Topheth prophet Reviews

Death Over China reviews

 

Brutal Resonance
“The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I am sure that each of us tried to comprehend his influence on the world around at least few times in his lifetime unless he is a complete piece of garbage that doesn’t care about anything around but his egocentric self. Do you choose a materialistic life approach, consuming without any visible borders, sacrificing all that remains precious for voracious curiosity? Or maybe you are concentrated on spiritual and divine side of existence, hugging everything around, sharing love and positive energy? What can be certain is that whatever path and behavior you will choose at the specific stage of your inner development, one of the questions that you will definitely ask will be about the visible (and invisible) exploit of natural environment, the way you utilize your abilities towards preserving life for the future generations. And I don?t mean it in global context; I am not asking everybody to be some kind of a saint or prophet… But you know what, I want my words back, because I do ask for a basic responsibility of each of us for our deeds; they have a massive influence when they are being processed through a social mechanism, where macrocosm is a mosaic of myriads of microcosms.

Anyhow, when talking about modern society, it can be clearly noticeable that a constant chase after industrialization which had become almost a synonym of “global progress” demolishes, disintegrates, and corrupts all the natural environments that are not less important for the development of a healthy modern society. The most outstanding example is China, the country which made a huge breakthrough during last 20 years without paying any attention to the damage that was done during that process. Is it all about “living here and today and after us the deluge”?

Fortunately for this world, there are enough people that can set a counterweight to all that never-ending misery. You can find results of their activity in most unexpected places and manifestations. Stefan Hanser aka Anemone Tube, a Berlin based resident, decided to reflect this theme in a solid piece of experimental music that received an appropriate name “Death Over China”. Being deeply impressed by the level of human blindness and unawareness during his journey to China, he decided to collect ambient sounds and create some kind of an exotic ?photo album? that would capture not visual images but the atmosphere itself.

Focusing on manipulation with field recordings, Stefan creates an extreme sonic soundscape full of power and rage. He also shows that creativity has no boundaries while raw sound is sometimes more than enough to reveal many special moments. Try to enter a crowded market or maybe a working plant and open your mind towards music of life, towards a huge pallet of different noises, try to distinguish harmony and feel the pulse of the day. “Black Death Rise” is all about such an effect, constant noises and disturbances are bound together, cycling back and forwards, creating some kind of a rhythm with a weave drilling, shrinks, human voices and many many more. “Deathly Kingdom of Desire” and “Prayerwalk” continue the same idea, but this time with a pack of atmospheric synths that can be heard at the background while all the environmental cacophony receives some treatment from our German comrade.

Don’t get relaxed that fast, because “Brooding Haze” raises the level to reach a melting point of power electronics with a wall of metal scratches, dirty pulsations and the whole range of static electricity. Cyclic heavy drones drive the composition forward; even when I know that all the sounds are mostly accidental, I start to feel a breath of some kind of artificial life form that lives in a symbiosis with visible spectrum, feeding on our dreams, hatred and illusions.

The intensity is being changed at this point with “The Announcement” being mostly dark ambient track, though all the elements that were described above are there too but without heavy electrical drones. Same ambiance and same samples adding a tangible cinematic component create a dense delusive atmosphere. And as the finishing stroke, Stefan drops the listener into the cold sensual experience of “The Desecration from Within”, the track which is very close to more classical templates of power electronics genre. High frequency disturbances, metal shrinks, background metal percussion, and above all this salad is a chanting voice, reading some oppressive texts.

Without any doubt, Anemone Tube hands out a strong statement hammering a set of uncompromising material. I was captured by its atmosphere and structure, listening to the album in one breath; and that is really important because the theme demands a certain level of concentration and a special spiritual mood. I am not sure that it is the best experimental album that I’ve heard in my life, but I must admit that it is one of the most sincere and honest out there. As for me, I am convinced now that humanity is a true disease for the earth that it exploits. And what about you?

Heathen Harvest

Anemone Tube is a German project which started out in 1996, and is counting several releases and collaborations between 1997 and 2003. After that a 7-year break ensued, and the project appeared again in 2010 with “Dream Landscape”. “Death Over China”, co-released by Israeli label Topheth Prophet and Belgian label Silken Tofu, follows immediately after that, signifying a new era of productivity for Anemone Tube. It’s a limited edition of 731 hand numbered copies, and it comes in a 5 panel folder with a 19 x 14 cm metallic/black print, packaged in transparent bag. In the artwork is included the painting “Ulysses and the Sirens” by H.J. Draper, a photograph by Jan Ciecierski, poetry by the artist, various photographs taken in China in his 2007 trip, as well as historical photographs taken around 1905 in Beijing, which depict the last public execution employing the especially cruel method of Leng T’che (the slicing of parts of the body, with the purpose of torturing the person to the extreme, and delaying the penalty of death). Now these are extremely shocking photographs, certainly not for the fainthearted – you have been warned!

“Death Over China” is comprised entirely of field recordings made during the artist’s trip in China in the year 2007, more particularly in Nanjing and Shanghai. Additional synthesizer is used only in “I Shall Forever Invoke” and “Prayer Walk”. Despite the manipulation done on the field recordings, the original ambience of the places is retained, to a degree where a complete traveller’s impression can be conveyed through the album. A somewhat distorted impression for sure, and one that digs too deep under the surface for comfort, but an impression nonetheless. Its trademark is a combination of brutal, grim noise, recorded sounds, spoken word and machinery turned into heavy, slow rhythms. Other unidentified sources provide a multi-layered complexity. A distinctive trace of dark ambient melodies lurks ominously in the background, giving a cheerless, despondent tone to the whole. Anemone Tube uses field recordings masterfully, reaching down into their inner core, surgically removing and replacing the various elements to bring to the surface their true spirit.

“Black Death Rise” begins calmly with traffic sounds from a nearby street, and slowly introduces us to the rhythmic use of found noise sources. Harrowing screams can be discerned in the background, and a monotone male voice loops over the rhythms, resembling the hypnotic chants of an urban shaman. “I Shall Forever Invoke” begins with the utilisation of patterns very similar to the previous track, adding more layers and cautiously increasing its volume, while the sharp metallic sounds and its fiendish melody inhabit an imaginary scene. In “Prayer Walk” a female voice loop prevails, repeating a public announcement. A guide from beyond, it carves a path through an infernal, frightening landscape, while static noise moves frantically, imitating the howling of the wind. “Brooding Haze” is an entanglement of many different sounds engaging in a demonic dance, the back and forth of its tempo resembling the ebb and flow of the tide of souls, the internal heartbeat of the city. In “The Announcement” the dark ambient elements of Anemone Tube’s music are more easily perceptible, as the track contains the least amount of noise in comparison to the rest. Droning and voice samples create a varying, desolate landscape, a ghostly emptiness from where occasionally spring the remnants of hope. A hope soon to be irrevocably crushed in “The Desecration From Within”, a massive wall of rhythmic death industrial, the grandiose, military air and relentless repetition of which cry out “utter annihilation”. Undoubtedly the best track of the album, and one of the best I’ve ever listened to. In the unlikely occasion of the rest of the album failing to grab your attention, this one surely will.

The combination of Draper’s paintings with the title, the overall atmosphere and the disturbing pictures of public torture, facilitates the apprehension of the concept. Death hovers over China like the ancient, eternal creature that he is, and the impressions he receives surpass the boundaries of time, in an admixture of past, present and future. Locations are haunted by their historical significance, countless little incidents, and just as many big ones, all merge under the darkness of Death’s wings. His presence can be actual, metaphysical or symbolic, can be distinguished in an individual as well as a collective level. It is found in the demise of matter, the corruption and decay of human flesh. In pain, chaos, confusion, fear. In the crushing sounds of an insatiable industrialisation, replacing memories with structures, beauty and natural order with mechanical production, human nature with its hybrid counterpart, a creature half-engine, half-man, carried away by Death’s alluring song, merging with the functions of the machine. Because the demands of life are also the demands of death, what is born must necessarily expire. Death is the ultimate ruler of all. We must necessarily succumb to life’s charms, and the moment we do so the idea becomes reality, the image becomes matter. Each beginning is indeed, an end.

That is of course, an interpretation based on my own imagination – you may very well apply your own. The fact remains however, that “Death Over China” is painfully alive, bursting with the agonizing tension of such an understanding. It grips the listener with admirable force, never letting go until the 45 minutes of the recording are over. Its devastating voices, hopeless atmospheres and stifling, crushing noise are parts of the monstrous, roaring machine that destroys everything in its path, laying its wheels sluggishly on the dusty, blood-stained ground. The screams of the perished souls pierce the air in a hellish crescendo. Despite the fact that extinction is sure to follow, you cannot help but be enticed, and willingly, even excitedly, approach it.

Rating: 5/5
Connexion Bizarre
Behind Anemone Tube is Stefan Hanser, a gifted musician who might not release much, but always astonishes with the sounds that hit the street as well as his live-performances.
Being a co-production between the Belgian Silken Tofu and the Israeli Topheth Prophet, “Death Over China” is actually the first full-time album since 2001 by Stefan alone. In between he did release some collaborations – one of them with none other then Christian Renou of Brume fame – and only last year a mini CD with DVD were released by the before mentioned Silken Tofu.
So a full album, being as beautifully designed as this one, gives us high expectations. And all of them are without any doubt fulfilled to the maximum. 45 minutes are divided into 6 tracks and starting with the first tones in ‘Black Dead Rise’ we are guided by an obviously gifted musician through a part of the world where things aren’t as they seem.
The music is a combination of well chosen, found and recorded sounds, beautiful pads and sounds in well arranged compositions, topped with aggressive and intriguing noises of unknown origin. The constant shifting of layers makes each track a little party in your brain, because at the moment you think you’re “in”, you notice there as been changes in other perspectives or layers of that track you’re listening to.
“The Desecration From Within” is the final track of the album and from a combination of drones, ambient and noisy soundscapes which made this album a beauty to begin with, suddenly the music turns almost into power electronics! With this last track Anemone Tube shows us that he is capable of way more then what we could expect to begin with.
The field recordings were recorded in China on a trip Stefan made in 2007. That same trip was the time when he made the pictures which form the base for the artwork, which shows his professional background / daytime job as a graphic designer as well.
To say it in one word: “buy!”

[9/10]

– Bauke van der Wal

Anemone Tube “Death Over China” CD

I’m glad to see AT is getting more attention that it used to. To me, this album is one of the proof how modern technology can work well for experimental music when used well. Anemone Tube has nearly completely abandoned synthesizers and focuses on treatment of field recordings. Clarity and texture of various sounds recorded in his trips in China perhaps could not have happened in times when portable high quality gear was expensive and perhaps too big to carry in your pocket. Possibilities to edit and layer sound on software allows many possibilities to fail, yet also many possibilities to adjust and take care of every detail.

Despite sources being a collection of every day life, we aren’t talking of academic sound art. Death Over China is most of all post-industrial release… whatever that means anymore? It’s structure has more common with genres of dark ambient, death industrial and such, but simply textures of material is much more interesting than the traditional keyboards and rhythmboxes. Extensive usage of loops and effect heavy processing still allows the natural sounds come through, and this is absolutely the strength of this album.

It may carry the cinematic feel, occasionally nearly soundtrack type atmosphere, but isn’t cheesy. Cover is like previous album. Multi-panel DVD size cardboard sleeve, with golden printed poetry, photos related to the music. I played this album 5 times without removing it from CD player. And it still makes me want to listen it again. I’m sucker for loops and physical sounds. If one has to go and find negative sides, perhaps next time Anemone Tube will be able to create pieces with more drastic shifts or modulation within the track itself. This is often faulty of digital layering, where density of loops may appear to be enough, but after repeated listens, you feel the hand crafted unpredictable movement to unknown ending of track would be nice. Instead of elements just being there until song ends. Almost like it started.

(Special Interests #6, MA, July 2011)

MAEROR 3
http://maeror3.livejournal.com/tag/anemone%20tube

Anemone Tube “Death Over China” CD

*** Google translator ***

From his travels in China, Stefan Hanser brought not only a set of recordings made by them on busy streets or in the quiet temples, but also a sense that this country like no other, a country of contrasts. In the design of the booklet «Death Over China» this is expressed by an impressive array of images – prayer plaques, cheerful advertising and sketches from living side by side with the average citizen photos of public executions and other fanaticism, until recently included in the compulsory program of life in Chinese society.

Hanser is using only field recordings (plus ambient synthesizer sketches add to the mood of a couple of things), collecting from them is not “travel photos on memory,” a very extreme music, exciting styles are related, as the power electronic, noise and dark ambient with the monotonous roar metal objects and static pressure of flow noise, which is rushed from one stereo channel to another. Turned apocalyptic sketches, a collection of familiar urban and rural sounds, mixed together, forming long loops of moving voices and din of different mechanisms, frightening and mesmerizing at the same time. Mind you realize that this is – only speaker in the square, shouting torgovok street, rattling the old bikes, which lead to the spokes of an iron rod, the signals of automobiles and other everyday sounds, but when it’s all condensed into such hatred and malice charged segments, «Prayer Walk »with its rough, electronics or« The Desecration From Within »(real noise martial with pretentious declamations, echoing the rhythm of marching and fine dispersion noise, the cutting of the brain), you begin to feel at least uncomfortable. The balanced chaos «Anemone Tube» listen to in one breath, making follow all the mutations and unexpected sound alliances. Industrial from field recordings, musique concrete, pulled out of the history of the whole country, most unsightly (or, conversely, evoking pride of its inhabitants) moments – in any case, it’s definitely worth a listen. Shake.

(Sergey Oreshkin, Russia, July 2011)

Vital Weekly 787

ANEMONE TUBE – DEATH OVER CHINA (CD by Topheth Prophet)
Anomene Tube is a noise-project formed in the Southern part of Germany in 1996. Strong influences to the compositional approach of the project is the nihilistic rhetoric works of Michael Haneke, Hayoao Miayazaki and H.P. Lovecraft combined with buddhist psychology and concrete sounds from the real world. All tracks of this album titled “Death over China”, are exclusively developed from the use of field recordings. The piece “I shall forever invoke” is the only piece where there are integrations of synthesizer. For this particular piece the synthesizers adds a nice atmospheric soundscape on the background of field recordings. The piece “Prayer walk” is an abrasive beast where the noise drones makes a pure impact on the listener. Screeching noise drills into the ears with additions of distant voices adding a great apocalyptic atmosphere to the piece. Also the piece titled “Brooding haze” drills a deep impression into the listener thanks to the monotonous high frequency noise-sounds operating on top of crushing power electronics and concrete metal sounds. “Death over China” is a part of the so-called “Suicide Series” – a series that aims to express the self-destructive tendency by the modern population due to the social and highly industrialized global development. The album comes in a beautiful art-work in dvd-sized format with early photographs and paintings from early 20th century. Excellent work of noise art. (NM)


Utopian Suns Reviewes

 

Vital Weekly

A duo here, of the ever so active Andrea Marutti and Davide Del Col, of whom I may not have heard before, but who also works as O Diabo De Vila Velha and Ornament, as well as plays in group like 30 Seconds Over Teheran and Echran. I am not sure where Molnija Aura fits into his work, but for Marutti I can surely tell. His work seems to me one large take on the notion of ambient music, and all he does, and that is a lot, is finding a multitude of approaches to ambient. It can be very drone based, very quiet, more noisy, a bit more industrial, a bit more on field recordings etc. But whatever it is, he is always working towards that mighty droning piece of music. With Molnija Aura this is not different. They are credited for analogue and digital synthesizers, effects and treatments and they create six lengthy pieces of music. This is in ambient sub-section: spacious, science fiction music (the hand drawn space ship cover and titles give away a lot). Related to the so in-vogue cosmic music, although this was recorded in 2007 already. Great late night, dimly lit room music, or, if the weather is better, a walk at night with this on your headphones (walkman not mp3 of course). Great atmospherics going on here. Having said all things praise, I feel also a bit obliged to say that I didn’t hear anything new that would shed light on the current state of said music. Molnija Aura probably don’t care, so why should we? Sit back and flow downstream, sky-high. (FdW)

Progarchives
Andrea Marutti’s latest musical collab with Davide Del Cole is a welcome contribution in the development of sci-fi ambient minimalism. The two musicians are renowned sound alchemists who produced a handful and wide range of electronic materials / soundscapes under their own name or for collective musical projects (Hall of Mirrors…). In this new promosing project, they demonstrate a great hability to experiment “spatial subjectivation” focusing their object on hypnotic patterns, tonal clusters and haunting acoustic vibes. The intention of Utopian Suns is to create neutral-fundamentally harmonics and expressive dronescapes which reveal a pure level of static consistency. From the phenomenological side of meaning these granular soundscapes can be perceived as elementary meditations on the perceptual phenomenon, silence, temporality and culture of repetition. each track installs the listener into a large empty space where the feeling of real time is preserved, restored and re-inforced. The sound spectrum is constantly voluminous and sonorous, admitting subtle interferencies, micro transitions, extended lines, reverb scintillations. The deeply spatial / sculptural aspect of compositions implicitly approaches the aesthetic sensibility of early pioneering works in post-modernist minimalism (Alvin Lucier, Phil Niblock…), giving to the ensemble a very cohesive-symbiotic spectromorphological dimension. The self title track is a stunning, subliminal dreamy like soundscape punctuated by breathing minimal melodies. To say the least, Utopian Suns is a luxurious, everlasting and fascinating textural ambient droning effort. According to me and due to its warm-cristal like waves this album also appears to be highly recommended for beginners in this specific musical subgenre.
philippe | 4/5 | 2011-3-19
http://www.oltreilsuono.com/
Molnija Aura is an electronic ambient/glitch project of Davide Del Col and Andrea Marutti from Milan, Italy. “Utopian Suns” is the project’s first full-length album. Recorded and mastered between 2007 and 2009, the CD is inspired by science-fiction themes and space-age relics. Consisting of six tracks created mostly with analogue and digital synthesizers, the album is a long and engaging journey through sidereal dephts: shrouded in the darkness of immense and untouched vastness, beyond the great unknown, hovering in the void of zero gravity landscapes explored with slow and unreal movements. The uneasyness of silence and the absolute void of impenetrable gloom, the infinite and overwhelming distances, the fear of solitude and isolation, the anxiety of no return… And then the emotion of discovery: other worlds, unknown universes and impalpable beings, undefined and unidentifiable entities, close encounters, the unutterable and the unthinkable. Molnija Aura trace new and absorbing lines, and set a wider border to that area of electronic music inspired by space exploration, astronomy and science-fiction. “Utopian Suns” is a must for all those interested in Dark Ambient, harmonic resonating drones, eternal reverberating cold soundscapes, and atmospheric dilated sequences.

chaindlk
Right after his collaborative effort with Fausto Balbo, Andrea Marutti returns with a brand new collaboration that bring him crossing his knobs with Davide Del Col, some of you may remember for a couple of wonderful works with Ehran and for his work as Ornament. This album brings together a couple of musicians quite renowned for their recent dark ambient past but differently from what one may expect this’ much more than that. Infact even if they’ve kept their dark roots on board, they overabundance of space synths paints the atmosphere of a strange space color. Even if this record has nothing to do with that, it reminded me of Brian and Roger Eno in their Apollo album, probably the space imaginary made me wrote this, but later while giving a look to the layout I’ve noticed they’ve put space satellites everywhere, and maybe I’m not that wrong. There’s a a great use of melancholic litanies pulsing underneath and during the first listening it didn’t emerged completely, later when I’ve had the chance to give the proper attention to the work it surprised me. I’ve been listening to this work at night while trying to catch some sleep and believe me, there’s no better soundtrack to meet Morpheus’ embrace. e sleep and believe me there’s no better soundtrack to meet Morpheus’ embrace.

Review by: Andrea Ferraris [ ics_ferraris {at} libero {dot} it ]

Kulturterrorismus
Ausnahmekünstlers Andrea Marutti, das er mit seinem Landsmann Davide Del Col verwirklicht, der vor allem durch seine Solopfade unter dem Namen Ornament & seine Mitarbeit bei Echran (in Kooperation mit Fabio Volpi) auffiel.

“Utopian Suns” hätte auch gut über Afe Records, dem Label von Andrea Marutti erscheinen können, erblickte aber anstand über die israelische Manufaktur Topheth Prophet das Licht der Welt, wo es sich nahtlos in einen von heimischen Interpreten geprägten Backkatalog einreiht, der seit 2002 stetig wächst.

Als Inspirationsquellen dienten dem Duo die Themengebiete Weltraumforschung, Astronomie und Science-Fiction, welche schon unzählige Protagonisten vor ihnen im (Dark) Ambient verwendeten, um Hintergründe für ihre einnehmenden Kopfkinofilme zu schaffen, die aus dem tristen Alltag in unendliche Weiten entführen (und meist zur Entspannung beitragen).

In Punkto Tonkunst kreierten die Herrschaften eine höchst atmosphärische Symbiose der Stile Ambient und Glitch, deren Dichte wie eine Würgeschlange ihre Beute erdrückt & verstörte bzw. total faszinierte Konsumenten hinterlässt, wenn sie sich vollends dieser mitreißenden Sounds ergeben, wovon man am Ende durchgeschwitzt wie komplett entspannt vor den Lautsprechern der heimischen Anlage verharrt – Wahnsinn! Zwischen 2007 – 2009 entstanden diese 6 Tracks mit einer Spielzeit von knapp über 1er Stunde, welche von Anfang bis Ende eine brillante Ausgewogenheit von tiefen Bässen aus der Electronica mit teilweise meditativen (dronigen) Klangflächen des Ambient verschmelzen, die die Südländer mit vereinzelten Noisesequenzen akzentuierten, wodurch sich eine atemberaubend wie ausdrucksstarke Masse ergibt, die auch nach dem x-ten Hördurchlauf noch abheben lässt!

Wir reden oft über das musikalisch perfekte Album, ein Terminus, der auf das Debüt “Utopian Suns” von Molnija Aura zutrifft, das in jeder Sekunde überzeugt wie bewegt! PS: Bitte sofort die Arbeiten zur nächsten Veröffentlichung aufnehmen!


Koufar – The Purity of the cedars reviews

RACKET
Wow. I think my ears just broke. You see, having spun this disc repeatedly my head feels like it’s been caught in the middle of a militant crossfire. Violent. Punishing. Brutal. The Purity Of The Cedars is an album by Maronite power-electronics combatant Koufar and fuck me if my head is not ringing!

Chock full of hateful blasting electronics, The Purity Of The Cedars is a caustic journey into the vengeful mind of Waddiah Rabbiah Chami, spitting venom against the current Lebanese state. The sense of anger in these 7 tracks is enough to make you want to pick up a rifle and shoot your neighbour.

Carefully selected samples set the scene further exacerbating just how much this means to Koufar. Blistering slabs of jolting noise and feedback fire off around you. At no point can you question the authenticity on display here, which in a strange way makes it even more of a joy to hear.

Whether you even understand the politics is probably irrelevant and by the sounds of it I’m sure most people would rather not know. This is immense.

Like a power-electronics car-bomb.

Terror.lt
I’ve been procrastinating the reviewing of this album further and further for Koufar is such a musical unit that if you want to suitably convey his message while being an ordinary eastern european without exclusive knowledge about Asia, Lebanon, and religious and political happenings in the country, it is a rather difficult task. But this evening seemed good for this task. Koufar is a project, based on ideas of Maronite Christian beliefs. First thing that drew my attention when I’ve read about it, was that this album of Lebanese, who is living in USA, was released in Israeli label Topheth Propheth. Despite the usual tension between these two countries, they’ve united their forces against the common enemy in this disc. Well, you could consider these nuances for the whole page, but as for background about this release, I think it’s enough. If I’m not mistaken – this is the final release of Koufar. Unfortunately. This project truly had it’s own face and this disc is one of the most interesting albums of Koufar. Release, symbolically entitled “The Purity of the Cedars” (cedar is a symbol of Lebanon) is dedicated to a father of this noiser. Album with playing time of more than 40 minutes starts with a sample of some chant and noisy interferences in the background. A rather short, lasting for just a couple of minutes, track, brings up the view of a desert and it’s the only slightly softer and melancholic/sadder moment in the album. Everything that goes after it – concentrated lump of hate, exploding right into your ears. It’s like the first chant was a lament before Koufar is gone to war. And other songs are sounds of his personal fight for his own beliefs. For the bigger part this album is somewhat similarly sounding to new power electronics unit, where Waddiah Rabiah Chami is also pariticipating – Disgust. Hideous, cold and purified noise which is not meant for your comfortable evening listening experience. It works more as an energizing and stimulating agression record. Despite the fact that lyrics are not included, but the voice ir raised above the noise and you can clearly hear effected voice and understand the words he’s shouting. Distorted lines of sound, feedbacks, samples and voice – this disturbing and truly powerful album is made in minimalistic manner. Emotions that this record radiates are hard to generalize and describe in words, but this is the true force of power electronics. A special album, recommended for purists. I don’t know whether Chami will return to this project or not, but either way, he left his clearly seen trace in the scene. This is Lebanon. This not Disneyland. And echoing shootings…

Dominion Mag

Power electronics is transgressive by nature, appropriating themes, imagery and ideologies that other genres wouldn’t touch. Maronite Resistence Unit KOUFAR, like its ideological counterpart INSURGENT, are the works of American Lebanese Mackenzie Chami. Wheras INSURGENT adopts a radical Islamic viewpoint KOUFAR takes on the Maronite Christian view on the state of Lebanon and the anger directed at Israel is palpable with track titles such as ‘Forced Unity’ and ‘IDF Military Cooperation (A Common Enemy)’.

Sonically this is hate filled power electronics vitrolic enough to rival the rash of white power electronics that has hit the scene over the last couple of years. The vocals are high up in the mix and clearer than is usual in power electronics, whilst the judicious use of samples blends in well with the at-times ABC style electronics. By avoiding over-use of typical Middle Eastern samples the impact is more pronounced and coupled with the righteous anger that burns throughout this album makes ‘The Purity Of The Cedars’ stand out as one of the better power electronic releases this year. (8)

The Philia Review
There are a large number of current projects out their who have a prepossession with certain brands of politics. Out of the handful that come to mind right now there are only 2 modern groups I can think of who dig deeper than most. The two groups I am speaking of would be none other than Brethren and Koufar. The latter of these two phenomenal groups is the one we speak of today. Koufar does more than shout out his ideas and opinions over grating noisescapes. Instead Koufar first lets you become acclimated to this community by use of samples. The shouts of children, chanting and speeches take you out of your comfort zone, placing you within the struggling atmosphere and turmoil expressed herein. Then you must be able to digest the vocal attacks, lyrics and shrill electronics that Koufar had mastered a few albums back. These samples are almost entirely in Lebanese (correct me if I am wrong) therefore Americans like me have no chance of discerning the messages being communicated on our own. But for the most part this doesn’t matter, the language doesn’t need to tell the story because of the emotions heard in the messages, in the voices, coming out of scared mouths and commanding shouts speak all on their own without any translation needed. Musically Koufar is very proficient at what he does so it is a shame to see him putting this project on hiatus but I am sure good things will come of it, just not under the Koufar banner. Most of the tracks alternate between feedback and perishing buzzes while a few other tracks prefer bass heavy loops hidden beneath ideology and opinions.


Automatic Autopsy Reviews

hierophant-nox

I first met Kadaver in the shape of “Molested Into Form”, which was released in 2009 via the much-missed FracturedSpaces Records. At the time I wrote that Michael Zolotov had created the filthiest, most apocalyptic slice of harsh electronic noise that I’d ever encountered, and which surely heralded the End Of Days, but apparently this wasn’t so, because later the same year “Automatic Autopsy” was given putrid unlife. The most commonly applied comparison is with Atrax Morgue, and ok – the projects had their links, and their similarly vicious misanthropy. For me, the eardrum-torturing, soul alienating pulse approach has strong echoes of the Japanese (Merzbow’s too obvious a shout, although at least I’m warning you of the degree of inhumanity you’re going to encounter) but really, Zolotov’s output is so intent, so self-driven and in some ways so isolated that it wouldn’t obey a handy grid reference, even if I had the technical skills to give it one.
On the one hand, Kadaver is master of that horror film art of terrifying via what isn’t revealed, as in the case of “Re-learning to Breathe”, which has a low, burning churn to its frequency, overspun with odd, light tones that skitter over the surface of the mind. The listener is wrong-footed about what they’re hearing, opening the door for the most twisted corners of the imagination. It’s like when you hear a vixen shriek – there’s a second when your heart freezes because you mistook it for a human, but then you’re ok, you’re relieved, because it’s not, but it’s something from the natural world all the same. When the seething inferno of noise shrieks on “Back to Dirt” and “Bite Marks”, you freeze, but you don’t get the relief. A machine shouldn’t scream like a human. And was it a machine? Or was it a person? And why am I sitting in the dark pondering this, long after the album’s over…
In other ways, Zolotov just makes sound that’s explicitly horrific. Not just the clenchingly uncomfortable couple of minutes that is the male-female interaction of “Yel-low”, but in the merciless weight, disorientation and ferocity of some of his compositions. I have to mention “Suiside” here, a hideously painful, clanking monstrosity, all collisions of air disturbance and hidden teeth. The frequency of the sonic assault, and the buffeting disturbances thereto, actually become physically uncomfortable at any volume; call me hyper-sensitive, but I actually found it difficult to breathe through.
On a more superficial level you’ve got the combination of relentless electronics with track titles such as “Pieces of Children”, “Pretty Girls Into Ovens” and “Liquid Mind-Fucker (Murders That Occur During Sexual Intercourse”). These titles don’t mention who carried out the atrocities they list, but you get the sneaking suspicion that you’re sitting heart-stopping close to the perpetrator… in a vital way, I guess, you are: Michael Zolotov summons up the most outrageous possibilities of human depravity with his devilishly clever but infernally frightening racket, and lays them out before us. That he sent me a band-aid with this album in case it all got too much makes him wickeder than first presumed – serenity is only a razor blade away. You’ll be snatching for one. Masterful.

90/100

Terror.lt

This CD, released by Topheth Propheth, is the newest product of Michael Zolotov. It is quite peculiar and strange album. The same is with all the creations of Kadaver that I’ve heard. During first spins of this CD I couldn’t find a way to approach the information in the CD while finally managed to do it. This is not just monosematic noise. Kadaver once more reveals his ability to mix several styles into one album, but the most important thing is that he is doing it quite well. Automated Autopsy reminds me Mike Page’s bends of creations. Dark and rather depressive pieces laying down in multilayered buildings of sounds. Feedbacks, loops of samples, field recordings etc. Everything blends into one frightening structure. It is not an aggressive album (the same goes for most of works of Kadaver that I’ve heard). Automated Autopsy is more like a journey that constantly takes you to the “forbidden” places of your mind to acknowledge them better. There are some noisier pieces in this album too. One of them, let’s say is the first one, noisy and rather chaotic “Pretty Girls into Ovens”, but they fit well with calmer (in respect of sound, not mood) places of the album and joins together into one totality without reproaches. Maybe the delayed woman’s cry Yel-Low sticks out a little and it contrasts with the whole picture, but it soon ends and we go deeper. One more thing that I’d like to praise is the sound quality. It is very clear and pleasant in this album. Now what’s not so good with this release and why I have problems with Kadaver’s creations overall – the measure of sincerity and certainty of the conception. Well, yes, “Serenity is always a razor blade away” etc. etc. and these emotional remarks goes with most of the releases of Kadaver, but these writings, notes and appendages does not convince me and while listening to Zolotov’s creations, host of doubts always buzz in the background. But if you dissociate from that, the sound is quite satisfiable. Diamondesquely sharp noise with reflections of ambient. Artwork – minimalistic, but it fits quite well with the release. The length of the album – almost 50 minutes and to those who search for dark and scary wanders and realize what to expect and what not to from Kadaver, this release should be perfect.

Heathen Harvest
Michael Zolotov is a really nice guy; really. After few years of knowing his music and communicating with him through online websites and Emails, as well as real physical paper letters, I first met him when circumstances made it possible, and was able to talk with a guy that is intelligent and polite, with some ideas that I agree with and some that I don’t, but nevertheless a worthy individual to be able to talk to.

However – as you may know, if you ever listened to at least one of his many, world wider spread, albums, Zolotov stops being nice the second he changes words for sounds. Each Kadaver album is an ultra violent terror attack never ever compromising and always looking for a new way to stab deeper into the guts. Kadaver is always hate eternal through sounds, imagery and even the hard to ignore track titles.

“Automatic Autopsy” starts differently, however, with a rather minimalist cover, almost entirely black. Inside this album there is something else I identify besides 100% alienated, alienating noise, and never replacing the spewing vileness but rather adding to it even more, thus turning the knob to 11, if you will. Even from the first moments of “Pretty girls into ovens” you can sense a very different, ominous presence of pain, with almost unbearable shrieks created from the infinite sound collisions that Zolotov creates from his sleeve. Kadaver usually makes sure you realize that there were no musical instruments in his recordings, and this is very meaningful when you begin to grasp his concept.

On “Liquid mind fucker (Murders That Occur during Sexual Intercourse)” I realize that Kadaver’s sound had somewhat evolved into a new stage, at least in some aspects and in relation to the first four tracks, and in addition to being 100 percent hostile, Kadaver’s excess value is that of an ongoing aftershock. Not the shattering, violent and focused blow in the head, but the long moments between the actual moment of the catastrophe and the time of recovery, if there is one. It seems like on many moments within his album, Zolotov is denying the listener the moment of full sensor recovery and regained equilibrium. Imagine you are being hit in the face with an unearthly hit that numbs everything but especially your sight, hearing and balances, making you need the time to regain them in order to properly stand on your feet again. Zolotov takes questionable pleasure in delaying that moment for almost one full hour. Within that time, as everything’s balance is shifting back and forth, during the ongoing sonic assaults by Kadaver, this liquidification of reality results in many potent events inside every malicious kadaver track. These events are where the listener’s attention is actually working on two levels. One is penetrating the music, through the thousands of sound occurrences in every minute of music, and trying to give a fight to the overwhelming forces that kadaver sends against his audience. The second level is where the listener’s attention can wander off to different places through the aforementioned excess overload.

“Automatic Autopsy” is the second release Kadaver has on the label Topheth Prophet, following “This time…it’s cancer”. Whether I was wrong in my reading of his material or not (different points of view that we have), it is clear that, having already begun from a very high threshold of pain and emotional sonic hatred, Zolotov keeps trying to move onward and upward, never stopping; Never resting.


No Volunteer 4 This Society Reviews

Heathen Harvest
MOURMANSK 150 WANTS YOU…… to go fuck yourself!!

Mourmansk 150 fans can rejoice, as their newest albums fails to disappoint. These masked misanthropes know their craft, yet keep finding different ways to improve and refine their trademark brand of hateful, primitive power electronics. For those new to this active French act, this would be as good a place to start as any.

I was quite amused by the promos and album artwork: children dressed in the band members’ ski masks and M150 t-shirts pointing guns and flinging things around screaming. Very, as they say in Japan, “kawaiiiii!!” However, appearances are definitely deceiving, as this is no playfully childish romp!! This CD is as dark, cold, and calculated as they ever have been, though not without a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor thrown in.

This CD balances carefully between the areas of power electronics/harsh noise and death industrial soundscapes. This CD borrows just the right amount of early Sutcliffe Jugend with a little dash of more agressive Brighter Death Now for a sound that comes as close to any in exploring all levels of hatred, with some humoresque samples thrown in to keep things interesting.

You have primitive, stripped down attacks of unfocused angst, serving as camouflage filling between even harsher walls of mind-stripping cold menace and darker, death ambient dirges. Here and there are even subtle hints of melody, though usually no more than two rumbling deep chords held down to achieve that really wicked feel to the album.

Starting off rather misleading, we are treated to a sample of a little girl speaking in French (main member Christophe Biot’s daughter, I think), before heading into a standard primitive motor drone, supplied with some screams and yells of “every fucking day!!!”

At first, I was prepared for a near-hour long ode to profanity, but this is deceiving. By the middle of the third track, we are treated to a sudden change of moods, and gone are we from a streetfight into a death chamber. Suddenly, deep resonating atmospheric tones, and foreboding vibrations tell us immediately what this album is truly about. We head back into anger filled screams for the next track, but for the rest of the album’s duration, these are more densely layered with other mind-warping sounds, shrieks, whirrs, clanks, and industrialized vocal distortion, as the war machine rears itself again and again for another attack against the festering human plague.

Transition plays a key role in keeping this album in motion, because each track is almost directly juxtaposed to the one that came before it. If one track is a hate-filled blast of white-hot energy, the next will be a plodding, tension-filled horror drone. French radio samples will directly precede claustrophobic walls of smothering electric pulses. Layers upon layers of grating noise will precede quiet haunting ambience and so on. The consistent thing is that the tracks are all rather direct and to the point, with few changes within the song, save abrupt ones.

Like most power electronics albums, this album is meant to disorient, wear down your senses, and finally hypnotize you into sympathizing with the artist’s violent intentions.

Anyhow, fans of Mourmansk 150 will surely not be disappointed. Nothing extremely different, but with an added death-industrial element that will surely please those craving pure anti-human spite!! For newcomers, M150 are a must-hear for fans of noisier/harsher material by Navicon Torture Technologies, Brighter Death Now, and Whitehouse/Sutcliffe Jugend.

The message is bright and clear. Mourmansk 150 supports total war against humanity, society, religion, and YOU!!!

Terror.lt:
“After the endless spinning of this CD during the current weeks, I still cannot decide whether this release is better than the previous one in Nil by Mouth or not. But if such questions arise, this means that “No Volunteer 4 this Society” is really strong product. With this release I see a serious definition in the style of Mourmansk 150. And it was characterized so that when listening to this release for the first time, disassociated from any subjective estimations, it is hard to mix these French terrorists with someone else. They seem to have no chance to sink in the mass of the releases. There are many songs in this album – 19. True, some of them are just short sloguns, excerpts from speeches or loops of samples, but all in all this CD plays for almost an hour. That sincere and hooking angst towards the whole society and the rotten parts of it. The sound of the album is remarkably clean and clear. Noisy and dirty rhythm and all the other layers that goes on it are heard precisely. Here and there while listening to this CD the comparison with Brighter Death Now comes into mind against my own will. But where latter one turns his back to society and goes on exploring different themes, Mourmansk 150 strikes forthright and without too much mystification of sounds or lyrics. Both, presentation of vocals and musical side of this album are very varied. Loops of rhythms, that transforms into plangent hums, (is it not the ordered engine of this civilization that start to disimprove?), drony seas of sound that lays above them, various effects on vocals… No, it won’t become boring soon. There are no ear-killing frequencies in this album, though feedback or high tones appears here and there. And it is not an aggressive album in it’s direct meaning. Maybe it works more as exhortation of political consciousness, but it goes without spitting directly into the face. The menace is greater and it lies deeper. It is more like a catalyst of surroundings and life as a whole. And I could not unambigously call this album power electronics too. It is more like a mix of death industrial/power electronics where the first one is felt even more in places. It is good to listen to this album when you live in metropolis. And the release that is good in various ways. Packed in a jewel case. On the cover of the album – all lyrics of the release. Powerful.”

vital weekly:
“Mourmansk150 is a honest, uncensored & unrestrained expression of my deep
hostility towards the inequities, corruption, abuse, ignorance & perversion of our civilizations, our species & the machinations of mans predominantly revolting existence. You, you, you, you, you, you are responsible for my current neurosis, my mental impediment, my fucking psychosis You and your legions of CRIME are responsible for my daily strain, my hate, my despair, my frustration, my apoplexy, my malevolence, my PAIN!! .” ..” Kadaver is Michael Zolotov. A project I started back in 2003 in order to vomit out and to drain the pus from what I feel inside. Because the meaning of Kadaver is to create an atmosphere, a mirror to inner sickness, sadness, depression, pain and grief and not to create “art” – there is no specific genre that can be attached to Kadaver. The sounds shifts from twisted dark ambient through industrial till harsh noise and power electronics.” There is a lot of shouting on the Mourmansk150 and pictures of the duo in face masks bare chested white males. the
Kadaver release is a more *musical* mix of noises – see above – industrial sounds. Significantly for me as you can also see above, both are using sound as a form of self expression, not yet taken to its limit of ritualization and into religion but that is where I guess it might (sadly) end. Not that I disapprove of these releases at all, they make a point – but fail my test that noise is or should be “data without meaning” – and again who am I to make this anything other than a piece of text. However, and I suppose both exasperating and annoying those who simply want to make shit – be it angst ridden or not I would like to make the point that such nihilism – self inflicted pain- or inflicted on others is no different to the very phenomena they seek to deal with. To say briefly they are in danger of becoming Zarathustra’s ape. “O Zarathustra, here is the great city: here hast thou nothing to seek and everything to lose. Why wouldst thou wade through this mire? Have pity upon thy
foot! Spit rather on the gate of the city, and–turn back! Here is the hell for anchorites’
thoughts: here are great thoughts seethed alive and boiled small.” My advice/critique to these is the same as Zarathustra’s.. “Bite”.. “And verily, what I saw, the like had I never seen. A young shepherd did I see, writhing, choking, quivering, with distorted countenance, and with a heavy black serpent hanging out of his mouth. Had I ever seen so much loathing and pale horror on one countenance? He had perhaps gone to sleep? Then had the serpent crawled into his throat–there had it bitten itself fast. My hand pulled at the serpent, and pulled:–in vain! I failed to pull the serpent out of his throat. Then there cried out of me: “Bite! Bite!” (jliat)

IkEcht (dutch)
Het Franse Mourmansk150 is zo’n act die in wisselende samenstelling al aardig wat werkjes afleverde. Als huidig laatste in die rij dit No Volunteer 4 This Society (waarbij de laatste twee letters aan de zijkant van de hoes zijn weggevallen). Het wordt uitgebracht op het Israelische label Topheth Prophet, bevat een klein uur muziek, verdeeld over 19 tracks. Waarbij voor een aantal tracks de naam track al wel bijna te veel is overigens, dat zijn meer korte intro, korte outro en een paar korte interludes.

Op het album treffen we power-electronics in optima forma. Echt opgekropte woede, niet meer zoals toen de act begon in harde noise, maar iets meer gestructureerd. Met een boodschap in de teksten over hun haat jegens en afkeer van de westerse maatschappij. Maar verwacht uiteraard niet die teksten terug te vinden in het boekje, laat staan ze te kunnen verstaan. Een deel van de boodschap is wel af te leiden uit de gebruikte samples, zoals een stuk over terroristen.

De herrie op dit schijfje is goed in elkaar gezet, doet soms denken aan IRM, regelmatig aan andere hardere Cold Spring en Cold Meat acts, maar is als totaal toch net niet van die kwaliteit. Dat wil zeker niet zeggen dat dit een slecht werkje is, want het is echt goed, hard, recht voor je raap. Power electronics zoals je die wil, niet standaard, daarvoor wordt er nog teveel gestoeid met aanliggende genres, van noise, drones en industrial zijn ze zeker ook niet vies.

Kortom een album om over je heen te laten walsen en het mooie is dat je niet alleen bij ieder walsbeurt platter wordt, maar het album ook met iedere walsbeurt een beetje groeit. Een erg leuk album kortom.

RadioDrone (Russian)

Участники группы «Mourmansk 150», в названии которой каждому обитателю некогда одной шестой части суши слышится что-то родное, продолжают свою непримиримую борьбу, втягивая в нее не только половозрелых единомышленников, но и детей, надев на них защитные маски и выдав молодому поколению боевое оружие – впрочем, не всегда обложки дисков нужно принимать всерьез. На сей раз волна шума докатилась аж до святой земли, постучалась в двери владельцев лейбла «Topheth Prophet» и воплотилась в альбом «No Volunteer 4 This Society», ставший не только первым «штампованным» диском коллектива, но и, пожалуй, лучшим их творением на данный момент.
Есть какая то странность в том, что в таком радикальном стиле, как power electronics/noise музыканты порой достаточно слепо следуют традициям, заложенными «отцами-основателями», не особенно заморачиваясь развитием и «шагами в сторону». Обязательный набор шумового террориста – маска на лице, черно-белые обложки с не самыми приятными образами, монотонный, лавинообразный шум и вокалист, насилующий микрофон воплями про то, что кругом «fuck», но наше дело правое. Жулиен Д. и Кристоф Б, записавшие этот альбом, от канонов не отступают ни на шаг. Другое дело, что вместо обычной звуковой «грязи» здесь слышна не слабая студийная работа со звуком, чему, видимо, французы научились от своего заокеанского коллеги, Томаса Гаррисона из «Control», который в прошлом работал с ними и как звукорежиссер в том числе. Отмечу также, что не малая часть из девятнадцати треков «No Volunteer 4 This Society», в целом, звучит достаточно спокойно и даже, да простят меня, медитативно, используя не самые агрессивные шумы и вгоняя в некую прострацию своей монотонностью и непоколебимой равномерностью. Вообще, слово «монотонность» можно применить почти ко всем трекам, но это ни есть упрек создателям – цели их легко определимы. Доводя своих слушателей до ступора, они пробиваются сквозь мозговые преграды к чему-то более сокровенному, куда и вбрасывают свои бомбы-слоганы, космополитично вещая на нескольких языках и добиваясь тем самым максимального эффекта. Ближе к концу альбом все больше и больше наполняется агрессией, используемые шумы становятся все более резкими и колючими, вокалист, ревя в микрофон и пропуская свои речевки через дисторшен, захлебывается ненавистью ко всему и всем. Ревут сирены, кто-то переговаривается по рации, дети о чем-то весело рассказывают, телевизор и радио передают последние новости – и в какой-то момент понимаешь, что скоро эти новости обернутся сводками с полыхающих войной городских улиц, по крайней мере, участники группы, видимо, очень на это надеются, возлагая надежды на подрастающее поколение. Серьезная, мощная, почти что идеальная в рамках жанра работа.


Collaborating Torture Reviews

Heathen Harvest
Sadly, this is actually the second release from Topheth Prophet to hit my in-tray recently which involves people who are now dead. The first of these was This Time,,, It’s Cancer by Kadaver, which was originally scheduled for release on Slaughter Productions in early 2007, but which appeared on Topheth Prophet following the suicide of Marco Corbelli, founder of Slaughter Productions and Atrax Morgue. In the present case, the deceased party is not the prolific producer, sound engineer and musician Maor Appelbaum, who was Israeli-born but is currently resident in the USA and very much alive, but his collaborator Hollowing, a.k.a. Matt Gibney, who was also a member of SOIHADTOSHOOTHIM and the proprietor of Rectrix distro and label, who died in January 2006. Maybe all this death inescapably goes with the territory, given the morbid and shadowy musical netherworlds that artists like these inhabit, but still, it’s kind of depressing.

Collaborating Torture consists of one long 54-minute track, recorded by Matt Gibney in 2005 and then mixed and augmented by Maor Appelbaum. In this, it resembles Mourning Duet, Maor Appelbaum’s recent collaboration with Clint Listing of As All Die, which is also a single long composition. However, Collaborating Torture is an altogether darker work than Mourning Duet, with a sound situated somewhere between the black ambient of projects like Archon Satani, Shining Vril and Sistrenatus on the one hand, and the ineffably sinister conjurations of the Aural Hypnox stable on the other – a potent combination indeed.

The piece opens with distant, deep echoing tones and thick layers of forbidding drones coiling and tumbling over each other. A simple repeating chime keeps time, providing a rhythmic axis around which the ambient darkness swirls. Around the nine-minute mark, orchestral fanfares briefly evoke a martial atmosphere before being submerged back beneath the surface of the ongoing, restless whirlpool of reverberating beats echoing through the void. There are fragments of melody here and there, but nothing remotely approaching conventional song structure. The atmosphere remains resolutely obscure and baleful. After some jangling, distorted piano at around 18 minutes, Collaborating Torture moves into a more subdued middle phase. The steady chime is still there, but very much pushed into the background, and the noisy, chaotic beats of the piece’s early phase disappear. Long, eerie drones and sinister hisses predominate – whilst this is certainly quieter, it’s far from restful. Orchestral brass reappears at 26 minutes, inviting comparison to the ‘Macht Muzik’ of Polish act Horologium, although Horologium’s work tends to be much more stridently rhythmic than this. At 31 minutes, a sequence of mid-frequency tones cut through the thick layers of low-end bass rumble, shortly followed by stray, isolated guitar notes. Orchestral chords fade in and out of the sludgy, enveloping, almost suffocatingly thick ambience which oozes from the speakers like a fat black flow of bitumen. The piano reappears, tuneless and remote. After some minutes of quieter, more subdued drones, the music becomes more insistent and overwhelming at around 41 minutes. Overlapping waves of noise build in intensity, as the piece moves relentlessly toward its endgame. At 45 minutes, assertive church organ chords appear, and the orchestral brass reappears before the piece fades to silence.

Collaborating Torture is an intensely bleak work, likely to appeal to those who are seeking out the most effectively immersive work the dark ambient genre has to offer. But be warned, this is a trip that only fearless and experienced psychic voyagers will want to take. If you’re not ready to dive in at the deep end and cosy up to the dwellers of the abyss, then give this one a miss.

Judas Kiss

“Collaborating Torture” was created through the collaboration of two artists who shared a dark ambient vision; the increasingly prolific Israeli Maor Appelbaum (Grave In The Sky, Poochlatz and many others) and Rectrix Records founder Matt Gibney’s solo project Hollowing. Gibney, who also recorded with SOIHADTOSHOOTHIM, sadly passed away shortly after the pair completed the album and before they could meet up in person. After two years, Topheth Prophet and Heart & Crossbone Records jointly release the album that the two of them created from their shared vision.

Consisting of a single 54 minute track full of heavy, dark drones, “Collaborating Torture” is a haunting, shifting mass of sound that evolves, expands and contracts as it progresses. Layered drones intersect as chimes gently ring out and voices from another dimension call out from deep within the rumbling depths of sound. Although less bassy than most drone based recordings, “Collaborating Torture” focuses more on a sweeping, swirling maelstrom of encircling sound that encapsulates and cocoons. Adding to the more atmospheric and ethereal aspects are creaking, chinking, chiming little sounds that resemble movement and activity in the shadows while dominant layered drones and obscured ritualistic chants sweep all around in dark swathes. After building and building the layers of sound, they are stripped away and, while the earthquake-like drones rumble beneath the feet, the sound opens up, the chants and delicate chimes become clearer as if observing some ancient ritual deep in an underground cavern with painted symbols and burning torches. As sounds build and fall again, the addition of short passages of acoustic guitar and rattling percussion can be made out amongst the murky layers.

Although “Collaborating Torture” is heavy, dark and oppressive, the feeling it creates is more atmospheric than disturbing. The ever-present layers of droning sound rumble constantly accompanied by monk-like chants deep within. The addition of small slithers of sound bring light and a glimmer of hope to a grim landscape that flits between lengthy segments of relative calm and short phases of disquiet and unrest.

Vital Weekly
To be honest: I never heard of Matt Gibney, musician and labelowner of
Rectrix, and so his passing away in January 2006 went unnoticed by me. Not by Maor Appelbaum from Israel, with whom he shared ideas and worked together. Appelbaum before worked with Maurizio Bianchi but in Gibney he found another lover of anything dark. In the fifty-four minutes that span this disc the two walk the darkest paths available in music. From the rattling of bells at the beginning to the more spacious paths in the middle end, things remain grim and dark. Industrial music for sure, but the industries are longer at work here. It’s a bleak, empty, barely lit landscape that once had activity, but it’s no longer there. Everything is gone and the nuclear fall out is heavily amplified by these two men. Rain drops become small but effective bombs, falling on rusty metal sheets that are on the floor of an empty warehouse. This is not pleasant music, but then that was never the idea, I assume. It’s highly effective music at work here. Deep bass rumbling, mean high end sounds and other means are put to work here. Quite an achievement, I’d say, and surely not of the weak minded. If depression isn’t there, it may such things after hearing this. Nice, I’d say, although I wouldn’t want to hear this every day, but this hard to swallow pill needs to be taken, at least every now and then. (FdW)

Blood ties

Here is a collaboration between Maor Appelbaum, an artist I am unfamiliar with and the late Matt Gibney’s project The Hollowing. For those of you who do not remember the contributions that Matt made to the noise scene, he ran the excellent dark noise (when such a term had relevance) label The Rectrix who released debut albums from such artists as Chaos As Shelter and Wilt. I did have a chance to witness The Hollowing live many years ago but this collaboration leans in a much different direction then the insanity I witnessed that night.

Collaborating Torture is probably first and foremost a drone album, although many of the elements here seem a bit dated, harkening back to the late 90’s dark noise sound. Echoing drum beats, creepy synth melodies, noisy bell sounds and tons and tons of reverb are some of what you will find here. As so much of that music did, this carries on many of these ideas a bit longer then they warrant interest which is a little disappointing. Consisting of one, long, 54 minute track, Collaborating Torture certainly would be a stronger piece of it had been condensed down into about 30 minutes.

There are moments here where I am drawn in, the first 10 minutes are dynamic, shifting synth sounds, more organic and concrete elements that work nicely. The noisier melodies are somewhat repetitive and so forgettable that being forced to hear them over and over again just magnifies the redundancy to a place where it definitely should not be. On top of that the drums that don’t really sound like anything more then echoing standard drum kit sounds just add to the monotony.

Around 18 minutes in things finally die down a bit and are able to breath to provide a thankful respite. The ambient elements here are a little more airy and undulate in a character that is quite pleasing. There is definitely a lot of thought put into these tracks, even in the quieter parts there are detailed layers strategically placed to form a carefully composed ambience which works for multiple listens. Eventually the track works up into more abstract and atonal melodies, drifting and creepy.

The production here is one thing that I have a problem with. Since a similar effect is used throughout the disc the frequency range is in the same place and it seems that the ultra high and low frequencies are softened so, that their barely audible. Everything is forced into the mid range by the noisy reverb which is applied, and which also adds that riding-in-an-airplane aspect to the track which makes it quite difficult to endure. I feel that if some different types of reverb were used, maybe some delay instead, or just a focus on dry mixing some of the elements the disc would have been much more effective.

It makes sense that this disc really sounds like it should have been released 10 years ago, and it probably would have made much more of an impact back then. But at this point it seems like most of the methods used here are “old tricks” that have come and gone and now are used much more tastefully by current artists. Not to say this is a bad track it just sounds quite dated. I’d recommend this to people interested in old-school dark noise like Gruntsplatter, Wilt, Murderous Vision, etc.


Trieb Reviews

Vital Weekly
Next album from the Tropheth Prohpet label presents the Italian collaborative project, consisting of Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga, that both originates from the hardcore punk-scene. In the UR-project, the two composers move into more introvert sound spheres of claustrophobic ambient noise. Containing four lengthy pieces of dark compositions, the expression is first of all built on thick drones that emerge from a combination of subdued noises, distant sounds of voices and industrial sounds. The atmosphere is apocalyptic and dark, with a psychedelic touch that sometimes reminds of earliest Pink Floyd thanks to the frequent use of distorted guitars and acid-like electronic soundscapes, especially on the final track “Happy hour (abattoir lounge)”. Where the first reviewed split-album was extremely upfront in style, this album demands for more deeply listening

Musique Machine
Trieb is very satisfyingly grim, suffocating & dank excise in murky old school industrial, damed electro-acoustic, barren ambience and noise matter. As the album progresses you are pushed deeper and deeper into a subterranean, decaying and clanking hell hole.

The project was set up in 2003 by two Italians Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga who Surprisingly are from a hardcore-punk background and have been in the following bands: Heartside, Never Was, Downright, Kafka & Stalker. There were joined in 2005 by Andrea Ferraris who has worked in many Italian hardcore, indie and post rock bands. Trieb is the projects third releases and the first wider available release after two ltd CDR releases. To create their sound the trio use a mix of; multiple electric bass’s, Theremin, violin, various pedals, cymbal and percussive matter, electronics and field recordings. Through out they managed to conjure up a very tangible nasty and brooding atmosphere that’s often dense airless and hopeless- full with clunking percussion, doomed black bass lines and general black/oppressive sonic matter. I can really see people who enjoy the likes of Wolf Eyes and The Skull Defekts at there more dense and suffocating really diging this.

Unforgiving in it’s grim, dank and nasty atmosphere yet hypnotic and bleakly compelling, Thrieb is a highly accomplished and rewarding ride- check out Ur myspace for a taster of Thrieb grim sonic fruits.

Judas Kiss
Ur is an Italian trio hailing from Genoa, and consisting of Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Andrea Ferraris, who between them have musical backgrounds ranging from hardcore punk to experimental post-rock. Their fourth full-length Trieb, which is released on the Israeli experimental label Topheth Prophet, contains four lengthy tracks (lengths ranging from ten to 17 minutes) of improvisational drone-based ambient, with the instrumentation used including contact mics, violin, two bass guitars, pedals and effects, percussion, samples and field recordings, resulting in a nice balance between acoustic and electronic sounds, something like the Polish project Hati or the Swedish trio Keplers Odd (both reviewed elsewhere in Judas Kiss).

‘The Belly Of The Earth Is Open Wide’ opens with a steady siren-like oscillating tone underpinning deep shifting drones, the siren cutting through the bass and lending an air of tension and anxiety. Various metal percussion is heard, with a steady build in volume towards the middle of the track. Ur’s percussive approach is similar to that of Tomasz Krakowiak. Past the midpoint, the sound thins out into bleak mid-frequency drones punctuated by loose percussion, a bit like some Moljebka Pvlse or Beyond Sensory Experience. The mood of the track is uncomfortable, but not excessively dark. ‘Recurring Dream’ initially maintains a similar feel, with steady background drones overlaid with busy squalls of electronic pulses and shrill whistles, though the later half of the track is noisier and harsher, with drones flaring up into waves of muffled roaring and some heavily distorted vocals (I think) and chuckling discernible at points. ‘The Room Of Wounds’, the album’s longest track, is much calmer than its predecessors, opening with a steady low circuit hum and disconnected, reverberating bass guitar notes -this track especially reminded me of the guitar-based ambient drone of Keplers Odd. After a few minutes of this low-key approach, the sound thickens slightly with the addition of some background drone, but the desultory plucked bass continues, interspersed with metallic scrapings and rumbles. There are indiscernible processed vocals and mysterious rattling sounds. The track has an exhausted, desolate feel to it. The closing track ‘Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)’ has fewer incidental noises, being more concerned with Nordvargr-style smoothly overlapping layers of drones and thin, attenuated shards of feedback.

Ur’s blend of avant-garde experimental rock jams with drone-based black ambient appeals on a number of different fronts, though I like the tracks with percussion more than the ones without. Trieb is a limited-edition CD release of 300 copies, and it comes in an oversize black and white card sleeve, which opens right to left, Hebrew-style.

Heathen Harvest

Ur is a fairly new industrial music project having been formed in early 2005 by Italian musicians Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga. Since the inception of the project Andrea Ferraris has joined the ranks of Ur flushing out the all Italian crew. Drawing upon the experience of these three accomplished musicians Ur transcends musical boundaries allowing each musician to draw upon their previous experience in the multifaceted Italian hardcore, industrial and power electronics scene.

Ur’s musical identity can be traced back to the origins of industrial music as it emerged in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s through the visions of such bands as Throbbing Gristle, SPK and Non. Like these early industrial music pioneers Ur also emphasizes musical improvisations and has likewise utilized live music events to further develop and explore the projects sound and identity. Like many of their old school industrial peers Ur also seeks to pair the musical side of their project with the feral and unpredictable aspects of improvisational exploration. Trieb is the fourth commercial release by Ur following previous albums released on the emerging Romanian label Mask Of Slave and the ever prolific Italian label Afe Records. Trieb sees Ur partnering with Israeli allies Topeth Prophet records who have become established as one of Israel’s premier industrial labels. This cross cultural global partnership is testimony to the diversity and friendship that pervades the international industrial scene.

The music on Trieb is heavily influenced by improvisation and lends itself to rather long songs the shortest being just over ten minutes and the longest track running well over seventeen minutes. The improvisational nature of some elements of the music make good use of the generous song length and the song length also adds to the feeling of listening to a more organic live performance rather than a studio recording. The four songs that comprise the album are built around elements of dark ambient, industrial, drone, and power electronics with no one element becoming too dominate. Instrumentation and sound sources range wildly from such traditional acoustic elements as bass guitar and violin to more abstract media such as field recordings, samples, mic techniques and the ever present array of effects and modifications. The resulting sound is quite holographic and three dimensional in stereo though I found the same quality lacking when I listened on moderate priced headphones. The mixture of electronics and acoustic generated sounds makes for an interesting mix of contrasting elements at play.

Trieb begins with the opening song “The Belly Of The Earth Is Open Wide” which begins with a oscillating sound wave that creates an unsettling atmosphere of cold tension. Slow waves of crescendoing dark ambience emerge from the background and traces of the bass strings can be heard amidst the swelling waves giving the sound an acoustic signature and a bit of warmth. This union of electric and acoustic sound continues to evolve while high pitch tones erupt and fade and distorted voices struggle to break free from the dominance of the background ambience before being consumed whole by the rumbling jumbled waves of bass. Random sounds are mixed in throughout the length of the song as the emphasis remains on atmosphere and the creation of a subterranean mood. The music contorts and evolves unsettled and frenetic sounding like the creaking haul of an abandoned freight ship and some half dead mechanical animal in death throes all at once. There is an authentic sense of psychic darkness as if the authors of the music are intentionally delving into less explored aspects of both music and psyche. I found that on my home stereo at medium volume the music was completely engulfing and I found myself fully immersed for the entire thirteen plus minutes of this lengthy song.

“Recurring Dream” follows the nocturnal visions of its predecessor with muted industrial sounds and disjointed sounds that slowly build in volume as the song takes shape. The song structure begins rather loose and improvisational compared to the more predictable nature of the previous track. Immediately noticeable is the random nature of the sounds and the inconsistency in the pairing of sounds. The previous emphasis on flow has been abandoned for a far more complex attempt at pairing diverse and much more angular sounds into a common soundscape. Sounds are roughly layered upon one another only occasionally finding cadence. There is also a more aggressive tone to the music that is more akin to the power electronics scene than its dark ambient or industrial cousins. The music excellerates into a powerful improvisational journey that at times is fluid and engaging and at others challenging and dominating. The use of some old school oscillating effects and the shear force of some of the sounds will give some familiarity to industrial and power electronics listeners but the over all mixing of the cocktail is rather signature to Trieb albeit not totally original.

“The Room Of Wounds ” opens with a very improvisational beginning that grabbed my interest immediately. Here we hear something distinctly not industrial, dark ambient or power electronics in nature. drawing upon a more electro-acoustic approach Trieb deliver a sonic adventure filled with layers of carefully placed sounds that create a jagged musical narrative that feels at once delicate and imaginative. The heavy handed approach of earlier songs is abandoned as sounds are placed far apart on the sound stage with plenty of room between. Instruments and samples have clear distinction allowing for a truly three dimensional sound stage in which the listener feels as if they are in the studio with the artists. The music takes on an almost ritual tone in its careful construction with random sounds giving way to one another with some twisting and howling while others mumble and rumble. The the sound of bass strings and scraping metal are expertly paired alongside random mic feeds and industrial static. While one musical element drones on meditatively another contorts through spasms of distortion. The resulting tapestry is primal and immersive. Half way through the song you barely notice almost ten minutes have passed. Ur takes the listener out of the delicate bliss of the first half of the song and administers a bit of pain the second half by migrating the song into a denser stew of sound driven by industrial drones and darker musical elements that abandon the airy expanses of the first half and take the listener into more murky musical waters for a dark ending.

The last rack of four titled “Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)” begins with a rumbling background of industrial unrest and various high pitch drones cresting over the surface of the industrial rumblings. The mood is once again cold and a bit technical like the moments at an industrial show when the musician heads into self indulgent playing leaving the audience behind. The sound here is challenging and will be easier to digest for noise and power electronics fans. I found my tolerance wavering as the song progressed as musical punishment isn’t quite my thing. There is a true sense of distress and discomfort communicated through the music with the high pitched layers continuing to build into an almost unbearable wall of squealing sound. The only redeeming element the listener has to hold onto is the fluctuating rumblings of the obscure bass in the background of the song. Near the end of this epic track voices get thrown into the blender with the rest of the sounds but they don’t add much to the song in terms of substance as the lyrics are completely indistinguishable. “Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)” brings the album to a close with a very noisy finale.

Trieb is definitely recommended for those looking to explore the hybridization that is currently occurring in the industrial music scene. Its refreshing to see musicians breaking down genre boundaries and exploring music for the sake of music instead of making music for a specific music scene or genre. This emphasis on musical hybridization and improvisation may be challenging for some listeners but for those of us who have neared exhausting many of the familiar genres Trieb will be welcomed as innovators who are striving to define the new direction of industrial music bringing it back home to its roots while freeing it from the confines of genre restriction at the same time.

Gothtronic

The Topheth Prophet label is relatively new (started around 2002) and, most special, hails from Israel! This label promotes the local noise scene to be heard in to the rest of the world. Didn’t know they had a noise community there. The focus of this label is in the noise, power electronics and dark-ambient field.

Ur is actually an Italian project from Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Andrea Ferraris (who came in later), with their first release in 2005.
The music and aesthetic of Ur is very much grounded in the industrial origins of the 70’s and relies a lot on improvisation. Though it’s nice to know were they are coming from with their music, it does from time to time drags along. The album consists of four songs, with each around 15 minutes in length, and for some of the tracks, that’s pretty long. It’s all nicely done but I miss some tension those bands in the 70’s did have. I think it’s more interesting to see them perform live. Not that this is a bad album in any way, but I miss some real inventive touches. The album just goes and then stops, and doesn’t have a real standout moment. It’s a nice release, but nothing too special. But time will tell with their next output.


Ravha\Electricity Gardens Reviews

Bagatellen
A split disc, with one long track by the Swedish trio Moljebka Pvlse, five by the Israeli duo, Seventeen Migs of Spring and one shared.

Moljebka Pvlse is Karin Jacobsen (bells, thunder tubes, walking on leaves, Styrofoam), Mathias Josefson (field recordings, electronics, mix) and Martin Nordin (violin) and their pieces here are fascinating. This whole general area of processed field recordings has become fairly crowded in the last couple of years and even solid works can get lost in the shuffle so hearing something like the opening 27-minute piece, “Ravha”, is a real joy. The “walking on leaves” accreditation above might seem a tad precious but those sounds are major ingredients here, along with transportation hub hubbub (including the recordist explaining himself to a passerby), abstract industrialiana and a huge sense of space. The violin comes lurching, sawing into the scene, eventually carving out a plaintive line amidst the bang of metallic sheets, soft bells and a distant argument. It ends with some whistles and quietly clattered metal; wonderful piece. The collaborative track is a fine, understated rumble, well-molded.

The four participants in Seventeen Migs of Spring gather under the noms K-76, Gurfa, B-74 and Discord, wielding, one presumes, an array of electronics. It sounds as though field recordings are also present, though they’re worked into drones and kneaded into the largely dark, brooding ambience on the first cut featuring only this quartet. Others, like “Alternative Current”, evoke mid 60s tape pioneers like Raaijmakers and Koenig (I’ve encountered a good deal of this sort of sound lately, a reinvestigation of that decade’s electronic avant-garde), complete with blooping swirls, low burbling growls and quasi-metallic clangs, though rather more aggressively than their forebears and lacking much poetry of those earlier works. The pieces are effective enough at what they shoot for, it’s just that I find their somewhat claustrophobic character of less intrinsic interest than the spaciousness created by Moljebka Pvlse. Mileage may vary for different listeners, though; the Migs do what they do well.

Well worth hearing, especially for that fine, fine “Ravha”.

Heathen Harvest
It’s amazing how much we as humans take for granted the full spectrum of our sensory cues (especially sight followed by hearing) in order to enable us to navigate and make sense of the world around us– so imagine the sense of displacement and separation should any of us lose the use of our eyes, the prime sensory organ. While we can do without touch, smell and taste (and hearing to a degree) and not suffer too much, it’s that convergence between sight and sound especially that helps us to locate ourselves within a spacial framework. Take away the visual cues and suddenly the world becomes a strange place; it may as well be another planet entirely.

The preceding long-winded preamble does have a point; Moljebka Pvlse’s drone and field recording pieces are a good illustration of how the world becomes that strange place without the benefit of sight. ‘Rahva’, the twenty-six minute opening track, is indeed another planet, where even the sound of a lone mournful trumpet takes on a disturbingly unfamiliar colour and shade. The same goes for the dog barking in ‘Calm Gardens (at night)’, the track created by MP along with K-76, Gurfa and B-74 of SMoS; the apparently dichotomous simultaneity of the familiar and yet unfamiliar. By isolating commonplace sounds like voices and everyday life and weaving them around subtle drones and tones the pieces detach themselves from what we take for granted and are removed from their proper places. We are encouraged to reassess our relationship with both the mundane sounds and noises that are a part of our everyday experience. This seems to be MP’s particular forte, the ability to shift sound sideways and make it seem as if we are experiencing them for the first time.

The five pieces that comprise Seventeen Migs of Spring’s evocatively titled suite ‘Electricity Gardens’ are aptly named; serried ranks of pylons marching across miles and miles of fields or the buzzing flowers of conductors and transformers in the walled beds of the ubiquitous substations. Metallic boings, clangs, buzzes and hums crackle with a barely contained energy that just wants to break out; despite the uninspiring and unpromising track titles the pieces surprise with an animation and power entirely in keeping with the subject matter.

Again, we can hark back to the point I made about Moljebka Pvlse’s pieces: the point about taking things for granted. Electricity is such a major part of our everyday lives that we almost cease to function as a civilisation when it suddenly stops flowing. In the same way that we take our eyes for granted we also do the same with that light-switch, never once stopping to think how we would cope without either of these essential elements. I may be miles off in my interpretation; however given the current concerns with energy generation and its future then I think it’s entirely natural to entertain this train of thought.

A quietly thought-provoking CD, created by very different sound-artists who nevertheless know how to shepherd their materials to conjure up the right atmosphere and images in order to set off thought-patterns that help instigate re-evaluation and reassessment. This one’s definitely a keeper…

Musique Machine
This split release between Sweden’s Moljebka Pvlse and Israel’s Seventeen Migs of spring seems to revolve around the concept that electricity is an enveloping part of our environment, in all but the most remote regions of our planet. The artists choose one unifying factor to make their point, which is field recordings, but overall the two use divergent means of expression.

Moljebka Pvlse, in this case are represented by a three piece band. Apart from mainstay Mathias Jacobson, Maria Nordin appears on violin. Karin Jacobson is credited with bells, thunder tube and walking in leaves on styrofoam. Their album-side length opener, Ravha, is without question the standout track here. Everything which follows appears relatively insignificant in comparison, not that the rest of the album is at all bad. The track at its inception is made up of all found sounds, collaged in such a way to make music of everyday sounds, whether it be public address systems or abstract electrical current hum.

What is especially intriguing is the fact that, though they are assembled for forward motion, the sounds don’t sound fussed with or overly modified in the studio. The act of using environmental sounds in the Cage-ian spirit that music is natural and needn’t be created by traditional instruments is certainly nothing new. But Moljebka Pvlse appoint these sounds with a refreshing lack of adornment, and a willingness to let the elements speak for themselves. They don’t make an attempt to shape them for their own means. And that’s just the first half of the piece. One would think that the addition of musical elements would be at odds with the tone of Ravha, but it works surprisingly well. The violin, in particular, melds nicely with the background sounds.

So, yes, the rest of the album pales in comparison to this towering achievement. Seventeen Migs of Spring offer five tracks here, and they seem more interested in the bluster of electricity. They attack these pieces, credited as Electricity Gardens, with fuzzy noise, and a more abstract focus. Their music is bold and arresting in the beginning, but after a few minutes, becomes a bit tiresome. This album is worth owning in the very least for its exceptional first half. Any joy that can be gleaned from the second half is merely a bonus.


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.


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.