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Japanese madman Ichiro Tsuji runs the UPD Organization label. He has also been releasing outsider Industrial music as Dissecting Table since 1986, evoking a motley pallette of Western projects founded before and after (Foetus, Skinny Puppy, Coil, Einsturzende Neubauten, Mz.412, Nocturnal Emissions, Test Dept, Scorn) and the sincere weirdos of Japan’s own experimental scene (Zeni Geva, White Hospital).
This 1999 3xCD compilation contains more Dissecting Table than you could every possibly want, bringing together 1986′s ‘Ultimate Psychological Description’ 7″ (t.s 1.1+1.2), 1987′s ‘Ultra Point of Intersection Exist’ debut LP (t.s 1.3-1.9) and collection/previously unreleased tracks (discs 2 and 3). Only t.s 1.1+2.1 can already be found in KFJC’s library, on old collection CDs.
Tsuji’s singular style basically consists of frantic, tribal sequenced beats and instruments, weird Power Electronics textures and developmentally disabled Grindcore grunts. At times it’s like a poorly programmed AI trying to reproduce Death Metal with machines (and a captive howler monkey), but it never quite sounds fully musical.
Disc 1 is mostly vocals, beats, synth noise and samples. Disc 2 adds sequenced ‘Classical’ instrumentation and music box insanity into the mix for a tortu(r)ous Winchester Mystery House experience, and includes a couple pieces on the more abstract side (t.s 2.2+2.4). Disc 3 is completely different: one ultra-long ‘Test Work’ from 1985, an Aeolian harp of crackling and grinding pedal distortion that barely changes for 48 minutes. The birth of Harsh Noise Wall?
Solid gold from the always-reliable Crowd Control Activities label. Our copy (#15/500) is autographed.
Named after a Kerouac novel, London’s Desolation Angels were a lesser band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They basically sounded like a slightly grittier version of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden (although singer Dave Wall was no Rob Halford and indeed no Paul Di’Anno). Great, thuggish, heavy, cantering, Morris-Minor-alienating anthems on this 2012 reproduction of their debut 45RPM single, originally self-released in 1984. In true NWOBHM nerd style, ‘Valhalla’ is about Valhalla and ‘Boadicea’ is about Boadicea. Cocksure, obnoxious and brilliant cuts from rockers who should’ve been bigger.
Bethlehem were once one of the most influential German Black Metal groups, although their style incorporated Doom, Death, and Groove into what they called ‘Dark Metal,’ the extreme genre that never was. Their second album, from 1996, is “dedicated to all suicide victims,” and its title is Latin for ‘Thou Shalt Kill Thyself,’ or something like that. The band was formed in response to numerous suicides among its members’ friends, including that of bassist Jurgen Bartsch’s pregnant girlfriend.
Yes, this was an influence on the development of the Depressive-Suicidal sound but it’s heavy in a way a lot of that music is not. Bone dry guitars cutting perfectly cold and desolate riffs, skeletal drums, ghostly keyboards (sometimes!), deathrock basslines, and the most amazing, batshit-crazy sounding Black Metal screams of all time. Session man Rainer Landferman gasps, shrieks, chokes, sputters, growls and rants through these songs like he’s hearing the music at low volume through one headphone to make room for the voices in his head dictating the words. It’s all in German, but I can make out references to stone chains, blood, death, snakes, darkness and “animalistic blasphemy.” Apparently the lyrics are pretty hard to follow even if you do speak the language. Pass the thorazine.
T.5 appears on the soundtrack to Harmony Korine’s film ‘Gummo,’ for which the band also contributed one original song.
A harsh noise 7″ single is a funny thing. Like a good execution each side is over too quickly. Side 1 scrapes in time to demoniac vocalizations and the screams of the burning. Side two explores collisions of HNW and complex analog electronic interplay ending with a translucent machine drone in the pit of your sinking stomach. Both pieces ritualistic and very tasteful, monochromatic without eschewing variation. Seattle’s BSBC have played at KFJC at least once. Whatever it takes to be ‘good’ at apocalyptic Industrial noise racket, they’ve got it. “Stan Reed, William Rage, Crystal Perez: Dense, Harsh Noise Drift; Dual Damaged Guitars; Broken Electronics and Faulty Cables; Roaring Vocals; Piercing Screams; Horror Show.” Mastered by M S Waldron of irr. app. (ext.) and Nurse With Wound.
The Austrian label Hau Ruck! is the Tesco imprint of Der Blutharsch’s Albin Julius. On this 2002 release, HR! presents ritual-psychotic post-Industrial soundscapes from the solo project of Russian Yuri Sakevic, active since 1996. This CD is actually a retitled reissue of 1999′s ‘Gotterdammerung’ album on Russia’s Black Dead Rabbit Productions. ‘Lucis Ferrato’ means ‘Iron-Clad Light,’ I think.
Most pieces build layers upon layers of singing/chanting/wailing into swarming Greek Choruses of lamentation. At first I assumed the voices were sampled but I think most of the vocal parts are actually original recordings of Sakevic himself, who seems to be a pretty skilled singer. Sometimes the voices are clearly differentiated, and sometimes they blur together into organic drones. T1 seems to have lyrics, but they are extremely distorted. The pieces also draw on Lustmordian electronics, gongs, bells, chimes and various mystery sounds, often giving the recordings an alchemist’s-chamber atmosphere highly reminiscent of 1980s Ain Soph, the early LPs of Diamanda Galas, and Ligeti’s ‘Requiem.’ Imagine snowfall by the darkened cloisters of an ancient satanic monastery high in the mountains. Near the end of the album the energy level rises with T.6′s Toroidh march and Hitler sample and T7′s concluding outburst. Very bizarre, very unsettling sounds.
Austrian Neoclassical Darkwave shamelessly mining the trickling veins of Dead Can Dance and Arcana. It is beautiful, though.
‘Die Verbannten Kinder Evas’ is German for ‘The Banished Children Of Eve.’ The group originally began as a side-project of both members of the Neoclassical Black Metal project Summoning. By 2006, on this most recent album, DBKE was mainly the project of Richard Lederer (AKA Protector), the other Summoning guy having departed. All music was composed by Lederer and performed by him on keyboards.
DBKE has been fronted by a variety of lady singers, most recently by comely Greek Christina Kroustali (AKA Lady of Carnage), whose fine soprano is either improved or damaged by heavy reverb. Lederer sings the male parts, so to speak. It’s all very archaic, almost religious-sounding chanty stuff. Nearly all of the lyrics are from the repertoire of John Dowland. You might ask yourself why they bothered re-setting the words of one of the Renaissance’s greatest balladeers, but apparently Dowland’s lyrics were not his own in the first place, being often drawn from popular poetry of the Elizabethan era.
If you enjoy the sophisticated melodic sweep of Summoning but don’t like the metal aspect, this is the release for you.
“Isn’t he racist” Yes, and a confessed murderer too (of an arguably better musician), and an arsonist of cultural heritage sites, and the holder of all manner of extremely bizarre views besides. Take an honest look at the stone in your own eye, thou hypocrite, and you may find out you’re not doing so hot yourself. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say all honkies are “racist” nowadays, whether we like it or not: that is at least so far as the, ahem, cultural hegemony is concerned.
Recorded in 1992 by one man, under a full moon, at the Grieg concert hall’s studio (where Emperor also made albums), and originally released on future victim and Mayhem founder Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, Burzum’s debut didn’t invent Black Metal but it did pioneer the style most often associated with the genre: call it the ‘dark forest’ sound. Its inhuman vocalizations, sickly, buzzing guitar tone, flurried drumming and mournful atmosphere were very influential on the development of the ‘raw’ and ‘depressive’ scenes: see Forgotten Woods, Ildjarn, Ulver and Mutiilation for more information. Contrary to what you may have read on any number of clickbait websites, there’s little here that could be called political content. The lyrics are adolescent (nineteen-year-old) fantasies of violence and power. There are also settings of an ancient Sumerian invocation (A2) and a spell intended to destroy the world (A3). If you want my opinion (and you do, right?), Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien (‘Burzum’ is Black Speech for ‘darkness’) are more important thematic influences here than Wiligut. This Back on Black reissue also includes the tracks from 1993′s ‘Aske’ (‘Ashes’) EP on the D side. Technically it’s a reissue of the compiled ‘Burzum’/'Aske’ release on Misanthropy Records from 1995. B1 and C2 are ambient and B3 and D2 are instrumental guitar tracks.
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how you or I may feel about Varg Vikernes or Burzum now, because the movement he started that night at Fantoft Stave has achieved its own momentum, and we will win :-)
2002 Norcal Noise Festival compilation. Noisefest happens in Sacramento and it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Each convocation has attracted as performers both ‘stars’ of the noise scene and people of whom nobody ain’t never done heard. As for the audience, well there’s the other bands of course, and also an assortment of odiferous and shambolic weirdos, some drunk, some ‘high on life…’ Don’t touch ‘em or you might bring home a new friend, if you know what I mean. Recording quality is good and many different forms of experimental music are represented, although most tracks are electronics-based.
1. “If opera’s not your thing you can head to the Norcal Noisfest in Sacramento this weekend. The festival showcases 32 experimental bands playing non-tradition instruments with unusual technique. Don’t be surprised if power tools, metal tubes and tweaking electronic effects are part of the lineup. If you don’t hear the festival, chances are you won’t be hearing NOISE on any radio station.”
You might like this even if opera is your thing.
Necrot! The destiny of this Oakland Death Metal band has been intertwined with KFJC’s ever since Number Six acquired a copy of the first demo back at Deadfest 2012. You can find evidence on Live From The Devil’s Triangle Volume 16 of that same year’s Firebunker live mic session. Just in time for their scheduled second appearance on our airwaves comes this LP, mastered by Dissector of Ghoul, which compiles all three demo tapes released thus far. It’s true that our library has two of the tapes already but look a squirrel.
For their first two tapes (A1-B1), both released 2012, Necrot was the duo of cadaverous Italian growler/guitarist Luca Indrio (Acephalix, Vastum, Lawless) and San Jose local Chad Gailey (Bruxers, Caffa, Vastum, Rude, Atrament) on the hammers. In 2014 their third release (B2-B4) brought in Sonny Reinhardt (Saviours) to play lead guitar, with Indrio sticking to bass. It’s probably easier to play live with three members.
In their search for the dankest chainsaw riffs yet unheard, Necrot embrace a stripped-down, sometimes grooving sound, kind of raw in a way that approximates Gothenberg Death Metal superheroes like Dismember and At The Gates, cept in their young daze before they all went to shit. It’s NOT sloppy, but it does have a studied looseness and a haphazard race-for-the-end quality that will appeal to fans of Punk. They might be less excited about dying than some bands. That said, it’s Death Metal through and through, baby. All hail.
This 2010 CD is the most recent proper album from Anti-Free-Speech Action’s favourite gay, vegetarian, British-working-class, pro-Israel neo-Nazi.
Douglas P. is a legendary figure and voice in the post-punk scene, and as a matter of fact, KFJC co-presented his last show in San Francisco, where a small and rather pathetic congregation of picketers made known their displeasure with the artist’s consistent use of Third Reich imagery, as well, I’d imagine, as his refusal to disavow his own curious brand of New Right/Post-Left (but hardly Hitlerian) politics. His outlook and uniforms are an uncomfortable combo to be sure, but I wonder if that’s the point… Gee whiz…
Another point: there is and shall be no band in the world like Death in June; furthermore, Death in June has never been a political band per se. The artist’s interrogation of modernity’s numerous betrayals (on the personal and international scale) certainly lends itself to political analysis (e.g. t.1), but ‘Peaceful Snow’ is essentially distilled from the thoughts and feelings of a poetically-inclined gay man facing old age on his horizon and with a lifetime of refusal to compromise at his back. Although there is some bile here, in many ways it is the most tender album he has ever done, summoning the inevitable spectre of his old group, Current 93 (‘Soft Black Stars,’ anyone?) in its sober treatment of lost connections and truths long tried by the passage of time; you could say there’s some Leonard Cohen in there too, actually, whose body of work is an apter point of reference for Di6′s than one might think.
The songs are all enriched and expanded by Douglas’ newest collaborator, Neofolk neophyte Miro Snejdr (he has a Death in June tattoo), who transcribed them from guitar to intricate and fragile piano passages, somehow evoking both Burt Bacharach and Ozymandias.
I was a fool not to have checked this out sooner, because it was easily the best Death in June album since ‘Operation Hummingbird.’
Masked and anonymous quintet of serial killer worshipers from the United Kingdom. This is their second full length release, from 2012. It is really one 40-minute song, but the CD version divides it into three tracks. The first part is basically instrumental rock with wandering guitar and funerary violin, like a more evil Godspeed You Black Emperor. Parts two and three are Black/Death/Doom Metal monstrosities of unforgiving heaviness with demonic shrieks and crushing guitar vortices. Shreds of Bolt Thrower, Bethlehem, and Portal surface. All three parts feature samples from interviews with famous psychopaths, sometimes buried in the mix like on that one shitty Pink Floyd album. I think Dragged Into Sunlight are one of the sickest Death Metal bands around today, and they definitely push the genre to its limits here. Very evil, in a timeless way. The “widowmaker” myocardial infarcation is the occlusion of the anterior interventricular branch of the left coronary artery, which causes a massive and lethal heart attack, which means one less carbon footprint and one less boring opinion.
Dirgey Swamp-Rock (or swampy Dirge-Rock?) from Der Blutharsch’s drinkin’, whorin’, sunglasses-at-night-wearin’ court jester, AKA Novo Homo. The Australia-based Black Irish bastard offers up two slabs of tongue-in-cheek fatalism sounding like The Scientists, Roland S. Howard and The Gun Club boot-partying Roy Orbison at the wrong speed. This is on King Dude’s label but Wolfkind does the Neofolk-Country-Cough-Syrup-Blues thing much better than Dude could ever dream. Threats on side A, come-ons on side B. FCC side A.
Rashad Decker mastered this 2013 release, our local Drone Ranger’s only work on Mego to date. Don’t you dare call it noise, it’s “electroacoustic music”; after all it was created at the Djarassi resident artist’s program. Sweet Jimmy H. collected source sounds between 2007 and 2012 but says the only contexts he can remember are “the desolate howl of a metal screen activated by a desert wind, the hissing air compression from the cooling apparatus for a laser at [SLAC], and the tremolo rhythms from a thin wire” and yep that’s the vibe here, lonely desolate haunted sounds, part organic and part constructed, disconcerting even in lush moments. The two-track A side is more eventful, with dense rushes of startling static and crackling electroshocks speckling grinding gears and passing traffic. The B side is like a wide, windy, abandoned place where squinting reveals shuffling hordes of ghosts. Sometimes curiously sterile and sometime bursting at the seams with emotion, this collection of manipulated sounds is intended to convey “[e]xistential rupturing, the collapse of the self, the aftershocks of dark energy, and a belief in the hope for renewal.” A mesmerizing effort on par with Nurse With Wound (they have collaborated), Lustmord or Crawl Unit.
Influential Darkwave from New York City, closely associated with Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Projekt Records. This album is from 2012, recorded in Germany and Texas. Active since 1999, Unto Ashes is the pet primarily of Michael Laird. Delicate Neoclassical and ‘Dark Folk’ arrangements with male and female vocals, more Dead Can Dance than Sol Invictus. Other possible influences in the Gothic vein include Ordo Equitum Solis and Jarboe. Furthermore, a solid streak of Psychedelic Pop runs through this CD, bringing up associations with Syd Barrett and others of his ilk (‘Pilzentanz’ indeed).
Much of the material comes from other sources, including theology (the 12th Century Apocalypse of Golias), poetry (Ambrose Bierce, Robert Frost, Cicely Mary Barker) and other bands (Apoptygma Berzerk, Van Halen) but the interpretations are quite brilliant and form a cohesive statement here about aging, regret and death. You and everyone you love are on the graveyard train. BTW there is bagpipe on some tracks. Respect the bagpipe.
Sutcliffe Jugend was founded in 1982 when Kevin Tomkins was still a member of Whitehouse. William Bennett may have abandoned noise music for the sequenced Afro-worship of Cut Hands, but this offshoot project is still going strong. When you want to compete with Whitehouse you need to be pretty extreme, and Tomkins certainly always has been. Does he really hate women as much as he claims to, or does his career amount to 30+ years of serial-killer-themed performance art? I dunno.
Over the years Tomkins (also a painter) and co-conspirator Paul Taylor have gradually let slip the ultra-formalism of Come Organisation synthesizer torment to dabble in various experimental electronic styles, although retaining the core of extreme hatred that keeps emotionally unwell fans returning time and again. This 2016 album is one of four releases from last year, and it is definitely more traditional than the duo’s other recent releases on Cold Spring (e.g. 2012′s extraordinary death ambient opus ‘Blue Rabbit’). Here a robust mixture of digital and analog electronic tweaks (with hinted beats on t.s 3+4) back Tomkins’ profane, confessional prose poetry, delivered with the frothing impotence of a straitjacketed mental patient. Some of the invective may in fact be leveled against the consumer of industrial music, i.e. you. Tomkins is a pretty great improvisational vocal stylist, too. Listen and you’ll see what I mean. FCCs on all tracks of course.
Finnish Black Metal from a lone hatemonger going by ‘War Torech,’ the only other official member of Satanic Warmaster, where he used to play guitar. Torturium has not released anything since this 2006 album. These songs employ similarly ceremonial repetition but are generally more anguished and off-kilter than SW’s, and a little more baroque than Finnish BM in general (this 2006 release is on a French label). He’s a good guitarist with the strong fingers of a classical player, and the dramatic flourishes are appreciated. Unobtrusive keys dis-grace some tracks. The voice is a highlight, cracked and disturbing. Despite some moments of ‘Black Metal Deja Vu,’ (Dimhymn?) the riffs are generally fresh and compelling, conveying melancholy and delirium. Synth intro commences track one.
When Abigail played KFJC in September of 2015, Ares Kingdom and Gnosis rode into the pit on the coattails of the Japanese greats courtesy of the always generous NWN!. The largely unknown Gnosis surprised intoxicated netcast listeners with a tight set of diabolical Death Metal that managed to hold its own. For some reason it took a really long time to track down this LP.
These four blasphemers from Florida carve Death Metal with a Black edge out of obsidian riff poison, atypical melodic sensibility, and drumming just clumsy enough to sound interesting. I hear Dissection, Nihilist and Vader. Newer bands like Vasaeleth and Ignivomous are comparable to this also. The occult-themed lyrics, occasionally intelligible through the growl, are vaguely highbrow by the standards of Death Metal. I wouldn’t be surprised if the full album were intended as some sort of ritual. This promising debut sounds ridiculously fresh by the standards of the contemporary scene.
“An explicit odyssey into Swedish agricultural sounds.” 1999 2CD compilation on Cold Meat Industry showcasing 24 Swedish projects on the Death Industrial, Power Electronics and Rhythmic Noise spectrum. Sweden is pissed.
1.1+1.2: NOD, real name Daniel Wihlstrand. Demonic copy machines and a poetic intro mixed low to blow out speakers. Great mood-setter for the rest of the tracks.
The whole thing was pre-mastered by Peter Andersson… but which one? Most tracks are worthwhile. It will always be a mystery to me why Sweden has such a large and excellent Industrial scene. Get whipped by the Vodka Belt.
More evil, ritualistic Industrial/Ambient sounds from Sweden. No Festival of Light is the duo of Erik Lundberg and Fredrik Bergstrom, once associated with the Cold Meat Industry scene of Megaptera etc. Originally a 1995 cassette on Slaughter Productions, this 1998 remastered CDr (#22/100) is one of only six releases from the Manteinance label.
Creeper loops slowly accumulate with repetition, loping beats stalk lush metallic synths and muttering Electronic Voice Phenomena stumble over one another in mechanical darkness. A few shorter tracks (1, 4, 7) have a grittier power electronics sound and t.6 flirts with techno. Minimal, challenging and quite unsettling, it’s yet another sinister gem from the Scandinavian experimental mines.
Industrial duo of Mike Williams (EyeHateGod) and Ryan McKern. This is the original CD release of the eponymous album, from 2010. Robotic beats, distorted manic poetry from Williams, washes of electric guitar, samples, power electronics, some real drums? In some ways this is just EyeHateGod reimagined as an orthodox Industrial project (Hunting Lodge, Master/Slave Relationship, SPK, Deviation Social) but it’s cool. The composition is sophisticated and often quite musical. The lyrics also have a lot of character, seeing Williams quote The Beatles (t.3) and some medical study about giving opiates to large felines (t.6). Terse and stubbornly nihilistic. Why doesn’t this project get more attention?
PGM: FCC t.2, t.5 instrumental.
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