Archive for May 23, 2009

Born To Destroy Amalek Reviews

Terror
I came across this project a couple of years ago and it happened because of themes of Barzel that provoked huge discussions here and there throughout the internet. As a matter of fact I was rather surprised too because this artist from USA, armed with pro-zionistic ideas, side by side with all the other politically oriented projects in the power electronics scene, takes a rather unique position. This album (amalek of all the many meanings it has, also means enemies of the Israel) “Born to Destroy Amalek” is the latest release of his, made on Israeli based label Topheth Propheth. It is the second album in the discography of the artist and it took five years to complete it since the debut one. It’s not new that releases that deal with extreme political attitudes are often depreciated “in principle” or so. I am not jewish and I will never fully understand the idea spreaded by Barzel, but by that what I see and what I hear, I can form an opinion that it is clearly fullfilled – beginning with the design of this album (the cover leaves no questions) and ending with almost full hour of hateful odes of power electronics, dedicated to enemies of Israel and to Israel itself. The sounds that I hear here are more dark philosophical thoughts than plain and straightforward brutality. The most aggressive song is “Born to Destroy Amalek”. Under thick shell of noises the title of the song is repeated like a mantra over and over again. In the very end of this song the sound becomes calmer and ends with several layers of samples and one unbinding phrase – “And the war went on”. Everything else in this album – gloomy visions, rich with samples, mostly from speeches and reports with the main idea – revenge. For the biggest part the mood itself is created because of these samples because the vocal is not used in so many songs. E.g. the song “Ha’ Shomer (The Guard)”. The sound – pulsating synth and two samples being braided on top of it. Two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth… Another such example – the last song in the album – “We Shall Wash Our Feet In The Blood Of The Wicked”. On moody musical/noisy background one idea is declared that the revenge is an important value. And yes, I wouldn’t like to describe one and every piece in this album – it is a bunch of dismal incitement for revenge, wishes of strength to Israel, slow, dark songs, from time to time dissecting ears with noisy salvos. Non typical, good and really powerful album the idea of which I see fully completed.

Judas Kiss
Written by Simon Collins

Power electronics is always highly aggressive, angry music, but it’s quite rare for that anger to be focused into a coherent ideological programme beyond the moral nihilism and misogyny which many power electronics acts indulge in. The New York-based project Barzel is a notable exception to this general rule, declaiming “Enemies of ZOG Beware!”, offering “Industrial Strength Zionism” and advocating a radical pro-Israeli stance. Born To Destroy Amalek is Barzel’s second album, following their debut release A Shield Of Defense And The Word Of The Son of Blood, also on Israeli label Topheth Prophet. ‘Amalek’ is a name traditionally used to refer to enemies of the Jewish people. Barzel’s MySpace page carries quotations from Meir Kahane, who, for those who don’t know, was an American rabbi, founder of the Jewish Defence League, and who held ultra-Zionist views which made him, roughly speaking, the Jewish equivalent of Ian Paisley.

It’s only fair to point out that I personally do not share Barzel’s pro-Zionist stance – like most of the people who stand outside this particular arena of conflict, I see wrongs being perpetrated by both Palestinians and Israelis in what seems like an endless cycle of violence and retribution. I spent some time in Israel in the early 90s, during the Intifada, and I’ve never seen so many guns in my life. So, having noted where Barzel is coming from, ideologically speaking, I’ll confine myself to talking about the music, which probably makes me a wimp and a coward, but hey, I’ll probably get a pro-Palestinian release to review next week, so I’d like to preserve some neutrality.

Born To Destroy Amalek contains ten tracks, weighing in at 56 minutes. After ‘Zion Ascendant’, a brief intro using vocal samples, the listener is pitched headlong into the
rumbling flamethrower gouts of combative noise and ear-splitting high frequencies of ‘Through Clouds Of Fire’. ‘Lone Wolves Of Zion’ is more restrained and minimal, with a chopping helicopter-like pulse rhythm providing a backdrop for heavily distorted vocals. The title track ‘Born To Destroy Amalek’ follows, with the title repeatedly spat out through a barrage of noise and feedback – a convincingly belligerent track, although British listeners are apt to find that a distorted mechanical voice shouting “Destroy!” conjures images of Daleks, rather than Israelites! ‘Ha’Shomer (The Guard)’ offers a quiet place of respite, with vocal samples arranged over a background drone: “Two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth.” ‘New Sicarii’, the longest track at over eight minutes, opens with what sounds like extremely distorted bass guitar, before moving into rhythmic loops of penetrating mid-frequency tones and corrosive buzzing. ‘Victory’ is an echo-filled composition of bass rumbles and vocal samples, ‘This Land Is Our Land (Greater Israel)’ overlays incessant loop rhythms with harsh, jagged eruptions of vocals and deep throbs, and ‘One Truth, Not Two’ returns to a more typical power electronics sound, with daunting sheets of textural noise and vocal samples. The album closes with ‘…We Shall Wash Our Feet In The Blood Of The Wicked’”, a lengthy piece which harks back to the restrained drones of ‘Ha’Shomer (The Guard)’.

Overall, Born To Destroy Amalek is an above average release, varied enough to sustain interest and with righteous anger to burn, with ‘Through Clouds Of Fire’ and ‘New Sicarii’ being the highlights of the set. It’s likely to find favour in the power electronics scene regardless of its political message. People who enjoy Slogun, Con-Dom, Fire In The Head, Streicher, Grunt or Sektion B will enjoy Barzel as well. The album comes in a nice matt-finish softpack, with a front-cover image of a muscular arm wielding a sword in defence of the Star of David. Copies ordered directly from Topheth Prophet also come with a bonus 3” disc containing one extra track.

Blood Ties

For those of you not in “the know” Barzel is a extremist Zionist power electronics unit twisting the more traditional conservative white power extremist stance that many pe projects espouse and putting his own Jewish Orthodox spin on things. This album comes at an interesting time to me as I just finished watching the film “Paradise Now” about 2 suicide bombers on the Palestinian side of things and the issues they faced while deciding their own fate. Now I get a taste of the “occupiers” side of things and it seems a bit harsh.

The general sound here is quite a lo-fi one, but there’s a lot of open space and room to breath in this recording which you don’t find as often in lo-fi recordings like this. The material in parts is as minimalist as the great power electronics project Death Squad, but at other times like in “Victory” I am reminded more of Morder Machine, good company for sure.

There are 10 tracks that make up Born to Destroy Amalek and I enjoy every one just fine. Some of the shorter tracks which feature political spoken word samples are mixed a bit too loud and the editing is somewhat shoddy on them, but they break things up and offer a little more depth to the concept so I tend not to mind them too much. The great thing about Born to Destroy Amalek is that it offers a good balance between pure power, harshness, and stranger more creative experimental styles which add much unique flavor to the album and make it more then just another pure pe release.

Probably the track that stands out the most due to the strange sounds is “This Land Is Our Land (Greater Israel)” which features a strange little repeating synth loop combined with yelled/almost whispered vocals, blasts of white noise, and a gurgling synth. The elements almost don’t even seem to match but there’s a few moments in Born to Destroy Amalek in which this is the case so it ties into the rest of the album succinctly.

As far as pure power goes the mark is hit in the title track “Born to Destroy Amalek” with the vocals just being very passionate and the noise which meshes together with competency being quite dynamic and varied. “New Sicarii” is yet another powerful track with strange alternating currents humming in a semi-rhythmic fashion to form a thick wall of hate.

The great thing about Born to Destroy Amalek is that it easily culls multiple listens with it’s variety of sounds and diversity of styles. I’m not really into the concepts as much here but they are presented with taste and focus both of which I can appreciate. As my first exposure to Barzel I am pleasantly satisfied and will be keeping an eye out for further propaganda issued by this artist.

Heathen Harvest
“And lo! On the eighth day God said ‘I perceive that it’s much too quiet around here…’ and so he divined that he should createth some noise. And lo! To cover up the quiet, God created he him Barzel. Perceiving Barzel and his works, God saith; “I have given life to Barzel to cover the quiet with noise, and I perceive that it is GOOD noise!’”

Indeed, judging from this latest opus from the Israeli noise-maker, he is also God’s appointed archangel of sonic destruction, laying to waste the enemies of the Chosen People through his solid barrages of sound. Regardless of how you view the merits or otherwise of Zionism or the tortured politics of the Near East, it’s undeniable that the sheer force of this album is built upon the ‘industrial strength Zionism’ that informs every piece on here. In my experience it’s apparent that Israel is a veritable hotbed of PE creativity, whether motivated by politics or not, and where it IS utilised in such material the passions engendered lend such outbursts an angry urgency in a very similar way that many acts harness the anger at both the perceived and apparent injustices of the Western world in their musical rants. What is immediately obvious here though is that Barzel manages to successfully marry his politico-religious views with a keen sense of composition and a feel for sound and the way it should be used to best effect.

In other words this isn’t just a simple case of all-out ear-raping noise just for the sake of it or for it to merely act as an incidental backdrop to vehemently spat out distorted vocals – instead Barzel has carefully constructed the platform from which to launch his vituperative attacks, and he has done so with a very obvious craft. While still making use of the flesh-grinding, skin-blistering, and brain-mushing sheets of angry grating machine noise and granularity, tethered to explosions and detonations of shockwave sound, creating the impression of massed aerial engines and weapons of war ranged on the field of battle, that constitute much of this genre, Barzel has nonetheless been careful to shape the sounds, so that while the anger and venom blast through easily enough, it isn’t a constant searing noise – I could even say that these approach being ‘proper’ songs.

Take a song like ‘Through Clouds of Fire’ as an example; sheets of cleansing fire billow outwards, singeing and blistering all within reach, exemplified by bursts of grainy detonations and their aftermaths, the searing heat roiling out in furnace intense heat-waves; aided and abetted by a piercing anguished scream of pain riding the billows, pain that is both descriptive of spiritual pain and also the righteous pain of an angered deity. All that remains of the battlefield is a smoking stench-ridden desert, where not even the carrion birds dare to venture. The title track ‘Born to Destroy Amalek’ (a reference to a tribe of peoples that the Biblical King David waged war against) doesn’t really leave much doubt as to what its intentions are; nuclear Armageddon and radioactive obliteration until nothing is left, plain and simple, and all suggested by the use of battering blankets of gritty noise and machine rumbles, overlaid with malice-soaked vocals. Likewise, the closing track, the eight minute ‘We Shall Wash our Feet in the Blood of the Wicked’, which is as quiet as it gets on here, proclaims “Revenge is an important value, the Talmud says that it is one of the greatest things: revenge is great” set against a stuttering rhythmical rasping beat underpinning a sinister hair-raising swathes of organ and echoed with what sounds like voices raised in shouted protest.

What I think of the sentiments expressed here is actually irrelevant, but I will admit to having certain reservations; however for the purposes of this review, whether I agree or disagree is not the issue and I remain strictly neutral. Indeed, the contents are almost telegraphed defiantly from the front of the striking cover (a hand grasping an upraised sword within a Star of David); no-one can accuse this of being shy about shouting from the rooftops, so if your sensibilities are easily offended or outraged, then stay firmly away. This is indeed militant and right up in-your-face close, brooking no argument; in fact you can probably feel its white-hot furnace-breath on your face it’s that close. On a purely superficial, and aesthetic, level (and ignoring the political), this grabs me by the balls and shakes me until my brains bleed – and for that reason alone I like it. I am walking a tightrope by declaring that, but from the point of view of the music itself, I stand by it.

Musique Machine
Born to Destroy Amalex is a Molotov cocktail of Death Industrial, power electronics and brooding/ grim atmospherics littered for military/religious dialogue samples.

This is this New York based projects second releases of what they call ‘Industrial Strength Zionism’ and It brought most to mind a more subdued, sample based and bleak ambient take on their noisy and roaring Israel label mate’s lietterschpich. This is a sonic landscape were jagged and dusty noise infected beats shimmer and sting with ominous and bleak oily synth melodies. Barked/ distorted and angered vocals pin you against the wall. To calmer but just as sick and hopeless lo-fi drones and desert machine gunned ambience slips and ebbs like mournful and quietly angry solider- as looped military/ religious text samples are circled. There’s a nice selection of pace of track through-out and while this is not the most original thing your likely to stumble across its effective, brutal and not with out it’s own atmosphere and identity.

Another worthwhile release from this Israel based label, This time expanding their catchment area beyond the middle east, but still keeping with-in the labels Firey remit.

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Roma & Yerushalayim Reviews

Heathen Harvest
Completely brutal and awesome Industrial release from these two projects. This is a feature-length release in a strange little EP sized package with one of those foam knobs to hold the CD that opens from the left. Drone Lebanon opens things up with the absolutely angry and harsh sounding “Old Cities, New Romans.” The entire release seems to be expressing the notion that Israel, through an overarching foreign policy exercised over the entire Earth, has become the new Roman Empire, in fact acting as an extension of the original Rome. Pretty interesting stuff. Drone Lebanon are an Israeli unit who utilize Hebrew music and iconography in a similar way to the early work of the group Laibach.

Playing both sides of the argument, Drone Lebanon very intelligently shows a good long look at the big picture. Depicting the realities of war and nationalism and brutal and harsh is simply telling it like it is. They also incorporate 80s-style synths much like early artists of the genre (SPK, TG, Monte Cazzaza) in a very effective manner. DL even manage to concoct a nursery-rhyme adaptation that is in no way hokey or stupid sounding. The final track from these guys, “The Third House Will Be Built From Stones From The Arch Of Titus,” works as an excellent sayonara from these guys, building up a tension that the other tracks play off of so well. Ultimately it is somewhat anticlimactic, and it definitely has me wanting to hear more from this project. It begins ends with some guy talking about the second coming of some Messiah guy. Very impressive and weird.

Wertham is a very talented Industrial/Noise guy from Italy named Wertham working with the great, underrated John Murphy (Kraang, Shining Vril, SPK, Whitehouse, Death In June, Knife Ladder, etc…). It is appropriately incredible. The two tracks on here are somewhat akin to a modernized version of the great work that Murphy did with Kraang, super-long psychedelic electro-noise excursions that journey through temples of destruction and beauty. “La Distruzione Del Tempio” harshes the listener for upwards to fifteen minutes, and the pain is quite enjoyable. The second and final track from Wertham, “Aelia Capitolina” is all-to-brief even at the hefty weight of six minutes. For fans of Industrial Records, Broken Flag, Come Organisation, et al, this is a fantastic and indispensable release. Highly recommended for repeated listens on the way to war.

Terror
Interesting split from Israeli label Topheth Propheth. Participators in this record – apocalyptic bourgeois from Israel Drone Lebanon and Wertham from Italy. They both present their emotions about two “sacred” cities of the world expressed through sounds. When I first heard about this album I thought that it would be some kind of a “battle” between two teams of power electronics. But let it be. Drone Lebanon opens this split with his 5 songs and this is the release where this artist presents the biggest number of his works in one album. He still hasn’t released full one, but took part in various compilations etc. But this split was done with Wertham and that says much. And my first impression about Drone Lebanon is really not bad. This creator brings interesting and good quality industrial/power electronics enriched with spices of Eastern folklore. E.g. the first piece begins with a folk song which lasts in background till the very end of it and gives some “spiritual” feeling to sounding noises and shouted vocals. As far as I noticed this is not completely unique case for the artists from these lands for rather often the sound of industrial goes together with folklore. The second piece again – enjoying of sound samples of horns or some similar instrument that later goes under noises and at the end song stays with pure melody like in the beginning. During the third song “Self Hating Jew” agressive vocal and noises are being mixed with even some sort of EBM/industrial beats I should say. As for me personally the last two songs of Drone Lebanon are the weaker part of the album. Their sound is rather sharp and digital. And also the feeling comes that the artist from Israel simply wanted to put a little too much of everything into these five songs. Two songs smell of Eastern landscapes, then we go through dancy beats and at last we arrive to some sort of digital experiments.
Wertham gives me to enjoy two pieces and stands securely in the side of Rome. The colleague from Foresta di Ferro and many other projects John Murphy has helped Wertham adding his vocals in this record. The first song – almost 16 minutes of good power electronics. It’s a pity that there are no lyrics, so the voice simly takes a function of one more instrument. Long, but not monotonic. Somewhat oppressing, but at the same time colorful contribution of Wertham to this split. The second song is more atmospheric. It fits with two tracks of Drone Lebanon from the very beginning of the album, though hides in much darker shadows between heavy rythms, religious samples and roughly trimmed record. Not bad contribution from Drone Lebanon and a good one from Wertham. All in all it is 50 minutes of diving to meditation in-between two “sacred” cities.

Vital Weekly
Two new albums from Topheth Prophet have been launched and once again it is seriously interesting materials that has been sent from the Israeli label. First album reviewed, belongs to some of the most interesting noise/power electronics heard for quite a while. Being a split CD, the album titled “Roma & Yerushalayim” presents two interesting artists from the power electronics scene, Israeli artist Drone Lebanon and Italian artist Wertham. Opening with Drone Lebanon, the opening track sends the listener into religious atmospheres of ritual chant. Shortly after religious act is being overwhelmed by crushing waves of destructive electronics wiping out any sign of musical tone. The combination of Middle-Eastern music culture and crushing symphonies is extremely effective. As the album develops, Drone Lebanon makes a slight change into more technoid sound worlds with the piece titled “Self hating jew” that reminds of early Wumpscut added some excellent black metal-sounding distorted vocals of Drone Lebanon. Other moments of Drone Lebanon takes the listener into ambient atmospheres, though don’t expect any sonic tranquillity from this guy. Second artist on the split album, Wertham, opens his part of the apocalyptic show with a sweet children’s choir, soon after completely destroyed by hordes of high frequency noise. The first piece from Wertham is a long epic piece of ambient noise, consisting of eastern chants, expressive noise moments, distant voices and buzz-drones. Though circulating in the same stylish spheres Wertham is slightly more subdued compared to the harsh sounds of Drone Lebanon. Though both artists should appeal to all listeners of grinding music.

Judas Kiss
Written by Simon Collins

The Israeli label Topheth Prophet has built up a cult reputation over the past few years for releasing thought-provoking and challenging industrial and electronic music, and this new split CD is constructed around a strong concept based on the nationality of the artists involved. Rome and Jerusalem were rival power centres in the ancient world, with starkly contrasting, even antagonistic, value systems. To quote the press release for this album: “The battle between Rome and Jerusalem continues through the ages. Spirituality vs. materialism, two cities, Civitate Dei vs. Sin City. But which is which?”

The first five tracks on Roma & Yerushalayim come from the Israeli power electronics act Drone Lebanon, the solo project of a musician called ch4. This is the first Drone Lebanon to have reached this reviewer’s ears, although there have been several previous cassette and compilation releases from 2002 onwards, and the Drone Lebanon website contains a statement of intent which is a lot easier to copy and paste than it is to summarise or understand, so here you go:

“Drone Lebanon supports the Apocalyptic Bourgeoisie lifestyle of escapistic Tiki lounge epistemology and realistic survivalism ontology, exotic cocktails and bomb shelters, occult office cubicle rituals and shopping mall transgressions, suburban bunkers and heavy-traffic-induced road rage, middle eastern redemption through hyper-hedonism and ultra-consumerism, outbursts of latent Jewish anxiety integrated with common bourgeoisie atrophy.”

Make of that what you will!

I don’t know for certain whether the artist behind Drone Lebanon is Jewish or Palestinian, and I’m not going to risk making a fool of myself by guessing and getting it wrong, but within these tracks, recordings of both Jewish and Palestinian origin are used to add a distinctive local flavour to the music. Opening track ‘Old Cities, New Romans’ is constructed around a recording of Arabic chanting, bringing the noise with frenzied roared vocals, pulverising percussion and punishing waves of harsh, corrosive electronics. In contrast, the fifth track, ‘The Third House Will Be Built With Stones From The Arch Of Titus’, opens and closes with extracts from a preacher discussing the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, in a manner reminiscent of the militant Zionist power electronics projects Barzel, whose Born To Destroy Amalek album also recently appeared on Topheth Prophet and was reviewed by Judas Kiss. Drone Lebanon’s ideological stance, however, is much less clear-cut than Barzel’s, although clearly both projects derive much of their inspiration from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps Drone Lebanon’s most interesting track is the bizarrely catchy ‘Self Hating Jew’, which samples a radical Zionist preacher and sets the speech to hard EBM, with vitriolic screamed vocals and harsh noise adding pungency and edge to the track whilst never totally overwhelming the beat and melody. It’s hard to imagine without hearing it, but this track is actually danceable, with some resemblance to German hard electronics acts like Preussak and Wumpscut. All in all, Drone Lebanon’s set is interestingly fresh and varied, and this is a name to place alongside 20.SV, Kadaver and Lietterschpich as part of a small but energetic middle-eastern power electronics scene.

After the wreckage has settled from Drone Lebanon’s airstrike, it’s time for the more familiar Wertham. Marco Deplano, the project’s founder, is joined on this recording by the industrial scene veteran John Murphy, who also performs with Marco in Foresta Di Ferro. Although John Murphy is best known as a drummer and percussionist, he’s credited with samples and vocals for this recording. ‘La Distruzione Del Tempio’ is lengthy – over 15 minutes – and is more or less a monolithic, sustained blast of full-on power electronics, with a sampled recording of the singing of carefree children at the beginning and end, and faint traces of it sporadically surfacing though the inundation of queasy noise. ‘Aelia Capitolina’ is a somewhat more subtle piece, with sampled spoken-word vocals discussing God’s power, muted beats and looped brass in the background, and industrial ambient atmospherics, adding up to an orchestral-inflected sound not too dissimilar to Toroidh or the Polish project Horologium. This is much more agreeable to my ears than the abrasive strains of ‘La Distruzione Del Tempio’, but that’s really a matter of personal taste. In any case, Roma & Yerushalayim succeeds in delivering a good variety of different styles of noise and electronics whilst never being anything less than intense.

Roma & Yerushalayim is available as a limited-edition CD of 497 copies (why not 500 copies? Search me – maybe it’s some Kabbalistic numerological thing), and the colour card sleeve opens from right to left, in proper Hebrew fashion.

Chronicle Of Chaos
The album is thematically united through the notion of Rome’s (Roma) and Jerusalem’s (Yerushalayim) fortunes being inextricably linked.

Young up-and-comer Drone Lebanon represents Yerushalayim, the overriding them allowing them to explore their preferred avenues of Jewish, Israeli and Zionist identity, politics and culture. And I mean explore; Drone Lebanon is not a political band, not in the sense of propagating a particular viewpoint and leave it up the listener to take what they will from the music. Song titles such as “Michael Dennis Rohan” and “The Third House Will Be Built With Stones From the Arch of Titus” mean little to me, but those au fait with his preferred topics may understand them without the aid of online staples Google and Wikipedia. As before, Drone Lebanon performs a harsh and extremely noisy post-industrial. I wouldn’t quite call it a noise album, as it is fairly varied in its approach, but remains uncompromising throughout, even when it calms down. Comparatively speaking, of course.

Wertham only provide two songs to Drone Lebanon’s five, but the amount of time allocated to each band is roughly equal. Unlike their split partners, Wertham are scene veterans that have been around for ages. Although Wertham adhere to the split’s conceptual thread, I don’t think that they are as fully immersed in the politics as Drone Lebanon. That’s by-the by; they still produce power electronics that takes the intense dissonance down a notch, but still far away from anything remotely akin to easy listening. This is clearly an experienced band, as the numbers are cacophonous and long but not boring.

Each band brings their own flavour to the proceedings, simultaneously similar to and distinct from each other, and can be strongly recommended to those with an interest in the genre.

Gothtronic
Again a release from the Topheth Prophet label, this is a split between Drone Lebanon and Wertham, so expect some heavy and dense noise.

The concept of the album is somewhat geared around the idea that the fall of one will be the rise of the other, in this instance its Roma and Yerushalayim.

The album is divided in two parts, with the first five tracks for Drone Lebanon and the last two for Wertham. The expected noise is indeed true! The album opens with ‘Old Cities, New Romans’, in which we first get samples from a Yerushalayim psalm before we get martial drumming and harsh noise and some screaming vocals are added later. A pretty intense piece with a taste of things to come. Well, the noise in the first one is nothing compared to the next song, ‘Michael Dennis Rohan’. This man was has attempted to set fire on the Al-Aqsa mosque but was arrested on August 23, 1969. The song again starts with samples of a Yerushalayim psalm/choir. Then we get some nice sounds which leads you to believe we are turning into a more ambient path. But nothing could be further from the truth, as the song turns into excessively harsh noise. Screaming vocals and high-pitched sounds turn up throughout the whole track. This is pure rage and excellently done! The third track, ‘Self Hating Jew’, track starts with some media samples about hating Jews. Then we get some dark electro tunes, which almost seem like it is going to turn into some endzeit electro track, but then the screaming power electronics vocals turn up again. Without those vocals, the track sound very electro friendly. The fourth track, ‘A lullaby for Larisa and Yigal Amir’s Newborn’, starts with the well-known lullaby, stuck between manipulated sound. Halfway the song turns into a harsh industrial track, before ending in a more drone oriented segment. The last track from Drone Lebanon is ‘The Third House will be built with stones from the Arch of Titus’. This starts out with the now obligate media samples. Then a dark drone comes in and harder sounds are added as the song progresses and eventually the song turns into a power electronics track. That was Drone Lebanon, nice to meet your acquaintance!

The first song by Wertham, ‘La Distruzione del Tempio’, is pretty long, around 15 minutes. It’s a hard industrial track with power electronics elements. All kinds of sounds are added throughout the song. The last track, ‘Aelia Capitolina’, is the quietest track on this album. The track is a combination of media samples and low rumbling sounds.

This is a very good industrial/power electronics release with a nice concept. Most of the tracks are very hard and intense, which is why this release is so good! Highly recommended to the lovers over hard industrial music.

Existence Establishment

You know you’re in for a tough review of a split when you really like one artist and are not at all into the other. Roma Yerushalayim is a split CD that deals quite a bit with politics, politics mixed with religion. The concept here is one that has and will be explored endlessly because it is always changing. Since I know little about the plight of the Israel or Judiasm and even less about the Zionist political situation I am going to refrain from commenting on the concepts here and stick to the noise.

Drone Lebanon is up first and this is my first exposure to the project. With 5 tracks their material spans about 30 min here and I am enjoying it immensely. Their mix of electronic synth music, noise and power electronics is a success on all fronts. Each track has it’s own thing going on here which makes for Drone Lebanon’s side to be a particularly engaging listen. There’s a heavy dosage of raw noise pummeling, absolutely tortured vocals, and… synth arpeggios? Yes, that’s right, they’re in here too and it fits together perfectly. The material is almost like a mix of Irakarah and Haus Arafna.

Aside from the political samples and unique and tasteful mix of electronica elements with power electronics the actualy mixing of the different layered sounds on Drone Lebanon’s side is very well executed. All sounds are crisp, clear, and defined in order to deliver a very harsh and heavy sound. I’d say the production here is on par with something Thomas Garrison of Control might be able to pull off. It’s a well balanced mix of digital and analog sources.

Unfortunately I just can’t get down with Wertham’s material. This is the second release of his I’ve reviewed and as with the first it leaves me wanting, with expectations unmet. The tracks are long, the sounds are lo-fi and clumped together and the compositions are so dense it gives the impression that everything is just crowding in on itself. On top of that the samples aren’t as obscure to me and I really tire of relgious samples unless they are strange or subversive in some way. Wertham’s opener “La Distruzione del Tempio” – I don’t speak Italian, but I’m guessing that might mean “Desotroying the Temple”? – is no less then 15 minutes long and it just drags on and on.

“Aelia Capitolina” is a little shorter with more industrial rhythmic gestures. I enjoy this track quite a bit more but it still pales in comparison to the Drone Lebanon material and it’s mixed and produced to just be so much more understated. I feel like this could have benefitted if some of the layers were a bit less drenched in reverb and more upfront, some nice hard industrial clanging and blasts of noise instead of these vague whispy layers buried under miles of distortion and reverb.

Let me stress that the Drone Lebanon material on here is enough alone to grab this split. They’ve got an original thing going on here and they’re doing with very well. I can see a lot of great potential for them. In the end though, this is one of those splits where one side is great, the other side, not-so-much. You can’t win ‘em all.


This time…it’s Cancer Reviews

Judas Kiss
Written by Simon Collins
Originally due for release on Slaughter Productions in early 2007, this album’s release was delayed by the suicide of Marco Corbelli of Slaughter Productions and Atrax Morgue, who was a friend of Michael Zolotov, the Israeli musician behind Kadaver. Now available via Topheth Prophet in a limited edition of 500 copies, This Time… It’s Cancer is the tenth Kadaver release (including the inevitable collaboration with Kenji Siratori), and is dedicated to the memory of Marco Corbelli.

The eight tracks of This Time… It’s Cancer add up to 52 minutes of playing time (although that includes a lot of silence on the aptly named closing track ‘A Silent Cry Of Despair’), and from start to finish, it’s a determinedly nasty, misanthropic, nihilistic album. Kadaver’s devastatingly bleak power electronics are accompanied by vocal samples of distressing news reports, in the vein of Brighter Death Now. ‘Fetus-Size Casket’ deploys an almost intolerable barrage of screams over static and piercing high frequency tones, recalling Stallagh, ‘Teddy Bears In The Sewer Draining Outlet’ is one of the best track titles since Megaptera’s ‘Sludgy Heads Found In A Handbag’, whilst the song itself is a fully-fledged bombardment of noise in the tradition of the Japanese masters, but my favourite track here is actually ‘C Is For Cancer’, which overflows with spaced-out layers of cold, clipped, metallic drones which swoop, soar and roar through an corrosive void, more like Archon Satani-style death ambient than straightforward noise or power electronics. Even so, nothing whatsoever on this album qualifies as easy listening, unless you count the passages of silence on the final track, and even then you’re just waiting for the hellish noise to start again. Kadaver make harsh music for a harsh existence. As it says on their T-shirts, “Kadaver supports the total annihilation of the human race… thank you for your cooperation.” There is also a new Kadaver CDR album, Running With Scissors, available now from the German label SkullLine.

Chronicles Of Chaos
Kadaver’s earlier excursion in sonic torment was recorded at an extremely loud and unnecessary volume level, but thankfully, his latest amusical excursion has been recorded at a more reasonable level. Perhaps mastermind Michael Zolotov has realised that this would be excessive on an album that lacks extraneous niceties such as harmony or melody. On second thought, what would one expect from a man who is essentially (early) Carcass’ electronic equivalent, bestowing his audio constructions with titles guaranteed to have any grindcore freak drooling? (Best examples are “Poisoned Vaginal Doorway” and “Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave”.)

_This Time… It’s Cancer_ is considerably more varied — although it will all sound like, well, noise to the uninitiated — and the different textures are more effective at sustaining attention than simply trying to overwhelm the listener with endless waves of distortion, white noise and tortured metal. His constructions are not nearly as random as they may first appear, and structure, however much it may be hidden under layers of violent feedback, can be discerned.

Kadaver may be no Merzbow or Fire in the Head, but this addition to his oeuvre is not without merit and will provide a few distracting moments for the tinnitus afflicted.

Heathen Harvest
This release has some sadness attached to it – it was originally due to be released by Slaughter Productions, headed by Atrax Morgue’s Marco Corbelli. As many by now will know, last year Corbelli decided that he had had enough and sadly felt the need to take his own life. Corbelli was a personal friend of Michael Zolotov, the man behind the Kadaver project, and consequently this album, finding a home on Israel’s Topheth Prophet label instead, is dedicated to him.

Anyone familiar with the harsh electronic venom of Atrax Morgue’s work will immediately realise, after listening to this CD, why Corbelli wanted to release it. This is black vomit and savagery in the same misanthropic vein of hatred that AM used to exploit and to the same equally nasty effect. Harsh swathes of bitter electronics, nerve-rending noise, abattoir sounds and the pained screams of the lost and damned conjure up images of the vile stench that is humanity – the sole purpose of this one seems to be to let you know just how fucked up we as a species really are. This captures perfectly the pain of being alive in a world going downhill with alarming alacrity (and getting faster and faster every day) and nobody seeming to know where the brakes are. As an example, track two, ‘We are the Disease’, sums it up neatly, both in title and music; teeth-grinding and skull-piercing squeal and feedback, the machine going about its deadly but necessary business of gutting out all of the uselessness and removing it permanently from society. Another example, track six, ‘Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave’, sounds like a series of implosions and spontaneous combustions, descriptive of the seemingly innate nature of our species; witness our current headlong dash towards self-destruction and the lack of political will to halt our slide into oblivion. It ain’t going to take much to tip us over the edge either…

Zolotov has managed to encapsulate the prevalent zeitgeist of the modern age with this set of eight pieces (BTW, the last track, ‘A Silent Cry of Despair’, although indexed as being 20:01 long, is actually only just over five minutes of actual music with three short belches towards the end), with all its attendant pain, anguish, frustration and degradation. This is like a poisoned splinter working its way towards the heart where it can spread its black venom, causing the flesh and muscle to wither and die. This is the world we and our children are inheriting – will THEIR children look back at us with fondness and warmth? On the strength of ‘This time… It’s cancer’, the prognosis is not looking too good.

Gaz Eta
Michael Zolotov goes under an alias Kadaver. Over the years, he’s released quite a number of highly limited edition releases. He’s now putting up on offer a comparatively much wider release [500 copies!]. “This Time….It’s Cancer” is not exactly a happy record. On his My Space site, Zolotov quite candidly states, “Well, it’s no lie and definitely not an attempt to sound “evil” but I truly hate people. Beyond what words can describe. Over 99% of the human race is worthless in my eyes and I feel noting but anger and repulsion for them. But as I am infected with a human mind (you can despise your human qualities but you cannot ignore and skin all of them off) I do have the need and will to find the specific individuals who can understand and RELATE to what I feel (and vice versa).” Through Kadaver, Zolotov wants to share an excruciating pain and fury that is crushing him. It’s a way for him to externalize what he’s feeling deep inside. From piece titles alone, one can get a sense of the direction the music takes. I wouldn’t expect “Tender Mutilation”, “Fetus-size casket”, “Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave” or “Teddy Bears in the Sewer Draining Outlet” to be pop songs about love. What a slaughter of sound this is. The scorching, demoralizing, ear-popping, screaming, stench that escapes from the speakers is truly worthy of the moniker of hell. For those brave souls whose nerves are made of steel, this is the soundtrack of being buried alive. Welcome to paradise!

– Tom Sekowski


FloatingPoint Reviews

Bagatellen
I highly enjoyed last year’s “Light and Roundchair” from Kasyansky (Creative Sources 062), the first I’d ever heard his work. Now comes the equally intriguing, rather different “Floating Point”, based on pieces done for three dance companies. Not only are the sounds more overtly derived from field recordings but to a great extent the structure is more like film collage, briefly episodic and often discomfiting, layering elements heard at various sonic depths atop each other in a manner suggesting images in greater or lesser degrees of focus. There’s spare piano that pops in and out as well, single-noted and vaguely tonal, like a sliver of Feldman. The storm clouds of static from his earlier release still appear, but only momentarily as do scattered voices, dog barks, various weather-related phenomena and intimations of other “standard” instruments. Periods of silence or near silence fall into place throughout. Those who like a dollop of “music” with their field recordings will find a treat here.

Descriptive listing doesn’t really do the work justice however. It’s more the creative positioning of the sounds, the subtle psychological impact that they, so arranged, may or may not have on the listener. While of course this applies to any music, the sort of dream logic employed in works like this will succeed or not on the subjective associations made by the listener, whether or not the transitions ring true and the sounds chosen feel right. I found myself increasingly drawn in on each hearing, more readily summoning captivating visual images to mentally accompany this soundtrack. A fine album.

Posted by Brian Olewnick on June 5, 2007 6:07 AM

Vital Weekly
About Grundik Kasyansky we a little more than about Lietterschpich, that he has three previous releases (Vital Weekly 524, 530 and 548) and that he plays feedback synthesizer, field recordings, theremin, samples and assemblage and here on ‘Floating Point’ one Fyodor Makarov plays toy concertina. The music is an ‘audio collage based on three works written for dance’, all mixed up into one piece, so the relevance of the music for dance is gone, I’d say. In his previous releases Kasyanksy was a man who showed his love for quiet music, with a big role for silence among the silence, and perhaps a soft peep here and there. But on this new release he makes a step forward. It may end out in his usual soft mood, but over the course over the thirty-six minutes that go before that he brings his material alive through a very strong audio collage. Field recordings and feedback, and occasional bang on the toy piano: it makes up quite a strong release. At times I was reminded a bit of Andrew Liles, even when Kasyansky’s music sounded at times more fully loaded than Liles. It marks a great step forward for Kasyansky and is by far his best release to date.


I Cum Blood In The Think Tank Reviews

Heathen Harvest
Hebrew for the grand measurement of one liter of semen, Lietterschpich’s ”I cum blood in the think tank!!!!!!!!” is a punishing excursion into an audio experience akin to laughingly rolling about in barrels of barbed wire. And thoroughly enjoying it. Lietterschpich’s brand of frollicking, mad-scientist grindcore is a trip to the dentist after pints of Lsd, and they seem to frighten and thrill everyone who they come across. Check their Myspace blurbology : “The 8-piece group of Lietterschpich has been boiling down foul language, obscene noise, primitive rituals and perplexing visual propaganda to their imitating core, since 2004. Comprised of local veterans of the Israeli post-punk, industrial and electronica scenes, they quickly gained cult status in the Israeli underground. They’ve released “Quasi”, A 3″ black cdr in 2005, before calling it a night and taking a year break. They are back now with their first full-length CD titled “I Cum Blood in the Think Tank” to hostile the cultivated majority that got away last time.”

Rhythmic industrial is becoming quite bass heavy and dubby, or at least some of the Cds passing over my desk are, which is a relief from processed ham radio workouts and being nibbled at by speedy, skipping breakbeats. Just for a change. Lietterschpich pours threatening, heavily reverberant howling into an abyss of glitched loops and rhythmic samples of god-knows-what, straddling dense, nailed-down death-dubs. My fave lyrics were definitely “Arrrggghhh”, followed closely by “Ooahhhh”. Stand out tracks were definitely “Mud and fun!!!” and “Ziz!!!”, which means I’m showing my grind favouritism, but Lietterschpich have brought together the raw experimentalism of say, Whitehouse, or even a young SPK, and tied it down with necrotic, bass-heavy doom-tronics. Apocalyptic, and a lot of fucked-up fun(?). A great fusion of sounds, anti-styles and experimental grindcore from this bunch of action-packed Israeli mentallists.

Dusted
The six members who comprise Lietterschpich have produced a sort of reverse mutation throwback, a welcome sort of caveman stomp backwards into days of less-digital noise. Using drums, vocals, tape loops, no-input mixers and crusty electronics, the crudely-named I Cum Blood In The Think Tank is a dankly organic album, filled with slow hum and a buzzing, hazy filter obscuring unfriendly screams and primitive thuds. This is no laptop-driven computer noise band, and there are no crisp digital edges here.

The songs all boast brief titles, each appended with one or more exclamation points. From “Mud and Fun!!” to “Mire Blot!!” and the sarcastically-titled “Cookies Downtown!!!” the titles are mere footnotes, and for all the clarity they offer, the songs might as well have been labeled with numbers. It’s possible that the lyrics have something to do with the song titles, but since the vocals are all distorted, reverberated and effected beyond all hope of understanding, it’s a moot point.

“Stockfish!!” and “Malevolent Re-Creation Celebration!!” share a stomping smash-and-crash rhythm, with synth squiggles, low-end buzz, and crazed shouts that bring to mind the late, great Missing Foundation. Though Lietterschpich have a less-confrontational, more Benzedrine-soaked aesthetic. “Ventilation!” approaches Wolf Eyes territory, with rock-style drums holding up the shouts and bursts of noise.

The 12-minute center of the album, “A Horse and a Walk in the Park!!!,” opens with screams and reverberations, reminiscent of old-school noisers like Grey Wolves and Con-Dom, and even a distorted vocal feel akin to vintage Master/Slave Relationship. The achingly slow rhythm and desultory hiss blends with some unexpectedly melodic organ, finally dissolving into stumbling, crashing drums and buzzing noise tones. The organ appears again on the final track, “One Thing Led to the Hit!!,” a dramatic organ-led liturgy overlaid by layers of scuzz and grime.

The foggy, drugged haze overlaying Lietterschpich’s noise does suck some of the power from it, but in place there’s a palpable feel of human hands guiding things. The mysterious blend of shadowy cracked electronics, throat-ripping yowls and pounding drums is at once forbidding and appealing, a paradox lying at the root of one of the best noise albums I’ve heard in some time.

Connexion Bizzare
In 2004 a few friends who wanted to start an industrial noise collective must have been thinking about what to call themselves. One will have to admit that the name they thought of gives a certain, well, “sarcastic” view of their world because the Hebrew ‘Lietterschpich’ – they are from Israel – translates to “a liter of cum”.
So far not much clues on what to expect on their first album, released on the also Israelian Topheth Prophet label. And being released on Topheth doesn’t lead to any expectations because you can expect a lot of different styles on there. So I’ll try something …
Their website at myspace, which is the only website they have, can be found at http://www.myspace.cum/doomdub and within the term ‘doomdub’ also is a core of truth. Even though there is only one true dub track on there (ok, forgive me, but I’m not that much into dub) the slow rhythms and ‘doom’ factor will give an insight an what to expect.
On first listening I wrote down harsh industrial in a mix with power electronics and slow throbbing metal. And to throw in a few names, I could compare their sound with Mental Destruction, really old and harsh SPK, a little bit of Godflesh. An emotional state of agression we can only hear in NTT allthough Lietterschpich is a bit more rhythmic in nature. And at times the sound and structure reminds me of some Haus Arafna, but also more from an emotional point of view, not particulary soundwise.
The 12 tracks on the album have titles which don’t broadcast one particular view on the world. Some seem to be really silly, for example “Stockfish”, “Mud and fun”, “A horse and a walk in the park” and “Cookies downtown”, while there are a few that at least in their title show a certain level of engagement (“Malevolent recreation celebration”, “Petty bourgeois (word of a fraud)” or “Segregation”.
Still after several listenings I do very much like this album. It’s slow and heavy, noisey and nicely layered, full of agression and other emotions and actually good to play an several occasions. Best would be if you have the feeling the world is against you and you just want to react. You’ll find soulmates in that by playing this album.

Musique Machine
I cum Blood in the think tank is seriously punishing and bleak industrial noise punk doom. Built around crude and swarming synth overload and face slamming beat patterns, with overloaded nasty hardcore punk growls and bleeding lungs shouts over the top.

There’s a really unpleasant crude undercurrent running through out the album- it throbs buzzes and chugs along, synths often threaten to drag to a stop as the pound out discordant, wonky and cruel melodies. This is music for year zero, when the streets lay piled with human faeces, broken and smashed technology, dieing men,women and child gurgle out their last vomit breath. This really will be one of the most hopeless, painful and unforgiving album that will squeezes it’s slimy discharged covered self out of your speakers and pin you to the floor in grim wonder and punish you again and again. The mood is slightly ruined by the second to last track that decides to introduce happy sounding dub reggae type elements and naff lo-grade DJ samples- really feeling complete out of place in all the albums despair and cruelties.

An album that charges at you hitting, hurting, and vomiting on you over and over again.

Gothtronic
The first thing that caught my attention when I looked at this cd, recorded in 2005 and released two years later by Heart & Crossbone, from the Israeli industrial dub combo Lietterschpich, was the excessive use of exclamation marks in the album and song titles. I’ve been so bold as to simply ignore those. The band name happens to be Hebrew for a liter of ejaculate, which sounds like a well filled sperm bank account.

Delectable yet adhesive details aside, what truly matters is what’s being presented here. Well, the power electronics and death industrial on this cd sound like Skin Chamber, Irm and Master/Slave Relationship crashed into each other head-on, afterwards the broken and mangled remnants were used as good or as bad as it went to build a new vehicle. The tortured electronica hums, growls and fluctuates; the slow and refractory music with sluggish rhythms has been outfitted with distorted, mentally deranged sounding vocals of the kind that instigates nightmares to boot. One track even inclines towards breakcore, but the insanity on this disc is quite different from the madness of Venetian Snares or Hellfish. Besides Merzbow-style white noise there are also discernible structures apparent in the sonic waves, this makes “I Cum Blood In The Think Tank” a listening experience which is all the more imperative. Drone lovers might want to check this out as well, by the way. This is digital doom for advanced nihilists.

Now this debut record creates expectations for the future. Maybe Lietterschpich will be named in one breath with Brighter Death Now and Dissecting Table in a few years time, but that’s just oracling. In other reviews the band has been compared with Whitehouse and Throbbing Gristle, which certainly aren’t lesser gods when it comes to grating electronic noise. Therefore I would advice to keep an eye on this group!

Deaf Sparrow
From the first second on I knew I was in for a treat. And despite the violence ahead, I wasn’t about to back down. I have been dipping my toes in some of those exhausting Troniks releases, and though my tolerance for such extremity isn’t exactly legendary I’ve been known to withstand such outages. The sort of noise that Lietterschpich makes is more structured than the work released by Troniks; there is more of a functional body at play here. Even when totally discordant, tone deaf, pitch less and seemingly random, as on the second track “Calsgigglestick”, where the drums are played with the skill of a lobotomized mental patient, you can hear that there is an awaken intelligence making things move. Purposely, this chilling and defiant record sounds like a crumbling wall. Matter of fact, I Cum Blood in the Think Tank sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a sped up reel of an aging structure that finishes in its collapse.

Scary too, the vocals of Zazbendoom are so extreme and raw, I wish he’d start giving lessons to aspiring and why not, established metal, metalcore and black metal vocalists. “In Finkel Stein Digit” and “Alconsole” he is destined to bring more hands to an ear than Roseanne’s legendary delivery of the American anthem. I am floored by some of this material. There are no beats, and those that resemble them could be more accurately described as unbeats, or beats with no insides. I am also surprised to find out that Lietterschpich hail from Israel of all places. The band has been together since 2004 and I am actually not surprised to find out that members of it have done time on post punk, industrial and electronic bands. It sort of makes sense, as Lietterschpich certainly brings all those potions to the table, ads a couple of buckets of fowl moods and obscene ideas and spits out some of the most radical music I’ve heard this year. Very freaky stuff. Puzzled by their moniker? Be puzzled no more. It means ‘1 liter of cum’ in Hebrew.