Himukalt – Come October

Himukalt – Come October MC Found Remains 2018

Following quickly on the heals of the recent Knife Through The Spine vinyl LP issued on Malignant Records, Come October is the sixth release since 2016 from Himukalt, which is the solo project of Nevada based Ester Kärkkäinen.

With a sound that is rough and decidedly gritty, the analogue derived tones are soot and rust infused, while the vocals feature as emotional and bile drenched (aka echo distorted/ treated). Minimal structure is employed throughout, based around crude abstracted rhythmic programming, choppy static, shuddering distortion and occasional tonal blasts, but the end result is an industrial noise ‘post-mortem’ style than anything typically of a harsh noise variety. The minimalist approach to sound and composition gives a clear nod to the likes of the psychological and death obsessed sounds Atrax Morgue, while the sonic treatment of vocals renders them for tonal impact rather than decipherable intent. Yet based on their at times pained delivery, I gather their lyrical content functions for a degree of personalized catharsis that anything resembling a role for externalized ‘entertainment’.

Opening track Ruined-Raped is an absolute stormer and functions to illustrate Ester’s command of compositional restraint, as well as the perfect execution of controlled tension in building it to a liberating release. Again and Again is another standout track, structured around a rhythmic percussive junk metal loop, upon which fluttering textures, distortion smears and treated agonized vocals are laid, where all elements are gradually elevated in intensity over its elongated length. Apology uses composed minimalism in the best way possible, where wavering tonal elements, needling drones and apathetic but heavily treated vocals gradually makes way for throbbing beat before abruptly concluding. For the late track No Longer Her Dominant, a pathological atmosphere pervades proceedings, which carefully balances the minimalism of its tonally droning sonics, where it is also the only track where the spoken vocals are (partially) decipherable.

In a relatively short space of time Ester has clearly garnered positive attention within the underground, which is solely down to the strength and intensity of her output. With six tracks feature on Come October, and running to just short of 40 minutes it makes it an effective album length tape, and is as good a place as any to either be introduced to or otherwise better acquainted with Himukalt. For the physical edition, the tape is professional printed, with clean graphic design, and comes with a download code for those so inclined.

Advertisements

Various Artists – Certified Dead

Various Artists – Certified Dead CD Death Continues Records 2018

Much like printed ‘zines, physical compilation albums are considered redundant formats in the minds of the majority, which is primarily based on the perceived convenience of the internet to be able to quickly check out pretty much any artist or release. Yet that attitude completely misses the point of the compilation format when it is able to maintain coherence around a theme, sound and approach. Certified Dead is one such compilation which clearly understands the strengths of the format, concept and artist and track selection.  As such Certified Dead harks back to the classic 1990’s Death Odors I & II compilations on Slaughter Productions, given it has collected together a stellar collection of ten known and more obscure projects.

Relative newcomer Arum Lilies (Australian project of Mark Groves) opens the compilation with Martin Luther, where a minimalist wonky piano line and creaking/ micro-tonal textures combine with tensile effect, prior to the whispered vocals providing a creepy psychological/analytical edge. Being clearly cut from the same sonic cloth as his recent debut Dismal Fantasies (also on Death Continues Records) this track is noted to be of equal standing. Brighter Death Now follow and although Dead Boy does not really match the quality much of his back catalogue, it sonically differs by being cleaner and perhaps more digital than his usual sound, where the throbbing looped structure is offset with apathetic spoken vocals. Grunt’s track Cadaver also deviates in sound from the current material from the project, where this track is a great deal murkier given its swirling mass of caustic noise, punctuated by vocals ranging from whispers to agonized screams. While Necromondo is a previously unknown project, their offering Cadaver Obedience delivers a grim piece of instrumental droning and interweaving oscillations. For Sutcliffe Jugend’s Beyond Perverse, it features experimental scrabbling textures, cavernous drones and thudding overblown bass, while perhaps as expected the vocals bring angst and aggression. On Anapath In Search of Death delivers an excellent death industrial piece, built around revving conveyer belt mechanized loops to generate a general mood of chocking soot and ash, which provides the sonic backdrop for a sample of mortician narrates an autopsy procedure. Great stuff! Femeheim are next and are one of the newer projects featured, where on their track Kältetod it features controlled and intertwined buzzing and oscillating loops, while the spoken vocals are a standout element and provide a morbid edge (achieved through apathetic delivery and a sonically wet treatment). On Wertham’s instrumental track Mourning The Loss Of My Own Shadow, it forgoes the usual bulldozing wall of sound approach and instead opts for an excellent atmospheric industrial noise sound of layered swilling loops and caustic metallic debris and with clearly room to breathe within the mix, the driving loops gradually build with elevating effect. Another Italian act Today I’m Dead follows and given the project appears to have been inactive since around 2004, I am unsure to if their track What A Pleasant Place is a new recording or archival. Regardless of this the piece fits within a minimalist Italian power electronics style with crude basic structure and a higher pitched central tone resembling a wailing air raid siren and spoken vocals being semi buried within the mix. Perhaps the best offering is left to the last, where on Savagely Mauled Crucifixion Genocide Organ pull no punches with a direct track of pulsing/ driving loops, fluttering textures, morse-code bleeps, angst filled crown samples crowd and heavy as fuck vocal proclamations. Both aggressive and maudlin in mood, Genocide Organ (again) convincingly demonstrate their mastery of a straightforward and direct approach.

As alluded to in the introductory passage, Certified Dead is something of a modern answer to the classic Slaughter Productions Death Odors I & II compilation, while it is also pleasing to see that some of the more obscure acts have turned in contributions to equal or exceed those of more established and recognized names. Overall this is certainly a thematically coherent and sonically enjoyable compilation. As a final comment, I do wonder if the title is a nod to a track of the same name from Brighter Death Now’s classic album Great Death?

Alfarmania & Proiekt Hat – Flugornas Herrar

Alfarmania & Proiekt Hat – Flugornas Herrar MC Styggelse 2017

The prolific collaboration between Alfarmania and Proiekt Hat rolls on with Flugornas Herrar released in time to coincide with their performance at Tesco 30th Anniversary Festival. This new album length tape follows on from 2016’s honed and rather short Mardrömd Dödsström LP (reviewed here), and shifts gears into a sprawling long form format spanning 16 tracks and over 80 minutes of material. The liner notes then reveal the material itself was recorded between 2010-2017, while the title appropriately translates to: ‘The Lord of the Flies’. As an initial general observation Flugornas Herrar pairs back on the more urgent sonic elements of prior collaborative material, the general mood of the album is one of slow stalking morbidity and controlled psychedelic angst. 

On side A (its subtitle translating to: “Though Enchanting Atmospheres”), an early track In the Dungeon of Solitude plays out as the duo’s interpretation of the early death ambient approach of Brighter Death Now (aka Great Death era), with its two note plodding bass, creaking metallic textures and garbled vocal chants. Then on Life-Extinguisher of Multitudes the wavering sonic tones, grinding synth lines, sparse symbol crashes and deep bass addled elements elevate the mood slightly, while the fantastically titled Soul Searching at Gunpoint, demonstrates how a darkly morbid tone can be generated with minimal of sonic elements. Rain of Oblivion round out the first side of the tape with a short piece based on a wonky synth line and myriad of looped elements. Effective and to the point.

Like the translated subtitle “Through Oppressive Atmospheres” of Side B suggests, the mood takes a downward turn on an already negative tangent. Featuring a collection of tracks with a heavier grinding approach, this includes Genom Förtryckande Atmosfärer with its grim tone which builds to heavy sonic intensity, and the invasive tonal shards and creaking metallic resonance of Abnormal Gestation Termination. Late album track  Magplask I Ett Bollhav Av Glödlampor rates a mention given its general sonic negativity, while another short track Soot Gruel focuses on pulsing and interweaving synth elements of queasy tonality.  To then conclude the tape, the suitably titled Exact Moment Of Death Prolonged A Thousand Times features a hypnotic vortex of spiralling mid-toned synth lines, creaking metal and a dour organ sounding element to create yet more top notch material.

It a general sense it would seem that the pairing of the minds or Mr Alfarmania and Mr Proiekt Hat and functions in such a way that high calibre material is generated with apparent ease, particularly given the wealth of material which has been issued in recent years.  While this tape functions as a collection of individual tracks, there is still distinct flow between each piece, where final track ordering would also appear to have been carefully planned. Packaging wise, it consists of an 8 panel fold out J-card with suitably grim artwork and layout courtesy of Mr Alfarmania. Without it being a case of Flugornas Herrar being ‘better’ or an ‘improvement’ on earlier material, this is simply on an equal level to what has come before, meaning it is another mandatory release from the duo.

Alfarmania / Proiekt Hat – Mardrömd Dödsström

am

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.

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

arbhcod

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

botc ko

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

ttvi


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


autodesensa


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.

sick1 sick2 sick3 sick4


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