Flirting with issues of fascism, race and religion is hardly anything new to the genre. Take seminal act Mental Destruction for example whose rhythmic poundings try to reign down some old Testament fire and brimstone upon all the sinning unbelievers. Genocide Organ take on the role of the ultra-right and despite being commonly mistaken for the real thing, do so purely as a postmodern attack against. Detecting when the uniform is worn with burning sincerity versus being a disguise for subversive intent is often difficult if not impossible as well as being highly dependent on the political bent of the listener. With Barzel I myself detect zero sarcasm making this militant Jewish industrial the perfect soundtrack for Israeli settlers dabling in ethnic cleansing or those just yearning for some ideological pornography to get beneath their thick skin.
The 9 tracks here (plus a short intro blurt) blast through 48 minutes filled with burning oil and billowing smoke. As one would hope from the byline, the focus here is on martial music based around heavy industry and themes of racial / religious pride. Lyrically the tracks are crammed with historical references to the birth of Israel, go words like “honour” and “Zionism” and the same sort of creepy hate fueled fanaticism that drives both the JDL and WAR alike. Still, there is less focus on the “other” and more on self agrandizment, militant empowerment and nationalism.
Instrumentation is formed using rough loops and line noise in the finest industrial traditions and bears an immediate gritty authenticity sometimes missing from our progressively more software driven scene. Structurally songs roll along like bulldozers through a refugee camp with the destruction sometimes painfully close while at others as if seen via a poorly recepted newscast on pirate television. It’s all very noisy, crude and with particles of sand and ash irritating any and all smooth surfaces.
The sound quality on this disc works both ways. Its lo-fi, at times utterly bombed out profile mixed with the thematic hate spewing forth like hornets from a disturbed nest is at times almost frightening in how it displays raw malice with so little emotion. The lack of full spectrum oomph however makes this world a little smaller and distant, like driving by a serious accident instead of being spattered across the wreckage at its epicenter.
Comparisons would immediately lead off to acts like Survival Unit though the level of rhythmic structure adds some MZ.412 like momentum to the power electronics and old school industrial. While I think a different approach at the mastering stage might have increased the circulation to the extremeties, what’s here is still quite effective as a (perhaps unsavory) motivational tool.
As I tend to follow events in the middle east, I’m not a disinterested bystander which means that ideologically I see zero difference between Likud and the Gestapo besides surface dress code aesthetics. For me Barzel fill the jack boots of an anti-hero which does lend the work a forbidden taste I am not immune to. For hardcore Zionists from the JDL mold this release may provide the equivalent service that Resistance Records does for dented head neo-nazis. But unlike every bit of bonafide white pride flotsam I’ve heard, Barzel places art high above the politics. So even if your point of view is from beneath the butt of an Israeli rifle, it is hard to resist this call to arms.
Jewish culture and history, I’m shamed to say, I know very little about. I know that for some reason, which I still can’t fathom out, the Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of time. I’m also aware of the atrocities and genocide that the Jews have had to tolerate in the 20th century and that hatred hasn’t disappeared even today. That is the sum of my pitiful knowledge.
When I saw the cover stating “Militant Jewish Industrial” I was slightly worried that here might be a propaganda exercise put to music that would be off-putting to those intolerant of all things Jewish. Forget those preconceptions. Put aside your religious bigotry and just enjoy a great piece of power electronics. Barzel work very much within the styles of Propergol, Folkstorm, Today I’m Dead etc. Utilising samples from radio / film and distorted vocals over ear crunching noise this recording will go down as a classic amongst fans of this genre. Huge waves of reverberation threaten to blow up the speakers as the sonics go into overload mode. Throbbing with the power and energy of a nuclear blast the music of Barzel deserves a place within anyone’s collection. Awesome in other words.
Clear your mind, clear your room of precious ornaments, and be prepared to experience the second coming in power / noise electronics.