 2004 – with an extra track added for good measure.  So, when ‘Beckoning at the Black’ is contemplated in context the organic / ritualistic direction of recent Funerary Call, this older material clearly has more direct linage with 90’s sounds coming from Cold Meat Industry, i.e. the orchestral / industrial / ambient material of In Slaughter Natives, or the more composed and percussive material of early Raison D’etre etc.  Yet not coming off as a bland copy, Funerary Call evokes a certain dark classic horror soundtrack type vibe that sets it apart.

In broad terms the 7 tracks are built around a framework of doom evoking orchestral elements, which (dependant on the track) includes: wailing horns, pounding ritual drums, shrill strings, operatic wails, sparse piano / flute melodies, a heavy dose of echo and reverb and whispered / treated vocals which arise out of the sparse aural muck.  Also to provide another comparative marker, the mix of ambient washes of sound and sparse ritualistic persuasion of ‘Hel’s Hymn’ and the moody orchestral strings, horns and piano of ‘Of Death’s Breath’ brings to mind early Desiderii Marginis, which is certainly a compliment from my perspective.

Whilst ‘Beckoning at the Black’ constitutes a deviation in sound from the current direction of Funerary Call, this is a worthy release, including a great cover image (taken the 1970’s motion picture Wicker Man), to provide a suitable visual counterpart.

Aderlating – The Golden Mass

Aderlating – The Golden Mass MC Fall of Nature 2012

For those not aware, Aderlating are a side project of the more famous (…or is that infamous?) Gnaw Their Tongues, with Mories of that particular nasty audio terror unit teaming up as a duo for Aderlating.  So in the first instance there is no getting away from a passing compassion to Gnaw Their Tongues, and on a superficial level Aderlating does comes across as the more placid (…but still disturbed) brother of the OTT ambient / noise / industrial / orchestral chaos of Gnaw Their Tounges.  But that is not to say that ‘The Golden Mass’ is easy listening by any stretch, as this contains some damn unsettling and abrasive atmospheres.

Consisting of an amalgam of ambient, industrial noise and orchestral elements, this however is not the bombast of a militant orchestral style.  Rather the orchestral aspects here are of a horror driven discordant violin strings type, as a counter point to the industrial noise, which leans towards harsher end of the sonic spectrum. On the first side, the title track commences with a bass driven ambient drone, scraping industrial elements and some great Asiatic tuned ritual chimes, which gradually builds with windswept intensity. ‘Rapture’ on the other hand contains a mass of disharmonic orchestral strings, echoed drones and field type recordings of what sounds to be a creaking rope on wood (…swinging corpse perhaps?!), to create a suitably tense aura. On the flip side ‘Song For Mahapadma’ opens with heavy doom riddled death industrial cacophony, sampled Tibetan throat chanting vocals and ritual chimes, before shifting off into a echoed mass of what sounds to be scrap metal abuse, overlaid with male choir chants and rapid bowing of discordant orchestral strings.

Although not a lengthy release, some reasonably diverse and intense soundscapes are created here, from noise industrial, dark orchestral and ritual ambient to name a few.  Pro printed crystal clear red tape and full cover J card round out this tasty morsel of a release.

Isomer – Nil by Mouth

Isomer – Nil by Mouth MCD Cipher Productions 2011

Here we have the new mini release from Isomer, which takes the nosier aspects of the last album ‘Face Towards the Sun’ and consolidates it into a slightly more focused and forceful sound (…which I might add also deviates quite heavily from the dark ambient style of earlier albums).  Essentially ‘Nil by Mouth’ seeks out heavy electronics / power electronics avenues – a la the sound of early Tesco Organisation and Loki Foundation labels, such as Dagda Mor, very early Inade, Genocide Organ, Ex.Order etc.

With 6 tracks featured over 30 minutes, the sound bridges the clinical  (computer generated perhaps?), and a tone with a bit more grit and punch (analogue synth and distortion pedal derived perhaps?).  Yet regardless of how sounds were generated, opener ‘Slave Ritual’ more than positive sets the tone – wavering noise layers, semi-militant looped percussion sample and an excellent vocals which are heavily distorted/ echoed in treatment.  Within a similar focused frame ‘Regaining Our Faith’ presents a multi-faceted heavy electronics piece, built on multiple, downwardly spiralling noise layers, sustained drones and static crunch, complimented with echoed vocal sample.  Wearing its influence on its sleeve and coming across as a solid homage to Genocide Organ ,‘When We Burn’ takes a layered approach to its wavering distorted core with occasional interjections of heavily processed vocals which suits the sound and approach perfectly.  Final track ‘Infant Promise’ has some great random factory type clattered (recorded with some serious cavernous depth), heavy grinding bass textures and again with the heavily processed vocals, which all ramp up through the track’s duration before abruptly cutting out.

Although released in a short pressing for availability at a live action Isomer played with Genocide Organ in Mannheim Germany in May, 2011, this should not be passed over as some sort of minor stop gap release.  ‘Nil By Mouth’ illustrates a strong sound and focused direction for Isomer, and as such I am greatly looking forward to what comes next.

Hall of Mirrors – Altered Nights

Hall of Mirrors – Altered Nights DCD Malignant Records 2012

Hall of Mirrors constitutes a collaborative duo, consisting of Amon member Andrea Marutti and Giuseppe Verticchio of Nimh.  Although having not heard any of Nimh’s releases, I am well versed is the sweeping cavernous dark ambient works of Amon, which was clearly enough to garner my interest in this.

Regarding the material presented on Altered Nights (Hall of Mirrors third album), it is expansive to say the least, spanning 2 discs and around 100 minutes of desolate, brooding dark ambience.  ‘Night 1: The Meeting’ kicks off the first disc, and quite quickly builds in to a multi-faceted dark ambient / drone-scape which teeters on the edge of abrasiveness.  ‘Night 2: Invocation’ arrives next, sprawling over 20 minutes, and is calmer and more organic and in tone than the first, with a watery ebb and flow to the multi-faceted drones.  Although ‘Night 3: Magmatic Resonance’ may commence in murky cavernous depths, it slow ascends into a quite animated and forceful frame, which seems to multiple in intensity through the introduction of a stratum of flowing / sweeping layers and disharmonic wailing tones.  Mining a slightly different sound, ‘Night 4: Immaterial Bodies’ flirts within an ethno ambient tone, with it shimmering sound textures, and the vague rhythmic effect created by the various sound loops.

On the second CD, it reveals a single 45 minute track ‘Last Night: Late Summer Ceremony’, which gradually builds into a stormy crescendo of jagged droning frequencies, before reaching a calmer plateau with a sparse melancholic melody.  This calm section however is relatively short lived, as through the mid section the track builds back up to a serrated, swirling tonal range.  Towards the conclusion of the album, the lead out section of this track is excellent (and dare a say it) beautiful and serene in sound, with a calm sweeping undercurrent and sustained harmonic tones.

Within a broad drone / dark ambient framework, the five tracks across 2 CD’s reaches both spiralling heights and cavernous depths, and spans a sonic spectrum from stormy to calm, resulting in a meticulously constructed and nuanced album.

Brighter Death Now – Very Little Fun

Brighter Death Now – Very Little Fun 4 LP Cold Meat Industry 2011

Although initially very excited at the pre-release announcement, as the days counted down to actual release I had a nagging worry that this set might lack a degree of cohesion, given tracks were billed as having been recorded variously between 1998 and 2005.  As it transpires this concern was unfounded, as ‘Very Little Fun’ is a totally cohesive release.  Of the 28 tracks, it consists of unreleased material as well as various tracks previously issued on a range of limited vinyls (including the tracks from the ‘Proceeded in Death’ 12”LP limited to a ridiculous 20 copies).  Also, whilst billed as ‘box set’ the sleeve constitutes more of a deluxe gatefold cover housed within an outer slip sleeve.  So to be pedantic, this ‘aint a box set in the typical sense, but the packaging is totally worthy of the material – de-bossed, block foil stamped outer cover, with an the visuals and layout reflecting Roger Karmanik’s recognisable design aesthetic.

As for the ‘music’ what you get herein is the well established trademark sound of BDN, but leaning towards the suffocating death industrial atmospheres of earlier material.  Particularly much of the material here channels the slow stalking nightmare of their classic ‘Great Death’ era and ‘Necrose Evangelicum’ album – with ‘Shall I Die?’ is a particularly good example.  Although it is not entirely all lo-fi death industrial doom and gloom – some tracks ramp up aggression towards BDN’s later power electronics type material, including the lurching mid paced bass heavy noise loops of ‘Getaway’ and late album track ‘Never Again’.

As per usual there is a degree of ‘blink and you miss it’ bleak black humour at the core of BDN’s work.  This is evidenced through the cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ (recognisable only for the vocals yelled over a slab of pulsing bass noise), and on ‘Next Train’ where Roger’s rambling vocals advises us that “he will get the next train”, as the sound of passing train horn pans through the speakers.

Whilst there sheer extent of material on here could potentially lead to exhaustion, I found this was not the case at all, and one to quite easily get immersed in from start to finish.  With BDN being in existence for some 20+ years now, you should know by now what to expect, which is exactly what you here – nothing more, nothing less – without evolution, without progression – and still totally worth your investigation.  Still available on 4LP, or 3CD if that format is more to taste.

Nyodene D – Every Knee Shall Bow

Nyodene D – Every Knee Shall Bow CD Assembly of Hatred 2011

Despite numerous cassettes and Cdr releases prior to this album, this seems to be considered as Nyodene D’s ‘proper’ debut release – and what a release it is at that.  The style of Nyodene D is an ominous one, constituting an assemblage of death industrial tones and power electronic elements for good measure.  Vocals also feature on all tracks, and when they appear they take centre stage, being rough, forceful and clearly audible in delivery (additionally treated with an echoed effect).

‘Harbinger’ leads off the album an with a doom riddled death industrial style, before layers of blast furnace noise ushers in the aggressive and apocalyptic vocal sermon.  ‘Against the Age of Kali’ has a suitably appropriate sample repeated throughout the length of the track (“Let us face, without panic, the reality of our time”), and includes a great mid section of junk metal abuse and random clatter, which has been looped to create a vaguely rhythmic effect.  Chaotic looped scrap metal abuse also constitutes a large chunk of the title track, before it shifts towards a more melancholic sound, stripped of the metallic noise, and bringing to the fore wavering synth drones and echoed vocals, with lyrical lines overlapping one another – clearly the album’s highlight.  Again the melding of the aggressive synth lines and scrap metal abuse feature prominently on ‘There Will Come Soft Rain’, which is the shortest of the four albums tracks (which still manages to span a total play time of 51 minutes).

Maybe I am somewhat late to the chase on this one, but Nyodene D for me at least are an act to keep a keen eye on – particularly as a new full-length ‘Edenfall’ is slated for release on Malignant Records shortly.

Genocide Organ – 虐殺機関

Genocide Organ – 虐殺機関 2LP Tesco Organisation 2012

When I first reviewed the original 2003 version of this album, I had a bit of whinge about the packaging due to the flimsy card stock of the cover.  Thankfully such complaints have been duly addressed with this re-release, where the tracks have been re-mastered for maximum sonic punch, pressed on pristine black vinyl, housed in a de-bossed and spot varnished gatefold cover, and treated to added bonus tracks and extra poster inserts* (*only if you have a G/O re:con unit number).

As the story goes this is G/O’s ‘lost’ album that was meant to be the bridging release between the first ‘Leichenlinie’ LP and the ‘Save our Slaves’ LP.  Slated for release in 1990 on a Japanese label, this never eventuated, but was later released by Tesco to commemorate the group’s two live performances in Japan during March 2003.

Regarding the music contained herein, the main self titled portion of the album consists of 10 tracks including some classic tracks that were previously released on other formats (such as ‘Death to China’ parts I & IV and ‘White Power Forces’), that have now been released in the rightful place alongside the remaining album tracks.  Overall the album isn’t as brute force as some of the “Leichenlinie” material, rather presenting tracks of more subdued and seething anger (such is the case with the slow throbbing mass of distorted noise of vocals that comprises opener ‘Death to China I’). ‘White Power Forces’ ups the anti, with quicker and higher pitched modulated distortion, whilst the monotone vocals spit forth a barely decipherable sermon.  Punishing indeed…..   Alternately ‘Swamp’ contains a sickening and lurking atmosphere derived from its mid ranged noise and disfigured loops, with spoken vocals barely puncturing sonic mass.  ‘Sturmfieber’ chooses a more straight forward construction, using layers of mid ranged frequencies and a what sound like an archival type nationalistic song. ‘Death to China IV’ continues a seething atmosphere of loose rhythms and fluctuating noise, made all the more poignant by the sampled music lifted from a traditional Chinese opera.  ‘In the Ghetto’ is more atmospheric then other tracks, using a distant and echoed noise effects and throbbing elements that almost represents the sound of a helicopter’s rotor blades swooping low overhead. As for the slow and caustic death industrial vibe of ‘Born to be Slaughtered’, it could easily have been lifted from any of Brighter Death Now’s CD’s from the ‘Great Death’ trilogy (yes that is a complement to both!). Alternately ‘Und morgen die ganze Welt’ is noisy, chaotic and most importantly foreboding, with its doom laden loops, splintered noise and urgent shouts & wails of the vocals, with the aural torture dragged out over 11 minutes.

Regarding bonus tracks these include 3 tracks lifted from the 1991/ 1992 Japanese acetate 7”eps ‘A Case Of Orthopaedic Fetishism’ and ‘A Functional Chapter of Sexual Process’. Given these bonus tracks were recorded from the same era, they nicely bookend the main album tracks, which were nigh on impossible to obtain due to their original limitation.  Overall this new version of the ‘lost’ album of archival material does clear justice to the legacy of G/O.

Funerary Call – Nightside Emanations

Funerary Call – Nightside Emanations CD Malignant Records 2012

When approaching the review of this album, it dawned upon me that I have known about Funerary Call since around 1998 when I read their interview in Heresy Magazine, but for no particular reason have never got around to investigating their works in depth (of which six albums have been released in that time span).  I must admit that the folly of this was evident from the moment I listened to the recently issued ‘Nightside Emanations’.

Incidentally what first provoked my interest in this album was the artwork – a wonderfully archaic and occult infused painting by Russian artist Denis Forkas, which calls to mind the works of Austin Osman Spare, but at the same time has a clear stylistic slant of its own.   Likewise given that the album has been pressed as a DVD sized case the artwork is far more stunning in actual form than as an on screen thumbnail, and based on the quality of the artworks and presentation, it is releases like this which REQUIRES and DEMANDS a proper physical release.

Darkened gloom illuminated by flickering candle light – bone, ash, feather and claw strewn alter – tendrils of incense smoke slowing rising from burnt offeringsshadow shapes lurking at the periphery of ones vision – these are just some of the images emerging in the mind’s eye when immersing oneself in this album’s spectral aura.  With it use of an array of organic instruments (chimes, wood blocks, singing bowls etc) the album it inhabits a ritualistic organic aura not too far from the fields ploughed by a number of the Aural Hypnox label collective (Halo Manash, Arktau Eos etc), yet this does have a darker and more occult streak to its archaic ambience.  As with most ritualistic ambient material space and depth play an important role in creating a cavernous aura, where echoes tones ring out, build and fade.   ‘Thee I Invoke’ is a particularly focused track which brings to mind early era Archon Satani, with its slow, heavy, pounding, echoed beat, background drones and whispered vocal invocations. Alternately ‘The Calling’ is more sparse and distant with the call / response of wailing horns, and sparse disharmonic string scraping sounds.  Final album track ‘Upon the Heath’ again reveals a ritualised aura, containing sustained droning layers, slow tribal bass pounding beat, and garbled / chanted vocals. Ominous and heavy in tone, it is a great album conclusion.  Noting this is my first proper introduction to Funerary Call, based on the strength of this album I will be definitely tracking down other Funerary Calls offerings.

Trepaneringsritualen – Deathward, to the Womb


Trepaneringsritualen – Deathward, to the Womb 10”ep Release the Bats 2012

Seemingly appearing out of nowhere Trepaneringsritualen, aka T x R x P, have certainly been turning heads of late.  Armed with what appears to be a master’s degree in the study of a Scandinavian death industrial and German heavy electronics, T x R x P produce a sound that acknowledges its heritage and at the same time stamps a trademark of its own.

With an echoed, distant and slow bass driven sound, ‘The Birth of Babalon’ commences proceedings, complete with muffled rambling vocals (or sample perhaps?).  Following the ritualistic tones and drugged miasma of the title track, it shifts into a queasy bass lurching rhythm on ‘Osiris, Slain and Risen’, which is complimented with chanted / yelled caustic vocals.  On the flip side ‘She is Flame of Life’ has slightly move movement in tone its pulsing / wavering layers – again with the garbled vocal effects.  Final track ‘All Hail the Black Flame’ pushes things up a notch to a rhythmic pounding death industrial beat and screeched vocal delivery – a fantastic ending to a far too short of a release.

Apart from this vinyl T x R x P also have four cassette releases out, which is rather frustrating as I tend to be a vinyl and not cassette junkie (…despite growing up in the ‘cassette age’ I can’t say that the format holds much aura for me).  However based on the sheer quality of this item I think I will need to bite the bullet and track the cassettes down (…or heres for a suggestion – is there a label willing to see if T x R x P are interested in doing a compilation of the cassette tracks on vinyl?! Now that would be a grand idea!).  Noting that Release the Bats have folded as a record label and that this is DEFINITELY worth owning, any remaining copies of this should be hunted down as a matter of priority.  Totally worth the time, effort and dollars.