Tag: Annihilvs Power Electronix

Bonedust – New Album Streaming in Full

Annihilvs is beyond honoured and privileged to present the Fruit of the Ash digipak CD-R by Bonedust in 2018.

Bonedust was formed as a performance art project in 2004 by vocalist/composer Chrissy Wolpert (director of The Assembly of Light Choir, frequent contributor to The Body) and interdisciplinary artist Pippi Zornoza (Rectrix, Vvltvre, Worms in Women and Cattle). They are joined on this incredible recording by vocalists Rebecca Mitchell (Whore Paint, House Red), Maralie Armstrong (Humanbeast, Valise), Natalja Kent (Querent) and vocalist/performer Neve Cross.

Fruit of the Ash is based on their 2011 theatrical performance of the same name, and was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Kris Lapke (Alberich) at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the Dirt Palace in Providence, and Dungeon Beach in Brooklyn.

This release will also be available as a Bundle, including a cassette edition, a t-shirt, a one-sided picture disc lathe-cut 7inch single, and a copy of the digipak CD-R.

Bonedust – Fruit of the Ash

The album can be purchased now on Bandcamp.

Listen to Fruit of the Ash streaming in full and support underground music!

Check out more releases from the Annihilvs label on Bandcamp here.

Our recent reviews of other Annihilvs and Theologian releases:
Skincage – Unimagined Space – Review
Theologian – Forced Utopia – Review
Theologian – Reconcile – Review

Kintaan – Exclusive Track Premiere

We are very pleased to premiere a brand new Kintaan track from their upcoming album on Annihilvs. I should immediately state that this is definitely not “dark ambient”. Annihilvs has been releasing music, for years now, which falls outside the boundaries of genre norms. You will find in Kintaan, music which is basically impossible to categorize. There are many elements of many different genres present here, and yet no one genre could be said to define the music. So in keeping with our site’s ambitions to step outside our norms when warranted, Kintaan seems like a perfect act to share as our first “on the periphery” premiere. We hope you’ll enjoy this intriguing oddity.

Michael Barnett

Kintaan – “Chromatic Tumor”

Annihilvs says of the new release:

Extradimensional post-music trio Kintaan have been astonishing audiences up and down the eastern seaboard for well-nigh a decade. During that time, their untitled debut album, recorded behind a block of dilapidated warehouses by an overgrown rail line littered with trash, has been coming together at a glacial pace.

Like so many artists in our roster, Kintaan hails from Providence, a place established as a haven for those “distressed of conscience,” and the city of H.P. Lovecraft. Cold, wet, and grey New England, where horrible nightmares have gripped and deformed minds for centuries. This is where witches burned, where stakes were driven through lifeless bodies, where America’s industrial revolution began, as human ambition poisoned the fertile black soil. It is no wonder that a band that evokes such cavernous depths of nameless, formless evil would be born of one of America’s oldest and most mysterious cities.

The core unit of Bassist/vocalist Josh Yelle (LVMMVX/DHIM), drummer Eric Griehsbaer (VOSP/POOL), and electronics/synth wizard Marc Jameson (member of SKIN CRIME) constructed the album with the aid of Sean Halpin (CRAOW). The album has been mastered by Andy Grant (THE VOMIT ARSONIST), who has often been seen performing live with Kintaan since autumn of 2017.

In 2018, Annihilvs is very pleased to present this brutal slab of mutant sounds as a digipak CD-R, in conjunction with editions released by Danvers State Recordings (cassette) and Concrete Lo Fi Records (vinyl).

This release will also be available as the ‘Most Ancient’ edition, a bundle including a t-shirt, a one-sided picture disc lathe-cut 7inch single (featuring a remix by Theologian), and a copy of the digipak CD-R.

The new album by Kintaan can be pre-ordered here.

Kintaan: Facebook
Annihilvs: Facebook, Bandcamp


Relevant Event This Evening!!!!

This evening DJ Le Bourreau (Theologian) will be keeping the Machines With Magnets establishment alive between some very interesting acts which include:

– live sets by –
DBL HOODS (Mark Jameson of Skin Crime)
DHIM (members of LVMMVX + The Vomit Arsonist)

DJ sets by Le Bourreau (Theologian)
8PM / $8 Entry

Machines With Magnets
400 Main St, Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860

Theologian – Reconcile – Review

Artist: Theologian
Album: Reconcile
Release date:  16 June 2018
Label: Cloister Recordings
Guest artists:
Andy Grant (The Vomit Arsonist), Mike McClatchey (Lament Cityscape), Stephen Petrus (Murderous Vision), and Derek Rush (Dream Into Dust).

Side A
{wound I}
01. Whittled Down By The World
{wound II}
02. Rough Hands Hew
{wound III}
03. Tetanus
{wound IV}
04. The Banality Of Evil
{wound V}

Side B
{wound VI}
01. Prion
{wound VII}
02. A Rope Of Human Teeth
{wound VIII}
03. Seratonin Antagonist
{wound IX}
04. Everything Is More Beautiful,
Because We’re Doomed
{wound X}

Theologian manages to find their way to the top of the list again with Reconcile. Since I’ve started This Is Darkness, Theologian has been in constant rotation here. Whether it is on the latest Malignant/Kalpamantra compilation, the latest Cadabra Records spoken art record, or his own proper solo release, Theologian manages to keep me entertained. I keep feeling like I am hearing something new, not returning to this artist, yet again, hoping for some variation in formula or style.

There are certainly many elements here of sounds that have been previously explored. But, we reach them from different places, and so they they feel refreshing. As I heard previously mentioned, Reconcile could be seen as the closest comparison to the first Theologian release, The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face. It has vast sections which are dedicated solely to dark ambient. Though, in the case of Reconcile, these can be seen more as extended interludes, between much more active tracks. Or, they are parts of these other tracks, drawn into a slow decay.

Photo by: Gretchen Heinel

The album starts with “Whittled Down By The World”, which is a brooding intro with heavy industrial dark ambient reverberations. There is a deep foreboding darkness, but at the same time, a sliver of light, however dimly flickering. But reaching its close, it quickly descends into a chaotic maelstrom of noise. This is the first indication of more violent elements yet to be introduced. Entering “Rough Hands Hew”, Theologian builds from a gentle ambient intro, first introducing the dominant synth line, and then the industrial percussive undercurrents. As the vocals enter, performed by Theologian here, they are used as more of an instrument, than a tool for communication. Though, we are, thankfully, given lyrics to all tracks which incorporate vocals. [This is something I appreciate and wish would happen more often in genres where lyrics are hard to discern amidst the orchestrated chaos.] Theologian uses a combination of singing/screaming to build what doubles as an added layer of drone, a technique used throughout the second half of the track. We are then, again, cast into a solitary ambient darkness, though the industrial elements of this scene are not far distant. As “Tetanus” builds to its climax there is a constant singing/chanting that sounds to be a combination of male/female vocals (though likely just Theologian in different ranges as there are no female artists in the credits), reminding me of the style of his Some Things Have To Be Endured album, but also, in a way, of acts like Empusae or Arcana.

The second side (of the cassette, that is) is a generally more subdued experience. It opens with some dark ambient elements which develop into some more industrial territory, as percussion and distorted guitar/synth elements intensify. “A Rope Of Human Teeth” incorporates a glitchy beat oriented foundation accented by lighter synth elements. “Seratonin Antagonist” takes us back into some subtle dark ambient territory with heavy industrialized textures, showing both sides of his sound in stark contrast, yet perfect fluidity; often making it hard for the listener to fully register when shifts into new territory are occurring. The album ends on a sort of death-synth-pop note, with another seemingly effortless contrast between the harsh and the beautiful.

Photo by: Gretchen Heinel

Hearing all the different soundscapes Theologian traverses on any given album, it’s no wonder his talents were tapped by the guys at Cadabra Records, to help orchestrate some of their greatest releases to date. Theologian moves between contrasting territories in a way that only a seasoned musician could manage. His willingness to show us equal parts beauty and crudity makes for an experience that doesn’t feel overwhelming in the way that many similar artists do for a portion of listeners. The devastation reaches its heights, abusing the listener along the way, but then returns to a calm, a respite before the next assault. In many ways this could be an analogy for life itself, brief moments of beauty and calm, amidst a sea of pain and hardship.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Theologian – Exclusive New Track Premiere!

Theologian is slowly creeping their way to becoming one of the most covered artists here on This Is Darkness. I’ve been following the artist, Lee Bartow, for a good while now, through his project Theologian, his previous project Navicon Torture Technologies, and his label Annihilvs Power Electronix. But I really started to dig into this artist when Theologian was featured as the soundtrack/soundscapes on a number of Cadabra Records spoken-art releases, the most recent being The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft, read by the brilliant Andrew Leman.

Photo by: Gretchen Heinel


Theologian – “Tetanus” from the upcoming album, Reconcile.


After covering last year’s Forced Utopia (read the review here), we are pleased to premiere a brand new track from his upcoming release, Reconcile. This new track, “Tetanus”, will immediately stand out to many from the more recent previous works by Theologian. There are airy dronescapes that gently blanket the 6 1/2 minute experience, while cavernously reverberating percussion hammers and voices are heard, in a sort of irreligious long-form chanting dirge. While the percussion, in particular, will keep this outside the boundaries of your standard definition of dark ambient, I think what Theologian is doing here may end up being one of his more dark ambient friendly tracks to date. I’ll be covering the album in a full review soon!

Below you can read the full press release for the Theologian – Reconcile album, to be released on 16 June 2018 via Cloister Recordings.

Cover photo by: K. Berlin


Hot on the heels of The Icy Bleakness of Things, Theologian’s collaboration with The Vomit Arsonist, Cloister Recordings presents Reconcile. Timed to coincide with the upcoming live appearance at the DARKNESS DESCENDS festival, this 60-minute cassette (and digital) release contains brand-new material featuring input from Andy Grant (The Vomit Arsonist), Mike McClatchey (Lament Cityscape), Stephen Petrus (Murderous Vision), and Derek Rush (Dream Into Dust). The album was mixed by Mike McClatchey. The word “supergroup” has been jokingly bandied about in reference to this collection of artists, but the final product is indeed a unique composite of industrial sounds, reflecting another step in the evolution of Theologian.

Perhaps most notable is a return to an earlier, less harsh and distorted iteration of the project, with cavernous drones and thunderous percussion creating the sort of dense sonic environments found on the 2010 debut album, The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face.

Eschewing the longform drone/ambient tracks of older releases, here we find Theologian attempting to approximate the immediacy and memorability of pop, using rhythm and melody to elicit slightly less sprawling emotional landscapes. The album’s eight tracks are interconnected by brief interludes, serving as touchstones along the journey to the album’s denouement. As the title suggests, Reconcile is ultimately about coming to terms with past versions of oneself, while examining the present and fretting over the future. Cloister Recordings is issuing this cassette in an edition of 100 copies, which will become available for the first time when Theologian headlines the DARKNESS DESCENDS festival on Saturday, June 16 at Pat’s in the Flat’s in Cleveland, Ohio.

Also performing are The Vomit Arsonist, Steel Hook Prostheses, Gnawed, Compactor, Shock Frontier, Vitriol Gauge, Cunting Daughters, and Murderous Vision. The Theologian performance will include Andy Grant, Stephen Petrus, and Derek Rush as live collaborators. The event is sold out.

Soft Tissue, the 2016 collaborative release by Lament Cityscape and Theologian, will be reissued later this year, featuring completely new mixes of the original album and remixes by Achromaticist, Compactor, Cutworm, Kidaudra, Neurospora, Orphx, Over Hold, rRhexis, and Snowbeasts.

Murderous Vision and Lament Cityscape have both recently completed new albums yet to be released, while The Vomit Arsonist produced a new cassette, entitled Further, in April of this year via Gutter Bloat. While Derek Rush has mostly been busy as SysAdmin for heavy electronics project Compactor, a 20th anniversary vinyl reissue of the Dream Into Dust album The World We Have Lost is in the works for April 2019.

Skincage – Unimagined Space – Review

Artist: Skincage
Album: Unimagined Space
Release date: 10 October 2017
Label: Annihilvs Power Electronix (APEX)

01. Lost Carcosa
02. From Beyond
03. For He Was An Old Dreamer
04. The Call of Cthulhu
05. Azathoth
06. The Whisperer in Darkness
07. Dreams in the Witch House
08. The Pallid Mask
09. With Strange Eons
10. The Colour Out of Space
11. Cool Air
12. The Monkey’s Paw
13. The Lurking Fear
14. The Music of Erich Zann

Skincage is a dark ambient project created by Jon Ray. The first album, Axon, was released back in 2000 on the sub-label, Malignant Antibody, of Malignant Records. Then in 2007 they released Things Fall Apart on the Belgian industrial label, Spectre. On Axon, Skincage was already showing their skill in sound design. Each track had a unique feel. Some with relaxing drones, others thick with instrumentation, vocal samples, and industrial carnage. Things Fall Apart brought Skincage closer in line with their latest release, having a bit more restraint and an overall darker atmosphere. Yet, after Things Fall Apart, Skincage would not release another full-length album for a decade.

In the intervening years dark ambient as grown into an exponentially larger genre. With the advent of Bandcamp, Youtube, Spotify, etc., and the greater access to digital workspaces, artists are able to realize their visions in a way and with a frequency never before imagined. In late 2017, Skincage stepped back into this world, releasing Unimagined Space.

On Unimagined Space, Skincage channels the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft, and to a lesser degree Robert W. Chambers and W.W. Jacobs, for inspiration. Each track on the album focuses on a different story. Skincage is certainly not the first to find inspiration in century-old weird fiction, nor will he be the last. But, he does manage to make his contribution to the “genre” stand-out, if for no reason other than its attention to detail, and top-notch production quality.

The opener “Lost Carcosa”, which is also my favorite track on the album, is an ode to The King In Yellow short-story collection by Robert W. Chambers. Originally published in 1895, The King In Yellow became an immediate success, quickly finding it’s way onto best seller lists around the western world. For those of us in this modern era that aren’t familiar with Chambers, this short story collection was re-invigorated after numerous mentions in season one of True Detective. On this opening track, we hear some truly exquisite sound design, what sounds like, possibly, heavily treated percussion in the background, with a repeating sample, sort of like a cross between a bass guitar and an alien race entering our atmosphere. As the track nears its close, we hear someone (possibly Jon Ray, himself?) recite one of the best (arguably) snippets from The King In Yellow, which was part of a fictitious song from a fictitious play, “Cassilda’s song” in Act1 Scene2 of “The King In Yellow”.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

The second Robert W. Chambers inspired track is “The Pallid Mask” which takes its inspiration specifically from the short story “The Mask” also in The King In Yellow collection. This one has a very light feel to it, much less cryptic than many of the other tracks on the album. It often reminds me of something from Blood Axis & Les Joyaux De La Princesse‘s Absinthe – La Folie Verte. Again, like with “Lost Carcosa”, toward the end of this track there is another part of the book recited, again from the fictitious play:

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Cassilda: It’s time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

Many of the tracks inspired by H.P. Lovecraft will likely be a bit more familiar to readers, as these are inspired by many of his most popular stories including: The Call of Cthulhu and The Colour Out Of Space, for instance. One point to mention in general about these H.P. Lovecraft tracks, I found the music compellingly well crafted in association to the stories they conveyed. Many times I hear Lovecraft inspired tracks, which don’t necessarily seem to have any grounding in actual Lovecraft content. As if the track titles and themes were superimposed on the album at a later time. The tracks on Unimagined Space consistently allowed me to close my eyes and imagine scenery and narratives from these various stories. The two most glaring examples being the frigid, yet futuristic feel to “Cool Air” and the utter chaos of the album closer “The Music of Erich Zann”.

This will be one of the most straight forward examples of dark ambient that you could find on the Annihilvs Power Electronix label, run by Lee Bartow of Theologian / Navicon Torture Technologies. Bartow is no stranger to working with Lovecraftian soundscapes, as he has been the main go-to artist for the brilliant and beautiful spoken-art on the majority of Cadabra Records‘ Lovecraft related releases. Annihilvs released Unimagined Space in 4-panel CD digipak. There are plans, and pre-orders being taken currently for a bundle of the release, featuring a t-shirt, CD-R, 7″ lathe cut single featuring a new track, and a limited edition cassette version of the album.

Unimagined Space is a fantastic release. As I’ve stated previously, I’m really impressed with the production quality on this one. The weird fiction theme works out great, making it a wonderful companion to reading Lovecraft, Ligotti, or your favorite weird/horror author. The album art by Josh Yelle and André Coehlo is also quite impressive, which makes the t-shirt a great choice to accompany this release. I’ve been listening to this one a whole lot, since last fall and haven’t come close to getting tired of it yet. I’d recommend this to fans of dark ambient that is reserved, but still holds some activity and surprises, and also to anyone interested in Lovecraft related releases, this one is certainly top-notch.

Written by: Michael Barnett

To Satan, a poem by Samuel Loveman to H.P. Lovecraft

To Satan, a poem by Samuel Loveman
to H.P. Lovecraft

paired with the album:
Unimagined Space by Skincage


The name H.P. Lovecraft has become more and more prevalent within the dark ambient community in recent years. It’s no surprise, when reading his works, to find that so many artists of all sorts have found something to love and inspire them. Whether we are talking about the series of Cadabra Records spoken word releases over the last few years, or the Lovecraftian gods series of dark ambient collaborations at Cryo Chamber, Lovecraft keeps coming back to the top of the to-do list.

So, in the search for all knowledge Lovecraftian (I’ve become a bit of a fanatic), I stumbled across a mention in S.T. Joshi’s exhaustive, yet exceedingly interesting, biography “I Am Providence: The Life And Times of H.P. Lovecraft” of this poem. The poem, “To Satan” written by Samuel Loveman to his good friend H.P. Lovecraft seemed too interesting to be ignored. The poem was featured in the July 1923 edition of The Conservative, Lovecraft’s amateur journal. Then, so far as I can discern, the poem fell into the obscurity of distance and time.

So, after I tracked it down, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I decided to share it with the readers of This Is Darkness, as a soft start to another new section, “Writers’ Corner”, where we will cover some older works like this, but more importantly, we will share new works by up and coming authors/poets.

With each new “Writers’ Corner” article, we will share some musical work that seems particularly fitting to the subject matter. I’ve decided to pair this first article with an album that has already been out for some months, but has made a great impression on me, and doesn’t seem to be picking up the recognition it deserves. (I’ll be doing  a proper review of the album in the near future.)

The album Unimagined Space by Skincage, released on Annihilvs Power Electronix / APEX, is a brilliant tapestry of soundscapes. The first thing that stood out to me was the technical prowess of the artist. This album feels really tight, expertly produced. The second positive was when I realized the subject matter is, for the most part, about specific H.P. Lovecraft stories, with a nod to Robert W. Chambers’ The King In Yellow short story collection, to top it off.

So, I hope you will enjoy this first pairing. Give us any feedback you’d like about the new section, the poem, future literary submission, or whatever else you fancy!

A special thank you goes to S.T. Joshi for offering me some quick and critical guidance about the copyright information on this poem!


To Satan

Published in: The Conservative, Thirteenth Number, July 1923
Edited by: H.P. Lovecraft

To Satan

By: Samuel Loveman

“Tu tires ton pardon de l’eternal martyre
Inflige sans relache aux coeurs ambitieux.”

To H.P.L.

When, mid the hyacinth deep that girds the sky,
You saw, O Brother, ere your eyes grew dim,
In wrath and loneliness the sight of Him,
Amid His bow’d and litten hierarchy:
Heard songs that fell from lips half-strange with years,
Outcast and ruin’d, beautiful in flame,
You–with the lost among the damned few,
The fallen rebel crew–
Hearing the flattery that fawned His name,
Turn’d back to hell a face that shone with tears.

Did you not at the sunken portals wait,
And where the golden estuaries fell,
Gazing at heav’n before the glow of hell,
Stretch forth your hand to where the tyrant sate?
With the first cry that shook th’ enslaved world,
Swift, silver, clarion, Lo! I make you free,
Free as the winds and as the waters are,
Sons of the morning-star!
O souls of mine, I give you liberty–
No withering hate into the darkness hurl’d!

Not from those spaces charm’d to dusk and rose,
Nor in the scarves with light and music pent,
Came the soft wail of disillusionment,
But lower than the lowliest in their woes,
The trodden and the dispossess’d of fate;
These, brooding in a quiet flash of tears,
By stars that to the massive night are graven,
Recall’d their austere haven–
The sorrow and the bitterness of years,
Conceiv’d in ruin and embalm’d in hate!

And now shall men no longer fear and dread!
For heav’n is shatter’d, faded is the host,
That without pity judg’d the tortur’d lost,
And radiantly parcell’d forth the dead.
See! where your molten throne uprears in night
The legions gleams, the drowsy vultures wing;
That which first met your plaintive, human eyes,
Ev’n that, is paradise……
At last, my Brother, the awakening!
Ere Dawn appears, a perfect chrysolite.

For more Samuel Loveman poetry, check out: “Out of the Immortal Night: Selected Works of Samuel Loveman”, edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz.

Article compiled with additional information from these sources:
Lovecraft, H.P. The Conservative. London: Arktos, 2014.
Joshi, S.T. I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft Vol. 1&2.
New York: Hippocampus Press, 2013.

Theologian – Forced Utopia – Review

Artist: Theologian
Album: Forced Utopia
Release date: 20 October 2017
Label: Danvers State Recordings

01. Side A 28:59
A1. In The End Times
A2. The Sisters
A3. We Envy Our Gods For Their Indifference
A4. Spent Fuel Rods
02. Side B 29:36
B1. Forced Utopia
B2. Subtract
B3. Indifference Redux
B4. Epilogue

Theologian is an artist I’ve been talking about quite frequently since the advent of This Is Darkness. His talents have been secured for numerous of the recent Cadabra Records spoken-art releases, particularly the H.P. Lovecraft ones. But the musical works of Lee Bartow go much deeper, spanning back into the late 90s as Navicon Torture Technologies, Bartow has been tearing up the death industrial, power electronics, and dark ambient scenes. All the while, his Annihilvs Power Electronix (APEX) label has been providing a foundation for a multitude of post-industrial artists.

Between 2009 and 2013, Theologian slowly replaced Navicon Torture Technologies as the primary of Bartow’s projects. Theologian has proved to be an incredibly diverse project, with sounds that can span several genres in a single track. This breadth of interest and expertise is what likely drew the attention of Cadabra Records when they were looking for dark eerie soundscapes to build the foundations for many of their spoken-art releases. The upcoming The Call of Cthulhu, which we’ll cover here, is likely to be one of the most impressive Cadabra Records releases to date, with Theologian (soundscapes) and Andrew Leman (readings) again taking the helm together.

The latest full-length solo release by Theologian is Forced Utopia, a look into a mind that sees in only darkness, in a world which is on a collision course with utter disaster. It equally examines the inner thoughts of one left to fend for themselves in an increasingly cannibalistic society, and the outer landscapes, as they dry and eventually conflagrate, burning to ash. The question of whether or not this existence is worth fighting for at all seems to be at the center of the narrative.

Forced Utopia has been an album that I’ve been pondering for a few months. There was never a question of whether or not it was worth taking the time to review, that answer has been apparent from the first play-through. But, dissecting the release, understanding what musical influences have come into play has proven to be a bit harder. In the end, suffice to say, it is basically futile to categorize much of what is happening here. The one comparison that does come to mind is the recent Shock Frontier, in the way that both albums seem to move through incredibly diverse stages touching on dark ambient, death industrial and power electronics, but also other, far reaching genres that would be much less obvious on the first analysis.

The opener, “In The End Times” has stayed pretty consistent as my favorite track on this release. There is a gradual build up, spanning several moments, before the terror is fully unleashed through heavily distorted vocals, which are given some of the most interesting treatment I’ve heard in a long time, a combination of effects which render Bartow’s vocals almost unearthly in their presentation. As the first half of the cassette progresses, we move through a number of different dark soundscapes, vividly painting that picture of apocalyptic ruin and mental degradation.

Side B moves on through varied mind-warping soundscapes, dark and sort of futuristic in palette. Toward the middle of Side B the energy is again driven into overcharge. Starting with a steady beat, electronic pulses, ghostly vocals hovering in the distance, we move into territory I wasn’t quite expecting. Bartow, delivers a vocal performance here, which is again quite impressive to say the least. Where at the beginning of the album the sounds were devastatingly harsh, here, we are taken into something on a vocal level which is more akin to an alternative rock style. But the rest of the track never abandons its cause, continuing to deal the devastating apocalyptic darkness that has saturated Forced Utopia. So, when these vocals pierce through, proclaiming the words, “This could be the year, I take myself out of the equation.”, it is a little bit more than gripping, it manages to add some serious heartfelt emotion to the album.

Forced Utopia came to us on cassette through Danvers State Recordings. An underground tape label run by Andrew Grant, also known for his project The Vomit Arsonist. (Note: Shortly after the birth of This Is Darkness, I reviewed Pulsed In A Dull Glass Bell by R.C. Kozletsky also known for Apocryphos and Shock Frontier, you can check out the review for that other brilliant release here.) The cassette format works well for this release, which seems to see the future as being so bleak. It can also be purchased digitally through Bartow’s Annihilvs Power Electronix Bandcamp page.

Forced Utopia is one of the most enjoyable Theologian releases I’ve heard to-date. I’ve been coming back to this release frequently and happily over the last few months, pondering it for review. While a review will occasionally give me a sigh of relief as I’m able to move into something fresh, this will likely be one of those releases I keep returning to frequently even over the coming weeks. Theologian gives us a little of everything that makes their music great, on Forced Utopia, while simultaneously painting a vividly bleak and disturbing picture for the listener to experience.

Written by: Michael Barnett


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