Untergeschoss of Filth, Violence & Terror

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Sewer Goddess – Hymns Of Infliction CD Filth and Violence / Terror 2015

Snuff – III CD Untergeschoss / Filth and Violence 2015

S.T.A.B. Electronics – Born For Righteous Abuse / Temple Of Self-Disgust CD Untergeschoss / Filth and Violence 2015

With reference to the modern mantra that ‘nothing is shocking anymore’, Filth and Violence have seemingly taken this sentiment as a direct challenge to see how far they can push matters of unsavoriness and distaste within the underground (…or failing that, perhaps the agenda is more personal and is all about reveling in squalor and finding beauty in humiliation and depravity?). Regardless of the label’s motivations, here we have a few more examples of visual filth and audile violence from their roster, but with all of these albums’ having been co-released with either Untergeschoss (also from Finland) or Terror (from Lithuania).

‘Hymns Of Infliction’ from Sewer Goddess is up first and an intriguing listen given this recording steps back into the murky past of the project and when their sound was staunchly death industrial and essentially the solo project of Kristen Rose. This album represents the project at a time before an evolution into a full band formation to encompass a honed guitar/ drumkit driven death industrial approach (as showcased with scalpel sharpness on the latest offering ‘Painlust’). For this album the contents are derived from 2008-2009 and feature 8 tracks at a total length of 34 minutes. Dank and foreboding death industrial soundscapes are the central sonic preoccupation, driven by grim distortion, mechanized loops, dank pounding structures and smatterings of dialogue samples. Although vocals are not present on all tracks, where they do feature they range from wailing screeches and screams through to a more understated spoken drawl. Perhaps lacking the direct and focused impact when compared to current material, this is still a strong collection death industrial musings and far from being disposable ’throw away’ material.

Moving on to Snuff’s album, having not heard ‘I’ or ‘II’ from the group I am not sure how ‘III’ compares, although the group can easily be bracketed alongside the quintessential disturbing sounds and thematic visual approach of what might be coined as ‘Finnish filth’ which characterized a large bulk of Filth and Violence’s output. Generally speaking this is power electronics at its nastiest, based on rough, crude and overblown distortion. Likewise with the degree of erupting feedback and general sonic cacophony, it very much sounds like a live in studio recording derived from large banks of bass amps to inflate the distortion to extreme levels. Being relatively loose and unpolished in execution this has been performed in a way to create a sickeningly filthy atmosphere, which is accentuated by the ragged and gruff vocals, which here features the dual attack of two separate and distinctive vocalists, often repeating the same vocal lines. However for all its overblown intensity, a couple of tracks do take more subdued routes of stalking restraint. With this approach it delivers a disturbing and morbid tone, which is accentuated by the looped sample of a child’s voice speaking Finnish on the opening untitled track, or the a gruff male voice on the late album track ‘Driven’ which repeatedly states: “I can give you a ride” (…along with other statements which hint at far darker scenarios). Regardless of whether being in aggressive or restrained guise, Snuff deliver unhinged power electronics at its most depraved. You have been warned.

Up last and similar to the Sewer Goddess CD, the S.T.A.B. Electronics is a CD release of the two earliest tapes from the project. But following some background investigation it seems that ‘Temple of Self Disgust’ was originally issued in 2010 as a 12 track self-released promo CDr, which was then released as two separate tapes by Filth and Violence.  All 12 original tracks are featured on this CD, which showcases S.T.A.B. Electronics at a time when their sound and approach was being bedded down. With raw grit and general aural nastiness these noise infused power electronic recordings are notably less honed and focused than later albums.  As such the raw aggression and spiteful level of hatred displayed exceeds even that of later albums, which pushes the atmosphere here into all encompassing and emotionally draining realms. On selected tracks such as ‘Born For Righteous Abuse’ there is a rather large similarity to the works of Con-Dom, by featuring a bulldozing ‘barely structured’ noise-scape, coupled with whipping flange treatment of the vocals. So although later material from the group illustrates a more individually distinctive sound (both sonically and vocally), this album is still a strong early statement of intent and of clear interest to see where the project has evolved to from these early works.

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Concrete Mascara – Relic Of Vanity / Sick Seed – Helsingin Synagogat / Graustich – Werwolf Integrity

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Concrete Mascara – Relic Of Vanity 7”ep Filth & Violence / Untergeschoss 2012

Sick Seed – Helsingin Synagogat 7”ep Filth & Violence / Untergeschoss 2013

Graustich – Werwolf Integrity 7”ep Filth & Violence / Untergeschoss 2014

Here is a handful of 7”ep’s which have been co-released via the two underground Finnish labels Filth & Violence and Untergeschross. Although each release can be broadly slotted under the power electronics/ industrial genres, they also differ drastically in sound and approach, thus demonstrating the diversity which can be achieved under such genre classifications. Diverse vehement malice if you will.

Up first is Concrete Mascara (with this being my first introduction to the project), who incidentally hail from the US.  From this release they clearly operate at the brutal and nasty end of power electronics and industrial noise. ‘Vapour Slave’ opens the 7”ep and works on almost on two separate levels, where this forms an amalgam of mid to high range squalling and punishing noise, which floats over a crushing bass rumble and anguished vocal attack. Weighty to say the least. ‘Pylons of Skin’ is found on the flip side, and here maintains a similar dual layered approach, balancing ear shredding high-pitched noise and a wall of crushing bass and chaotic oscillating textures.

Up next is Sick Seed with their ‘Helsingin Synagogat’ 7”ep, where they embody a rather different approach for what the project might be recognized for. The opening title track is pretty much a direct industrial ‘song’, being built around crude cave man styled bass playing, squelching feedback loop and screeched/ yelled vocals, with a later segment getting even more loose with a chaotically riffed electric slide guitar (?!?). Strange, strange indeed. Side B brings a more ‘standard’ Sick Seed approach on the blink and you will miss it ‘Teeth Pt.2’ (only 1.22 minutes in length), which brings junk metal rumble, random power tool generated sounds and yelled vocals (…for interest’s sake part 1 of ‘Teeth’ was of similar style/ length and issues on the split release with Shift). The final of three tracks ‘Angel Smith’ then reverts back to the weird. Here sparse and distant junk metal clatter are accompanied by loose twangy acoustic guitar and spoken vocals to create an ‘industrial folk’ version of Finnish noise (?!?). Noting that this track is dedicated to the ‘outsider’ folk/ blues musician Jandek, this is at least an explanation for the deviation of sound.

Up last are Graustich, who are yet another previously unknown project, but based on this 7”ep are a very promising act. On the first track ‘Es Geht Wieter’ it is introduced with a WWII radio sample, which bleeds into an undercurrent of oscillating textures, complimented with a pounding militant industrial beat, swooping aircraft bomber samples, and flanged partially buried vocals to create a simplistic yet entirely effective industrial/ power electronics sound. ‘The Roots of Evil’ follows with a heavier oscillating bass rumble and thundering catatonic beat, before a crushing wall of distortion seeps into the mix. On side B ‘Werwolf’ is more animated with thick mid-range burrowing pulse and squelching noise, German language samples, queasy descending atonal notes, and loose militant styled percussion. Although Graustich embody a relatively straight forward (semi-subdued) power electronics approach, all sonic elements are handled with skill with maximum effect.

In a general sense none of these 7″ep’s would qualify as ‘gateway’ releases for those uninitiated to the power electronics genre, but that is far from the point. Obviously both Filth & Violence and Untergeschoss are both intent on releasing the nastiest examples of power electronics/ industrial noise for the educated underground connoisseur, with each of these 7”ep’s being clear examples of this modus operandi.

Shift – Hatet / Misären

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Shift – Hatet / Misären 7”ep Untergeschoss / Filth  & Violence 2013

Evidently this 7”ep represents Shift’s ode to Malmö – and this is not meant as a celebration, given the words of the artist: “This is part one of my tribute to Malmö, the shithole I come from.”

Hatet-Misären (Kackerlackorna)’ takes the lead and is straight forward and menacing in atmosphere with mid toned static drones, cavernous slow pounding beat, radio chatter (in Swedish?) and buried vocals which ramp up during various sections throughout (…random car horns and traffic noise leads the track to its conclusion).  ‘Motstånd-Handling (Duscha Först, Gasa Sen)’ takes up the flip side and starts with more radio samples (…again Swedish?), but is heavier and more forceful than side A.  Here the track is focused on a cascading/ crumbling layers of distortion, along with sporadically used harsh vocals.  There is little to no variation in the track, just a great example of a forceful and barely composed power electronics style, underscored with harsh distortion charged vocals.

Short and sharp ‘Hatet / Misären’ sees Shift in fine, if not slightly looser and regressive form (given the tracks appear less refined than other current material), but still delivering two harsh and no-frills power electronics tracks.  The cover constitutes a photocopied sheet which suits this lo-fi and well executed 7”ep, issued in a limitation of 200 copies.