Tag: Death Industrial (Page 1 of 3)

Manifesto – Hive – Review

Artist: Manifesto
Album: Hive
Release date: 17 August 2018
Label: Reverse Alignment

Tracklist:
01. Hive
02. Dog Country
03. First Rain
04. Surge
05. Tempest
06. Last Transmission

Manifesto is the post-industrial project of Uppsala, Sweden’s Magnus Zetterberg. Before venturing into the dark ambient world, Zetterberg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sound and Music Production.  The project has now been active for well over a decade, but the last few years have seemed to see a bit of shift in the work of Manifesto. We’ve also seen the artist settle into the Reverse Alignment label with this another release through them, becoming one of the most talented artists on their roster.

Sound quality seems to have improved significantly since earlier albums. There is much less low/mid-range noise, and less of the industrial percussive elements. Even so recently as their third full length, Rust, which appeared on Silken Tofu in 2012, Manifesto was still leaning heavily into that death-industrial territory, with comparisons made at the time to acts like Megapetra and Mental Destruction. In general, there is less of an industrial influence than in previous years, and Manifesto digs deep into their dark ambient repertoire to create a new sound which nods to their death-industrial past, but fits a framework much more aligned with the subtler elements of dark ambient.  Listeners will certainly still find many of these older elements present, but never in the bold/raw way presented previously. The opening track “Hive”, for instance, includes a subtle industrial beat along with indecipherable voice transmissions atop a droning soundscape to create a hauntingly dark atmosphere, while also holding the sense of solitude and fear which often are rather presented as claustrophobia and anxiety on many death-industrial releases. The track has a consistent abandoned industrial factory sort of feel, as if we are curled up beneath some steel staircase, eavesdropping on the conversation of some post-apocalyptic plague-doctor-looking-lunatic as he lords his newfound authority over some hapless victim.

While it is true that the dark ambient genre has exploded in output as well as popularity over the last few years, there is an unfortunate side-effect that some of the greatest releases will be completely ignored. I am guilty of this myself, having really enjoyed the previous release, Exit, by Manifesto, but watching as it fell further into the distance, as new releases continued pouring in for consideration. While I enjoyed Exit, I find Hive to truly capture the intricacies of the style Manifesto has been slowly perfecting over their career. The blending of death-industrial elements into a more traditional dark ambient structure is displayed most powerfully on this release and could be a strong benchmark for other musicians looking to make that combination of the harsher material with dark ambient more palatable.

Hive falls most specifically, I suppose, into a harsher sort of horror ambient framework. That feeling of being in an old factory, cowering in fear, never seems to let up. In this way there are certainly some similarities to earlier Atrium Carceri (a style which a reasonable number of fans would love to see resurface in the Atrium Carceri sound). The feelings of desperation, desolation, and despair all boil to the surface. To our horror (and/or delight) we feel ourselves in the midst of a very real place. But there is also the sense of something supernatural happening just beneath the surface. It is the sort of feeling one would get from those scenes in The Nightmare on Elm Street when the girls wander through the steamy recesses of some nightmarish factory, chains clanging, motors grinding gears, furnaces stoking a hell-fire inferno as molten metals boil just beyond our vision. Yet, something more may be lurking beyond this equipment. Something lurking in the shadows. Whether that something is a burnt-skinned, undead supervillain or the dread of tomorrow’s big presentation at the office, is for the listener to decide.

live at Verket, Umeå Sept. 2016. Photo by Marcus Norman.

Another element worth quick mention is the cover art. Hive features a sort of degraded photographic looking effect on an green and black image which depicts what appears to be some old dilapidated building. The moon slowly creeps into view behind the silhouette of a tree on the horizon. This cover art and design were created by the hand of the brilliant Axel Torvenius, who creates a plethora of products with a truly dark flavor. (Check out his store here.)

If your pleasure is that old-school dark ambient feel, a feel which captures these industrial and horror elements in equal doses. If you enjoyed the works of artists like old-Atrium Carceri, Atrox Pestis, Cryobiosis, or Phragments,  you are likely to find much to enjoy here. Reverse Alignment have unveiled a release which should be recognized by all relevant entities throughout the dark ambient community. The level of craftsmanship presented here can’t be understated, nor can the level of market noise. I would highly recommend long-time fans of the dark ambient genre to become acquainted with this new album by Manifesto. Many of the veteran listeners will immediately notice reasons for praise. Those newer to the genres within the post-industrial family will maybe find Hive to be a bit too raw. This isn’t Cryo Chamber style dark ambient, shined to a pristine glow. It is more in line with those releases we’d find on Malignant Records or Cold Meat Industry. Dark ambient for industrial folks. This being said, I certainly wouldn’t recommend that new-comers avoid Hive! Just be sure to go into it with slightly different expectations than you had for the latest protoU.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Devil’s Night Mix (Post-Industrial Aural Assault)

The Devil’s Night Mix was inspired by my interest in ‘Devil’s Night’ on the 30th of October, which has long been a dreaded celebration in Detroit, among other places in the United States. What started half a century ago as a light-hearted night of trickery, later turned into an all-out assault on the city of Detroit every October. The destruction reached a peak in the mid- to late-1980s, with more than 800 fires set in 1984, and 500 to 800 fires in the three days and nights before Halloween in a typical year. But the legacy lingers, and this odd “holiday” is increasingly known around the world, thanks to its inclusion in The Crow and other entertainment industry projects.

This mix is a combination of some harsher dark ambient along with a blend of post-industrial devastation.

Proceed with caution!

You can find links to all music included in this mix below the Mixcloud player.

Tracklist:
01. 0:00:00 Atrium Carceri – Sacrifice to the Machine
02. 0:04:45 MZ.412 – The Father Uncreated
03. 0:10:10 Murderous Vision – Voided
04. 0:15:30 Yen Pox – Scorched Earth
05. 0:25:00 Mortaur – Suit Wearer Walking Backwards
06. 0:26:40 Ajna – Infinitam Abyssum
07. 0:32:50 Trepaneringsritualen – Death & Ecstacy
08. 0:36:10 Abattoir, Satori – The Great Vow
09. 0:41:50 All Signs of Those Who Left – Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
(Exclusive Use of Upcoming Track, check out the ASOTWL releases here.)
10. 0:46:10 Common Eider, King Eider – Helene
11. 0:53:50 Corona Barathri – Daemonolatreia (feat. Infernvs)
12. 1:01:50 Himukalt – Ruined-Raped
13. 1:06:30 Harko City – Swollen Empire
14. 1:10:30 Dodsmaskin – Syndrom
15. 1:17:05 Fear-Modern-Man – Nightmare Death Syndrome
16. 1:22:50 In Slaughter Natives – 113th Scar
17. 1:28:10 Analfabetism – Vi Resere Nu En Grav
18. 1:34:50 Aegri Somnia – Endtime Psalms
19. 1:40:15 Aderlating – The Sword of Christ
20. 1:47:05 Ex. Order – Skillful Killing

Photo: Dominic Alves (used under CC without photographer’s endorsement)

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

Post-Industrial Death Mix

This is a mix focused on post/death industrial tracks. The mix was sort of inspired by the recent Darkness Descends event in Cleveland, we reviewed the compilation for that event here. There are many newer tracks included as well as a few older ones that I thought fit well into the blend. This one is not dark ambient! A special thanks goes to Andy Grant of The Vomit Arsonist for allowing us to use a currently unreleased live version of his track “Selective Hyperthymesia”! Enjoy at your own risk and share if you care. Thanks for the continued support! You can find links to all the music below the player.

01. 0:00:00 Shock Frontier – Tumult ft. Kristoffer Oustad
02. 0:08:25 Murderous Vision – Concussion
03. 0:12:30 IRM – The Essence of Young Death
04. 0:17:55 Trepaneringsritualen – All Flesh Has Corrupted
05. 0:22:25 Nordvargr – Livet Tar Slut
06. 0:27:40 LVMMVX – The Age of Reptiles
07. 0:32:20 Theologian – Toil
08. 0:40:10 Vortex – Odhinn’s Wrath
09. 0:43:40 Harko City – Swollen Empire
10. 0:47:20 United Front – What Makes Us Great
11. 0:53:30 Haus Arafna – Hymn To Despair
12. 0:58:00 Dødsmaskin – Den Nye Døden
13. 1:04:50 Stromstad – Blood Consciousness
14. 1:08:30 MZ.412 – Algiz (Konvergence of Life and Death 2018 ft. Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio
15. 1:15:20 The Vomit Arsonist – Selective Hyperthymesia (Unreleased Live Version)
16. 1:19:50 Cunting Daughters – Awaken The Beneath
17. 1:24:40 Himukalt – Want You To See Me
18. 1:27:30 Subliminal – Hunting For Humans
19. 1:30:35 Lingua Ignota – Woe to All (On the Day of My Wrath)
20. 1:45:00 Compactor – Ultimatum
21. 1:48:25 Vitriol Gauge – No Calm

Atrox Pestis – Hewn by the Hands… – Review

Artist: Atrox Pestis
Album: Hewn by the Hands of the Damned
Release date: 20 January 2018
Label: Chryptus Records

Tracklist:
01. Hewn by the Hands of the Damned
02. With Seven Tongues, He Spoke
03. Choking on the Waters of the Firmament
04. They Will Reach from the Heavens (Cut off their hands)

Atrox Pestis is a new project by Grant Richardson. Richardson has been a powerful player in the death industrial scene as his main project, Gnawed. Since 2009, Richardson has been scavenging the depths of the Minneapolis underworld. Searching the dank tunnels beneath this city, Richardson found the voice for his music. Metal clanging and grinding, washes of reverberated drone, vocals distorted beyond recognition, these are the offspring of Gnawed.

Atrox Pestis gives Richardson’s immersion in post-industrial music a new outlet. For fans of Gnawed, you will find much of that same industrial/mechanical darkness. But the mood and execution have both been greatly subdued, in comparison to Gnawed. This is a proper dark ambient release. Devoid of any percussion or distorted vocals (though it does include some Gregorian style chants), Richardson focuses on a more introspective atmosphere. Where Gnawed shows the destruction of the world, Atrox Pestis shows the destruction of the mind, within this doomed biosphere.

Hewn by the Hands of the Damned takes on a religious element as well as one of societal/planetary collapse. On the release’s Bandcamp page, Chryptus added several Biblical passages which are worth sharing here:

Mark 9:43
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

Genesis 1:6
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

These passages illuminate the album’s struggle with the current standing of mankind. Questions of what is evil, what is good, who are the enemy, who are the saviours? Should we deserve to be erased from history? Should we fight to correct our trajectory? How would that look? What laws would we impose, in order to bring about vast societal/planetary changes?

Hewn by the Hands of the Damned is Atrox Pestis first full-lenghth release. But, in 2016 and 2017 they released a self-titled C40 cassette on Maniacal Hatred (Richardson’s own label), and a split with Strigae on Phage Tapes. If you enjoy Hewn by the Hands of the Damned I would highly recommend going back to these older releases. Especially the split with Strigae, a project created by Leo Brochu, owner of Chryptus Records, another very promising new dark ambient artist, which I will be planning to cover more thoroughly in the near future.

While Atrox Pestis debut is going under the radar, a young project released on a young label, there has been no shortage of praise for this release from veteran dark ambient musicians. This is always a sign of a promising new project, as so many of the veteran producers from this genre will likely have a much more critical ear than the average listener. Hewn by the Hands of the Damned is the perfect release for listeners of the older industrialized dark ambient acts such as Svartsinn, Yen Pox, and others in this vein that are able to incorporate some harsher, more metallic sounds, while simultaneously keeping the album sounding smooth and polished. While you may find little in the way of new ideas on this release, you will find a producer creating at the top of his game. Let’s hope more listeners come along for the ride, as this project is not one to be overlooked!

Review by: Michael Barnett

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).

Tracklist:
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

Salò Salon – The Scent of Voluntarism – Review

Artist: Salò Salon
Album: The Scent of Voluntarism
Release date: 11 February 2018
Label: White Ashes

Tracklist:
01. Mind-Body-Problem
02. Primat des Willens
03. Kampf ums Dasein
04. Decadenza
05. Beyond Affirmation and Negation
06. La Volonté Aveugle
07. Alienated Vitalism
08. Urnichtung
09 Emptiness is Form, Form is Emptiness

“Beauty is but the cloak of happiness. Where joy tarries, there also is beauty.” Ludwig Klages

You maybe know the feeling : an immense wave of joy captures you, but at the very same time, that voice on the radio, those people on the TV screen, the charming, fascinating attraction that is submerging you, despite it all, an inner voice is telling you that what is going on is probably wrong – nonetheless you can’t help but drowning in the collective enthusiasm. This is exactly what the instantly grabbing “Mind-Body-Problem” is likely to arise. With such intro and opening track, Salò Salon immediately sets a very high standard. The rest of the album, The Scent Of Voluntarism keeps up to the promises and never diminishes in strength. Crushing death industrial, wide amplitudes of frequencies, with no place to hide – any little corner will be invaded by the forceful atmospheric noise. My initial reaction at first listen has been: “A diamond”.

Not a newcomer at all – prior to The Scent Of Voluntarism, Salò Salon has issued Execution Tourism (The Dialectic Of Violence) (CDR album limited to 120 copies) on the British label 412Recordings (that released stuff by Slut Kull, Bagman, Steel Hook Prostheses, among other delicacies) in December 2015, followed by Agonal Pessimism (cassette mini album limited to 50 copies) on German Obsessive Fundamental Realism (a label maintaining a “crude DIY approach, (with) no interest in humanistic values and unauthentic artists, (…)rooted in the idea of Post-Industrial being a means of transportation for brutal and antisocial world-views, urges and mindsets”). The rather limited editions should not at all be a measure of disregarding these releases, as they are milestones in an ongoing rise of one of the most promising projects in this field of musical expression, likely to reach cult status in a not too distant future – and all these recordings are available as digital downloads at Salò Salon‘s Bandcamp anyway.

This new release is a factory pressed CD limited to 100 copies on the German label White Ashes, mastered by Sven Bussler (White Ashes‘ owner, and mastermind behind the martial industrial almighty Wappenbund, also a collaborator with Anna Gardeck and Wiener Aktivisten). Handmade box sealed and wax-closed with the logo of Salò Salon. Inner cover artwork by Quadreria Romantico Seriale from Italy, introducing themselves as “ethics, esthetics, genetics – esthetical and political deviance – autonomous and radical action – a mise en scene – an entity that acts among eugenics forms and terminal beauties – a misanthropic showgirl and disciplined daughter of the disaster ruling in the void, enemy of the Five M Order : Multiculturalism, Mundialism, Modernity, Mundanity, Materialism – an antinomian in the Great Civilizing Persuasion : here and now the verities are only moments of the fake, where every destiny succumbs to dissolution and every concept is subjected to oblivion – a cardiac wave, its organs are vital where others would die”. Needless to say, Salò Salon has gathered a bunch of allies of caliber for this album, which should be re-released as vinyl LP later on this year. And in the pipeline is a collaboration with UK legend Satori.

That has been the formal section. Going further: a very prominent aspect of the work of Salò Salon is cultural pessimism, as envisioned and investigated by German thinkers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Ludwig Klages, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Johann Caspar Schmidt aka ‘Max Stirner’, and the impact that such psychic explorers have had on the historical march of humanity. Delusional rationality… and indeed, not to be confused with any ideological positioning. Question everything – no restriction – no taboo – never take anything for granted. For the sake of the reviewer’s credibility, if I would have to propose some sort of a comparison, then I would maybe succumb to citing Anenzephalia. No less. But to the extent of the mindset / attitude context, not the sound. Salò Salon doesn’t have the very prominent use of speech that is a distinctive trait of Anenzephalia. Rather drowning the listener in a forceful exhilaration, than submitting to the crowds. Somewhere between death industrial and heavy electronics, between contemplation and brute force, blending hypnotic sample loops, fanfare tones, massive atmospheric, rash textures and noisy backgrounds. An album that is impossible not to play one track after the other in succession : once the wine is pulled, it must be drunk, drink the chalice until the dregs. An instant classic.

Written by: Nicolas Dupont

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

TheologianReconcile

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.

Darkness Descends: A Post-Industrial Compilation – Review

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Darkness Descends: A Post-Industrial Compilation
Release date: 16 June 2018
Label: Live Bait Recording Foundation
Reviewer: Nicolas Dupont, debut review on This Is Darkness!

Tracklist:
01. Murderous Vision – “The Final Enemy”
02. Cunting Daughters – “Awaken The Beneath”
03. Abjection Ritual – “Tiny Atrocities”
04. Shock Frontier – “Your Cross Is Not Illuminated”
05. Vitriol Gauge – “No Calm”
06. Compactor – “Ultimatum”
07. Gnawed – “The Harrowing Dark”
08. Steel Hook Prostheses – “Orbitoclast”
09. The Vomit Arsonist – “Dispirited”
10. Theologian – “I Shed Your Corpse”

The undead thrasher may feel hunger when thinking they’ve spotted some review of Dark Angel‘s second album from 1986, but the mistake is certain (homage is not), as this Darkness Descends does not belong to Combat Records catalog, rather to Live Bait Recording Foundation, referenced LBRF 051 ; subtitled A Post-Industrial Compilation, be sure that black prophecies and merciless audio death are anyway to be expected, and that in the sonic process of the burning of sonic landscapes, the listener might as well perish in flames.

The compilation opens like a mechanical procession towards the Styx with “The Final Enemy” by Murderous Vision, long going project of Stephen Petrus, owner of Live Bait Recording Foundation, confirming again the faultless majesty of dark atmospheric procedures and deep explorations of unhealthy corners with which he has established himself. Processed vocals and a pounding final section mark the beginning of a journey requiring assistance – ladies and gentlemen, this way please.

Cunting Daughters drowns you in stagnant, noxious swamps with “Awaken the Beneath”. Rise up and try to escape those liquid textures, as if coming back to life through metempsychic rebirth, the wet begins to dry with caution. Death ambient, industrial, atmospheric. A project formerly known for a very limited release (55 copies) in 2011, seemingly oriented on post-mortem evocations.

Abjection Ritual furthers the awakening with “Tiny Atrocities”. A, maybe, more electro-acoustic affair involving violin, ropes slippage above the intimistic power rumblings that are present throughout. Tension in the air, human order still prevails in the environment of rebirth, this new existence is not going to be peaceful. From a project introducing itself as “influenced by mental illness, disease, self-hatred, shame, failure and disgust for humanity”, the weight of the karma has to be borne.

Shock Frontier – Tumult

Shock Frontier continues the anamnesis of apprehending this world. “Your Cross Is Not Illuminated” convokes religious orders, spiritual coercion. The death industrial is profound. Flowing, somber drones, bit by bit, arise to a more crushing structure. Hearing this, I wonder what their previous two CD albums, Tumors 64 & 110 on Malignant Records, could have been like – must check those.
[Editor’s Note: You can read our review of Shock FrontierTumult here.]

Vitriol Gauge, a project emanating from one half of United Front, and who has recently issued a new excellently thick-frequencies-ridden opus, entitled Routines on the label Concrete//Contrôle, pursues the topology of being coerced : “Are you real, or are you just in my mind?” – “Doesn’t matter at all…” Harsher, due to the heavily-processed vocals, noisier, although the atmospheric, death-industrial tone is kept. Outbursts of resistance among a (post?)apocalyptic haze, “No Calm” indicates the persistence of will, despite the blurry consensus.

COMPACTOR photo by Stephen Petrus in Vantaa, Finland 11.06.17

The unleashing follows with Compactor – “Ultimatum”. Pounding powerful craft with titillating bleeps, stomping the contained rage. A project by Derek Rush, also responsible for the artwork on the compilation, and long go’er known from Dream Into Dust, labels The Order Of The Suffering Clown and Chthonic Streams, as well as involvement in Loretta’s Doll and The Sword Volcano Complex.

“The Harrowing Dark” by Gnawedthen, steps into power-electronics territories, due to determined, yet jaded vocals ; flanged vocals is the leading element in power-electronics? – yes madam, ‘cos as you can hear, even when the soundscapes are layers of death-industrial undertones and slow pounding, the commanding vocals crowning it all renders it power-electronics. The unleash remains uncertain, too many past lives, too many sticking memories, crusades failed, thus all has corroded. Gnawed is for me a very pleasant discovery here, I will for sure keep an eye on this project, which already has an imposing discography.
[Editor’s Note: Grant Richardson of Gnawed also runs the dark ambient project Atrox Pestis, whose debut EP we reviewed, and debut full-length we premiered.]

Steel Hook Prostheses next. Woops! Gnawed has been a fair warning? Okay… Drones are sumptuous and wide, almost orchestral, which does not prevent distortion and sepulchral shriekings from interfering. “Orbitoclast” sets a nauseating crawl, despite the beauty that may surface. Full blown heavy electronics with always the death-industrial measure that accompanies the trip. Since Steel Hook Audio Mastering has been in charge of the entire treatment of the compilation, you know which crushing efficiency to expect.

Are the visitors having enough? The journey is relentless. The Vomit Arsonist keeps reminding you that you are “Dispirited”, an avalanche of frequencies that is somehow closing the circle which Shock Frontier had initiated. You tried, you lost. Again.

Theologian concludes with structured awesome potency. “I Shed Your Corpse” sounds vibrant, poignant buried vocals and again an almost orchestral tone, culminating in rhythmic military reshaping that appears almost hopeful. So, this is the very texture of the darkness that we all have to deal with? Indeed – therefore you have been enlightened. Be merry.

Although a various artists compilation, it could almost sound as an entire album by  the same artist in that the tones are so unified. Not one weak track, not one filler, all almighty and powerful. Blending, both older and more recent, projects in a constant progression that creates the feeling of chapters within a book. A psychotopography, detailing specific aspects of an inner meltdown. The physical version of it will be a professionally printed CDR in a digi-sleeve limited to 200 copies, which will be available at the Darkness Descends Festival held in Cleveland, Ohio on June 16th, 2018.

Written by: Nicolas Dupont

Stromstad – New Devoted Human – Review on the Periphery

Artist: Stromstad
Album: New Devoted Human
Release date: 8 December 2017
Label: Malignant Records

Tracklist:
01. Inherent Resurrection
02. Fever Wave Dream Function
03. Blood Consciousness
04. Nattsvermer
05. Reluctant Traveller (feat. Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved)
06. Exchanging Eyes
07. New Devoted Human
08. Kosto

Stromstad is a collaborative project between Jasse Tuukki and Toni Myöhänen of STROM.ec and Kristoffer Oustad. STROM.ec of Finland have been spreading their variety of industrialized darkness to the world since their debut on Freak Animal Records, back in 2000. Since then, they have continued to make a name for themselves through such labels as Annihilvs, Malignant and it’s sub-label Black Plague. The Norwegian artist, Kristoffer Oustad, known for work under his own name, and also as part of the Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester with Peter Nyström, has proven his dynamic set of abilities as a high caliber dark ambient producer.

We got a morsel of Oustad’s taste for the heavier and grittier cousin of dark ambient, death industrial on his contributions to the latest, and highly recommended, Tumult by Shock Frontier (reviewed here), which released just prior to New Devoted Human, also on Malignant Records. STROM.ec have stayed consistently heavier throughout their career, having little room for the more reserved dark ambient sections that we hear throughout New Devoted Human.

So, when we get both projects together, STROM.ec and Kristoffer Oustad, the outcome is not entirely surprising in its style, but what is more surprising is the sense of fluidity and comfort these artists seem to have working together. The chemistry is what makes New Devoted Human such a gem for the small but passionate international community that follows this sort of music. Malignant Records saw it coming, which led them to the choice of giving the Stromstad debut a vinyl edition, which is something they’ve been doing more frequently, but still quite selectively.

There are tracks where the two different styles come together perfectly in a single track, through a whirlwind of noise and emotion. Tracks like “New Devoted Human” with its distorted guitars, industrial drum sections, and enraged screams, blend perfectly with Oustad’s more reserved and delicate dark ambient undertones. Early in this track, we can hear that dark ambient element lingering in the background, behind the much thicker noises of the STROM.ec guys. As the track progresses these dark ambient elements slowly, and almost subconsciously, move to the forefront. The track takes on a sort of violent narrative, as we move from the viciousness of the beginning sections into this wall of subtle darkness, a sort of uneasy calm as the dust settles just after a city is besieged.

Other tracks, like “Inherent Resurrection” and “Blood Consciousness”, keep the energy at maximum throughout their duration. Electronics blaring and angry vocals dictated, Stromstad give us the perfect example of a sort of post-industrial metal band. Yet, the meshing of varied genres can go even further afield at times, like on the chorus section of “Blood Consciousness” which features a dubstep-like component that is incredibly unlikely, but fits beautifully.

Intermingled with these high-energy tracks are dark ambient soundscapes which help the listener to paint a picture of this imagined future, which is as technologically advanced as it is apocalyptically devastated. The listener can get a sense of a future which took A.I., military-grade weaponry, and robotics to their darkest ends, creating a war-torn planet, upon which human life is no longer so cherished; a place where greed and technology come together, achieving the worst possible outcomes. “Nattsvermer” is one such track, where the perfectly executed dark ambient elements take prominence above a tapestry of industrial noises which lie in the background. Another is the closer, “Kosto”, which is the most reserved track on New Devoted Human, using gentle waves of synth to create an almost serene atmosphere, which helps the album to end on a more philosophical than apocalyptic note.

New Devoted Human is certainly a unique experience. This is something that will find a wide and unlikely set of fans. While I’ve focused on a few of the more prominent genre elements presented here, listeners will likely find a number of other genre influences which will enrich their personal experiences with the album all the more. I would foremost recommend this release to listeners that find the more dynamic releases on Malignant Records to their liking. For fans of a more strict definition of dark ambient, this will be a bit too heavy, but with that said, I think it is still worth giving it a try, they really have found a nice chemistry here, which doesn’t take any one element to too great an extreme.

Written by: Michael Barnett

 

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