Moral Order – Examples of Solipsism

Moral Order – Examples of Solipsism 12”EP Cloister Recordings 2020

Following on from 2019’s About Degeneration And Death 7”EP (also on Cloister Recordings reviewed here), Moral Order return with a new four track song focused EP of industrialised heavy electronics material.

Content kicks things off with low bass drones and slow stalking and militant tinged rhythm, while processed sampled and treated vocals textures provides a fleeting human element. Black Fire follows and ups the rhythmic throb, with a simple but catchy mid-paced minimalist melody issued via squelching synths, while the vocals rendered undecipherable as a distortion smeared rasp. Overall the impression of this track is a sound that would not at all be out of place on the Galakthorrö label. The Frame on Side B follows up with a sweeping cinematic tone atop and minimalist rhythmic pattern, while A Lie That Poisons You arcs back to a Galakthorrö influenced sound, which balances a minimal construct with vocals delivered in an apathetic drawl.

With four tracks on the shortish side, interestingly the vinyl has been cut as a 33rpm record and not 45rpm as is perhaps typical for a 12″EP. Regardless of this, the vinyl is limited to 200, and another solid addition to the quickly expanding Moral Order discography.

Dødsmaskin – Verdenssmerte

Dødsmaskin – Verdenssmerte LP Tesco Organsation 2020

Dødsmaskin are a Norwegian duo who since 2017 have issued four albums on Malignant Records and Cyclic Law. Verdenssmerte is their new and fifth album, this time on Tesco Organisation. With reference to my review of 2017’s album Fullstendig Brent (reviewed here), I described the project as consisting of: ‘darkly hued drones and jaggedly erupting post-industrial soundscapes’. While that description remains relevant, on this new album its cinematic elements have been refined, coupled with a slight dialling down the caustic industrialized noise strains.

Opening track Lysett features immediately evidences the refined approach with its maudlin piano line, which is soon swept asunder with fizzing electrical static and rougher and heavily echoed metallic tones. Åndenød follows with a seething death industrial track of overloaded drones and bass throb, yet late track the heavier element fall away to a reveal a section of muted melodious element (guitar perhaps?). Borte I Tiden is then a clear album standout and is effectively ready made for the soundtrack of a dystopian sci-fi movie, featuring emotive elevating rhythmic structure and central minor keyed melody. Being industrial dark ambient in tone, this track also draws heavily from electronics musical elements outside of a typical sound. Processed vocals are also a notable feature, while the sound through late half the builds to a point that it begins to collapse in on itself. Side B brings more sonic diversity, where Når Mørket Tar Deg is heavily weighted towards a roughly pounding rhythmic industrial style, while Disiplin Ble Smertens Grøde charts a predominantly minimalist droning dark ambient tone. As for the final of the six tracks is Aksion, where after the first half of minimalist wind tunnel drones, arcs off in the second half with an achingly beautiful melody (again perhaps a processed guitar?), and ebbs to the album conclusion in an melancholic and understated way.

Given the diversity of its approach while drawing in selected elements which are not typical of usual post-industrial fare, this has resulted in an excellent album and the strongest yet from Dødsmaskin. As of the presentation, this has been pressed in an edition of 300 copies.

Blitzkrieg Baby – Genocidal Sextasy

Blitzkrieg Baby – Genocidal Sextasy LP Cloister Recordings 2020

Following quickly on the heals of 2019’s Homo Sapiens Parasitus album (reviewed here), Blitzkrieg Baby have returned with their third album. Visually the cover is immediately notable as it continues the Looney Tunes inspired artwork of the last and reinforces the bleak cynical streak of pitch black humour which underscores the project.

Open Season On Homo Sapiens opens the album and is short intro track consisting of looped vocalizations and sinister sounds, before the cynical swagger of Blitzkrieg Baby kicks in full force with Kill Them All – an excellent track machete slashing rhythms, bass plodding beat, and minimalist horror synth melody. To throw an early curve-ball, the following instrumental cut Manhunt charts a fast-paced driving beat/bass driven track complimented with stabbing piano line, which although not quite EBM in production, certainly edges that way in song writing. One By One then arrives as both a standout out and album highlight. Being a track I first heard played live at the Cloister Recordings Dominion of Flesh festival in Stockholm in November 2019, and is equally as immediate here. Framed around a mid-paced rhythmic sway, heavily pounding and counterpointed percussion, sinister synth lines and anthemically whispered vocals it is an absolutely cracker of a catchy track, while Feed Them To The Pigs rounds out the first side of the LP, opting for subdued death industrial loops and half sung/half spoken vocals. On side two the instrumental horror movie soundtrack style returns in full force on Fuck Toy For The Death Patrols and the title track Genocidal Sextasy, where each achieves a differing sinister stalking vibe using throbbing beats, shrill strings and atmospheric drones. After the pairing of two short instrumental interlude pieces (They All Died With Spit On Their Faces II and Pop.0), the album closes on another high-point with the track Piggy. Mid paced and militantly rolling drums drive incessantly forwards, further complimented with backing drones and minimalist synth strings and rounded out with apathetic yet commanding spoken vocals.

By now you should be well versed in whether the quite unique sound of Blitzkrieg Baby is to your liking, with Genocidal Sextasy being a further continuation and honing of this established approach. The album displays significant black humour in the way it plays with its conceptual cynicism, but with the musical backing is treated with utmost seriousness it never approaches anything close to being deemed a joke project. Another great album from these Norwegian piggies.

Lust Fist – Kropeer Uten Mellomrom

Lust Fist – Kropeer Uten Mellomrom MC Nil By Mouth 2020

The Italian label Nil By Mouth certainly have the knack of digging up new and currently unknown, but equally top notch projects. Lust Fist being one of the latest discoveries to be added to the list. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Lust Fist sit squarely within a classic European power electronics sound of loosely structured but staunchly song focused tracks; seven in all being presented on this 36 minute tape.

With a similar thick and pulsing tone and approach being employed on each of the tracks, they feature mixtures of semi-burred maudlin synth lines, queasy loops, helicopter rotor blade tones, revving engines, dive-bombing textures, arching electricity and general mechanical thrum etc. Those elements are then further complimented with flange processed and over-saturated vocals which are a standout element, and when taken as a whole the tape manages to deftly balance aggression with a sense of lurking menace. In then applying the trusty services of Google Translate to interpret the Norwegian titles, the resulted translations (whether or not accurate) are certainly telling of mood and atmosphere; titles such as: To Die In A Dying Time; Orgy Of False Existence; Instead of Ending As Abandoned, I End As A Plague Spirit.

Perhaps not necessarily winning on the originality stakes, this is still an excellent no-frills Euro PE tape in the ballpark of The Grey Wolves, Survival Unit etc, which nails its sound perfectly. Packaging wise, it contains a multi-panel fold out card cover with various inserts, and further wrapped in camouflage cloth and sealed with metal wire.

Gnawed ‎– Subterranean Rites

Gnawed Subterranean Rites LP Cloister Recordings / CD Malignant Records 2020

Having followed Gnawed since 2012’s Terminal Epoch album (reviewed here), Subterranean Rites arrives as the new album from this long-established and well-regarded American death industrial/ power electronics project. From initial listens it is noted that like 2016’s album Pestilence Beholden (reviewed here), Subterranean Rites also opts to chart territories of greater restraint, thus its charred black atmospheres are weighted heavily towards the death industrial side of the project. So, while Subterranean Rites is an album which perhaps does not substantially deviate from what has come before, it is also very much a case of displaying significant refinement with its meticulousness approach to composition and the balancing/layering of its sound elements.

Subterranean Rites features a mere six track in total, but each span between seven to nine minutes, thus indicating the slow pace in which the individual tracks unfold. The album’s atmosphere then perfectly aligns with the imagery of the cover which shows underground sewers adorned with makeshift altars of obscure worship. Of further note the cover highlights that: ‘All sounds and voices recorded in various sewers, concrete vaults, and tunnels systems 2017-2019. Al photographs taken at recording locations’. With these chosen methods and locations of recording, a real sense of forbidding atmosphere has been generated and has been completely infused within the recorded sonics (while I then assuming those recording elements have been further manipulated into their final compositional forms). Ultimately it is a case where thick and grimly echoed catacombic atmospheres abound, as other sustained synths drones, muted sub-orchestral tones, and weighty thudding ‘beats’ provide structure. The vocal when sporadically used are duly smeared with distortion and rendered mostly as an additional sonic element. The further addition of controlled raw scrap metal sounds gives significant sonic detailing and provides the material in a dank and decaying ‘real-world’ aesthetic (as opposed to the ‘cleanliness’ of computer program creations).

While Subterranean Rites has perhaps not reinvented what is known from the project, it is still a matter of clear refinement and step up to the next level to make for an exceptional death industrial album. With the vinyl edition being on Cloister Recordings, Malignant Records handling the CD edition.


Un Regard Froid ‎– Accélération

Un Regard Froid Accélération CD Cipher Productions 2020

Un Regard Froid are a French-Canadian industrial/power electronics project whom I am not overly familiar with, but who have issued a handful of releases dating back to 2013.I then note that the project is intriguingly self-described as ‘Inhumanist Singularity Electronics’ (whatever that is meant to mean).

Opening with Géotraumatisme (Introduction), it is a track of muted granular rumble blended with erupting fissures of sounds, before distortion charred and ripping unintelligible vocals of angst and disarray. As an introductory piece, this is fairly straight down the line stuff, but on the following tracks the album splays off into significantly more diverse territory, blending elements of power electronics, industrial, noise and other varied sonics. Layering and composition is also noted a critical component, where despite its jagged tones and sharp, noise and distortion, these are looped, chopped and sliced into clearly composed tracks. Early album track Attrition with its crumbling noise and weird pulsing electronics reminds of the long defunct Swedish project Iron Justice, yet the French language of the vocals clearly sets it apart. Verticalité follows with hefty track of looped industrial rhythmic elements and lower to mid-toned distortion, again with the gruff aggressive vocals being a key element. However, to this ear Piratage sounds to be so out of place to actually interrupt the album’s flow, given it features a fast programmed pulsing beat and atonal guitar representing a sort of industrial black metal riff, but the end this is just an odd combination which does not really work. This misstep is soon forgotten given the following track Infrarouge/Greffes delivers a militantly rhythmic track of pounding programmed beat blended with flayed noise and gruff up-front vocals. Towards the back of the album Singularité is schizophrenic in its sonics display, the first section features French dialogue samples, minimalist wonky tones and gruff echoed vocals, before launching into a heady pulsing barrage of brutally thick distortion. As for the final track Inhumanisme (Conclusion) it finishes the album on a high note, it features with layered loops ranges from tensile sound textures to pulsing overblown bass drones, while the vocals are delivered as an echoed whispered (and appear to be the only vocals presented in English and reciting mathematical equations of all things).

To make further comment on the vocals, given they are presented almost exclusively in French, it means I have no idea of what is being articulated, so I can only comment on how they sound in enunciation and delivery. This then leads to the observation that I am not sure if French is the most suitable language for power electronics. Compared to blunt harshness of the tone of other non-English languages such as Finnish, aggressive vocals in French don’t seem to hold the same razor-sharp spite (however I expect the impression from French speakers will be quite different to mine). Likewise, with a variety of French language samples spread throughout the album, clearly I am missing aspects of both themes and concepts on display. Yet, in the post-industrial underground it is no surprise that there are many projects with follow a similar approach and sound. In this context to not fall into that trap and Un Regard Froid should be commended for creating something quite different and diverse in the process. Although not all of the tracks nail it, the positive strike rate is certainly greater than the misses. Packaging includes a small cardboard board with 16 page booklet with lyrics (in French) and collage artwork.