Kranivm – Insanatorivm / The Brighter Edge of Death / I – The Blood

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Kranivm – Insanatorivm LP Urashima 2014

Kranivm – The Brighter Edge of Death LP Urashima 2014

Kranivm – I – The Blood LP Urashima 2014

As much knowledge as one can amass regarding underground musical obscurities (20+ years and counting on my part), there can still be projects which slip by unnoticed.  Thus it was not until Urashima recently reissued Kranivm’s entire back-catalogue across 3 separate LP’s that I became aware of the project and more importantly that it was a side project of the late Marco Corbelli aka Atrax Morgue.  Noting that Kranivm was evidently Marco’s response to his personal obsession with Brighter Death Now, it makes it even more odd that Kranivm simply passed me by for all these years (…better late than never as the saying goes). So to quickly recap on context, Kranivm was a short lived project operated for a mere two years between 1993 and 1995 with 3 x cassette’s issued on his own Slaughter Productions label.  Each of these tapes has now been pressed on its own separate LP as part of this re-issue.

Regarding Kranivm’s general sonic direction it pushed the death ambient sound of Brighter Death Now into more obscure, lo-fi and unrefined realms, where the atmosphere is dank, morose and morbid in the absolute best way possible.  There is also a definitive aura of the early to mid-1990’s which reflects the era of when this material was produced.  However one element which sets this apart from pure BDN plagiarism is the occasional use of sampled Gregorian chants, which for obvious reasons begs a passing comparison to raison d’etre, particularly with regarding to their more abstract and noisy industrial/ ambient soundscapes.

‘Insanatorivm’ was the first statement from the project and features oozing analogue, inky black, bass addled darkness, where the Gregorian chants of the opener ‘Rex Profanae’ work particularly well against the layered bass rumble.  ‘Words of Death’ then features a ‘barely there’ death ambient structure of bass layers and random semi rhythmic knockings, whilst ‘Cryptic Regions’ is pretty much spot on as the title may suggest – a dank, distant and echoed subterranean soundscape of the highest caliber.  Side B of the LP features two lengthy pieces ‘Insanatorivm pt.I’ and ‘Insanatorivm pt.II’ which are more subdued and grim in tone, with low shuddering bass tones and a general barren windswept ambience, further complimented with ranting dialogue samples on part I and distant Gregorian chants on part II.

‘The Brighter Edge of Death’ was the second Kranivm release and displays a particular homage to Brighter Death Now via its title.  Again the music is very much in a distant death ambient style, complete with metallic echo infused soundscapes, dour muted synths, sporadic low bass thuds, whilst the first track features religious laments in the form of sampled Gregorian chants.  There is also a type of continuation of the material found on the preceding ‘Insanatorivm’ LP particularly as ‘Insanatorivm pt.III’ and ‘Insanatorivm pt.IV’ are included as the first and last tracks on this LP.

‘I – Blood’ comes as the final release and deviates slightly into more ‘active’ realms by featuring 8 shorter tracks.  Opening piece ‘La Noche de Terror Ciego’ creates a classic horror soundtrack vibe with sporadic industrial noise and plodding piano (Sampled? Not sure).  Broadly speaking the death ambient tone of the first two LP’s remains here, but the layered semi-melodious synths and semi-buried sampled classical music give this a slightly differing edge.  Overall the material on ‘I – Blood’ is also a touch more active in its layering and on occasions reminds of what Brighter Death Now achieved on their early work ‘The Slaughterhouse’.

Although issued as 3 separate LP’s they are best appreciated in the complete totality of Kranivm’s recordings, rather than being separated into individual LP’s.  Although Kranivm’s work does not deviate from a relatively simplistic death ambient/ industrial template, this is done with the particular bleak minimalism which is characteristic of Marco’s work and in this context is done so with absolute finesse to nail a sound of analogue gloom perfectly.  With Urashima’s ongoing limitation of 99 copies, you best know what to do.


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