Trepaneringsritualen – Papist Pretender


Trepaneringsritualen – Papist Pretender 2 x 7”EP La Esencia 2014

Here is yet another item to add to the Trepaneringsritualen (TxRxP) collection which is special edition vinyl issued to commemorate a May, 2014 live performance in Barcelona, Spain.  Being released in two versions the first is the ‘standard’ single 7”EP in an edition of 350 copies and a more ‘limited’ double 7”EP version in an edition of 169 copies.  The packaging is beautifully presented which features a large fold out poster cover, multiple inserts and postcards and 1 x black and 1 x white 7” EP.  Also to provide context for the release’s theme, the cover includes a cryptic alphabetical analysis of the phrase ‘Vicarius Filii Dei’ (which refers to Saint Peter, generally regarded as the first Pope by the Catholic Church), effectively equalling its numerical value to 666 (aka ‘the number of the beast’ as nominated within the Book of Revelations).

The title track leads off the release where ‘Papist Pretender’ adheres to TxRxP’s recent song based focus, yet still retaining a dark ritualised death industrial sound (…of note the title’s initials mirrors the initials of the recent full length ‘Perfection & Permanence’. Coincidence or by design?).  Here the lyrics and the hoarse distorted drawl of the vocal delivery follow a verse/ chorus/ verse format, which closely follow the heavy militant percussive thrum.  Side B brings the track ‘Feral Me’ and although adheres to a song based style, it opts for a tribalised death industrial sound complete with swaying rhythm and sporadic breaks of rolling tribal drums, where the layered vocals are a particular standout.

For the second 7”EP, Side C features a cover version of a classic track from The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud (…for those unaware were a pre Der Blutharsch project).  Whereas the original untitled version (…from the album ‘Were You Of Silver, Were You Of Gold’), had a folky and slightly up-tempo marching medieval melody, here cover version is faithful to a point, noting that TxRxP has slowed the speed slightly to remove the up-tempo mood and to create a much heavier and darker atmosphere.  Here the main melody prominently remains, but the militant rhythm also feels more of a solemn march to war, where TxRxP clearly places a strong and individual stamp on the song, particularly due to the thumping rhythmic structure and trademark garbled and rasping vocalisations.  The final of the four tracks is ‘Castrate Christ (The Sixth Hour)’, which is an alternate version of ‘Castrate Christ’ which is featured on the recent full length ‘Perfection & Permanence’.  This version has slowed the song to an extremely slowed crawling pace, which clearly differs from the urgent rhythmic pummelling of the original.  In fact on first listen this sounded if it was a 45rpm song being played at 33rpm speed, but once accustomed to the catatonic pace, the accompaniment of a slow soundscape drone only adds to the brooding atmosphere.

With the myriad of TxRxP releases issued in recent years and without necessarily repeating themselves the project manages to morph and twist their sound into interesting directions, whilst still keeping a foot firmly in a northern European ritual death industrial style.  Another special release in TxRxP’s canon.

Trepaneringsritualen – Perfection & Permanence


Trepaneringsritualen – Perfection & Permanence LP Cold Spring Records 2014

Since 2008 Trepaneringsritualen (TxRxP) have issued 18 releases across numerous formats, which have collectively functioned to display a varied approach to a death industrial/ ritual ambient sound.  Likewise for anyone who has followed the project’s creative arc over this time, it has involved a gradual shift toward more ‘song’ focused compositions, where the culmination of this process was the ‘Judas Goat’ 7”EP of 2013, that at the time of its release felt like TxRxP ‘hit’ single.  For this new album TxRxP has opted for its creative core to be built around this honed song based approach, whilst thematically the album addresses the principle of duality from a number of differing angles, including: that found within varied religious iconography, as well as the dualism of the ego and the self.

For the album’s opening track ‘Venerated and Despised’ it is very much of the stalking and slow ritual ambient style, which at 2.5 minutes feels like an introductory piece of sorts.  ‘A Black Egg’ then marks the first focused track of the album, containing a brooding bass line and flourishes of tribal percussion, as the prominent hoarse croaked vocals (in a verse chorus verse format), retain a central prominence and really hammer home the rhythmic song based approach.  ‘Castrate Christ’ then elevates the urgent atmosphere further, with heavy pounding and mid paced tribal death industrial format, as multi-layered vocal lines add variation.  ‘Alone/A/Cross/Abyss’ is another great example of the use of multiple vocals lines (in both sonic treatment and lyrical delivery), along with a swaying rhythmic bass line leading the tribal death industrial sound.

An album standout track come in the form of ’The Seventh Man’ – an anthemic pounding death industrial track at its most potent, built with grinding bass lines, caustic synths and fractured drum machine programming. Clearly this is the death industrial tone of mid era Brighter Death Now, but sped up to urgent tribal proportions and further augmented with ritualised intent, where the album’s title forms a chant within the song’s framework.  This catchy song format continues with the swaying/ pounding rhythms and clanging metallic percussion of ‘Konung Kront I Blod’, yet still imbedded with an ample dark death industrial tone.  Yet not all album tracks are of a focused rhythmic type, where the piece ‘Thirty-Nine Lashes’ is very much a religious lament of the forsaken damned, whilst ‘Liken Ingen Jord Vill Svälja’ and ‘A Ceaseless Howling’ are abstract ritualised death ambient soundscapes.  ‘He Who Is My Mirror’ rounds out the relatively short album (approximately 40 minutes) with another focused tribal percussive track, with booming war drums and grinding synths and the now trademark hoarse vocals.

Clearly the album’s overarching atmosphere is one of cathartic rhythmic death industrial – something akin to salvation through punishment and oppression.  Whilst a diverse range of ritual atmospheres and soundscapes have been explored on earlier material, as highlighted there has also been an evolution towards a more structured song based style.  ‘Perfection & Permanence’ is effectively the culmination of this direction and is the most focused and song structured release from TxRxP yet. So on one hand this album displays a definite level of ‘accessibility’ for those listeners not as accustomed to obscure underground music genres. Yet at the same time TxRxP have not forgone or lost the murky ritualised elements which make their music so visceral and engaging.  Accordingly ‘Perfection & Permanence’ represents another step in the continued evolution and rise of TxRxP. Available on either 500 black or 500 white vinyls (obviously being another reference to the ‘duality’ concept), as well as unlimited CD.

Armour Group – Live Assault / German Army – German Army / Word of Life Church SS

Scan 25German Army C32 Artwork by Luke Holland trapdoor tapes


Armour Group – Live Assault MC Trapdoor Tapes 2014

German Army – German Army MC Trapdoor Tapes 2014

Word of Life Church SS – Death Pig MC Trapdoor Tapes/ Magik Crowbar 2013

By way of a brief label introduction, Trapdoor Tapes are a micro-tape label from Australia that has issued around 80 releases in relative obscurity since 2005.  Releasing material from both local projects and known international acts, the general focus is on the murky end of underground noise and industrial they have carved out their own particular niche, issuing limited editions with a lo-fi sound and rough DIY photocopied visual aesthetic.  Following below is a short rundown of a recent batch of releases from the label.

Amour Group is up first and a rather mysterious project.  From the limited available information Armour Group is an Australian act involving Harriet Kate Morgan & Luke Holland.  ‘Live Assault’ seems to be debut release and as is suggested by the title is a 16 minute tape of two short live recordings (…or perhaps are excerpts of longer live sets?).  Here the sound is concerned with ominous shuddering industrial noise with a rough, grinding, reverb drenched tone. Mangled vocals are then spewed forth over this analogue base, whipping in their distorted intensity.  Being rather loose and chaotic but also maintaining a vague sense of structure, the predominant lower end rumble occasionally breaks out into a high pitched noise squall. Likewise with the recording being somewhat muffled in tone, it only tends to amplify the audio grit. Essentially the static fried frequencies, cascading noise, war zone samples and muffled industrialised rumble generates fierce and oppressive battlefield ambience. In a no-frills capacity Armour Group deliver a grime and chaos infused atmosphere which builds to overblown intensity.  Solid and aggressive stuff.

Up next is a new tape from hyper productive German Army (in excess of 20 releases since 2011) which delivers another eclectic offering.  Possibly to be described as a bizarre version of post-punk mixed with tribal post-industrial, this description still does not quite do this justice.  To provide another marker there is something similar to the quirky playfulness of Deutsch Nepal, but which German Army also entirely make their own.  Being less post-punk and slightly weirder in scope than other German Army material I have heard, there is a psychedelic ‘stream of consciousness’ style to the material.  Spanning 12 tracks and 32 minutes the material is mostly instrumental where there is an overarching hazy lo-fi aesthetic at play.  Here the compositions rely on quirky groupings of elements which include: layered tribal-esque rhythms and beats, ritualistic gongs/ chimes, meandering bass, casio keyboards and programmed beats, weird synth soundscapes, samples choral vocals, overblown drone riffs etc.  Where vocals are infrequently used they feature in a strangely twisted spoken disembodied style and to add to the twisted and disorientating nature of the tracks, they occasionally sound like multiple songs are being played over one another.  The final album track ‘Pagan Fruit’ rates a mention for its beach sunset Americana vibe where layered bluesy but uplifting guitars shine.  On this tape German Army retains a consistent quality of output, despite the hyper speed of new releases.

For the final of the tapes Word of Life Church SS is not all like what the project name might suggest, meaning this is neither martial industrial nor power electronics. Rather the group’s sound delivers lo-fi analogue industrial noise soundscapes.  For sake of context this Australian project appears to consist of a loose collective of contributors which have included the inputs of Ben Taylor, Harriet Kate Morgan, Luke Holland and Tom Miller depending on the release (…noting that Ben Taylor is not featured on this particular recording).  Two lengthy untitled tracks make up this 30 minute tape, where the lo-fi, muddied post-industrial sprawling filth is loose and semi-improvised in feel.  Likewise its subdued and muffled analogue rumble begs a comparison to a European ‘post-mortem’ cassette culture sound.  With a hollow, muffled and distant echoed tone the atmosphere is one of slow grinding and general elevating menace.  The flip side features a similar tone, where some stilted quasi militant percussion provides a muted semblance of structure which gradually gets buried under layered sonic grit.  Being rather more subdued than my initial expectation, on face value this tape sounds more like a solo project than the product of a collective approach. An oppressive analogue electronic tape nonetheless.

To wrap up the mini-label showcase, from sound to DIY visual aesthetic Trapdoor Tapes have a focused and well-rounded understanding of what they are seeking to achieve, and will surely please listeners who seek out industrial, noise and general weird underground musical obscurities.


Isolator – Culture & Principle of Anti-Human Exaltation / Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead – Starving the Fires (Pt.1)


Isolator – Culture & Principle of Anti-Human Exaltation CD Black Plagve 2014

Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead – Starving the Fires (Pt.1) – CD Malignant Records 2014

Malignant Records and the associated sub-label Black Plagve have recently added two new artists to their rather substantial roster and in the process issued the formal debut albums from each.  Having been issued at the same time and noting the general degree of affinity both projects have with their chosen musical approach, this is a logical enough reason for these albums to be reviewed together.

Isolator are up first and slot within a rather bleak black industrial/ black noise/ black ambient framework.  Noting the potential overuse of the ‘black’ descriptor this based on the impression this underground death industrial/ ambient/ noise which has links with and takes inspiration from black metal spheres (a cursory review of the album title and track names clearly attests to this).  As such Isolator delivers grim black hole grinding ambience mixed with dissonant abstract guitar riffing, where the guitar elements are wielded as droning layers rather than a typical ‘band’ element. Likewise when vocalisations are present, they are semi-buried within the mix and range from chanted to a black metal rasp.

‘Cast Into Blood’ opens proceedings with potent molten atmospheres, where deep organ dirge drones, caustic reverb riff distortion and whispered vocalisations set the scene for the album.  ‘Mankind Shall Reap The Mistakes God Hath Sown’ follows where a guitar tone rises more prominently with abstract riff distortion, coupled with the lamenting orchestral synths and choirs semi buried within heavily echoed mix.  ‘Your Heaven Will Writhe Within The Chaos Of My Hell’ is lengthy in both name and run time, which descends into a discordant downward spiralling and bass heaving mass, complete with buried synths and deathly croaked vocalisations.  Perhaps some vague similarity to Sunn 0)))’s ode to black metal on ‘Black One’ could be used as a passing reference due to the heavy, slow riffed guitars.  For final of the five tracks ‘In the Blood of Our Kingdom’ pares back on the bass crushing heaviness to more subtle Angelo Badalamenti styled moody synth drone soundscape.  Yet even with this respite it gradually evolves into a doom riddled riff-fest, with sporadic incursions of deathly drawled vocals and flailing kit drumming being played somewhere off in the catacomb depths.

Hellish in its black noise intensity and whilst loose and abstract to a point, Isolator display a clear degree of control sophistication to the construction of their overall sound and atmosphere.  In a word – harrowing.

Up next are the project with the rather lengthy moniker of Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead (Teeth Engraved for short), where they adhere to a more strict death industrial sound.  Whilst less dense in tonality and more murky and muffled in tone, Teeth Engraved’s sound encapsulates a widescreen soundscape format.  Ultimately this is music of droning and grinding ambience, mixed with soot infused soundscapes, reverb drones and general inky sonic blackness. On occasion the material also steers towards a black noise/ ambient style as evidenced through the inclusion of dissonant riffed guitars.

‘Radians’ sets the scene with a muffled yet sweeping soundscape which is padded out with micro tonal elements of general metallic and industrial rubble.  ‘Vital Remains’ then conforms to a well-worn death industrial markers of maudlin minor keyed synths, grinding noise and partially mangled medial based dialogue samples.  ‘Shredded Sky, Hung in Tatters’ offers up a rather heady piece, sounding as if the product of field recordings made of an industrial incinerator (i.e. gusting heat waves and exhaust strewn ash), as oscillating grinding textures rise and fall, with atonal synths and croaked vocals relegated to another layer in the chaotic mass.  ‘Lacerate’ then builds on a base of grinding waves of morbid distortion, which are further augmented by dissonant tremolo strummed guitar, echoed feedback, maudlin sub-orchestral synths.  Alternately the glass gargling and croaked vocals of ‘Broken From Inside’ are elevated to the absolute foreground of a blasted atonal oscillating death industrial soundscape, where the vocals resemble another crushing echoed layer than anything remotely human.  For the final track ‘When Storms Come’ this arrives as a monolithic 25 minute offering, where mid paced cyclical waves grind incessantly on and feeding back distortion rides the knife-edge of becoming a high pitch squall.  Dour minor keyed synth undercurrent and general creaking metallic wreckage only adds the shuddering ambience.

Through a slow evolving, unhurried and controlled approach, Teeth Engraved achieve a strong ‘soundscape’ take on various classic elements of death industrial genre to create a very robust and refined debut album.

Whilst displaying their own individual flair, both albums from Isolator and Teeth Engraved are very strong in their grim blackened death industrial/ ambient approach and display exactly what so many current American projects are doing so well with variations on a central death industrial theme.  Both albums also function to again demonstrate the knack of Malignant Records to maintain an extremely high quality level within their ever expanding discography.

Murderous Vision – Ghosts of the Soul Long Lost: Volume Three


Murderous Vision – Ghosts of the Soul Long Lost: Volume Three 3xCD Live Bait Recording Foundation 2014

Here we have a triple album which functions to archive various limited and out of print recordings from the group.  Being the third in the archive series, it also marks a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Murderous Vision and contains recordings from number of different eras of the project.

In reissuing an album from 2000, ‘Suffocate…The Final Breath’ takes up the first disc, where its title is very fitting for the overall atmosphere and mood.  Here the material forms stalking yet subdued soundscapes which drift between dark ambience and death industrial.  As such slow thumping beats, tribal-esque rhythms and churning factory sounds are offset against the disorienting ebb and flow of a sweeping undercurrent.  Other album pieces occupy a freeform style with a general tonal abstractness, where an electronic fog evokes a trancelike ambience.  Whilst this album certainly has it excellent moments, some tracks are slightly ambling and directionless at times and with a length of 74 minutes, dropping a few of the less engaging pieces might have made this a far more focused album.  Also one notable aspect of the sound is its general sonic ‘crispness’, which is slightly more clinical in tone than European counterparts of the equivalent time.

‘Salvation on Sand Mountain’ takes up the second disc and jumps forward a decade in the creative arc of the project.  Originally forming a cassette album from 2010 released on Danvers State Recordings, the stylistic shift is clearly evident given this album straddles a death industrial to power electronics sound.  The release also functions to showcase seven guest vocalists, with project lead Stephen Petrus featuring on a further two tracks.  Fierce and focused in tone, the second disc mirrors all the best elements of the current American death industrial/ power electronics scene with caustic, focused and slightly rhythmic driving tracks.  Likewise the divergent approach that each of vocalists take provides a clear degree of variation between each composition, demonstrating that individuality is still a clear possibility in the ‘yelled distortion drenched vocal’ style. Of the vocal led tracks ‘Lies of the Beast?’ differs given it is more subdued in tone and includes female spoken vocals.  With the bulk of the album constituting a rather punishing collection of tracks, the concluding piece is rounded out with a longer form, pounding and distortion fried industrial offering.  Accordingly the instrumental framework serves as a base for religious based sermon samples relating to the track’s title and its thematic focus (i.e. a fringe Alabama religious sect which involves the handling of deadly snakes as a demonstration of faith).

For the third and final disc it compiles two prior separate releases, including a four track live studio recording ‘Echosphore’ from 2010, in addition to three tracks originally issued in 2011 on the ‘Corpse Abuse’ split with Skin Graft.  Up first is the ‘Echosphore’ material which interestingly achieves a kind of mid-point between the first two discs.  Here the material is more soundscape oriented and less ‘song’ focused than the second disc, but far more direct, rough and loud than the first disc.  As such the sound sprawls as a swirling distorted mass, punctuated with looped rhythmic elements, scattered improvised noise squalls and quasi-chanted / moaned vocal textures.  The tone also has a sharp, harsh and overblown aesthetic with hints at the live studio creation.  Alternatively the ‘Corpse Abuse’ tracks function as much shorter and more focused compositions.  By providing slightly more breathing space and rhythmic undercurrent, these tracks are more controlled in a throbbing/ oscillating death industrial style, complete with suitable thematic dialogue samples and aggressive vocalisations.

As a complete package this is a strong document of the varied approach of the project, which as displayed here extends from sprawling, occasionally ritualised dark ambient/ industrial soundscapes, and on to focused aggressive and focused death industrial to power electronics compositions.  As an archive this is also a testament to the long-standing and ongoing dedication of Stephen Petrus to the post-industrial underground.

Various Artists – Stein: Interpretationen Eines Geologischen Materials Und Seiner Symbolik


Various Artists – Stein: Interpretationen Eines Geologischen Materials Und Seiner Symbolik 2xLP, 7”ep Verlautbarung 2013
Compilations can be approached in a couple of ways. On one hand they might be ‘just’ a collection of tracks and on the other they may be structured around a strongly defined theme or concept. This compilation is definitely of the later where ‘stone’ forms the thematic focus.  15 predominantly northern European artists have provided contributions (although at least 3 acts are from the UK), who have made a wide variety of interpretations in sonically approaching this theme and in the process created a diverse and comprehensive listen. Although collectively the artists’ have an general experimental bent, this is not of a clinical academic type, rather all artists’ have a solid footing in the darker genres spanning: experimental, noise, industrial, field recording, ritual ambient etc. As such this is not a compilation of stuffy academic experimental sounds, rather it is the dirty and caustic sounds of the underground. So, on with a track by track run down:

  • Irgun Z’wai Leumi – ‘Landslide Floorfiller’: This somewhat obscure side project of Proiekt Hat bring a piece of filth infested, heavy burrowing distortion and mid paced mechanised tape loops. Having a thick, weighty, yet warm analogue sound (where overlapping layered loops build in intensity), it is an excellent introduction.
  • Amph – ‘After Nature’: opts for a queasy pulse and micro tonal layered sounds which are fine granted and detailed. The track is minimalist in structure but highly animated and rather forceful by tracks end and a great example of tape experimentations with a darker undercurrent.
  • Hal Hutchinson – ‘Dead Weight’: delivers an example of his recognised raw junk metal abuse which has lots of tonal space and depth. Not being overlay chaotic, this is noise from a ‘breathing’ experimental angle, where it sounds to be have been constructed with multiple junk metal recording sessions. With an atmosphere of cascading metallic clatter, it very much sounds like a washing machine being thrown down a stairwell.
  • Enklav – ‘Skiffer – Förbannad Jord’: sits within a 1980’s ‘clanging’ analogue industrial sound, which combines loose thumping rhythms with micro tonal textures sitting well in the background. Death industrial meets tape experimentations perhaps?
  • Vårtgård – ‘Grufvan’: delivers forceful electronics waves as an example of solid old school death industrial grinding structures, burrowing textures etc. Being of a monotonous structure there is only gradual evolution throughout.
  • Clew Of Theseus – ‘Stronghold’: forms a track of meditative drones which is quasi-ritual in tone. The mood in one where a deep, hollow and distant drone merges with metallic synth elements which contain a buried harmonic quality.
  • Kristian Olsson – ‘Stenlunga’: is loose and less chaotic and oppressive than Kristian’s main work as Alfarmania. Sparse tape manipulations build with a muffled sound and distant squall – like being inside a tornado bunker as the storm rages outside.  What sounds like a lone organ drone lament is buried within the mix which a nice touch.
  • Niellerade Fallibilisthorstar – ‘Kilhacka’: delivers a distant, muffled and hollow drone which cyclically builds with more fine grained ‘crunching’ textures. Metallic gong like tones, dense rumbles and random textural sounds add sonic diversity.
  • MNEM – ‘Troktopillar’: forms a track of heavy industrial noise loop manipulations, where stilted conveyor belt type loops form the main basis as more forceful looped layers are added and subtracted from the composition.
  • Jeph Jerman – ‘Lithiary Redux’: focuses on experimental, micro-tonal sound textures which are somewhat ‘wet’ in tone and sounding like field recordings made in the hull of a ship. Here is the track has a great detailed atmosphere built on blend of scratching, tapping, scraping sound elements.
  • Doroga – ‘Kiviteline’: constitutes an excellent ritual ambient track which is sparse in composition, featuring gongs, chimes and slow thudding ritualistic beat, with the overarching atmosphere being of an echoed depths of catacomb. With skin, metal and bones listed as sound sources/ instruments this provides an idea of the ominous tone.
  • Dieter Müh – Fältspat: delivers an experimental ambient soundscape which is located somewhere between the borders of dark ambient to post-industrial music. Vague rhythmic structures, stone scraping sounds and distant, minimal drones mix to generate a mysterious sonic aura.
  • Ochu – ‘Ren Marmor (För George Mallory)’: Here loose ritual percussive elements mix with minimal tape loops etc. Sparse and echoed, with a gradual layering of micro-sounds textures (contact microphone in a bowl of rocks?) and occasional gong hits provides a solid and engaging atmosphere.
  • Contrastate – ‘Haunted’: Sounding only as Contrastate can, their offering is distant, forlorn, mysterious, tragic in equal measures. Here warm layered organ type drones, occasional rhythmic loops and slow drawling poetic vocals give a distinct Contrastate flavour. ‘Beauty in darkness’ seems a complimentary description for this dark midnight and film noir type atmosphere.
  • Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim – ‘Notschrei’: Last album track reverts to the experimental where sound clutter and sweeping atonal textures function in an ebb and flow style. The track also moves into animated ‘wind tunnel’ drone territory as well as sacral drone ambient with orchestral elements and sampled choirs.

‘Stein’ is an example of a compilation which absolutely works in terms of both sonic variety and conceptual focus. It features a strong, varied and intelligent set of experimental underground compositions, made all the more engaging due to the presence of a solid conceptual basis. Pressed on heavy weight vinyl, housed in a thick card stock cover and complimented with additional booklet containing individual artwork and text for each project’s offering rounds out the presentation. A rock solid compilation (…if such an obvious metaphor is not in poor taste).

Arktau Eos – Scorpion Milk


Arktau Eos – Scorpion Milk CD Aural Hypnox 2014

Not constituting a new album from Arktau Eos, rather this is a re-release of an earlier limited CDr version from 2006 which formed a formed a companion to the main ‘Mirrorion’ album issued at the same time.  For this new version the packaging has been redesigned, noting the original edition constituting 222 copies with special hand painted cover.  This new edition of 500 copies is housing in a beautifully designed, gold screen printed, deep metallic maroon cardboard fold out cover, with additional 8 page booklet and screen printed insert.

Forming a singular mediative composition, ‘Scorpion Milk’ covers the well-established ritual dark ambient sound of the Helixes Collective (aka the general Aural Hypnox label roster), but its structure has been further re-contextualised into a singular long form and album length drone work.  Across the minimalism of its 48 minute span, Arktau Eos display a single minded determination which ensures it remains fully engaging despite the catatonic pace and evolution of the composition.  Here string instruments are played in a sparse manner, where strings are played/ struck/ bowed, with the resulting singular reverberating notes left to ring and radiate out and shimmer off into the distant catacomb depths. In select passages barely present ritualistic chimes and sparse higher ranged atonal played piano notes sit off in the distant, whist wavering chants and whispered evocations rise from the ether.  Although in no way constituting ‘doom drone’ in scope, this is perhaps how the doom drone experimentalists Sunn 0))) might sound if they were to choose play with entirely acoustic instrumentation (…food for thought…).

To conclude a minimalist review for a minimalist album, ‘Scorpion Milk’ is every part as strong as other albums from Arktau Eos and more broadly the Aural Hypnox label. Sublime.

Nekrofellatio – Pesadilla En Una Noche Sin Estrellas


Nekrofellatio – Pesadilla En Una Noche Sin Estrellas CD Death Continues Records 2014

This rather mysterious Italian project (helmed by Leonardo Carballo Canto), returns with their second album and again on the same label who released their debut. As with the first album it seems Nekrofellatio is intent on channelling the morbid minimalism of the fellow Italian project Atrax Morgue, but still manages to do this with enough individual flair so as to be just a ‘mere’ copyist project.  Yet, whereas the debut displayed a loose crudeness to the death industrial musings, on this new album there is a much greater degree or control and restraint on display.  Essentially tracks are constructed with minimal fuss – usually a central oscillating analogue tone – around which other muted occasionally rhythmic layers are added for atmospheric effect.  Echo and reverb also play a strong part in the foggy atmospheres created.

‘Sex Electronic Poison’ opens the album is suitable fashion with cold and slow evolving minimalist drones, smattering of dialogue samples, 80’s horror synths and muted grinding static.  Things then kick in in an impressive fashion on ‘Unidos Por La Sangre’ with warbling atonal synths, choral vocals and rolling industrial/ tribal rhythms and garbled demonic vocalisations.  ‘Muneco De Carne’ then opts for the heavy use of multi-layered and intertwining dialogue samples (religion, death and abuse seem key topics here), which are set against a loose yet stifling analogue distortion base which ramps up in intensity over the track’s span.  ‘Disgusted By Humans’ also pushes into more urgent territory, with forceful rhythmic loops and waves of echo infused distortion.  ‘Demoni’ functions as a touch more unhinged and chaotic, including field recordings of random crowd noise, screamed violence and a grinding upsurge of static.  Late album track ‘Reanimated Flesh’ opts for slightly more mechanised rhythmic structure with mid paced factory-esque loops.

All in all this is not an outwardly aggressive album, rather it is one which embodies a slow, tense and stalking atmosphere which has been honed to razor sharpness through the mastering undertaken by John Stillings (aka Steel Hook Prosthesis). With ten tracks at just short of hour’s playtime, this is a far more focused and accomplishes album than the debut, and should more than please any fan of Atrax Morgue’s morbid analogue minimalism.