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Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, The – “Rest On Your Arms Reversed” – [World Serpent Dist.]

The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud - Rest On Your Arms Reversed

This 1999 compilation album collects rarities from one of the most compelling beasts in the storied World Serpent stables of yore: a very angry then-couple from Austria who entertained fixations on war, Satan and Medieval Europe, paving the way for some of the ‘less fun’ acts of the so-called ‘martial industrial’ genre. The band split up when their romance split up: Alzbeth (words) is now a reclusive far-right ‘anti-immigration’ activist (not cool!) and Albin (music) is now drunk, also occasionally taking the time to release records as Der Blutharsch (creepy but kind of cool!). Yes, while you probably wouldn’t see them at a neo-Nazi rally (they preferred, bless them, to play in abandoned churches and castles) various interviews show them as a pair who at least HAVE held somewhat, ahem, ‘fringe’ views; thankfully it doesn’t really bleed into their music. As has been observed elsewhere, TMLHBAC’s genius lay in their ability to create musical textures that sounded absolutely organic by entirely ‘industrial’ means. This was accomplished with a lot of looping and sampling, a great deal of it drawn from Medieval music and instruments. Albin’s anachronistic compositions may be excellently menacing (t.s 5, 8 + 15 are awe-inspiring even as instrumentals), but Alzbeth’s vocal presence cannot be understated, and is ultimately what makes this work: at various points she’s an evil Queen gleefully sending young men to their deaths (t.1, 9, 10), a crazed nun chanting at the altar of nothingness (t.2, 12), a bloodthirsty Nico (t.3, 6), a withered witch calling up the Dark One (t.4, 7, 13, 14), and a hard-assed sergeant marshaling troops for the next assault (t.11, 16). The texts, some maybe drawn directly from Medieval sources, express a morbid fascination with (mostly Medieval) nationalism, superstition and war. Several songs deal with The Crusades, although (I hasten to add) not in an approving light: the picture painted is not of some questionably glorious European victory over Islam, but rather of wretched hordes of rabble, brainwashed by an evil Church, going pointlessly to their dooms in foreign lands. T.12′s unbearably spiteful narration of the infamously disastrous Child Crusade of 1212 is a good example of this. The only 20th-century war story we hear actually seems to be told from the point of view of British soldiers (t.11)– but if you think that somehow makes Alzbeth ‘less fascist’ you should probably brush up on your British history. Cited as an influence by everyone from Dispirit to Menace Ruine, TMLHBAC present a deliciously nihilistic vision of a world plunged into darkness that should seduce all fans of evil music, be they jackbooted or Birkenstocked.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 19, 2013 at 5:38 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment

  • One Comment

    Good review

  • Comment by Jazzercism, June 6th, 2013 7:30 pm

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