Gnawed * Pestilence Beholden (cd 2016)

Thank you Noise Receptor for letting me know about the new Gnawed. I like the previous “Feign And Cloak” album quite a bit and I now see that I also thanked Noise Receptor for bringing that release to my attention.

“Pestilence Beholden” opens with a few pieces of dark ambient, but within the third track we go over to the death industrial style from the previous album. Well, maybe not exactly, the new album seems a little less as extreme as its predecessor, which also has more higher frequencies and overall a more noise-feeling.
The music is still very slow, somewhat rhythmic, with soundscapish tones and here and there highly distorted vocals. Maybe more like a ‘doom’ kind of industrial.

I like the new album. I think I prefer the rougher edge of “Feign and Cloak”, but the latest release may be more fitting to play when reading or something.

Links: Gnawed, Malignant Records

Steel Hook Prostheses ‎* Calm Morbidity (cd 2016)

Apparently the first Steel Hook that I review. This is weird, because I have known this American project for quite some time. I guess I never came to buy any of their releases or I just never came to really listen to them before I started to enjoy noise better.

“Calm Morbidity” is not the first release on Malignant, a label that seems to be shifting more and more towards noise.

The album contains the wall-of-sound type of noise, dark, slow, dense, with extremely distorted vocals, but also more dark ambient tracks. I like this dark type of noise that is not as chaotic as some other styles. The album is not terribly good or varied, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Links: Steel Hook Proestheses, Malignant Records

Michael Idehall * Solar Symmetries (2016)

This album showed up in my Deezer “hear this”. It appeared to be a remix album and now I see that there is no physical version of this release. That is not too bad, because even though “Solar Symmetries” is nice, it is not a ‘must-buy’.

Remixes by known and new (to me) projects, a couple of doubles in chosen tracks and usually the remixes come nowhere near the original versions, a few exceptions notwithstanding, the tracks of Hadewych and Alvar.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Soviet Soviet * Endless (cd 2016)

I thought I knew this band because I listened to them when I noticed them on the schedule of the 2016 Wave Gotik Treffen. I do not remember seeing them though and I cannot find confirmation that they played either. Maybe another festival?

Soviet Soviet neither is the old wave-band I thought it was. Their debut is from 2009 and “Endless” is the third full-length. Like on other albums that I heard, the band makes a nice piece of 1980’ies type wave music with high-pitched guitars and also quite distinct high-pitched vocals. The music is a bit too ‘wavey’ to be shoegaze, but the term “post punk” is often used to describe them.

“Endless” is (to my ears) not a masterpiece, but a descent album in a ‘vintage style’ that I do enjoy to listen to every now and then.

Links: Soviet Soviet, Felte

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

Search website

Latest blog entries

Deezer vs Spotify

I have been a Deezer user for three years. When I started, I compared Deezer and Spotify and thought that Deezer had a better user interface and was a little better with “similar artists” and hence, with “radio” (‘play similar artists’).

[…]

Wave Gotik Treffen 2016

The first time I went to the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, was the disastrous 9th edition in the year 2000. It took a couple of years before I went again. Recent years I went annually. The WGT is so big and varried that there is a lot to see even for me. I have […]

Still an addict

Not much music reviews recently, but I am as much a music addict as I used to be. It is just that I do not run into new things that I really like very often. I listen to a variety of music styles nowadays. My ‘usual’ or ‘old’ scenes do not present all that many […]

Last stories

7″

I like vinyl, but I seldom buy it since I seldom play it. 7″s I do have quite a few though. This is partly because before the internet 7″s were a cheap way to get to know new music and of course 7″s are sometimes fairly exclusive releases. Here come a few covers. The scans […]

A little peek into early industrial

Recently I have been reading some books about the history of industrial music. “Assimilate“, “Industrial Evolution” and “England’s Hidden Reverse” (not yet finished when I write this). “Assimilate” starts with the early scenes of Northern England, Berlin and San Francisco, but soon speaks only of relatively popular bands and projects. “Industrial Evolution” focusses on the […]

My early days in dark music

It is funny how memory works. When somebody would ask me about my musical background I would start with something like the following. My father has a fairly big vinyl collection and a varried taste, so from an early age I encountered all kinds of different music. As a youngster I went to popfestivals and […]