Femeheim – Grenzniederkunft CD Death Continues Records 2013
Stadingers – Deadly Silent Impuse CD Death Continues Records 2013
Death Continues Records are a relatively new Belgian label and despite having issued a mere five releases since 2012, they have established a clearly defined aesthetic and sonic approach. As such the initial impression is that Death Continues Records are seeking to draw a direct lineage to the aesthetic and sound of Slaughter Productions, which can be further translated to mean lo-fi, old school, death industrial of a late 1980’s early 1990’s vein. To date album packaging has been rather rudimentary (utilising standard jewel cases), and with the graphic presentation being straight forward in style it again reflects the general Slaughter Productions approach.
Femeheim is up first and delivers a sonic expression which encompasses lo-fi analogue death industrial musings. Tracks are mostly between 2 and 4 minutes in length, meaning they quickly set down a mood rather than stretching out over an extended length. Containing a mix of elements, here buzzing/ burrowing lo-fi analogue frequencies, stilted percussive thumps and grinding frequencies form slow loose rhythmic patterns, while partially mangled samples (choir vocals, marching tunes etc.) add to the sordid death industrial tone. Vocals are also an occassional feature, which range from spoken to screeched, but usually flanged or distortion drenched. Although sporadic tracks use mid paced pulsing structures to increase atmospheric urgency (almost power electronics in tone on late album track), a sullen tonality remains a constant. So without necessarily being ground-breaking, all in all Femeheim deliver a solid example of morbidly minimalistic death industrial music, which sits somewhere between the minimalist psychological tension of Atrax Morgue and the heaving/ pounding tone of Brighter Death Now’s ‘Great Death’ era.
Stadingers is up next and differs slightly due to its dank droning sound, which sits between a dark ambient and death industrial tone (but leaning more towards the later). The title track opens the album with atonal droning textures which are possibly generated via a guitar, but any real resemblance to a guitar riff has been abstracted to the point of unrecognizability. As the album progresses, the crude analogue sound provides a soot and grime infused atmosphere, which also articulates a sonic aesthetic of a cavernous industrial space (…far off tarnished vocalisations make an occasional appearance, but always garbled and unintelligible). ‘Putiphar’ stands out with its use of a prominent dialogue sample over a throbbing/ thumping mechanised industrial base (…yet the looped sample actually looses a bit of potential impact through overuse). A dank, oppressive and muffled analogue feel is present throughout, which when coupled with the crude looseness to the compositional approach (evidenced by the occasional atonal warbling synths), all tends to amplify a lo-fi late 80’s early 90’s vibe of dark experimental / ambient music.
As suggested by the label name Death Continues Records appear intent on raising a recognisable banner under which death industrial obscurities can be issued to a wider audience. In more specific terms this is about fostering a ‘classic’ death industrial sound independent of genre fads or trends. Both album’s from Femeheim and Stadingers achieve this aim, where each will suit those whose listening habits yearn for the early era of the death industrial genre. As a final comment, if these two albums were to be ranked, for these ears at least Femeheim wins out for its slightly more focused (yet subdued) morbidly morose atmospheres.