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
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
A 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
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
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
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
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
However my musical masochism grew in the last decade, I am still not a big fan of chaotic, unstructured noise terrorism, especially not when a lot of high frequencies are used. As far as I knew, Sufcliffe Jugend is one of these projects.
Sutcliffe Jugend has been around since 1982. It is one of the early projects that started to make a very extreme form of the upcoming industrial music. Of course, with them having been active for so many years and me having been involved in uncommon music also for quite a few years, I had run into this British project a couple of times. Still, inspite of a growing likeness of noise and even a bit of power electronics, Sutcliffe Jugend remained one of these projects that were a bridge to far for my taste. I did see them at the Wave Gotik Treffen a few years ago though. I do not remember much of the show…
Recently I accidentally heard a few tracks that I actually like (or did I hear the same track a few times?). They are probably part of some playlist or came by when I listened to a ‘similar artist radio’ or something. These tracks show that Sutcliffe Jugend also has tracks which are more of the ‘wall-of-sound’ type noise (that I do like sometimes) with completely insane vocals with normal and high-pitched screaming. Guessing that this could be a new direction, I decided to try the latest album of Cold Spring (but now I see that two other albums are already listed after it on Discogs!)
“Offal” opens with a wall-of-sound type track only not with the typical screamed vocals, but for the rest a track track that I expected from this project, just perhaps a little less extreme. The track is not great, but certainly not bad.
Then we go to “Howl” which turns out to be an impressive and truely brilliant track! The vocals are very atypical. They are a bit TV-preacher like, but also with the more typical screams. There is a slow, industrial rhythm and an increasing wall of sound. Oh how do I like noise with vocals sometimes! This is the type of noise that gets the hair on my arms straight up.
Another great track is “Slice”. A track with a faster rhythm and a bit of ‘orchestral squak’ or how should I describe the sound? After a while the vocals set in. This tracks is good and dirty.
The last track has again a faster rhythm. It start with a monotous kind of talking, but after a while they are again more like the American TV-preacher who after a while starts to swear and scream. The music is simple but effective, rhythmical, noisy and a little bit odd and also this track is great.
Four, long tracks. Two of which are great, one is very good and another is just good. Perhaps I have to dive into the fairly large discography of Sutcliffe Jugend afterall.
Cold Spring Industries, Sutcliffe Jugend
NN has never been a very active project. In 1994 there was the 7″ “More Satanic Heroes”. Five years later the album “From Heaven On Earth”. After that is was silent until the great album “Magic” (2007). A year later the 7″ “Sacred” was presented and yet another 7″ “Heart Of Stone” in 2012. Last year the album “The World In Devotion” was released.
Now, instead of releasing another 7″, November Növelet decided to release a compilation with “The singles 1994 – 2012 – Bonus Material”, the latter (“bonus material”) are three new tracks that were not released on vinyl but on this compilation.
Oddly enough, the 7″s are not presented chronologically, but the other way around. “Heart Of Stone”, “Sacred”, then the noisy sounds of “More Satanic Heroes”. At the end the three newly recorded tracks follow that -of course- have the ‘current’ Növelet sound can be found, so there are some noisy tracks in the middle. The more dramatic / melancholic sound of the “From Heaven On Earth” album is not present on “Unintended By Nature”, so this album is not really an overview of the development of NN.
In my opinion the best material of NN can be found on the albums “Magic” (most of all) and “The World In Devotion”. The songs form more of a unity than on “Unintended By Nature”. There are a few very nice tracks on the 7″s, other tracks are alright. However certainly not bad, the “More Satanic Heroes” tracks are the least of this compilation. The three new tracks are also nice to good, but I would have preferred them to be in the beginning of the cd so that it would have been entirely counter chronological.
Links: November Növelet, Galakthorrö
If I am not mistaken, this is the same duo as Divine Muzak, but Discogs does not ‘say’ that the female halves are the same person. Tanz Ohne Musik has been releasing music since 2011. I ran into their Bandcamp around the time the sound shifted from an alright minimal wave sound to a much more interesting Galakthorrö-like sound. Still, it took until the sound shifted back a bit towards the ‘old sound’ that Galakthorrö showed interest in the project from Romania.
Putting on “Infinity” initially gives the impression that Tanz Ohne Musik went for a more November Növelet style than the tranquil Haus Arafna sound of “Between Our Body Shapes”. As the album continues, it is clear that “Infinity” is more like the last release “Belong” (2014), more like the earlier releases than “Between Our Body Shapes”, but still with “angstpop” elements.
The album is relatively lively / uptempo with a couple of very nice tracks. People who know the project will not hear very big surprises. People who got this album because of the label it is released on, may find that Tanz Ohne Musik is a bit more danceable and accessible than most Galakthorrö music.
Links: Tanz Ohne Musik, Galakthorrö