Various Artists – Philosophy of a Knife CD Peripheral Records 2012
Being Peripheral Record’s first compilation this is evidently the first in a series, and whilst not containing an iron clad conceptual statement, themes of blades, medical procedures, vivisections etc are evident on a number of the artist’s compositions. So without and further fanfare, here follows a brief track by track review of the eleven contributions:
- White Walls are up first and present ‘Sacrificed’ – a seething and ominous death industrial track complete with medical atrocity focused dialogue sample, which results in a sound not too dissimilar to Steel Hook Prosthesis. A great opening offering.
- Brighter Death Now’s previously released ‘Kill Useless People’ is up next, being a squelching noise and mid paced rhythmic power electronics assault, complete with the obligatory misanthropic ranted vocals. This is Brighter Death Now – no more, no less, no further comment.
- Staalkracht’s ‘Human Vivisection’ elects for an overblown, distortion driven and somewhat freeform industrial noise styled track, including wailing vocals being partially buried in the mix. In a word, chaotic.
- Contagious Orgasm alternately opts for an experimental soundscape, where ‘Evidence Destruction’ is constructed with scraps of a melodious piano tune and voice samples, which then shifts into a pulsing electronic programmed segment. Certainly very different to the bulk of the other contributions.
- Bagman follow and appear to be very much of the new current crop of UK power electronics acts, where ‘The Hidden Blade’ is constructed with layered pulsing sonics, burrowing noise and distorted shredded vocals. Hard and straightforward power electronics – and excellent for it.
- IRM yet again demonstrate why they are held in such high regard with the presentation of their live track ‘order (Variation III)’. This excellent live rendition is faithful to the studio counterpart, but notably the vocals are more harrowing and urgent, being yelled / screamed over an anxiety including bed of oscillating electronic and layered noise. Fantastic as expected.
- Barrikad moves off into slightly more freeform territory with ‘Howls for Valerie Solanas: Confronting Misogynists’, which is a track of overblown junk metal abuse verging on a noise styled approach, with some minor elements of structure and vocals buried within the general cacophony. Solid, but not entirely my thing.
- Atrabilis Sunrise step up and stands out from preceding material on ‘The World is Full of Me’, which is evidently a live track. Here the sound is sharp dry and clinical, with a throbbing rhythmic undercurrent and yelled / flanged vocals which brings to mind the power electronics style of early Haus Arafna. Without doubt a standout composition.
- Dry Greed’s offering comes in the form of ‘Nanking Safety Zone’, which is both noisy yet somehow hollow in tone and atmosphere, and with its overall grinding / sweeping timbre it reminds of the overblown mayhem of Propergol’s early albums. In other words good.
- BrandKommando embraces an analogue industrial noise meets power electronics type style on their track ‘Unit 731’. The composition is relatively loose in construction, which contains further medical atrocity documentary samples and wailing vocalisations, which if a comparison was to be made it partly reminds of mid era Grunt. Translate this again as meaning a good track.
- Kristus Kut are the act to conclude the CD and delivers a weirdly experimental composition ‘The Call of the Mermaid’, which is based on cyclic drones (didgeridoo or sampled Tibetan throat singing?) and abstract micro-tonal scratching / scraping sounds etc, to create an unusual ritualised soundscape. Bizarre and almost slightly out of place of the CD.
Without labouring the point, if you’re not a fan of industrial noise, power electronics and related sounds this compilation will not alter your opinion of such genres – but this is not really the point. Clearly this compilation knows its target audience and delivers a solid collection of tracks from both recognised and more obscure acts. With a straight forward DVD styled packaging (limitation of 250 copies), obviously you will know if this is for you.