Theologian – “Forced Utopia” – [Danvers State Recordings]
Lee “Leech” Bartow made his name in the 1990s with the power electronics project Navicon Torture Technologies. In 2010, he began releasing less extreme but no less dark works as Theologian. This new cassette from Danvers State Recordings (the label run by The Vomit Arsonist) is described as “apocalyptic industrial for the end times,” which might as well be now. The A side begins with the slow building ice storm of “In the End Times” (T1), the industrial rhythms of “The Sisters” (T2), the unexpected dance beats from a miserable club in hell on T3, the suspense of “Spent Fuel Rods” (T4). The second side is where this work really stuns, beginning with the standout title track (T5) (with a grim chorus that returns in T8), the tragic vocals of T6, the annihilating ambience of T7. The four tracks on each side merge seamlessly into one another – play on continuous to track them all together into a long piece. So much more than just a spooky dark ambient soundtrack, this excellent release evokes scenes of genuine drama, beauty, and horror.