Hypnosmord – Thurnemanimprovisationerna / The Thurneman Improvisations

Hypnosmord – Thurnemanimprovisationerna / The Thurneman Improvisations MC Hypnosmord Förlag / Styggelse Tapes / The AJNA Offensive 2021

As alluded to by the title, this tape is inspired by Sigvard Thurneman who was a somewhat obscure Swedish occultist, serial killer, and leader of the criminal-esoteric society ‘Den Magiska Cirkeln’ during the 1930s. There are various oddities associated with the case (more than can be explained here), that warrant further exploration for the interested. It is worth noting that this tape is a companion of sorts to a book just released in English by The Ajna Offensive, Manhunter: The Story of the Swedish Occultist and Serial Killer Thurneman. As for the project Hypnosmord, this seems to be a collective of musicians where the main performer Hans K. Styggelsen is aided by Gammalsjul, Sten Röse, Hector Meinhof, Brynolf Ledung, and Siegfried Holst. The recordings on this tape features two 30-minute compositions, which function as sinister improvisational piano movements for the shadowy twilight hours.

Although the liner notes indicate that the hour runtime contains five suites, the material flows together continuously on each side of the tape. The overall atmosphere is distant, obscure, and forlorn; slow moving, minor keyed piano melodies float through the twilight ether, and on occasion devolve into sections where the playing becomes mere sparse atonal stabs at the ivory keys. Apart from the piano element there are scant backing elements of what sounds like the crackling of a gramophone needle, creaking wood, echoed bass thuds, passages of Swedish spoken vocals, unintelligible mournful wailings, distant vaguely rhythmic elements, and a variety of other unidentifiable haunting tones with a sinister-edged musique concrete sound. When all of these aspects are brought together with the spacious and reverb-tinged keys, it evokes a vision of a grand piano being played in a crumbling abandoned mansion, where the psychic barrier between the waking and spirit world is slowly dissolving in response to the improvised musical evocations.

Being very much music for late night solo appreciation and deep contemplation, this is an excellent underground obscurity of sinister spectral music. Limited to a mere 141 copies, a double-sided multi-panel insert rounds out the visual presentation.

Contrastate – The Illusion of Power

Contrastate – The Illusion Of Power CD Old Europa Café 2020

The Illusion Of Power comes eight long years after the last Contrastate album in 2012, A Breeding Ground For Flies (while 2016 saw the release of No Eden Without Annihilation, that is effectively a live collection and considered to be a ‘sister album’ to A Breeding Ground For Flies). So, given full-length albums from the illustrious Contrastate are a rare occurrence, this is reason for long-term fans to rejoice.

From a cursory review of titles and lyrics, it is fairly obvious that the album addresses the current state of England as a consequence of Brexit, while the artwork appears to refer to the wider refugee crisis facing Europe in recent years. As to the sound and style of Contrastate, since reforming in the early 2010s their approach to recording and production is clearly differentiated from the earlier phase of the project. The current era has a cleaner and sharper digital tone to production and a varied and layered approach to composition, where various musical fragments and rhythmical segments are woven together into longer compositional structures. This album follows this approach but its five tracks clock in just shy of 40 minutes, which differs from the usually lengthy releases. Of the five tracks, three are vocal-led, forming the start, middle, and end of the album, with each separated by two shorter instrumental tracks.

English Pastoral opens the album, and lyrically speaking it is a sorry indictment of the current political state of England as a consequence of Brexit, as well as a broader comment on the decline of an Empire and its standing on the world stage. Musically it spans close to 10 minutes and shifts through a number of phases: early sweeping neo-classical strings and doom-addled sub-orchestral drones act as a backing to spoken vocals, before shifting into a lengthy rhythmically-swaying passage with further monologue-based vocals. The first instrumental track Interregnum follows and maintains conceptual adherence, given the term means ‘a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes’. Sonically it features sparse piano and guitar motifs, coupled with subtle melodious drones and a variety of post-industrial textures (sped-up typewriter perhaps?). War Against The Other is the centrepiece of the album, and while no lyrics are printed for the track, it is strongly vocal-led; the vocals sound to be sung in both Latin and Arabic as a religious lament, while the musical backing charts an amorphous space between sub-orchestral drones, swelling classical strings, and scrabbling metallic, aquatic, and electric textures. Second instrumental track Appointment In Samarra maintains a metaphorical conceptual link, as the title would seem to be referring to John O’Hara’s 1934 novel of the same name. Incidentally, the title is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham’s retelling of an old Mesopotamian tale, relating to a character’s chance meeting with death, while in O’Hara’s novel it follows the main character Julian English over three days where a series of self-inflicted acts culminate in his suicide. Sonically the track follows an understated ritual ambient tone, which builds to a number of minor sonic peaks, but ultimately feels like a bridging piece to the final track Hard Border No Border. This final track is another lengthy affair that moves through a number of distinct segments. The first scattered, fragmentary, and atonal opening section gives way to an experimental passage of wonky and surreal tones, before abruptly shifting into a section based around a pulsing bass rhythm, to which the upfront spoken vocals are rhythmically-framed in response to increasing speed. The final moment of the track and album are then coupled with a rising melancholic orchestral melody. A sublime conclusion.

It perhaps goes without saying that The Illusion Of Power is an album that sounds only as Contrastate can, but to be more specific it clearly sits within the modern phase of the project, which commenced with Breeding Ground For Flies. Conceptually there are ample ideas to unpack, including myriad fragmentary sampled voices used throughout, which makes for attentive listening on repeat spins to unpack potential clues. The main impression I get from the album is that it is an almost sorrowful observation of the current state of affairs facing England, but that offers little in the way of solutions to what are indeed extremely complex issues and clearly not as simple as current populist politics presents them. If I am to level any criticism at The Illusion Of Power it is regarding its brevity, as additional length would be welcome. But this is hardly a criticism of the excellent material which is presented, and regardless of this, this is another exceptional album within the Contrastate discography.

Various Artists – Dies Natalis Invicti Solis

Various Artists – Dies Natalis Invicti Solis CD Live Bait Recording Foundation 2020

The Dies Natalis Invicti Solis compilation brings together 12 extremely varied tracks from both known and more obscure acts within the broader post-industrial underground. Devised in Autumn 2020 with a conceptual focus on the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice rituals, miraculously all contributing artists managed to hit the required deadline, with the final result released in time for the end of 2020.

Kleistwahr, the long-running solo project of Gary Mundy, opens the album with Despite It All, Still We Rejoice. Being a stark track of slow morphing melodious but abstracted guitar-based drones, it sets the introductory tone nicely given that it resembles a dour organ dirge at times. Gnawed follows with Ritual In Depths (Protect Me From An Unconquerable Sun), a track of doom-addled death industrial in their now immediately recognisable style and sound. This comment about a ‘recognisable sound’ equally applies elsewhere, where the perhaps more well-known artists such as Brighter Death Now, Deutsch Nepal, and Contrastate each bring a strong contribution in their particular trademark sonic styles. But to talk of the perhaps less familiar projects, ORD is a post-industrial ritual ambient project from Russia, who present Winterdrone, a track that balances a strong ritual undercurrent with muted caustic post-industrial debris. Murderous Vision somewhat differ from their usual approach, given their track May Diana is a collaboration with Crow Hill Gnostic Temple who deliver a theatrical spoken-word monologue over sparse windswept ambient backing which shifts towards a laboured death industrial style later in the track. The previously unknown to me Konstruktivists impresses with a rhythmic ritual industrial composition Future Days, where the shimmering drones and spoken and chanted vocals give a further unique edge. Envenomist’s We Live Here Now charts the outer edges of the dark ambient void, with tensile drones elevated and receding from the inky blackness. Dream Into Dust’s Cycle’s End brings the sound back to an earthbound realm given its neo-classical focus with sweeping string and stoic percussion, while the sparse distorted guitar pushes the sound ever so slightly towards goth and doom territories. Failing Lights is another project I am not at all familiar with, yet Herod Walks In Nativity Night is a positive introduction to some sparse yet evocatively rendered (guitar?) drones. The compilation closes with a collaboration track between Theologian and The Vomit Arsonist. Raw Nerve is the result and faithfully blends recognisable elements of each project to create a forceful track based on sub-orchestral drones with a death industrial pulse, rounded out with a charred vocal smear.

At their best, compilations that are framed around a central theme where contributing artists manage to submit their strongest work can become more than the sum of their parts. This is a far cry from many compilations that do not hang together coherently, and in some cases feel as if contributing artists have submitted second-rate offcuts. Thankfully Dies Natalis Invicti Solis sits squarely in the former camp given that there are simply no dud contributions. Although in its early days of release, the impression is that Dies Natalis Invicti Solis stands with the best of what a compilation can achieve, and strongly reminds me of the early classic compilations such as the Death Odors compilations on Slaughter Productions and the various Cold Meat Industry-related compilations of the mid to late 1990s. A slick design and beautifully printed six-panel eco-wallet rounds off the physical presentation, but 300 copies will not stick around long with a compilation of this quality.

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.

Murderous Vision – Abscission

Murderous Vision – Abscission CD Chthonic Streams / Live Bait Recording Foundation 2020

By way of background Chthonic Streams released the limited tape version of Abscission in 2019 (effectively an EP in length), which also marked 25 years of activity of the Murderous Vision. Those four original tracks have now been expanded with three additional compositions to now make Abscission a full-length album.

Noting that Murderous Vision have always been broadly defined by a murky death industrial style characteristic of the now classic 1990’s era, more recent output has displayed a greater degree of experimentation. Yet interestingly, the material featured on Abscission, harks back to the early era of the project. Tape opener Breaking the Bonds of Light announces intent with horror synths, militant percussion and murky drones which border on choral chants, but things take a noted step up with the following track Echoed Voice. The first a section of darkly brooding cinematic ambience and spoken vocals, prior to the second half featuring chanted male vocals against rolling, echo processed percussion and rising tide of grim distortion. Following next is the pairing of two new tracks Blood Moon Ritual and Veiled Ghosts. The first is a tensile minimalist piece of sub-orchestral dread, garbled vocals and catatonically slow drums of doom. The second new track up the pace with rolling beat and forbidding tone of oscillating loops, while morbid proclamation style spoken vocals arrive mid-track. Autumn Black follows and begs a partial comparison to the brooding, cinematically tinged and percussive death industrial of Megaptera. With an excellent display of restraint, the driving percussion only arrived in the later half of track to ratchet up the tensile mood. Open The Night Sky features as the heaviest and most direct track, featuring slow pummelling beat, grinding looped bass distortion and aggressive heavily processed vocal barrage. The album finishes with another new composition Machinery of Life. Low drones blend with a contemporary classical mood, featuring shrill strings, sparse tympani percussion and choral vocals (all sampled?), before the track arcs off into a long section of mechanised death industrial, before the classical strings reappear later track. As a concluding track it certainly delivers an excellently paced and darkly moody piece.

With seven tracks spanning 50 minutes, this hangs together as a coherent album, which delivers a distinct and individual sound within a broader death industrial framework. Assuming many missed the original extremely limited tape edition (50 copies), this expanded edition in a more generous pressing (300 copies) is well worth the attention and investment.

Nital Etch – Simulacrum

Nital Etch – Simulacrum CDr No Part Of It 2020

Nital Etch is the solo project of American Kevin Lewis, featuring music of an experimental/contemporary classical/dark ambient bent. This release appears to be the debut album which has been compiled from a selection of highlights from earlier unreleased recordings. Other than that scant information, I know next to nothing about this project.

But what of the sonics? Evidently the music was created using only strings and pedals, it is not at all clear how this material would have been composed and recorded, given the end result feels far more varied and complex that such basic equipment implies. The overall atmosphere is one of frayed and faded sepia tone photographs of desolate wintery landscapes, skeletal leafless branches and decaying abandoned buildings. On the opening track Outro is an excellent statement of intent, featuring mournful cinematically edge, with sub-dour orchestral tones and floating violins. Incisions follows, with a similar filmic tone of minimal melody and moody bass drone, but mid track shifts off into sparse field recording elements and piano being played somewhere in the depths of an abandoned mansion. You Poor Thing commences as an abstracted soundscape, yet from mid track onwards features achingly sad violin melody and string backing. The track Barabara changes things up, where the experimental industrial sound comes to the fore through a a forceful mid-toned industrial drone which builds to avalanche intensity against which an old documentary sample is set. Loss is perhaps the most contemporary classic type piece on offer, building around string backing and serpentine violin melody, while Obsolescence plays out as another cinematic piece of tensile edged and slowing elevating orchestral strings. With regard to the back half of the album, it features around 25 minutes of material, being denoted as excepts of 1 through 4 of a longer piece titled Glass Tube Roses. In overall tone these tracks are slightly less refined looser in execution. Generally being more subsumed with a foggy production, thus perhaps having a stronger dark ambient tone than the experimental contemporary classical soundscapes of the album’s front half, yet they still maintain the same dour, sepia toned cinematic flavour.

As an introduction to the music of Nital Etch Simulacrum is a wonderfully dark and emotive album which through its sparse musical motifs and cinematic washes of sound, articulates shifting moods of misery, loss, abandonment and decay. Recommended.

Note: – although a CDr release, this is a pro-printed disc and cover.

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.

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.