Isomer ‎* Three Kestrels (2016)

Well well, a new Isomer, would it be more ambient or more industrial or even noisy?

It looks like Isomer continues the darker and more noisy track. “Three Kestrels” is a fairly noisy album with an industrial approach. Not that it is very extreme, but “ambient noise” is perhaps a bit too ‘ambient a tag’. There are 7 tracks raging from very nice to very good. Indeed, “Three Kestrels” is a very nice album.

Available on vinyl (if you are quick I guess) or Bandcamp download.

Links: Isomer, Tesco

Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand ‎* Sucht & Ordnung (2016)

Continuing on the psychedelic path, Der Blutharsch, etc. comes with an album with only three tracks, one of 8, one of 7 and one of 14 minutes.

The music is largely instrumental, slow and psychedelic, but on a few occasions there are metal-like eruptions and singing by Marthynna and less frequently Herr Julius.

Like with most Infinite Church albums I find “Such & Ordnung” alright, but not great. Good to listen to a couple of times, but not much more than that.

Links: Der Blutharsch / WKN

Iron Fist Of The Sun ‎* Family Survival Strategy (mc 2016)

If ever there was an album for which the term “ambient noise” was fitting, it would be this one. (Probably) too noisy for people who like ‘dark ambient’, but not as extreme as (some) noise releases.

IFOTS apparently likes to play with styles. As my opening of this review suggests “Family Survival Strategy” is relatively tranquil. There are still nauseous frequencies and unpleasant sounds, but this tape certainly is not as extreme as this project can be.

I do not entirely like the ‘soundscapish’ approach of IFOTS, but the odd closing track is very amusing.

Links: IFOTS, Unrest Productions

Iron Fist Of The Sun ‎* Blush (cd 2016)

Like the other IFOTS album that I reviewed, “Blush” contains older material. “Blush” was previously released in 2010 as a cassette on the same label.

The other album that I reviewed was released on Cold Spring, just like Unrest Productions from the UK, but broader and bigger a label. Again like the other album, “Blush” has a mixed, musical approach. It opens very noisy, but the second track is more an ‘ambient noise’ kind of track (with one clear sound). The rest of the album mostly has fairly simple and repetative tracks, sometimes very noisy, sometimes less so. The vocals are almost absent and there are not really tracks that I like a lot. The best track is probably the closing one. The album is alright, but not really my thing.

Links: IFOTS, Unrest Production

S.T.A.B. Electronics ‎* Day Of The Male (cd 2015)

A while ago I was playing the great album “Unpunished” by Am Not and I wondered what other releases Unrest Productions would have. I listened to the tracks on their Soundcloud account and liked the track of S.T.A.B. Electronics, like Am Not (and like the label) from the UK.

Nowadays when I want to ‘try out’ a band, I just see if they are featured on Deezer or if they have a Bandcamp or Soundcloud page. Not everything is available online (which is perfectly fine with me) and I did not find much of S.T.A.B. Electronics. So, just as in the old days, I just bought a cd of a project I was curious about.

“Day Of The Male” opens with a descent ‘death industrial’ track with rumbling and noisy rhythms and screamed vocals. Perhaps ‘power electronics’ is a better description. However I do not entirely like the vocals, this tracks is a nice one.
Then follows a screeching noise track that I do not like at all.
Things get better with the title track which is again more ‘death industrial’. What follows hereafter is brutal power electronics, in one case pretty extreme: the great track “Marquis Complex”. The other tracks are nice to good, so overall I may conclude that “Day Of The Male” is a good power electronics album.

Links: S.T.A.B. Electronics, Unrest Productions

Grunt * Myth Of Blood (cd 2015)

Discogs.comI have known the name of this long-running, Finnish power electronics for a long time. Mikko Aspa has been making earcracking noise for over two decades. The reason that I never really listened to Grunt is that this is (or I expected it to be) not my kind of noise.

Recently I heard a really great track, an aggressive power electronics wall-of-noise with extreme vocals. I liked the track and tried to listen to a few more tracks. Apparently I thought to like them enough to buy an album.

Well, my older assessment is true: Grunt does not make my kind of noise. It is unstructured, has a lot of high frequencies and (to me) lacks atmosphere (caused by the lack of structure). Too typical noise terrorism for me. I like the more (death) industrial type tracks better, but overall this is not the kind of noise I enjoy playing.

The artwork is nice though.

Grunt, Freak Animal Records

Alfarmania * At Ulleråker (cd 2005/2015)

I thought this much spoken of Swedish project was a recent project of the active artist Kristian Olsson. On the contrary, Alfarmania has put out material since 2004.

I also thought I bought something more recent, but “At Ulleråker” has been released on a cassette 10 years before this rerelease on cd. It is a live recording spread over two half-hour tracks.
I guess now I have to see if Alfarmania has developped in style, because like with many projects that like to use the ‘old style’ of noise music, Alfarmania is largely too chaotic for me. The sound is not as brutal as some power electronics projects, it sounds more like ‘noisescapes’ with here and there a sound that is more ‘death industrial’. Most of the time you will just hear an evolving wall of sound, though, with no vocals or rhythm.

Links: Alfarmania, Old Captain

Murderous Vision ‎* Hidden Histories (mc 2014)

Once upon a time there was a label called “Somnambulant Corpse“, later “Somnambulant”. This is one of the few labels that sent me promos (which is fine btw). There was a bit of a problem though. Many Somnambulant releases were soundscapish dark ambient, often not really my cup of tea. This caused the contact to water and I not think the label has existed very long either. Typical for the label were the DVD box packages. Somnambulant has released (launched?) some classic artists like Post Scriptvm and Murderous Vision.

When Somnambulant released a split cd with Kuru in 2003, I had already known Murderous for four years. “Blood-Brain Barrier” was the first (and one of the few) real noise album on Somnambulant. However I do not believe I was much ‘into’ noise at the time, I apparently liked the album. Listening to it now, I would say that it is rather chaotic, but the slow rhythm, low frequencies and extreme vocals make some tracks a ‘fun’ listen.

Apparently Murderous Vision kept recording, not on the least labels either (L.White, Annihilvs, but mostly on Live Bait Recording Foundation, the label that acquainted me with this American project in the first place).
When browsing through the catalogue of a distro with a lot of noise, my eye fell on this 2014 tape and I wondered what Murderous Vision would sound like today. I got myself one of the 100 copies.

“Hidden Histories” opens with great low-frequency noise. Deep rumbling rhythms, here and there vocals. Minimalistic and fairly monotous, but I like it nonetheless. One track is more industrial, another goes more in the direction of power electronics. An enjoyable tape indeed.

I will have to listen to some more Murderous Vision. Deezer has one album, “Life’s Blood Death Embrace” (2006 Live Bait), this one is more dark ambient. There seem to be plenty of other releases to hunt down though.

Links: Murderous Vision, Impulsy Stetoskopu

Wardruna * Runaljod – Ragnarok (cd 2016)

This is the third part of the “Runaljod” trilogy and consequentially the last one. The first two parts were released in 2009 and 2013.

On release of the debut, Wardruna caused quite a stir. Their dark, ritualistic Norse music was quite unheard of and the band gave some legendary shows at equally legendary locations. The fact that their music was used in the popular “Viking” series certainly added to the popularity. “Runaljod – Gap Var Ginnunga” is indeed an impressive album.
After quite a wait, “Runaljod – Yggdrasil” was released. The album is again certainly descent, but there the sound became a bit lighter with choirs and a bit of a ‘newagey’ tone. Looking back at my reviews of the previous two releases, it looks like I prefer the second album over the first, but in hindsight I think that the debut is better, the second is good, but less so as the first and now the third is again less good. At least, that is my impression of the moment.

Like I said, the second album was far less dark and many songs came with choir-like singing, perhaps having a faint reminiscence of Arcana. This path is continued on the third album. Most tracks are soft drumming with a couple of people chanting, one song even has a children’s choir. The music certainly is not bad and most of the time not boring, but I do think it is again a step away from the level of the debut album.

But of course this is just a matter of taste. Perhaps the trilogy has a rising course for you.

Links: Wardruna, ByNorse Music

Duchess Says * Sciences Nouvelles (cd 2016)

It is odd how the music business works nowadays. On Deezer a Duchess Says single became available a while ago. “Negative Thoughts” announced an upcoming album. Then a little later the album is announced on Bandcamp and can be preordered. One track could be listened for free, another (“Negative Thoughts”…) after you preordered the album. Now the album is out and you can listen to it entirely on Bandcamp without buying it.

“Sciences Nouvelles” is (like previous albums) is short only 36 minutes. Two tracks I already knew (see above), two tracks can also be found on the split with Prince Harry.

Just like with the previous album “In A Fung Day T!” (2011) the pre-released tracks seemed to imply that the band is going more in their electropop direction rather than the weird punk style. The opening tracks of “Sciences Nouvelles” seem to confirm this idea. However “Negative Thoughts” is a bit ‘rocky’, only once the album gets the good old weird punk sound of Duchess Says with the “Pink Coffin” track that we already knew. “Poubelle” (track 5) is nicely weird, but (on the Duchess Says scale) ‘low energy’ and we immediately go back to electropop, followed by a strange sounscape type of track. There is some slightly psychedelic experimentation which is amusing. I do prefer the more energetic sound of the band and when compared to all that came before, the latest album is again a step back.

I am not really blown away by the latest Duchess Says. The previous album did grow on my as well, so maybe this will happen again. After a few rounds I can say that “Sciences Nouvelles” is nice to very nice, but not as nice as previous releases.

The label seems to be new to me too. Maybe I should have a listen to what they released before.

Links: Duchess Says, Bonsound

OAKE * Monad XXIV (ep 2016)

Discogs.comA while ago I heard a magnificent track that made me think a new Galakthorrö project was on its way. It was a track with the mysterious title “Sehtohree Diin Chromtas Vehns” and it proved to be of a project called OAKE. The track can be found on the 2013 EP “Vollstreckung”. OAKE appears to be a couple from Germany and they have quite a couple of releases available.

These releases are usually vinyl and released on labels that I do not know, Downwards, Resistance / Restraint, Noiztank, Stroboscopic Artefacts. Apparently nowhere near the industrial scene, I have not seen a place that sells their releases.

The music of OAKE and dark and mysterious. Weird dark ambient and rhythmical soundscapes that sometimes seem to lean towards IDM, while at other times there is a guitar drone that makes me wonder if this is a very experimental doom project. Like I said, in dark and rhythmical moments, OAKE could be on Galakthorrö. Especially their oldest material (2013/4) is some of the best new music I heard in a while.

“Monad XXIV”, the latest release, is again an EP. It takes about half an hour and has four tracks. “Monad” is a bit more typically rhythmical ambient, not unlike some material from a label such as L.O.K.I.-Found; sometimes a bit ‘tribal’, sometimes more IDM. The music is certainly interesting, but I like the earlier material even better.

A project to keep an eye on!

Links: OAKE, Stroboscopic Artifacts

v/a * Estigmas (cd+dvd 2015)

In a double cd pack comes a DVD and a CD. The DVD has the film (or films?) Estigmas, but the package also mentions La Glorificación del Icono Traumatico. The menu has ‘original version’ and ‘directors cut’, the first of which has English subtitles and the latter does not. The film lasts 30 minutes and is directed by Jose Moral and José Luis Martínez. Unfortunately I cannot find it on IMDb. I guess it is not listed.

However the film looks good in colour, contrast and special effects, there is nothing much to the rest. The story is about some radiation experiment during WWII is but a rack to hang strange special effects and gruely characters on. Most of the time you hear a voice-over, of which I am not sure if it is supposed to be the main character speaking or his thoughts. There is a whole mash of the usual shock elements such as Nazis, runes, a whiff of Norse mythology, Ariosophy, sex and some horror elements. Nothing much original.

The soundtrack of the film is mostly the playing of music on the background. There is music of The Protagonist, In Slaughter Natives, Der Blutharsch, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud and some other bands that I forgot or did not recognise.

Then there is the ‘soundtrack’ CD which does not include TMLHBAC, but mostly music by Puissance, then The Protagonist, ISN, Der Blutharsch, Mayhem, Silent Love Of Death and a couple of projects I did not know, Turnavel, Suveräna, Kazeria and Hyperborei. The music is mostly dark ambientish and not too bad. Of the bands I already knew, I also already knew the presented material. The cd makes good background music for when reading or something.

However the film nor the cd is really good, I think this is an interesting project. Something different from the usual compilation release and perhaps a way to get film more into the music scene.

Link: GH Records

v/a * The Sound Of Progress (dvd 1988/2016)

Around the time that I was reading “Industrial Evolution” and “England’s Hidden Reverse” Cold Spring started to announce the rerelease of an old documentary about that very period of early industrial. Four bands are featured on this DVD: Test Dept, Coil, Foetus and Current 93. The last three are extensively featured in “England’s Hidden Reverse”. It was nice to see persons with the stories and interviews that I read in the book.

The documentary was made by country-mates of mine (from the Netherlands) and there is life footage of Test Dept. in an abandonned building in Amsterdam and Foetus in Paradiso (also Amsterdam). Of Current 93 there is live footage from Hamburg, Germany. There is no live material of Coil.

The 40 minutes feature snippets of interviews and the mentioned live footage. It has all been cut and montaged a bit and sometimes you can see who are talking, sometimes you do not. Of Coil there are interviews shot in the house of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (1955-2010) and John Balance (1962–2004). There are also parts of an interview with Balance and Stephen Thrower (1963-) outside a studio. Then there is footage from inside a studio when the band was recording “Horse Rotorvator”. The other bands are interviewed around the shows that I mentioned earlier (inside or outside the places they played in).

This DVD certainly makes a nice addition to the mentioned books. The interviews are not groundbreaking, but the live material and the Coil studio material are particularly nice.

Link: Cold Spring

v/a * Epicurean Escapism II (cd+dvd 2013)

Epicurean Escapism is an ‘extreme media’ festival and this release looks back at the second edition. There is a cd with tracks from Ke/Hil, Anemone Tube, Post Scriptvm, Trepaneringsritualen and Dieter Muh (the last is a 20+ minutes track). Compared to the DVD all these tracks are ‘easy listening’. Dark, noisy, industrial, ambient and quite enjoyable too.

Then we go to five videos recorded by Con-Dom from 1983/4 and one from a decade later. The videos are mostly shots of photos and images taken with a shaky camera. Some footage has been montaged in between. The videos are accompanied by Con-Doms most uncompromising sound. No ‘easy listening’ for sure! In fact, I do not really like this side of Con-Dom. The videos have been remastered and they are interesting ‘for archival reaons’. They give a peek into the early extreme noise scene.

The packages is DVD box sized and made from cardboard. A booklet is glued to the last panel and contains an essay and photos of artwork that was on display during the festival. The concerning artists are Alex Tennigkeit, Andrew Liles, Carmen Burguess, Dennis Rudolph, Philip Best and Rudolf Eb.er.

I like the more ‘overall approach’ to this release, but personally I find the cd part the most interesting.

I see that volume III was also released a few months ago.

Links: Silken Tofu

Death In June * Live In New York (dvd 2006)

I did not realise this DVD is so old when I ordered it. Here we have a recording of the November 10 2002 concert of Death In June in New York. The DVD lasts for an hour and a half and has a whopping 30 songs. The show was an accoustic one with Douglas P. on guitar (without talking off his fly-net helmet) and John Murphey for some extra sounds.

There are actually songs on this disc that I do not believe I knew. Like I said, they are all minimalistic in sound which makes the DVD a bit lengthy in my opinion and of course there is not a whole lot to see either. It looks like Douglas was in a good mood, since he introduces most songs and asks for requests. This way you get a little bit of background of the songs. This could be a reason to buy this DVD. When you are not an avid Death In June collector, this release gives a descent overview of the discography of the band.

Links: Death In June / NER, Tesco USA

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