Zyklon SS – Racial Superiority LP Viva Angel Press 2019
After numerous releases since the debut cassette in 2014 (including: various tapes + CD reissues, a further live CD, a DVD, 7”ep and 10” ep), Racial Superiority is billed as the formal debut album from the project. To then make mention of the ZSS’s previously self-described ‘war against moral remediation’, the fact this is issued on a label from China functions to up the stakes and amplify the confusion around what is the actual meaning and message of the project, particularly when taken context of its title. This situation is then further reinforced by the statement on the back cover which notes: ‘wielded in faith, illusion is the ultimate weapon’.
From the liner notes, the material which forms the eight tracks of the album were recorded and assembled over ten years spanning 2008 to 2018, which technically speaking the earlier years predate the first release from the project. But sonically this sit squarely within the ongoing evolution of the project’s sound, where it displays a further reduction of the raw noise and increase of the structured and brooding industrial elements. Thus with the incessantly oscillating noise and slowly grinding loops, the prevalent atmosphere of this album is one of laboured and morose stasis, and quite noticeably only five tracks featuring the morbid toned phaser/ flanged vocals.
On Side A, the admittedly excellent vocals are sparing used and only feature on one track, given two tracks are instrumental, while a fourth Ascension Cycle then utilises a prominent looped sample of the Lord’s Prayer atop cavernous rumbling loops and ominous industrial soundscape backing. Given the use of controlled restraint, it is not until the end of Side B when the mood shifts towards blood boiling intensity, with the final two tracks providing suitable tension release. We Belong To The Lord brings the goods with a mid-paced waivering drone and ominously pounding beat, as the brutal and antagonistic processed vocals rip through the centre of the mix. Bullets Of Flesh rounds out the album a steps up another notch with a forceful and militant beat, and incessant industrial drones, while the phaser treated vocals generate a clear anthemic quality.
In a general sense the atmosphere feels perhaps overly subdued on initial listens, but on repeated listens gives ways to a mood of controlled tension created through careful restraint. But when played at suitably high volume the massively seething bass layers add a solid sonic punch. Thematically the album appears to be mostly focused on religion, belief and fanaticism, while the overall mood and feel of the album draws a clear parallel to Genocide Organ’s The Truth Will Make Your Free album from 1999, which itself was a clear exercise in control and restraint, as is mirrored here. Limited to only 100 copies, this was promptly sold out, so will no doubt be highly sought after, but don’t despair as it would seem that a CD reissue on Freak Animal is already planned.