Alfarmania / Proiekt Hat – Mardrömd Dödsström

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Alfarmania / Proiekt Hat  – Mardrömd Dödsström LP Tesco Organisation 2016

Following on from 2014’s excellent ‘Astral Slaktmask’ cassette (reviewed here), the premier paring of Swedish underground post-industrial and ‘post-mortem’ focused minds return with a new collaborative album (…recorded in 2015).  To then quickly reference the album’s presentation (…single LP sleeve with A5 double sided insert), it highlights the fallacy of the opinion of some that packaging and presentation means nothing given it is evidently “just about the music”. But with those with such a view, clearly they are missing the point when confronted with artwork such as this, given it absolutely sets the mood and tone before an single sound has bled from the speakers.

The first track ‘We Came To Kill’ leads off in high calibre fashion with a multifaceted assemblage of shuddering noise, atonal percussive thumps, wavering analogue filth and oscillating textures to paranoia inducing effect over its lurching 11 minute expanse. Without doubt an excellent start.  The following piece ‘For All Those Who Died: Endguldigkeit Des Dunkels’ is then not at all typical of the usual sound of either project given takes a ritual/ death industrial route of drawling chants, slow oil barrel beat, bass guitar throb and scattered metallic resonances. With a general stasis of overt momentum or variation, it evokes a sparse/ cavernous soundscape which is wholly unlike what you would usually expect from either project (…other than retaining a sense of rising dread which permeates proceedings).

Side B reveals more typical sounds from the project (…meaning ‘excellent’), featuring amorphous post industrial soundscapes of creaking metal, drawling noise and general dirge driven post-industrial soundscapes (…3 short tracks of 3 to 5 minutes each).  ‘Intern-Nationalist’ is a more direct and fierce sonic approach of forcefully drilling synth lines, crackling static and agonized wailing vocals, whereas ‘Friends In High Places’ is another album highlight of queasy oscillating/ droning textures and cascading junk metal tones.  The final album cut is ‘Eldförgängelsens Apostater: In I Intigheten’ which grinds onwards within a bass toned rut of filthy (subdued) noise and sporadic metallic crunch, which builds to weighty impact before the plug is pulled.

With only 5 tracks and a total of around 30 minutes of material this is a short and sharp album and clearly leaves me pining for more, but also makes every moment count with simply no weak of substandard material within its short play time. With only 300 copies this will no remain available for long.

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Arbiter – Radiating Panic Source / H.C.O.D. – Instruments Of Destiny

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Arbiter – Radiating Panic Source MC Fieldwork 2016

H.C.O.D. – Instruments Of Destiny MC Fieldwork 2016

From its launch in 2013 this US tape label was quite active through to 2014 managing 11 releases in that time.  Although 2015 revealed no new releases a batch of 3 new tapes have emerged in 2016, with 2 being reviewed below (…the third tape is a split between Swedish projects Alfarmania and Treriksroset in support of their US shows in 2016).

Two years on from the 2 track ‘Negatively-Existent Cell’ (reviewed here), Arbiter have returned with a new tape ‘Radiating Panic Source’ which features 6 tracks (3 per side) and about 30 minutes of material.  Again drawing clear parallels with a northern european post-industrial ‘post-mortem’ sound, Arbiter excel with their strong focus on composition to create short ‘song-like’ tracks.  Analog grit and bass addled rumble forms the staple building blocks, with a further myriad of erupting sonic fissures and idling factory machinery for added complexity.   The opening title sets the scene perfectly with intertwining cyclic layers and a sense of cavernous depth, while the first track on the second side (‘Punitive Measures Guise’), is another standout with its distant oscillating resonances, forceful siren like alarm wails and distant industrial wasteland aesthetic. Fantastic.

With the next tape I am not at all familiar with H.C.O.D. (short for Hideous Colors Of Decay), but they do fit perfectly within the sonic and visual aesthetic of Fieldwork. After 3 tapes issues in 2013 and 2014, ‘Instruments Of Destiny’ appears to be formal full length album, with 7 tracks spanning around 60 minutes.  Although clearly within the same general sonic dimension as Arbiter, H.C.O.D’s approach is far more sprawling is scope and is a hotbed of caustic industrialized noise which bleeds out over greater length.  Caked in sonic soot, the tone is one of analog filth where the tracks work on a dual level involving sustained cavernous widescreen bass rumble over which mid-toned squall, higher pitched ‘whistling’ feedback and junk metal crunch is belched. ‘Will to Oppression’ provides some variance with its centrally featured echo tinged and half chanted vocals, as does ‘Mutilated Victory’ with its garbled and undecipherable dialogue sample.  Perhaps with its more singular overall approach, H.C.O.D.’s cassette is something akin to a marathon crawl through a post-industrial dystopian nightmare of wrack and ruin.

As with all other Fieldwork releases, the packaging is noteworthy based on their pro-printed and grimly designed J-cards, where the Arbiter tape it includes a mini-foldout poster and outer cardboard slipcase. Although both tapes are excellent examples of their chosen stylistic slant, Arbiter is my personal pick due to its focused and direct approach.

Blood Ov Thee Christ – Filthy Criminals / Kristian Olsson – Att Vara Där Jag Var Innan Jag Var Jag

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Blood Ov Thee Christ – Filthy Criminals CD Old Captain 2016

Kristian Olsson – Att Vara Där Jag Var Innan Jag Var Jag CD Old Captain 2016

For a quick historic recap, Blood Ov Thee Christ was (is?) the project of Harri Honkaniemmi – one of the first Swedish power electronics/ industrial noise projects. A sole cassette ‘Master Control’ was issued way back in 1987 before the project disappeared into obscurity. To fast forward almost two decades, ‘Master Control’ was dug up and reissued on CD in 2005 (reviewed here), whilst around the same time Harri was coaxed out of hiding through the perseverance of Kristian Olsson (aka Survival Unit & Alfarmania) to reestablish the project, with Kristian joining as a second member.  ‘Filthy Criminals’ was then one of the first releases from the newly active project in 2006 and issued via cassette on Kristian’s own Styggelse imprint. Having been long sold out it has now been reissued on CD in a digipack edition of 250 copies with grim artwork also courtesy of Kristian.

‘Filthy Criminals’ features a mere two tracks, but each spanning 30 minutes which is reflective of the original cassette format.  From the opening segment of the title track, cascading waves of shuddering mechanized analog filth and distortion drenched vocals are metaphorically vomited into a rubbish strewn street and although no lyrics are discernible, the angst and aggression is palpable.  Loose and chaotic there remains degree of intent behind these crude compositions, thus the impression is not one of result of mere improvisation, particularly as variety of dialogue and vocal samples are strategically force-feed into the swampy tonal soup.  The pacing of the Side A track is not urgent or fast paced, rather the composition lurches forward in a general negative haze akin to that generated alcohol or drugs (or both?) – but given the length of the track in the later half the vocals and whipping static seek pushes towards greater frenzy.  The second track ‘Hatemaster’ gives some momentary respite through the use of an introductory sample which quite appropriately references religious devotion through heroin addiction.  Yet after a couple of minutes when the sample has run its course the track launches into a more direct mid ranged pulsing static attack.  Although a slow lurching undercurrent remains, the forefront elements of layered distortion, buzzing static and barked agonized vocals provide more chaotic force than the first track.  Mid track some hefty dual vocals and spitting metallic loops ramp things up further, although the piece concludes with a section of muted sonics and bizarrely half crooned vocals.

Being positioned at the rough end of crude industrial noise/ power electronics, this is sonically hard, grim and unrelenting.  It is the sort of album which preaches to the converted and as such will only appeal to connoisseur of such audial analog filth. Is that you? No doubt you will already know the answer to that.

Kristian Olsson in solo guise is not too far removed from the sonic world of Alfarmania, but there is a much greater degree of restraint, elevated experimentation and a mood of ritual atmospherics.  As for ‘Att Vara Där Jag Var Innan Jag Var Jag’, it is a CD reissue of a 2010 limited vinyl pressing of 275 copies.

Sonically speaking the album captures morbid ritualized soundscapes which feature a myriad of tonal elements including: murky atonal drones; metallic chimes; atmospheric scrap/ junk sounds; scraping metal on concrete textures, creaking metal hinges; and distant wailed voices which flesh out the sound. These collections of sounds are then combined into grim grey toned and soot infused soundscapes which articulate cavernous, muck and grime strewn abandoned spaces.  Of interest on its original vinyl pressing, the tracks effectively bled into longer single LP sided tracks, but here given the 10 individual tracks are individually indexed, it provides greater focus on the individual piece, which themselves range from around 2 to 9 minutes each. The title track appears late in the play order (track 8) stands out to a greater degree given it is sonically sharper and forceful, but still maintaining a comparable sonic palate to the rest.

To specifically compare these two albums, while they do certainly seek different listening moods and experiences, from my own perspective it is Kristian Olsson’s works which I find myself returning too on a more regular basis (…but could equally be the opposite on your own preferences).  But regardless of personal preferences they are both shining examples of Old Captain’s agenda to resurrect and given additional exposure to various underground obscurities.

Tower Transmissions VI Festival 2016 Review

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Tower Transmissions VI Festival 2016: 16th/ 17th September, 2016

Club Puschkin: Dresden, Germany

Friday night: Salo Salon, Satanismo Calibro 9, Nocturne, 1997EV, Club Moral, Snuff

Saturday night: Sick Seed, Soldergeist (did not perform), Satori, AIT!, Genocide Organ, Einleitungszeit


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Tower Transmission VI: show report

Review: Richard Stevenson

Photos: All photos by Nero Azzolut, except for above ‘Groupo de Autodefensa’ photo of Genocide Organ above by unknown


Although 2015’s Tower Transmission V was an excellent event (reviewed here), the fact that Genocide Organ has to cancel their headline slot created an ‘unfinished business’ scenario for me, which resulted in my return to see them headline 2016’s VI edition of Tower Transmission. Thus the long journey back to Europe was facilitated as part of a two-week vacation, with attendance at Tower Transmission VI being the centrepiece of the trip. Being held again at Club Puschkin: a nightclub venue with dedicated stage, sound booth/ sound system and bar, as per last year mechanise from various sellers (myself included) was available in the space between the main stage and bar area, with further large circulation space in a ‘chill-out’ back room and further outdoor area. After arriving at the venue around 6pm on the Friday, time was spent drinking and chatting with some of the Finnish crew in attendance, before moving inside to set up at the merchandise table and to watch the first act.


Seemingly relative newcomers, Salo Salon were in the perhaps unenviable opening festival slot. For their show, it featured both banks of pedals and noise equipment at side stage, and oil barrel and other mic’ed up sheet metal to the centre of the stage (…in addition to the use of a video backdrop). With both members clad in black and balaclavas, it started with using the noise equipment to build a base of hard industrial noise clatter and further augmented with live junk metal abuse and manipulation. Although there seemed to be clear aggressive intent on the part the duo, this was however not fully reflected in final stage performance and in the end seemed to lack impact and appeared to be not much more than an improvised and rather uninspired ‘bashing randomly on junk metal’ session with an industrial noise backing. Generally it all lacked ‘something’ in final execution and while perhaps the project will improve in the live arena with more stage experience, it did not hit the mark this time around.ss2ss1 ss3


The Italian ritual industrial trio Satanismo Calibro 9 were up next and from my perspective delivered the first highlight of the festival. With all three members sat on the floor in front of various noise implements, this allowed focus to be equally on the video backdrop, a small ritual alter to centre stage and the members themselves. With the main vocalist being sat in front of a ‘rat’s nest’ of cables, throughout the show he delivered commanding and low drawling vocal chants, which were coupled with additional noise created from contact mic’ed ritual bones and sheet metal. The other two members focused also on providing layers within the ritual soundscape, while the ritual aspects were further realized through one member drawing sigils on sheets of paper and burning these at the ritual alter at key points throughout the performance. Although being perhaps more ritual dark ambient on record, in the live setting the presented sound represented a heaving maelstrom of droning industrial / ritual chanted soundscapes with both force and presence, where Satanismo Calibro 9 presented a very strong and excellent performance, with controlled pacing throughout.sc96sc91 sc92sc95sc93sc94


Up next was Nocturne, where it has been many years since I have paid attention to their musical works. Although I appreciated their very early ‘Les Joyaux De La Princesse’ styled martial industrial material, it was their overly long industrial noise show at the two day Stigma Industrial Festival in London in 2001 which turned me off the project, and meant I did not follow any subsequent output. Given this context I was then most surprised when Saphi and supporting female member Cecile delivered a set of minimal synth & martial industrial pop songs, thus charting a new sound and direction for the project. Featuring Saphi on mostly the synths and musical equipment and Cecile on violin, with both members sharing lead vocals depending on the track. A clinical/ medical/ phycological slant appeared to be the main thematic focus as demonstrated through both the lyrics and lab-coats being worn, noting that both members also engendering a strong stage presence and holding character relative to the spoken/ sung lyrics being delivered. Although this style of music is not one that I would listen to at home, in the live setting it was a strong and entertaining performance.n1 n2 n3n4


Being a project I was previously unfamiliar, 1997EV are evidently a cult-revered project in some quarters. In the end 1997EV revealed themselves to be a psychedelic noise rock act framed around 2 guitars and drummer, but given this is a style and type of music which is not typically to my taste I took the opportunity to instead mingle with other guests of the same view.  Can’t like everything as they say!97-1 97-2 97-3



The technical headliners for the Friday night were long standing Club Moral who have been operating in various formations since 1982. Although I am partially aware of the legacy of the group, musically they are a project that have simply passed me by, so I was left with no option to experience their performance on face value. Although initially delayed with some sound equipment issues, the male/ female duo soon launched into a set of vocal lead minimalist synth/ atonal industrial ‘songs’. For the performance it involved Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven seated at a table to manipulate a sound equipment, while the main focus of Danny Devos was to deliver the vocals while either stalking the front stage or making random angular arm gestures at the microphone stand. My main impression from the performance was that Club Moral exemplifies the initial early era of ‘industrial’ music, where there were little or no genre classifications and the music reflects a perspective that the music can be whatever it is, without compromise. Although musically not being to my personal taste at all (particularly given there seeming to be a lack of seriousness), the performance was definitely well received by the bulk of the audience, where the crowd reaction also managed to generate an encore from the group. Later discussions with various attendees also highlighted that the show was considered excellent as it was based on numerous old ‘hits’ from the group, rather than a set of more academic ‘sound-art’ material which I was informed that have delivered in recent times.cm1 cm2 cm3


Thus the final closing act for the Friday night was Snuff, being a Finnish project associated with the Filth & Violence label and a collaborative duo featuring Pasi Markkula (aka Bizarre Uproar) and Pekka PT (aka Sick Seed & Gelsomina). Talking with Pasi and Pekka over the course of the festival I was informed that apart from a private performance the TTVI show was the first public performance of Snuff, but given both of their extensive experience in the live arena, the show promised to be a strong one, which in the end amounted to the standout show of the Friday night. Appearing to take on an archetype and ‘stereotypical’ appearance of a sex offender, chosen stage wear consisted of sweat pants, zip-up sports jumpers/ hoddies and ski masks. With both members utilizing racks of noise pedals and associated equipment, a number of large stage speakers were also employed to facilitate a wall of shrieking overblown feedback. Over the course of the set a fierce power electronics / filthy noise industrial set was constructed, with both sharing turns howling aggressive vocals. As for the set Snuff’s potential ‘hit’ single ‘Male Supremacy’ got an airing, along with other recognisable tracks from other recent albums. Late in the set the stage antics descended into a ‘celebration’ of the male gut with both members suggestively rubbing their middle girth. Clearly playing off a perspective of ‘pitch black humour’, the sonic approach and vocal barrage were nevertheless presented with complete seriousness and dedication to their sonic craft, which showed in quality, aggression and volume of the set, meaning I left the first night of the festival happy having been suitable brutalized by punishing power electronics and industrial noise filth.s1 s2 s3 s4 s5 s6


With Pasi and Pekka effectively closing the Friday night, both returning to open Saturday night, yet this time it was Pekka’s main project being featured with further live assistance being provided by Pasi. Although of the industrial noise/ rough Finnish power electronics slant, the mood and tone was of a more desperate and mournful style, particularly provided by the anguished, but clearly enunciated spoken presentation of Pekka’s vocals (…delivered while stalked back and forth across the stage). Given that much of PE type vocals are lost in the distortion and delivery, here there lyrics could have perhaps been more fully audible if they were elevated in the mix, which seemed a missed opportunity. As for the stage setup this involved Pekka manipulating his side table of equipment and providing vocals while further backing noise manipulation assistance came from Pasi’s further table of noise equipment and bass guitar providing atonal low end sonic input. All in all a strong, enjoyable but quite short set, which had me wishing it were longer.

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Soldnergeist were meant to follow and although not necessarily an act I am obsessive about, I was at least looking forward to seeing this German power electronics project in a live setting (…as were many others I chatted with). However this was simply not to be, as Soldernergeist did not show up to the festival and without explanation being provided. When later speaking with head promoter Eric the reason for their absence was unknown and remains unknown and unexplained at this point in time.


The UK project Satori were the next act to follow and although featuring a revolving lineup (and in the later era with no original members), in 2014 an original member Dave Kirby took over the name again as a solo project, which is who performed here. Although pushing towards a dark ambient sound in terms of execution and sonic clarity, the sound was also far heavier and driving that typical dark ambient fare, given the equal focus on a heavy electronics and industrial slant. With Dave behind a low table with laptop and effects units he had a high degree of stage presence, and with the music presented being manipulated to be in sync with a specific backing video. As such the generated rolling, heaving and constantly evolving vortex of sound made it was virtually impossible to become fully impressed in the set and for me was another highlight of the festival.satori1 satori2


AIT! followed, being an Italian project of Tairy Ceron who is perhaps more recognised as his earlier project …Today, I’m Dead which was associated with Marco Corbelli’s Slaughter Productions. For his performance in consisted of mournfully toned industrial/ dark ambient/ drone soundscapes with apathetic spoken styled vocals, where Tairy was stationed at the back of the stage and being only barely visible due to the video backdrop and strategically placed curtain screens (…in addition to a bizarre garden flower arrangements placed at the front of the stage). Although being sonically acceptable, it appeared that the performance involved live vocals to backing tracks being played from a sole laptop. Given there were clear breaks of silence between tracks (and making to appear if Tairy was just queuing the next track), it tended to break the mood of the performance and made it less engaging that it could have otherwise been, which resulted in me opting out of the later half of the set to catch up with various people.ait1 ait2


Moving on to Saturday night’s headliner Genocide Organ, after so many years of wanting to see the group in a live setting, there was a worry on my part of potential personal hype leading to disappointment – yet any such concerns were in the end completely unfounded as they group demonstrated they are simply in a league of their own. Also noting that Genocide Organ grace the stage infrequently and are known for preparing and presenting ‘stand-alone’ live performances which are not repeated, and in this context the attendees at TTVI were treated to a specific performance centred around the new album ‘Obituary of the Americas’ (reviewed here). Sonically the performance was perfectly loud and forceful (‘chest rumblingly’ loud in fact), allowing the live renditions of album tracks to be clearly followed (…which also included the various dialogue samples used on the album). Apart from the opening and closing pieces material was drawn almost exclusively from ‘Obituary of the Americas’, where the final aggressive rendition of ‘Vive La Guerre’ (previously only known from the 2007 expanded re-release of ‘Remember’), which with it mercenary focus conceptually aligned with the balance of the presented set.

With a sole member at the back of the stage (Doc M.Riot? …not absolutely sure), flanked by a backing video projection, the introductory track provided a sonic backdrop of a rain soaked jungle with helicopters circling low overhead, before the remaining 3 members (Wilhelm Herich, Brigant Moloch & D.A.X.) marched through the crowd and joined the stage, being also accompanied by a further two ‘commandos’. With all members wearing camouflage face covering and some with brimmed jungle bush hats, interestingly this new stage attire was noted to specifically reference the cover image of the CD version of ‘Obituary of the Americas’, and functioned to illustrate the depth of thought which the group put into the presentation of their themes. In addition to the headwear, all members were clad in camouflage trousers and Genocide Organ branded ‘Por Una Vida Libre / Grupos de Autodefensa’ t-shirts, which based on later investigation were noted to be specific replicas of the design of the Mexican ‘Policia Comunitaria / Autodefensa’ group/s (aka Community Police / self-defender group/s). Once on stage both vocalists Wilhelm Herich and Brigant Moloch stood front and centre, menacingly brandished machetes as well as using them as specific implements to generate further noise when being symbolically ‘sharpened’ on the edge of a contact mic’ed oil barrel.

The lengthy opening section demonstrated further dedication to thematic cause, given the vocals were exclusively presented in Spanish and as if being a proclamation/ sermon from a South American Jungle Militia leader, and continued within the first recognisable album ‘Autodefensa’ which sonically hit hard. To speak further of the vocals, the impassioned delivery of Wilhelm Herrich on ‘Formacion de Guerilla’ were another specific highlight, as were the imposing shared vocal approach on ‘Todo por la Patria’ and ‘Escuela de las Americas’, with the later being coupled with specific hand gestures to reflect lyrics of: “your mind is in our hands: our hands are in your mind”. As the momentum and elevating heaviness of set progressed the perhaps now obligatory aggressive shoving match at the front of stage broke out. But noting also the controlled aggression of the new album, the unhinged nature and more direct aggression of ‘Vive La Guerre’ was a perfect way to conclude the performance, with no encores to be contemplated or provided, despite the vigour of the crowd reaction.

The focus of the group in their presentation of specific theme within a live setting was further demonstrated when early in the set the two assisting ‘commandos’ were instructed to hand out white versions of the ‘Por Una Vida Libre / Grupos de Autodefensa’ t-shirts to select members of the audience, where interestingly this very action threatened to pull focus away from stage as there were minor scuffles as audience members attempted to procure one of these ‘exclusive’ Genocide Organ rarities. However for those who did receive a t-shirt, they were instructed to put in on immediately so as to show faith to the cause, but were then specifically targeted later in the set by Brigant Moloch when he entered the crowd to apply camouflage face paint to such marked audience members. When noting such attention to detail of how the music and themes presented on stage, conceptually it was extremely strong and perfectly executed and far from being a mere live rendition of new album tracks.

By way of an observation regarding stage performance and aggression, it is widely recognized that the group demonstrated an extremely violent and visceral approach on stage in their earlier days; where this early phase of the project is documented on the Heavy Electronics: Two Days of Agony VHS (a live recording made at the 1993 Heavy Electronics festival where the project performed). What is evidenced on this video stands in stark contrast to what can be witnessed on stage in the current era; where there is a much more reserved and calculated stage performance element; and where the violence and aggression is implied through posture, gesture and imposing stage presence as embodied by Wilhelm Herich and Brigant Moloch. Although some elements of the audience were effectively wanting to see the group of yesteryear, to my mind this is completely missing the point of how the project have evolved their sound and thematic approach over the last 2 decades, where the Genocide Organ of today absolutely demands focus and attention based on the strength of their stage presence.

Another observation to be made of the performance followed on from a conversation with Klaus (Wilhelm Herich) after the show, where it was confirmed that and the total live performance concept was intended to be delivered at Tower Transmission V last year, (i.e. prior to the actual release of “Obituary of the Americas’), and at the time would have been the first time anyone heard the new material from the group. Despite this scenario not eventuating, it perhaps allowed the majority of the audience to be well acquainted with the new album, where for me the TTVI performance functioned to reinforce how strong the themes underpinning ‘Obituary of the Americas’ are.

The only this left to say is that having waited for many years to see Genocide Organ live, with their total commitment it resulted in an amazing performance which will be etched in my memory for a long time to come.g12g1 g2 g3 g4 g5 g6 g7 g8 g9 g10 go13


Noting the totality of Genocide Organ’s performance it must have been a potentially daunting task for Einleitungszeit to follow and to effectively close the festival. Yet this in the end was not an issue at all, given they completely embodied and owned their own unique approach. Although another project I have not extensively followed, Einleitungszeit are a Slovak-Czech ‘power industrial noise band’ which presents a sort of ‘industrial theatre’ type approach (…and which even including a ‘chorus line’ bow at the end of the show). With the 5 members utilising a wide variety of stage costumes (including body paint, gas masks, radiation suits, cyborg face-masks etc.), a clear impression was provided of a post apocalyptic/ nuclear fallout type theme, which itself is reflective of the country of origin and that key original members would have grown up during the cold war era. Further stage antics included aggressive dual male/ female vocals, fire breathing (i.e. directly in the faces of the front row audience), and sprayed arcs of metallic sparks generated from sheet metal and angle grinder abuse. Sonically it was partially rhythmic and totally chaotic with its wild industrial/ noise/ junk metal abuse approach, where the over the top nature of both costumes and performance meant it was an extremely engaging show. Straddling a playful and bizarre yet equally serious approach, it was all very entertaining and in the process allayed any concern of how a project could possibly following Genocide Organ, given the project completely owned their own unique approach.e4e2e1e8e3e9 e6 e5


Returning to Tower Transmissions for a second year running was again a pleasure, and thankfully the niggling sound issues at the 2015 event were completely rectified this year, with all acts sounding excellent (…both in terms of clarity and volume). The organisers of Tower Transmissions should again be commended for pulling together an excellent festival lineup, and while not all acts were necessarily to my personal liking that is also missing the point. Clearly the organisers have sought to pull tougher a diverse roster of acts from the various genre corners of the broader post-industrial underground, which also provides opportunity for newcomers, current projects and long standing acts to share the stage. From this perspective Tower Transmission VI was another total success and personally provided more than ample performances that were specifically targeted my music tastes and interests. The festival providing an opportunity to chat with various friends and long-term contacts in person, which such opportunities for me are few and far in-between. Until next time? We shall see.


More Neuro Azzolut photos from all acts available: here

Alfarmania – Vid Sömnens Sista Tråd

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Alfarmania – Vid Sömnens Sista Tråd MC Styggelse 2016

This is a less limited tape edition of the impossible to find 7”ep released by 8EMINIS in a ridiculous edition of 20 lathe cut copies (…I hear a second edition of 20 copies was issued, but I could not validate the truth of that). At least now the music is more widely available given Kristian of Alfarmania has issued another version on tape (with bonus material), via his own Styggelse imprint.

The first track ‘Vid Sömnens Sista Tråd’ features crumbling atonal modulated synth layers, an underbelly of cavernous junk metal chaos and rough vocals barks from the depths of the asylum.  Fantastic stuff.  ‘Kvick I Jord’ is the next track, and features a broadly metallic creaking resonance and interweaving mid to high range wailing/ droning tones, as stilted bass thumbs bed down the loose structure. ‘Lomsk’ is the last of the tracks featured on the 7”ep, consisting of radio channel scanning noise, sustained burrowing textures and spoken samples again pushing atmospheres of dread and unease to the fore.  The bonus material then consists of ‘En Otrampad Stig’, which was originally featured on compilation tape associated with the United Forces of Industrial II festival from 2015.  This track is more stalking in atmosphere, where it take its time in elevating the tone.  Atonal synth loop provides the backing for controlled yet squalling noise and the barked vocals of the mentally deranged, all wrapped up in deep mineshaft tone.  There is also an unlisted 5th tracks, which is evidently an outtake from an earlier ‘Slutstationen’ compilation tape recording session and brings more Alfarmania induced anxiety.

By now you should appreciate what might be expected from an Alfarmania release and this tape delivers as strong material from the project as you should by now expect, which ultimately amounts to classic Alfarmania ‘post-mortem’ paranoia.  Double sided fold out J card with suitable imagery rounds out the tape nicely, and the slogan of “No To New Support” is a nice attitude and sentiment.

Shocktilt Magazine – Issue 2#

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Shocktilt Magazine – Issue 2# Styggelse 2016

Back in 2006 the first issue of Shocktilt was published (spanning 2 separate volumes in A5 at 80 pages each), with a tagline of: “a publication devoted to the more extreme aspects of the 80s cassette-culture”.  For whatever reason at the time I initially snoozed on tracking down a copy, and then when I did, it had already sold-out and is now impossible to find (attention: if anyone has a copy lying around they want to get rid of, please drop me a line).  Having regretted this lapse of judgement ever since, I at least now have a copy of issue 2# – published a decade on from the first, which this time is published in A4 format and 64 pages in length.

To compare visual style, whereas noise receptor journal seeks for clean layout and design, Shocktilt skews this with its all-out underground ‘zine visual assault.  With its rough layout and cut and paste ‘artwar’ aesthetic, it harks back to the look and feel of the 80’s industrial underground (…and carries it design aesthetic as a badge of honor).  The design is of course ‘no-frills’ and the binding is no more than two staples along the spine, which again is in line with a ‘back to basics’ ‘zine feel.  Thus with rough layout and crude artwork aesthetic, the attitude of the writing and context is suitably course (…which is meant as a direct compliment).  Also containing of a scrap book mentality of sorts, issue 2# features multiple interviews along with a wealth of ‘archival’ content in the form of reproduced flyers/ artwork (dating through the years to the 80’s) and inserts taken from various releases, along with various previously published and unpublished live photos.

With the small scale of font and the reduced size of archival material, Shocktilt 2# is absolutely jammed packed with artwork, photos and articles from both known underground projects and entities, as well as providing a wealth of information on a range of far more obscure acts, which might otherwise be assigned to the dustbin of history. A selected list of content includes: Deviation Social (interview), Proiekt Hat/ Hatband (interview), Korpes Katatonik/ Zero Kama/ Nekrophile Rekords (archival material), Ulex Xane (interview), John Murphy tribute, Con-Dom (archival material), Genocide Organ (archival material), Grey Wolves (archival material), Thurneman (interview), Blood Ov Thee Christ/ Club Moral (live photos) (…noting there is still FAR more content than listed here).

As for the version I have, it the one released directly by Styggelse, but another version is to published as a part of split issue the French ‘Neons’ ‘zine (where I understand Shocktilt will be printed as a folded A3 to avoid the A4 spine staples).  But as a ‘bonus’ to the Styggelse edition, my copy came with an additional  A5 ‘addendum’ booklet, containing a further selection of flyers, artworks and related content.  Regardless of whichever edition you track down, don’t make the mistake I did with missing Shocktilt 1#. A mandatory printed underground industrial publication.

Trapdoor Tapes 2015 / 2016 batch

splitSTIRWLCSS

Mshing / Sentenced to Life – split MC Trapdoor Tapes 2016

Luke Holland – Stir MC Trapdoor Tapes 2016

World of Life Church SS – The Ceremony of Life and Death MC Trapdoor Tapes 2015

The first tape for review sees two obscure Australian projects Mshing and Sentenced to Life team up to each take a side of the tape each.  Mshing is the solo project of Luke Holland (also of Armour Group) and delivers a live recording or as it is referenced on the cover ‘Live Assault 2015/2013’.  Commencing with a cyclic death industrial throb it hits an early groove, but then moves into more obscure grinding noise industrial territory with semi-buried samples and gruff vocalizations. While the track is decent enough, with the distant muffled sound of the recording it only serves to hint at the actual live performance/s being of far greater volume and sonic impact.  Sentenced for Life take up the flip side, with the single track ‘Despertar De La Bestia’ and presents an atmospheric ‘post-mortem’ soundscape of muffled layered analogue filth.  Featuring a broadly cyclic approach, there is an interweaving interplay between the layered elements which generates an excellent complexity of rumbling industrial distortion, revving drones, distant sirens, cavernous clatter and indistinguishable voices.  This is both a strong track and the highlight of this tape given its murky and immersive qualities.

On the ‘Stir’ MC, Luke Holland goes it alone (again) but here functioning under his own name.  Compared to the last solo tape ‘Decomposition’, this time around he has taken a rougher, a more caustic industrial-noise approach.  With the single 16 minute track (repeating on both side), the squalling mid to high pitched chaotic noise is coupled with a deluge of dialogue samples.  Featuring a sense of improvised urgency the samples are then taken from Australian 1980s film ‘Stir’, referencing prison life, outsider attitude and cut throat violence. Some ritualistic clanging elements change up the sound mid piece to offset the more intense and sustained background distortion, while the piece bleeds out into looser, scattered abstract across the last section before abruptly cutting out.  Noting the driving urgency this tape of greater impact that than the ‘Decomposition’ recording.

Lastly, the World of Life Church SS tape features 5 untitled tracks in all, the first track being driven by a direct militant industrial ‘beat’, around which scattered noise and distortion interweave, all capped off with barked/ spat distorted vocals.  Rough and direct it is an excellent opening, while later tracks are broadly looser and more chaotic in their rough analog approach: essentially charting a course in a broad spheres relating to scattered noise-industrial to overblown power electronics squall.  With a sound which is a perfect fit for the obscure sounds Trapdoor Tapes is known, this delivers strong results, although admittedly it sounds more like a solo or duo project, than otherwise might be expected from a project featuring 4 members.