Trepaneringsritualen – “Totality of Death, The” – [Malignant Records]
Excruciatingly anguished old school death industrial/ambient from seething Swedish sadist Thomas Martin Ekelund. This album is half of a compilation of old tracks from his back catalogue exploring themes of religion, magick and the occult; alternately bleak and menacing, flowing between rhythmic industrial assaults and bleak, desolate drones. The opening track stabs straight for the chest with snarling vocals that spit hateful, blood curdling sermons of scorn and ruin, leaving you trembling and crippled, drowning in the murky black clouds of self-loathing. When the assault subsides, lurching voices creep along the back of your mind to torment your conscience and erode your ego. Subtle terrors littered with the clatter of rusty, abandoned machinery and a sinister ritual pulse, consumed entirely within your own dank, windswept agony. Drifting in and out of tortured consciousness, you find yourself lashing out in aimless fury and then receding back into hopeless dread and grief. Even the later harsher tracks (4, 7, 11) sink deep into their own despondency, that is until the album closes with a martial anthem of delusional spite, a supposed Death in June cover. All in all a beautiful testament to the cruel curse of life, a tribute to the plague of human existence.