Amalthea * s/t (mc 2015)

Amalthea is Michael Idehall and Æther. Beläten released material of both projects and there is a message of Thomas Ekelund to accompany this cassette, but this self-titled tape was released by a label that is new to me (even though they released a tape with Trepaneringsritualen).

Well then. Michael Idehall records both material that I adore and more monotous ritualistic material that I like less. Æther is also a bit too monotous for my ears and yet I read that the split is somewhat noisy. That is not really the case on side A. The two tracks are soundscapes, mostly with an ‘industrial pulse’. The tracks are nicely dark, perhaps not brilliant but nice to listen to.
The two tracks on side B are indeed quite a bit noisier. They still have the slow rhythm, making what I call ‘noisescapes’. These two tracks are the more interesting of this tape to me.

A descent tape for background music. For people who like dark, slightly industrial and ritualistic ambient.

Links: Michael Idehall, Æther

Black Bug * Frozen Energy (7″ 2015)

When my eye fell on this 7″ in the shop of Aufnahme + Wiedergabe, I did not know that it is actually a brand new 7″. Some three years after lp (click on the bandname to read the review) there is new material of Black Bug.

The title track of this 7″ is an uptempo and nicely raw sounding electropunk track. Side B, “Push You”, sounds more like that wave-sound that is so popular nowadays. It is not really “minimal wave” that I used as a tag, but more like the style between shoegaze-rock energy and minimal wave, perhaps reminding a bit of some material of The Soft Moon. So what do they call that these days? “Now-wave”? “Ghost wave”? No matter, as long as it is good and that certainly goes for this 7″.

Videos for both tracks can be found on the Facebook page of the band, so it is easy to listen to the music.

Links: Black Bug, Avant!

Am Not * Unpunished (cd 2015)

I was looking much forward to hearing this cd, but it took a while before I could. “Unrest” was certainly worth the wait!

The album opens with the brilliant title track. A dark rumbling piece of death industrial with calm, clear, spoken vocals with a not-so-calm message. Then Am Not continues with different styles of death industrial and noise, all pretty damn dark. From Operation Cleansweep-like dark noise with distorted vocals to chaotic power electronic with no vocals. Somehow I have something with dark noise with vocals and that is a description for most tracks on “Unpunished”. All well-excuted and moody, so here we certainly have another great noise album.

The first ‘real album’ of the British Am Not is one for lovers of the mentioned Cleansweep or Ex.Order, industrial noise projects like Trepaneringsritualen and ‘vocal noise’ projects such as IRM and some tracks of the latest Iron Fist Of The Sun.

Recommended!

Links: Am Not, Unrest Productions

Michael Idehall ‎* Deep Code Sol (cd 2015)

All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.

The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!

Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Thorofon ‎* Live N’ Buried (mc 2015)

On a mailing order list I saw a Thorofon tape that I did not have. It proves to contain recordings of two live shows, one of which I actually attended! In fall 2013 me and my girlfriend took a massive detour home from Scotland to be able to see Thorofon live in Paris.

Side A of the tape is a recording of the 2011 show at Maschinenfest, so side B is for the Le Petit Bain show. I must say that the recording captures the lively show well, even when I am usually not fond of live-recordings. Raubbau/Pflichtkauf did a nice job with a good-looking tape in a slipcase with nice artwork and a printed tape.

A nice addition to the Thorofon collection.

Links: Thorofon, Raubbau

MZ.412 * Hekatomb (cd 2015)

In 1994/5 I was happy to be able to leave behind the black metal scene and role into something more interesting. Cold Meat Industry was one of the labels that I discovered and from which I bought dark ambient and strange industrial. Then there was this act with corpsepaint and whatnot even making a style of music that I -at the time- did not like: noise. Well actually, they called it “black industrial”, setting it aside Brighter Death Now’s “death industrial” as Satanic black metal stood aside death metal.

I never really took a descent listen at MZ.412. I have (heard) some of their albums, but I never tried the entire discography. The more death and dark industrial albums sound better to me than some others. After almost 10 years after the last ‘real’ album, Maschinenzimmer moved to Cold Spring and brings a brand new album. Well, “brand-new”… there are some tracks that sound very familiar even to me.

MZ starts with a little surprise, almost martial industrial tones. Soon we are thrown into the deep and dark pits of rhythmic industrial and low-frequency noise. Some tracks are very good, others are less interesting, but certainly not bad. “Hekatomb” became a reasonable ‘comeback’ for our Scandinavian terror korps.

Links: Nordvargr, Cold Spring

Iron Fist Of The Sun ‎* We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps (cd 2015)

Recently I bought the “Embers” 7″, but it proved to be from 2011, so I did not review it. I have known Iron Fist Of The Sun (or IFOTS on the latest releases) by name for quite a while, but I never really got to listen to this project from the UK until recently.

Deezer has the 2009 album “Behavioural Decline”. It is comparable to the “Embers” 7″, the “We Can Yield…” album currently under review and the “Live At The Garage” live mcd that I got with the album, but perhaps the last one is more intense. The music is roughly comparable to IRM or Skin Area. Pretty extreme noise, but not as extreme as Whitehouse or Merzbow. Here and there the sound leans toward ‘ambient noise’ and one track can even be described as a ‘soundscape’ (or a ‘noisescape’).

Some tracks are certainly dark and moody, but I do not like every track as much as the next. I do like the very extreme vocals, which is also one of the reasons I have to think of IRM.

Overall “We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps” is a fair album with a couple of very good tracks.

Links: Iron Fist Of The Sun, Cold Spring

The Soft Moon * Deeper (cd 2015)

A couple of years ago I discovered The Soft Moon when I was looking for A Place To Bury Strangers-like shoegaze-rock style bands. The Soft Moon is a descent band in that ‘genre’, but when I saw them at the 2013 Summer Darkness festival, they proved to be much more energetic on stage than on their albums which made their show more interesting than their albums.

While at the gothic Summer Darkness festival the band probably did not have their usual audience, yesterday the band played at the Psych Lab Eindhoven festival with a whole range of different-style psychedelic bands; more their scene I think. Their show was with quite a distance the most interesting of the evening. Whereas many band were slow and… psychedelic, The Soft Moon were noisy, uptempo and very energetic. Judging my review of the “Zeros” album, that also was true for the Utrecht show. The band played quite a few tracks that I did not know, so I figured they might have a new album out and indeed, their merchandise stand had “Deeper”.

The cd opens in a promising way with the uptempo “Inward”. Just as in my previous review, I can say that “Deeper” is not as continuously energetic as the live performance. There are also slower and even soft songs to be found on the album. Like in my previous review I can say that there are great and alright tracks on the cd and again I prefer the faster tracks. There seems to be more focus on electronics this time with some beat-driven tracks, but in basis the sound of The Soft Moon is shoegazish, slightly psychedelic rock, somewhat reminding of the sound of A Place To Bury Strangers; so: noisy with high-pitched guitars.

A nice album, but perhaps a live album would be even nicer.

Links: The Soft Moon, Captured Tracks

Duchess Says & Le Prince Harry * Split LP (12″ 2015)

New material of my favourite electropunkers, the weird and wonderfull Duchess Says from Canada. This split vinyl opens with some typical uptempo rock sounds, but soon goes over in Duchess’ frenzy. Then follows a more electropoppy song, nice and weird. The third track is also great, not too typical for Duchess Says, but what is typical for a band that goes from electropop to grindcore on a single album? Anyways, the Duchess Says side definately excuses buying this lp.

The name Le Prince Harry rings a bell, but apparently I have never (really) listened to them. Their four tracks go perfectly with those of Duchess Says. The music of Le Prince Harry is also weird, uptempo and punky, but with even more electronics than in Duchess Says. Their 2012 lp “It’s Getting Worse” also proves to be a wonderfull album with pulsating synth rhythms and simple but effective guitar-work and vocals. The music reminds a bit of my countrymates zZz, but Le Prince Harry is faster and the tracks on the split lp are even more uptempo.

Certainly a very good pop-album, though a weird one, as it should be. The label also has a couple of interesting names in their roster by the way.

Links: Duchess Says, Le Prince Harry, Teenage Menopause Records

v/a * Martyred Heretics (cd 2014)

I got this compilation with a Beläten order. It is limited to 200 copies and so far the only release on the Mustard Relics Recordings label.

After an introduction follows a nice track of what we would call “minimal wave” nowadays, but according to Discogs the project called Prayers only released two 7″s on WEA and EMI in 1990 and 1992, filed “eurohouse”!
Continuing with Angels Dust, a new project that creates strange ‘beat-scapes’ with female vocals. Perhaps best described as IDM. Not really my cup of tea. The other track of Angels Dust does not sound entirely alike, but the description again fits.
Pornostroika Dadaifi also contributed two tracks. Discogs lists them as a “Cyber Punk band formed in 1999 in Lesvos, Greece”. This may go for the weird and nice second track, the first is a less interesting experimental, atmospheric thing; perhaps old-style-industrial is a decription.
Another project with no releases on Discogs: Mach Baron. Their only track starts as dark ambient, but quickly goes over in quite typical “gabber”, hardcore techno.
Then we have a project that does have two releases on Discogs, recent even, 2014. Street Sects makes noisy industrial rock. Not of the typical Ministry style, but do think in that direction.
After this follows the only project that I knew: Blitzkrieg Baby. Kim Sølve contributed a nice, strange and slow industrial track.
The next project I have not mentioned until here presents an interesting track. Pyrotoxxxn starts with a dark sound over rattling beats and after a more quiet middle part continues with more ‘hiphopish’ rhythms. The end becomes more energetic and interesting again.
So how do I describe the track of Peopling? A steady, noisy pulse functions as rhythm. A (digitalised?) bass guitar makes the only thing that can be called a melody and then there are strange vocals. A noisy interlude slides into a more quiet end. A very interesting track! Peopling has another interesting track. “Groundloss” I think is more in the nowave tradition with noise created with guitars and effects.
A long track is Scab Queen‘s “White Forest” of almost 10 minutes. This is a (to me) uninteresting unstructured ‘scape of sounds’.
The longest track lasts almost 15 minutes. Glanko‘s “Terr” (live!) starts as dark ambient, takes over a third of the track to go over in a more guitar-trance like middle part with a piano-synth and ends more spacey again. A track much different from what came before, but interesting when you enjoy experimental spacerock kind of music.

Not only uncommon names, but also uncommon sounds. Some of it is quite nice, so “Martyred Heretics” makes a good surprice. Buy as cd or Bandcamp release. Click on the link below.

Link: Mustard Relics Records

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