Genocide Organ – Obituary of the Americas LP Tesco Organisation 2016
It may have been a long time between drinks but if Genocide Organ have proven anything by now, it is that each new album is honed to razor sharpness before being disseminated to the masses. To put this in context it has been 5 years since 2011’s ‘Under-Kontrakt’, where for comparative sake I was recently I was asked to review an album from project which has issued over 70 releases in the same time span. Clearly with the later scenario, it is nigh on impossible get a proper handle on a project with that many releases, so apart from raising question of quality control, surely too many releases also results in the dilution of artistic intent and impact? One group who have never function in this capacity is Genocide Organ, having issued a mere 9 main album releases in their now 30 year career – and each album is a monolithic statement of artistic intent which still maintains impact and influence today (…if I were a recording artist, I know that creative path I would seek to travel).
Back when I reviewed ‘Under-Kontrakt’ (reviewed here), I made comment about a reduction in aggression being: “akin to a nihilistic resignation of circumstance which can descend with age and the passing of years”. What this new album demonstrates is the subdued mood of ‘Under-Kontrakt’ was perhaps a temporary mindset, as ‘Obituary of the Americas’ is a ‘back to basics’ expression of aggression and anger, and whilst my cursory impression was it is a solid album, the directness of ‘Obituary of the Americas’ also felt like a partial side step. However after returning to this album over the months since its release, I have now become accustomed to it in detail which has altered my initial impression. Given many subtler elements went by unnoticed on initial listens, these have now come the fore and function to highlight the degree of complexity and refinement within its seemingly ‘straightforward’ framework.
Thematically this album directs a sharp focus on the socio-political landscape Latin America/ South America, which indecently has captured the attention of the group in the past. Here the group displays full immersion into this overarching concept and focuses upon covert government operations for power and control (including the corruption and oppression it brings), along with themes of poverty, drug running and militia organizations, which have all shaped and influenced the region. Noting that others have already made a detailed dissection of context and themes, it does not warrant repeating here (…refer to David Tonkin’s Heathen Harvest review here if interested), but its core sentiment is neatly conveyed by the slogan on the back of the cover which states: “If you are worthless in a region, you are worthless in all regions”.
The 8 album tracks extend to just over 40 minutes, and with each generally around 5-6 minutes in length, meaning each piece honed for maximum impact. On face value the tracks are constructed around straight forward cyclic and looped structures, over which dialogue samples are laid. But apart from the core elements there are also many more sub-strata details to provide depth and complexity. The vocals are also a standout aspect of the album, which are diverse in both in sonic treatment and stylistic delivery. Opening cut ‘Autodefensa’ hits hard with revving and downward cascading drones, elevating/ pulsing static noise, dialogue samples and scattered gunfire. The apathetic distortion treated vocals feature prominently and are delivered in Spanish for added thematic weight (…I not sure if Wilhelm Herich already speaks Spanish, or if the lyrics were learnt for this track, but regardless, it demonstrates full dedicated to the theme even if the meaning of the words are missed by non Spanish speakers). Another early standout is ‘I Don’t Wanna Die’ with its buzzing loops harsh fizzing static, which with the spoken vocals provides sense of urgency and desperation. ‘Escuela De Las Americas’ contains a slightly less direct tone with its lurching industrial loops, ‘Morse code’ static, and layered dialogue samples and spoken vocal sermon, and shows with apparent ease of how the group can execute and strong and well defined concept with absolute clarity, despite the abrasiveness of the sonic delivery. The final pairing of track ‘Kaibil’ and ‘Todo Por La Patria’, are similar with their looped, throttling synths, grinding noise and stilled bass thuds grind onwards and function as the backing to centrally focused dialogue samples (but as these are in Spanish, the detailed meaning is lost – although the sentiment of its call for liberty and revolution is unmistakable).
To their credit Genocide Organ have never wavered from their own established agenda, and keep forging ahead based on their own drive and regardless of criticism (…or even praise for that matter). To think that they have been honing their craft for 3 decades and have not faltered along the way is yet further testament to their ongoing focus to their chosen mission. ‘Obituary of the Americas’ is another mandatory Genocide Organ release and 2016 highlight, and while the limited LP version may have already disappeared into both fanatics and collectors vaults, an unlimited CD edition remains as the obtainable version.