Die Kombination – Signale

Die Kombination – Signale CD / 7”EP Endangered Species / D-A Tonträger 2020

Although Signale is the second full-length album from Die Kombination personally I have not heard the 2017 debut. But as per the saying ‘first impressions count’, Signale immediately makes a heavy impression based on the packaging and presentation alone. The standard edition* is anything but standard, being reminiscent of the lavish and sophisticated packaging of the early works of Der Blutharsch and Les Joyaux De La Princesse (LJDLP). As such the CD and 7”EP are housed in a black cardboard box with the project symbol and title printed in silver foil blocking. Additional insets then include: a photograph; stamped information card; and 16-page booklet held together with coloured twine. This beautiful presentation gives an immediate sense of dedication and attention to detail which absolutely sets the tone before any of the musical content is heard.

As for the music, Sopimus opens the album with a tone of bomb-blasted and ash-strewn landscapes, where sweeping winds and tensile sustained synth line are the main elements underpinning a lengthy Finnish speech sample. Brooding and intense, it immediately captures a tone and atmosphere often attempted but rarely achieved. A similar mood follows with Tali-Ihantala, where the stilted rhythmic synth elements have been over-processed to replicate the sound of exploding bombs. Narvan Marssi then comes as quite the musical surprise by featuring rolling martial snare drums and strident organ melody. The short track Interludium recedes into a furrow of deeply brooding slow synth melody, which functions as the introduction to Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey, which elevates into a grinding, mid-paced heavy electronics track of muted swirling tones and heavily echoed textures. Unternehmen Silberfuchs reverts to an atmosphere of minimalist battlefield atmospheres (again with lengthy dialogue samples), where synth and layers elements are added and subtracted over the course of its extended length. Playing out as a largely instrumental album, vocals then do appear on a single track Poltetun Maan, and are an absolute standout element. Here the track is based around atonal shuddering loops and sweeping widescreen textures, where the heavily processed vocals are of the classic-sounding heavy electronics type (treated with echo and distortion), and while unintelligible they sonically articulate a sense of baying anguish. The main album concludes with the short piece Erinnerung, an ambient industrial soundscape which in its features an achingly beautiful musical motif that carries through to the dying moments. To then mention the 7”EP, while it contains a further two tracks these feel to be more aligned with rounding out the thematic context of the set given they are original songs (1936 & 1942 respectively) from the period the theme of the album relates. With further reference to the theme, as titles and samples are not in English it makes it difficult to grasp the concept overall. Yet based on the title of one track (Operation “Birke”), it appears the theme relates to a conflict between Finland and Germany towards the end of WWII.

Musically speaking, clearly, there are passing shades of LJDLP, but perhaps a greater influence and homage to early 1990s German heavy electronics material such as early Predominance and Dagda Mor. Yet while such linage and inspiration are clearly noted, in no way does Signale sound to be a mere copyist as there is ample individual flair and considerable sonic and musical variety across the album. Likewise, when then sonics are appreciated in combination with the content of the lavish packaging, it ensures Signale is a mandatory album.


* – a private edition of 15 copies also exists, with the album on a cassette, with it and the 7”ep and other inserts housed in a vintage German metal ammunition box with the Die Kombination symbol sand-blasted into the paintwork.

Dream Into Dust – Fragments Of Legacy

Dream Into Dust – Fragments Of Legacy CD Chthonic Streams 2020

Dream Into Dust are a project helmed by Derek Rush with a rotating cast of contributors, but has been on a long hiatus given the group never officially disbanded. Although Dream Into Dust are well respected in facets of the post-industrial underground, more to the point they perhaps never received wider recognition they deserved. Musically the early works drew together disparate elements and influences from dark ambient, neo-folk, martial industrial, gothic and neo-classical, while later material incorporated some more contemporary influences and production techniques drawn from alternative, rock and pop.

As for Fragments Of Legacy it draws together 15 tracks, which were previously released on various compilations, or intended for compilations which never eventuated. With the collection of tracks being exclusively lifted from earlier phase the project, this suits my stylistic listening preferences, as personally I was less interested in the later evolution of the sound of Dream Into Dust. Given its musical leanings, Fragments Of Legacy comfortably sits between the sounds coming from Cold Meat Industry and World Serpent Distribution during the late 1990’s. Quite some territory is covered across the span and while martial industrial and neoclassical forms a consistent stylistic underpinning of these cinematically tinged soundscapes. But rather than stoic and bombastic, the overall atmosphere is forlorn and mournful. Equally the elements of neo-folk reinforce this archaic atmosphere which seems to sonically articulate a yearning for a lost time, with this general sentiment being specifically referenced by the title of their debut album The World We Have Lost. Yet with all that said, tracks such as The Chariot and Invictus notably stand out in all their strident neo-classical bombast. To make mention of further stylistic diversions, the album opener Stormbringer displays neo-classical and martial industrial elements, yet these are framed with a muted goth rock tone provided by the clean guitar and part sung/part spoken vocals. Other tracks like Totestadt are framed around fragile simplicity of clean guitar and piano, backed by creaking field recordings and spare neo-classical elements. Fields of Night features as an emotive and stripped back acoustic neo-folk tinged instrumental track, complete with sparse yet stormy martial percussion, while Out of Chaos Stars Are Born is also of note, coming fully formed as a shrilly intense soundtrack styled orchestral composition, moving through a crescendo and following passage of fragility. Late album track London, while neo-classical in tone also contains a whimsical Victorian gothic flavour to its core piano melody and cyclic musical motifs against which Derek recites a poem of William Blake. As for the final track The Trial Invisible, it stands apart from the rest. Deviating from the predominant atmospheric soundscapes, it is a moody and direct neo-folk song, complete with strings and cleanly sung lead vocals, thus give a partial nod to the later direction the project would take.

Packaging wise the CD comes as an 12 page colour printed booklet sleeve, with detailed liner notes on the origins of each track and pick up on some important conceptual influences, such as: poems of William Blake, The Trial by Franz Kafka, films such Slaughterhouse Five, M, Metropolis, Ulysses’ Gaze, While Fragments of Legacy may be effectively a collection of compilation tracks, it is surprising how well this disparate material hangs together as a complete album. Ultimately Fragments of Legacy is a positively conceived and compiled album, and very enjoyable document of the early phase of Dream Into Dust, regardless if you are an existing fan or perhaps a new listener to the project. A legacy of intent if you will.

Autopsia – In Vivo II

Autopsia – In Vivo II CD Death Continues 2020

Autopsia have been active since 1980, but on a superficial level of artwork and sound the project have perhaps remained in the shadows of Laibach who have been operating for a similar amount of time. Sonically speaking early Autopsia works were of a lofi dark ambient / ritual industrial style, which gradually morphed towards more composed neo-classical structures, and much later sought to draw in modern sonic elements (i.e. glitch and programmed beat driven sounds). But In Vivo II is not concerned with the current phase of the project, and as per the sub-title of the album clarifies the album is: ‘Autopsia Archive Recordings 1980-1988’. More specifically, over this period Autopsia issued numerous compilation tapes under the same title of In Vivo, where the 17 tracks collated here are sourced from different compilation tapes, and with selected tracks previously not released. In Vivo II is also the second archive album to be issued on Death Continues.

Of the disparate tracks collected here, there is a fair amount of variation which span the differing sounds of Autopsia from dark ambient, to experimental soundscapes, to martial industrial and neo-classical elements. Likewise, some tracks collected here are mere minutes in length, thus play out as short fragments of sonic ideas. Kissing Jesus In the Dark opens the collection, with sampled Tibetan throat singing offset with stoic industrial percussion, which highlights Autopsia’s martial and experimental tendencies. There is also a notable use of tape loops on various pieces, such as the early track Aqua Permanens has a strident martial industrial sound, based on sampled orchestral strings and slow pounding martial percussion. An excellent track. More variation is displayed on ESOTerIC II – The Machine also stands out as composition based on an organ dirge in full flight, where it is not immediately clear if this track was sample based or specifically composed and played. In further sonic deviation, the ritual dark ambient track Red Nights, complete with sampled female vocals, is noteworthy, given plays out very much as a precursor to the stylistic approach would refined by Cold Meat Industry artists’ through the mid-1990’s. Equally the track Relaxed with its industrial soundscape and pornographic dialog sample seems to have been specifically influenced by the earliest phase of SPK (i.e. Information Overload Unit and Leichenschrei). Recomposing A Dismembered God is the longest track at over twelve minutes, and another standout of the collection, being a shrill and stormy classical soundscape based on interlinking orchestral loops. On the concluding track We Area Death, it perhaps is the most refined example of sampled orchestral and choir based loops, being a slow and moody track, charting a tone which wavers between the ominous to the serine, and a sublime conclusion to the collection of tracks.

Given the nature of In Vivo II being an archive release, the correct way to approach this is as a disparate collection of early experimentations from the group, and not as a proper album. This means that some tracks clearly not a strong or refined when considered as individual standalone tracks, but that is not the point either. In Vivo II exists to bring to light a collection of the earliest working of the group and their varied development in conceptual approach to sound and composition. To that end, the release does its job perfectly.

UGFC – Stalinist God

UGFC – Stalinist God LP Grom & Lord Records 2019

UGFC is an obscure project from the Czech Republic, helmed by one Willhelm Grasslich, and with the acronym of ‘UGFC’ being an abbreviation for ‘Uncle Grasha’s Flying Circus’, it immediately gives a strong sense of satire at play. With some further investigation, the project is self-described as being concerned with: ‘surrealistic visions, poems and manifests of avantgarde artist Willhelm Grasslich. Avantgarde and propaganda fascinations and the topics of war, power relations, religions, ideologies, painful historical legacies etc. shape the palette of its inspiration and articulation’. As for the concept of this album, given that the sampled speeches and dialogue on the album are exclusively in Czech, it creates a clear limitation for me to grasp the detailed concept. But at least the liner notes in English provides some strong pointers – and I quote: ‘Stalinist God does not represent a personality, nor idea/myth, nor any form of transcendental being. Stalinist God is a status. A state of power that creates a blind alley for all ideologies and regimes. When your propaganda reach the maximal success and you became a God per se, you must just sound your trumpet for apocalypse and destroy everything you have created’.

Sonically speaking Stalinist God features high caliber, martial tinged industrial soundscapes. But when I refer to ‘martial industrial’, it is not in reference to the overly synthetic sound of that style from the mid-1990s to early 2000’s, rather it harks back to the raw and obscure martial industrial sounds of the earliest phase of industrial pioneers Laibach – which is obviously meant as a large compliment. Early tracks Kaitan and Kasbah are prime examples, with roughly echoed and looped industrial factory noise create grim and soot infused soundscapes atop which political rally type speeches are overlaid. Juche is equally of note, as it features a distant and partial buried martial drumming pulse, as well as samples including speeches, crowd applause and orchestral and choral music, it certainly gives nod to the sonic styling and approach of the likes of LJDLP. As further deviations Culpabilité sonically channels mid-1990’s German heavy electronics sound of subdued but bass heavy pulsing drones and radio waves, while Securitate provides a rousing atmosphere of sampled orchestral loops, speeches and rapturous crowd noise. Within the twelve tracks a number of the tracks are purely instrumental, where Anatolyevna uses loose and echoed metallic percussive as the core of its industrial soundscape (very much evoking visions of abandoned factories), while Scharnhorst uses rhythmically hewed bomb blasts and other metallic clatter. Late album track You Have To Be Death To Be Wise is the longest track at 10 minutes, and unfurls in an elevating capacity of tensile mid toned layers which rise to a rough noise peak as a moody synth melody acts as an underpinning element. Mid track muted horns appear and fade, as do other more caustic sonic layers. As for the final track Headquarters, it rounds out the album which a track which is effectively an unaltered traditional nationalistic type song.

Packaging wise, the album is presented in atypical fashion, where the cover design has been printed on white cloth which is wrapped around a plain white LP sleeve, while two  further multi-page booklet inserts provides text and imagery relevant to the concept. Although having not heard of UGFC prior to this album, this is very much a post-industrial obscurity which I am very happy to have been made aware of. Recommended.

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.

Lamia Vox ‎– Alles Ist Ufer. Ewig Ruft Das Meer

Lamia Vox ‎– Alles Ist Ufer. Ewig Ruft Das Meer Cylic Law 2020

Lamia Vox’s second album Sigillium Diaboli * was released all the way back in 2013 (reviewed here), which means new material has been long awaited and strongly anticipated from Alina Antonova’s ritual/dark ambient project. But from the outset the new album’s theme and focus strongly captured my attention – and I quote: “… the album isn’t presented merely as a musical piece but bears a deep spiritual message and a counterblast to the rational, materialistic and post-theist nihilism of current age. Inspired by early modern poetry, Hermeticism, fin-de-siècle symbolism and naturphilosophie, this new opus celebrates another vision of the world, one of higher dimensions and beyond the human sphere, a world of intoxicated and ecstatic alchemy of poetic language and ideas”.

As an initial observation, this new full length is perhaps less immediate than Sigillium Diaboli, but in then being a slow burn album, upon repeat listens has demonstrated itself to be a much more of a confident and sophisticated release. Although broadly referred to as dark ambient, the album is very much a musical one based on individual songs which feature strong threads of martial and neo-classical sensibility. The album open Three Dreams sweeps into frame with a brooding orchestral synths (produced to sound anything but synthetic), where layered vocals ranges from spoken to ethereal choir-esque in delivery. When this further is combined with wind and lapping waves samples, it provides a strong mind’s eye vision that the vocals are those of the mythological Greek Sirens calling unwitting sailors to their doom. The following track Eternity with it rolling percussion, deep brass horns and hammered dulcimer comes across as more darkly gothic take on early classic Dead Can Dance. Equally this impression is also mirrored and reinforced by the intoxicating ritualised tone Dionysos complete with its ethnic percussive strains. Song of Destiny evokes a further ritualised ethereal mood through ringing piano notes, sweeping string, rolling drums and choral female vocals, while late album track Animis, with militant drums, sweeping orchestral backing and the understated yet equally edging towards soaring lead female vocals of Alina. I Call the Stars On High is another soaring and epic track of driving percussion and brass and strings orchestral melodies, while Alina’s commanding vocals are multi-tracked for choral effect.

The seven tracks combine to make a relatively short album at only 35 minutes, but in that time not a second is wasted, nor any tracks could be relegated to filler status. While Lamia Vox is in effect the logical extension of a mid to late 1990’s ‘Cold Meat Industry’ sound, Alina has also expanded on her song writing skills into realms of much greater confidence, where the end result is now very much immediately recognisable as that of Lamia Vox. The professional production and Alina’s multi-tracked vocals are very much a part of this, and when complemented with such rousing musical song focused format it has resulted in an album which has been most certainly worth the extended wait.


* – Sigillium Diaboli is being reissued by Cyclic Law at the same time as this new album, featuring alternative artwork, both on CD and pressed on double vinyl for the first time.

Ditch State ‎– Purge

Ditch State Purge MC Cloister Recordings 2019

Ditch State is a new and purposefully anonymous project signed to Cloister Recordings. Yet, if I were to hazard a guess, this has connections to the Northern European sound and approach that radiated out from the now-classic 1990s / 2000s Cold Meat Industry era. Sonically speaking, Ditch State are clearly of a post-industrial type, but perhaps this could be described as taking raw death industrial tracks which are underscored with a martial-inspired song-based frame of reference. Given the stoic and heavily pounding standing kit drum, plodding atonal bass guitar, and song-focused vocals, a partial parallel could also be drawn between Ditch State and the approach showcased on recent albums from Nordvargr and Trepaneringsritualen – except that the ritual elements of those two have been replaced with a focused militant tone.

The album opens with the paired tracks Live to Destroy and Flattened Mounds, each of which is rhythmically framed around driving/pounding drum beats (played not programmed) and blended with bass, raw industrial loops, and minimal synth lines; the vocals are in a gruff and roughly yelled style. Silent Waves, in contrast, is a dour soundscape piece with vocals resembling an unanswered message broadcast over the airwaves. With these three opening tracks, the greater arc of the album is demonstrated, with subsequent tracks falling into one of two camps. The first are militant percussive-driven compositions (seven of the ten tracks). The second camp are interlude soundscape compositions that evoke the brooding ambience of a crater-blasted battlefield once the forces have swept through. All of the 10 tracks are on the shorter side (the longest is less than six minutes), meaning they function as standalone tracks.

Offhand, I can’t think of many direct comparisons to the specific sound of Ditch State (which is itself positive), but the militant-inspired death industrial style clearly has the potential to find an appreciative audience within the post-industrial underground. Packaging wise, the tape is housed in an oversized high-gloss cardboard box with the shredded flag logo printed in black on the front of the box. Limited to 100 copies.

Militia – The Face of God / Ambiorix

Militia – The Face of God CD Old Europa Café 2019

Militia – Ambiorix CD Old Europa Café 2018

To provide a brief history lesson, Militia have been operating since the late 1980’s, where their general approach could be characterised as a logical extension of the early oil barrel percussion of industrial pioneers Test Department. Militia then managed to hit an outstandingly high peak of output early on, with particular reference to: New European Order 3xLP (1996); their contribution to the cult compilation War Against Society 3xLP (1997); and The Black Flag Hoisted 2xCD (2000). Each of these and now broadly considered landmark classics of the post-industrial underground, which then tends to cast a very long shadow over everything which has followed and to which against every new release is compared. Inevitably this is the context in which the two new Militia albums are considered.

The Face of God although issued in 2019, was first issued in 2015 as a self-released box-set, but with poor distribution it was quite difficult to obtain. This 2019 version appears it may in fact be from the original CD pressing but re-issued within a newly designed 6 panel digi-pack. In context of Militia’s discography The Face of God followed on from 2005’s Everything Is One CD and 2011’s Power! Propaganda! Production! CD. Both of those albums where characterized by being more streamlined, cleanly produced, and song focused, and for me were both highly enjoyable releases which demonstrated a gradually refinement of Militia’s earlier approach. Interestingly The Face of God differs from those albums given it has a rougher and distorted edge which more closely aligns with the earlier era. Male choral vocals and tolling bells of Psalm 1: An Atheist Statement opens the album, before an echoed proclamation of project mainstay Frank Gorissen makes the theme of the album exceedingly clear. Following this the track launches into a section of trademark looped synth lines, wailing horns and heady thrummed percussion. Without doubt a brilliant start. Psalm 5: Sermon is also a clear standout with its fast-paced metallic percussive drive and maudlin underpinning synth line. Psalm 7: God’s Face is another track displaying all the pinnacle trademarks of Militia’s approach aka the rhythmic loops, pounding metallic percussion and wailing horns. Late album track Psalm 10: Call All Atheists is another particular highlight with its atonal droning synth-line, blended with forceful incessantly rolling/ clanging percussion and strained proclamation styled vocals. Yet alongside the highlights sporadic missteps don’t go unnoticed, where on occasion the execution of percussion feel overly stilted and out of time, such as on Psalm 2: The immaculate Conception Of Lies. A minor gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.

In moving on to the consideration of the latest Militia opus Ambiorix issued in late 2018, from the outset the album draws a clear parallel to the recent 2017 re-recording of the classic New European Order (reviewed here). By this it is meant the earlier percussive driven windswept battlefield atmospheres are clearly present, but the recording is crystalline and without a grey hued murkiness. Likewise of note, on the thematic side of things instead of political framed social commentary, the album differs as it focuses on a historic period instead, and quoting from the cover: ‘Militia plans King Ambiorix’ struggle again the Roman occupation of Gaul in 54 BC’. In an overarching sense while Ambiorix follows Militia’s established sonic template, the album as a whole is quite atmospherically filmic in tone, particularly where rousing synth based neo-classical elements such as choirs, horns and strings are utilised. This cinematic impression is further reinforced through the clear narrative outlined by the album’s 11 tracks, and with the production being relatively clean and spacious, means that although being percussive based, it does not feel as heavy as other Militia material. To talk specifics, early Negotiation perfectly blends rhythmic loops, driving militant drumming and stirring synth melodies. Equally the introductory neo-classical strains of Ambush are particularly rousing, which sets the scene for a ‘battle march’ percussive driven track. Calling All Gauls again follows the classic Militia format of rolling metallic percussion and looped melody and further elevated with neo-classical backing elements. Late album track War is equally rousing with its battlefield samples, choir synths and ever-present driving percussion. Rounding out the hour length album is the 11.5 minute The Lost King which is an ambient soundscape which evolves into a mid-paced militant percussive track though the mid-section, before shifting back to and ambient soundscape during its final moments.

As an overall comment, I would not profess that either of these Militia releases exceeds the heights of the early era classics, yet they each still stand as resoundingly strong releases on their own. In recognition of their slight deviations in tone and approach, both The Face of God and Ambiorix are fitting additions to the Militia discography and will absolutely please followers of the group, both older or more recent. Recommended.

Sarin Snow – Incurring Wisdom / Deus Vult

Sarin Snow – Incurring Wisdom MC Slave Chandelier 2019

Sarin Snow – Deus Vult LP Breathing Problems Productions 2019

I have only recently come across Sarin Snow, which is a relatively new American project with a clutch of releases since 2016. The majority of those has been issued on Slave Chandelier, which as I understand it is helmed by the same individual behind Sarin Snow.

The latest cassette Incurring Wisdom functioned as my proper introduction to the project, which although broadly billed as being an industrial/power electronics project, to my impression there is far greater degree of sonic linage of the militant noise-industrial/heavy electronics prevalent in the Europe territories in the mid-1990’s. Given it is far more subdued overall and with a decidedly more ‘European’ angle to sound and approach, this means Sarin Snow feels to be a bit of an anomaly when compared to the majority of material to come out of north America.

Incurring Wisdom features four tracks over around 27 minutes – pressed on a gold cassette, with fold out artwork/ lyric insert. Ecclesia Unveiled kicks things off with grimly droning oscillations, while the heavily rasped vocals are muted with distorted echo and sit semi-buried within the mix. So, while the vocals are clearly discernible as a vocal texture, the actual lyrics are not, meaning the voice is effectively presented are as another sonic element. With the general sonic premises established on the first track, the balance of the three tracks play out as variations on this theme, where the resultant grimly laborious yet tensile sound is a strongly engaging one. On Side B, Iron Cross is a particularly good example of an effective sound despite a straightforward approach, where layered loops and vocals ratchet up tension.

Moving onto Deus Vult, it is another recent 2019 release, but which embodies an ever so slightly different tone and approach. The same sort of grim, laborious tone of the oscillating drones (synth?) remains, as do the raspingly yelled but muted vocals. Yet the overall atmosphere feels to be a heavier and more direct, which becomes quite crushing on a number of tracks due to the greater reliance of junk-metal/factory floor derived sonic elements. This tonal rawness of slabs of metal dragged across a factory floor and metal bars dropped on concrete etc. provides a cavernous echoed depth to the generated atmosphere. Saint Longinus is a track which stands out from the rest, with its generally sedate tone, by featuring a maudlin melody, watery textures and dour spoken vocals which are blended with junk metal sonics. That mood bleeds into the final album track Saint Michael follows suit, where the simple by effective synth melody carries a dour melancholy atmosphere against an elevating cascade of junk metal tones. Of note, the title of Deus Vult is a Latin phrase for “God wills it”, and while the track titles give a religious nod, the lyrics themselves remain abstracted, but rather than giving the impression of pious worship and devotion, it appears more to articulate strength and spiritual mysticism.

On both releases Sarin Snow display strong ideas and solid execution where both releases embody a laborious, menacing yet melancholic approach. Likewise, with track titles and chosen imagery being presented in an abstracted/ non-linear way, meaning the theme and message remains obscured and allows the listener to piece together their own impression of meaning. From these initial impressions Sarin Snow are clearly worthy of attention and investigation.

Blitzkrieg Baby ‎– Homo Sapiens Parasitus

Blitzkrieg Baby Homo Sapiens Parasitus LP Neuropa Records 2019

Strictly speaking Kim Sølve’s Blitzkrieg Baby project is quite incongruent to the typical coverage of Noise Receptor Journal. Yet there is something quite special in the cynical black humor and heavily sarcastic lyrics wrapped up in a diverse song-based approach, spanning elements of cinematic/orchestral dark ambient, martial industrial, and more streamlined song-based industrial. In fact, the Looney Tunes inspired cover artwork ‎– which strongly speaks to my own childhood ‎– is an excellent visual presentation of this thematic and stylistic approach (the artwork is by Trine + Kim Design Studios, which is the graphic design firm Kim runs with his partner and showcases their talents as graphic designers). Likewise, the self-described tag of ‘Norwegian Dystopian Electronic Music’ further emphasizes the approach.

Album opener Hip Hip Hooray displays the cynical and darkly playful nature of the album, with a track of mid-paced bass guitar-driven swagger, while the spoken vocals break out into a chorus chant of the track’s title. After a short instrumental interlude with an industrial/orchestral dark ambient track (Apocalypse To Go), comes Boys Will be Boys, which is a perfect example fusing martial beats, orchestral synths, and dark pop-focused chorus line hooks, with the end result being swaggering rather than martially stilted. The pairing of tracks like The March of Human Progress I & II bring a more serious tone, which is mostly due to the instrumental format, thereby the cynical element brought about by the vocals is absent. On the musical front it strongly reminds me of the martial ambient industrial sound of Toroidh, given the slow dark ambient throb, sub-orchestral elements, and marching music samples. Perhaps for my own listening preferences Praise The Pig comes off as the only misstep due to the prominent chugging guitar riff (but that says more about my personal aversion to guitar-based industrial). Yet despite this criticism, the tolling church bells and chanted male vocals which appear late in the track effectively win me over. Moving towards the album’s end, the dour yet playful nature of the album is again in full flight on Pre-Cum Of The Apocalypse, with a slow brooding dark ambient/martial industrial track, where the lone piano line rings out with reverb, while the vocals are sung choir style which belies their cynical slant. The album closer, Homo Sapiens Parasitus & the Countdown to the Apocalypse is an industrial pop stormer of a composition, driving ever forwards with stoic rolling beats and vocals ranging from whispered to full rousing male choirs.

Despite its vein of cynical black humor on the thematic and lyrical front, the music itself is treated with utmost seriousness, and done exceedingly well, avoiding any notion of being ‘cheesy’ in the end result. This is no mean feat, given the use of any level of ‘humor’ in post-industrial music usually predicts my total uninterest. Wildly divergent – yet recommended at the same time.