Silence Of Vacuum ‎– 6: The Rubberist

Silence Of Vacuum ‎– 6: The Rubberist MC Institute Of Paraphilia Studies ‎2020

For those unaware, Silence Of Vacuum is a side project of Mikko Aspa focusing on the specific theme of rubber fetishists, articulating this through visuals and sound.

As per the title this is the sixth in the series and features two untitled 10-minute tracks. Each of the tracks is based around laboriously grinding and seething layers of mid-toned droning distortion which is equally muted and minimalist. Clearly there is a muffled and ‘suffocating’ aspect to the atmosphere which aligns with the theme perfectly; there is limited sonic movement or tonal change displayed over the 20-minute run time.

As for the presentation, the tape is housed in an oversized black plastic box with a 20-page full colour booklet of vintage rubber fetishist imagery. Between the sound and the visuals, you can almost smell the latex, talcum powder, and sweat.

Streicher ‎– Genius Of Victory

Streicher ‎– Genius Of Victory LP ASRAR 2020

ASRAR’s vinyl reissue campaign of early Streicher material continues, with this being the third LP following Annihilism and Hammerskins. Although Genius Of Victory technically constitutes a new title within the Streicher discography, in actuality it is a compilation collection of three impossible to find early 1990s tapes, including Der Stürmer, Gnadelos, and Oi Terroristen.

Der Stürmer opens the album and is a track demonstrating the basic essence of industrial noise, being framed around coarse monotones and sustained synth static and crumbling textures. Streicher Skins follows with a more militaristic approach that very much embodies the self-described ‘tactical electronics’ descriptor, with upfront incessantly oscillating tones paired with a looser undercurrent of semi-rhythmic metallic loops. Des Stürmers Kampf differs through its use of a sampled orchestral nationalist militaristic song, before diverging into a bulldozing track of interweaving and pulsing bass tones and sampled crowd chanting; again, simplicity and directness is the order of the day and absolutely succeeds with the end result. Side B brings a further three tracks, where Purimfest 1946 stands out with its high-pitched needling texture offset against a lower-end idling machine tone and further crowd chanting, while the latter half of the track arcs back to another sampled orchestral nationalist militaristic song. While the crude and basic sonics of Boot Party retains the consistent ‘tactical electronics’ approach, this is coupled with the trademark gruff ‘skinhead thug’-style vocals of Ulex that makes Streicher so immediately recognisable. This approach also follows on final track Skragkraft,but is more sonically consistent with Streicher Skins given its framing around invasive high-pitched modulating tones against a shifting tide-scrabbling lower bass static, while Ulex spits gravelly vocals referencing “skinhead survival”.

Given the focus of the featured tracks, there is a singularity of approach which provides a surprising directness and immediacy that hangs together excellently as a standalone full length, rather than potentially being a disjointed compilation collection. The white vinyl pressing is of a thick 180g weight, as is the chosen card stock of the cover; this and a double-sided insert including reproductions of the original cassette artwork does this release suitable justice.

Sadio – Copycat Killer

Sadio – Copycat Killer MC Freak Animal Records 2020

When I first noted the title of this new Sadio release, it did not immediately click that it was a clever reference to the fact that this tape consists of cover tracks of the following legendary power electronics projects: Final Solution, Con-Dom, Intrinsic Action, Whitehouse, Grey Wolves, Atrax Morgue, Genocide Organ, and Taint. As Sadio is concerned with a sound and themes slanted towards the nastier end of power electronics, the chosen selection very much reflects this.

With the wide scope of sound of projects covered herein, it is noteworthy that the covers are faithful to the originals, and clearly recognisable as specific cover songs. Yet they also contain the particular sonic hallmarks of Sadio material; in this context the Finnish accent on the vocals certainly gives these covers a distinct Sadio slant. To talk specifics, the driving noise, backing loops, slow pounding beat, and ranted vocals of the cover of Con-Dom’s Moor Rapist hits its mark perfectly, while the covers of a Sutcliffe Jugend (Right to Kill) Whitehouse track (Tit Pulp) elevate the harsh needling and higher range ‘whistling’ sonics of the originals. Elsewhere the shuddering and crumbling loops of the cover of Grey Wolves’ Dominate Her features an aquatic squelch coupled with excellent heavily processed vocals. The cover of Dogday by Genocide Organ equally hits its mark with its militant bulldozing distortion and urgent and angst-filled vocals that are themselves heavily processed.

In the hands of lesser acts this sort of cover album concept would likely have fallen flat in hitting its intended mark. But in the hands of Sadio, it is completely successful in terms of concept, its varied track selection, and its final sonic execution. The packaging is a simple black and white J-card, featuring hand-scrawled text from a letter of David Richard Berkowitz aka Son of Sam (the text relating to the Genocide Organ track Dogday), and sketches by the lesser known suspected serial killer G.J. Schaefer (as documented in the long out of print book Killer Fiction).

Moral Order – The Empty Cross

Moral Order – The Empty Cross LP Tesco Organisation 2021

The Empty Cross is the fourth album since 2018 from Fernando O. Paino’s industrial blended heavy / power electronics project Moral Order. Thematically, this new album concerns itself with various philosophical works of Friedrich W. Nietzsche; as stated in the promo text: ‘God has died, and Western values must be reformed in a world dominated by chaos and crisis of principles. The cross is empty. The farce is over’.

For the nine tracks which make up The Empty Cross, the cold and grey-hued analogue electronics are framed as relatively straightforward, predominantly mid-paced, rhythmic song-focused compositions. Yet, there are some tracks such as Amnesia and OC that are brooding and soundscape-styled, thus reorienting their tone more towards that of dark ambient spheres. As noted in my reviews of other Moral Order releases, there is a particular strain in their sound that would sit quite comfortably on the Galakthorrö label. That impression equally applies here; the moody rhythm and beat of Tree of Words is one such perfect example. Opening track Demise stands out as a differing statement of intent based on a mid-paced driving tribal-esque beat, throbbing synths, and soot-smeared vocals. Blood Stains is another early highlight, involving a mid-paced rhythmic march and underpinning and pounding bass. Onslaught also stands apart with its clean beat and minimalist synth melody, yet the sonic-smeared vocals place the atmosphere clearly within underground spheres.

The Empty Cross could be said to be a continuation, but slight refinement and expansion of, the established sound of Moral Order. This means there is a lot to like here for established fans. The large cross die-cut in the main cover and separate insert visible below rounds out a very classy presentation, in a limited pressing of 300 copies.

Grunt – Spiritual Eugenics

Grunt – Spiritual Eugenics 2CD Freak Animal Records 2020

Following 2009’s sprawling album Petturien Rooli, Grunt slightly reoriented their approach to issue a series of albums based on distinct and individual tracks, including World Draped In A Camouflage (2012), Myth Of Blood (2015), and Castrate the Illusionist (2018). Spiritual Eugenics continues that approach, yet the number of tracks has increased to a length which here spans two 40-minute discs. Interestingly the CD cover lists the 20 tracks in four groups of five tracks, which replicates the track order as presented over the four sides of the 2xLP edition. Given that all tracks could have potentially been squeezed onto the one CD, this speaks volumes about the chosen physical presentation and the way the listener is expected to engage with the presented material.

In taking in the substantial volume of material here, Mikko Aspa yet again demonstrates beyond all question that he is a master craftsman when it comes to the production of power electronics, noise, and industrial-related material. Across the tracks the sound palette is forever varied, and despite its outwardly aggressive and angst-fuelled atmosphere, there are moments of more experimental and sonically spacious respite. Clearly every sonic element is focused and considered, and composition is key here. While base sonics may have been derived from various separate improvisational recording sessions, it is clear they have been specifically selected and combined to gain the end result. As perhaps expected, a myriad of sonics are presented including blustering bass tones, scrap metal abuse, granular noise, morse code distortion, wavering oscillations, looped metallic rhythms, and smattering of samples. The vocals are equally varied in sound treatment and delivery, ranging from deep bellows to angst-fuelled cries.

Lubricant Of The Rebirth stands out with its central conveyor belt loop, further fleshed out with thick droning bass, choir samples, and angst-ridden vocals. The instrumental Tehotuotettu Ihminenis notable for its hollowed-out sound which nudges Grunt’s sound towards the experimental end. Another instrumental track JOB 36:33 blends almost organ-like melodious drones with spitting static and clashing metallic noise, which can be considered in the context of the relevant bible quote: ‘The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger’. The opening track on second disc Inside the Walls is an excellent anxiety-inducing offering, framed around screeching metallic textures, raw junk metal tones, sustained bass drones, and aggressively spat vocals. For yet more variation the slow off-kilter loop of Eight O’Clock has a quite traditional European power electronics tone, with vocals and other flanged elements pushed into the background. Flesh Engine is also notable for its squelched idling loop, general scrap metal clatter, and unhinged shrieking vocals. Immeasurable also stands out by virtue of its fast-paced pulsing undercurrent, over which more unhinged noise is smeared.

To briefly mention the equally stunning physical presentation, this features a multi-panel digipack (including separate eight-panel booklet), pressed into thick matt card stock and containing various collages and artworks, which although uncredited are also from the hands of Mikko Aspa. Spiritual Eugenics is yet another excellent and mandatory album from Grunt, which is also available in a 2LP vinyl edition.

SZNUR – SZNUR

SZNUR – SZNUR MLP Tesco Organisation 2021

SZNUR are a new signing to Tesco Organisation, with whom I am not previously familiar, but they appear to be a Polish duo. Two untitled tracks feature, totalling just shy of 30 minutes of controlled power electronics with smatterings of harsher noise.

Setting the scene with a lengthy poetic monologue on the ills of post-industrial modernity, soon a thick yet clean atonal synth drone/pulse emerges. Soon, angst-filled noise and echoed treated vocals appear, but keeping a general sparseness and separation to the sonics, which remain a hallmark throughout. With the lengthy format the track shifts off into a further segment of slow and brooding echoed synth stabs, while the dual attack vocals are given a distinct sonic treatment (and seem to give a nod to the early works of IRM or Iron Justice). The final segment of the first track coalesces around a slow beat and controlled wavering distortion, again with the impressive dual vocal approach. Side B sticks with the established format and approach, but ups the general anxiety and aggression, where the backing loops have been elevated in pace and intensity against which the dual vocals are bellowed, while brooding synth lines and further higher-pitched harsh ‘whistling’ noise are added for good measure.

Clearly this MLP fits within its chosen style yet contains ample ideas and an individual sonic character, so as not to sound derivative or a pastiche of the works of others. As a debut this is an impressive release and it is quite obvious why Tesco have chosen to release it. A project to watch with interest.

 

Genocide Organ ‎– Juhayman Al-Utaybi

Genocide Organ ‎– Juhayman Al-Utaybi 7” EP Tesco Organisation 2020

With 32 years of activity and counting, Genocide Organ forge ever forwards without slowing down or altering their uncompromising approach. Juhayman Al-Utaybi is the third 7” EP in a more recent series that focuses on various expressions of religious extremism. Specifically, this release focuses on the armed civilian insurgent occupation of the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia over the course of 14 days in November and December 1979, where Juhayman al-Otaybi led a group of approximately 500 men. Ultimately, the takeover was not successful. Al-Otaybi and 67 of his fellow insurgents who survived were captured and later beheaded.

Bid’Ah takes up Side A, and delivers thick overblown bass rhythmic pulse, mid-toned maudlin wavering drone, and other crumbling distorted textures, yet it remains controlled overall. A preacher’s call and chanted crowd response draws the focus during the first section, while later the heavily-treated spoken vocals and dialogue samples further flesh out the theme. Wilayat Al-Faqih on Side B ups the aggression a few notches towards blood-boiling intensity, with the drones being more urgent and the static elements fizzing and incessant. Again, the vocals are heavily processed, rendered all but indecipherable, while other sampled speeches are buried in the background.

With one track brooding and controlled in execution (Side A), and the other elevating to more intense territory (Side B), both compositions are direct and to the point, relying on relatively simple and straightforward elements, but shaped and sonically framed for maximum impact. In essence, Genocide Organ again nail their long-established sound perfectly and seemingly with the utmost ease. Recommended.

Young Hustlers – Hiding In The Open

Young Hustlers – Hiding In The Open LP Skuggsidan 2020

A number of years in the making, this debut full length from the Swedish Young Hustlers has finally been released following the debut cassette Encaged in 2016. Upon further investigation, the recordings for Hiding In The Open were made between 2017–2019; four of the album’s nine tracks were previously released, two tracks from the 2017 split tape with Alfarmania and two from Styggelse’s 2018 compilation tape Stadsbranden 3.

Before the needle drops into the LP’s groove, an aura of decayed urban settings and associated angst and malaise is immediately evident from the chosen images and graphic presentation. Then, when the sound breaks forth from the speakers it is an immediate metaphorical switchblade held to the throat. Simple structures of queasy oscillations, bulldozing distortion, buzzing static, sustained corrosive noise, and ripping heavily-treated vocals constitutes the general approach. Accordingly, this roots the album in a classic, aggressive, and certainly no-frills European-toned power electronics attack (self-described as ‘Hustler Electronics – Urban Decay’). Yet, the fact that the material spans various recording sessions functions to substantially widen out the sonics, which may have risked becoming one-dimensional if all material was recorded during the same recording session with the same studio and equipment settings. This provides for positive variation in what is ultimately quite a direct and straightforward approach, where the visceral nature of the sonic aggression is reminiscent of the white-knuckled rage and antagonism of early Grey Wolves material – which is no doubt high praise to give.

Honed and more direct than the debut tape, Hiding In The Open is an album that fully delivers on the promise demonstrated on Encaged. When a no-frills and to-the-point album is executed with such fierce conviction and aggression, it results in an absolutely fantastic release.

Beckahesten – Vattenhålens Dräpare

Beckahesten Vattenhålens Dräpare CD Cyclic Law 2020

Sweden’s Beckahesten is a recently formed trio of musicians: Peo Bengtsson, Per Åhlund, and Viktoria Rolandsdotter. Blending the darkly gothic bleakness of mid 1990s Cold Meat Industry-style dark ambience with a more archaic-edged ritual ambient sound, Beckahesten certainly surprise with their debut album. The promo blurb also provides a glimpse of its tonal aesthetic through the following description: ‘Their sound lingers within the shadow lands of ritual and folklore where solemn harmonies and rhythms intertwine with lyrical poetry, becoming rites and omens. Taking its name from an ancient folk tale of a horse that takes children onto its back to then bring them to a nearby lake and drown them.’

Opening track Förnimmelsen immediately brings shades of the classic sound of Aghast, with whispered vocals and shifting icy soundscapes, albeit here with a slightly elevated sub-orchestral tone. The following track Ropet abruptly shifts to an almost doom drone texture due to its thick affecting bass; yet, the sweeping synth pads and chanted male vocal arcs provide a clear Nordic ritual ambient underpinning. The pairing of Skuggan and Dödsfålen deviates further, where the sublime shadowy soundscapes and twilight ambience are driven forwards with slow ritual percussion against which the sparse and achingly subtle vocals of Victoria are delivered as chants and invocations to twilight omens. Hotet is the final and longest track at over 10 minutes, a solemn evolving track of throbbing drones, ritual chimes, sweeping synths, and the commanding sung/chanted vocals of Victoria, while the rhythmic musical backing elevates to cresting crescendos before receding again.

This debut album is clearly not a lengthy one at a mere 36 minutes, but it packs significant impact into that timespan, with a sound that is both individualistic and aware of its influences. The album in its physical form is available on CD, or vinyl if that is preferred.

Human Larvae – Methods of Submission II

Human Larvae – Methods of Submission II MC Cipher Productions 2020

Methods of Submission II follows the first tape in the series from 2017 (reviewed here). That earlier tape featured two lengthy tracks of churning industrial noise filth, which deviated from the usual refinement found within Human Larvae’s main albums. Although this new tape includes 10 distinct tracks, like the first tape it explores harsher and nastier sonic territory.

Playing out very much as a full-length album, Methods of Submission II has pushed a filthy and nasty atmosphere into the foreground. This is articulated through track titles and dialogue samples, such as the lengthy scat film sample used on the opening track Shit Slave, which is set to little more than a distant humming drone. Need Violence then follows, with an excellent cut based on a straightforward bulldozing loop, shuddering distortion, and roared aggressive vocals. Elsewhere tracks such as Sick leap headlong into noise territory, featuring charred scrabbling noise within a mid to higher range squall, while the trademark vocals pull it back towards power electronics territory. On Your Knees rounds out Side A and pulls back to a simplistic needling loop coupled with a sample of a wailing woman that, while decent enough, simply does not match the meticulous layering and detail of the standout tracks of Human Larvae. Sadistic Pleasures opens Side B and provides a blasting track of harsh noise, while Slave Training initially pulls back on the sonic intensity, instead opting for hollowed-out idling distortion and partially buried dialogue samples, but which elevates with crumbling static over its extended length. And The Dog Ate From Its Bowl is an excellent example of a forceful industrial drone, framed around multiple sonic layers, while a crude stilled loop with monologue spoken vocals features on Burden. As for the final track Total Submission, this shifts back into the trademark slow rhythmic scrap metal structures and fiercely bellowed and distortion-charred vocals.

Given the prevalence of harsher sonic elements and the overall nasty and oppressive atmosphere created, Methods of Submission II could be said to comfortably align with the material being released on the Filth and Violence label, and therefore slightly differs from the meticulous level of layering and sonic detail typically associated with the project. Packaging wise, this new tape reflects the same aesthetic as the earlier album, with the tape and four-panel booklet housed with the tape in a canvas over-wrap and front panel cut-a-way.