SEKTOR 304: Subliminal Actions CD Malignant Records
Old school in its approach, reminiscent of early SPK and Test Dept., straight for the jugular the moment you hit play, Sektor 304 smash through your speakers with massive metal trash-can percussion, big beats and shouting reverberated vocals.
There is something tribal that underlies the whole of this release with a writhing mass of organic matter, making a welcome change from the digital age that now takes precedence over the Industrial scene; almost unforgiving in the writhing carnage that unfolds this is a purist’s album no doubt.
‘Vultures’ is undoubtedly a highlight of the album; opening with a visceral growl, the pounding percussion and grinding bass stomp relentlessly throughout the track, reminding me somewhat of a cross hybrid of Godflesh and Sonic Violence in their ‘Transfixion’ era and is the clearly dividing line that splits this release into two halves.
From here on in the album takes a different turn of events, with ‘Friction’ droning out a swirling mass of black ambience and machine factory like hums; indeed the following tracks take a somewhat slower avenue and focus on a more oozing sludge like approach to sound exploration.
‘Subliminal Actions’ is an interesting piece of work that has more than enough for fans of nostalgic Industrial, right through to Dark Ambient and Power Electronics.
SKIN AREA: Rothko Field CD Malignant Records
Opening with a spitting, seething vocal, reminiscent of a cleaner more precise Deathpile, this caught me somewhat off guard; leading you down the garden path somewhat, as it is by no means at all a portent of what is to come.
‘Rothko Field’ is a completely different release to what I expected; the noise is reduced almost to a residual hum, concentrating on lightly distorted ambient drones that occasionally mix with choral pads, lifting the atmosphere into almost trance inducing states come the title track.
‘Hypnagoga’ simply put, is completely mental; almost playing out like a disturbing nursery rhyme I have to applaud Skin Area for daring to venture into such territories; whilst being completely barking mad, it does assist thematically with the albums concept of music that is the aural equivalent of borderline personality disorder.
This is a wonderfully thought out third album, beautifully packaged and daring from start to finish. Musically this is not going to be one for everyone, barely hanging around the rim of melodies, focussed purely on atmospheric states of mind, there is more than a touch of IRM and No-Wave throughout the album, especially in the latter half and if anything, a lot of this album reminds me of Coil in a many respects.
A peculiar CD from start to finish, progressively bordering on lunacy; ‘Rothko Field’ is a thoroughly engaging affair and one of the more interesting pieces of work I have heard in some time.
TERRA SANCTA: Sunken/Buried/Forgotten CDep Malignant Records
You’ve gotta love Dark Ambient artists; can you guess what the song titles are? Yeah, you got it; this is a three-track release.
Joking aside, this EP is a bridge for the their last release and the next album; sometimes you can view extended players as a throwaway for unused tracks, but I get the feeling that this trilogy of songs didn’t fit with the forthcoming release, hence their appearance in this format.
I have to applaud Terra Sancta somewhat; the tracks are fairly lengthy and when dealing with this genre you have to have something that engages the listener straight away and in a lot of senses this has been done cleverly. There is little to differentiate between ‘Sunken’, ‘Buried’ and ‘Forgotten’ sound wise, indeed they could actually have been submitted as one seamless track.
In its 23 and a half minute entirety this does appear to be over rather quickly and although this appears to finish almost as soon as it starts, there is the temptation to hit play as soon as this comes to its conclusion; there being the magic that lies within, which is no mean feat considering that on the face of it, there might not be much going on from start to completion.
Repeat play you will however and there you will find the undercurrents of sound that that were not immediately evident; I thoroughly enjoyed this short excursion on the way to Terra Sancta’s next jaunt with the ending credits of ‘Forgotten’ ironically leaving a thoroughly enjoyable and lasting impression; quality.
KRISTOFFER NYSTRÖMS ORKESTER: Overlook Hotel CD Malignant Records
The almost legendary Megaptera’s Peter Nyström and relative newcomer Kristoffer Oustad have combined forces once again with their unique Orkester.
There are some reviews that I have seen out there that have mentioned the usual references such as Dark Ambient and whatnot; it’s inevitable I guess considering where these guys come from and the relative listeners this release will attract. ‘Overlook Hotel’ does have references along the way to this genre, there is no mistaking that; however, there is more to this release than meats the eye, such as the heartbeat pulse-like throb that raises its head on ‘Industrial Pale Ale’ (nice), and it’s moments like this that whilst hard to describe, undoubtedly add that little bit more than the tag implies.
There is a little more meat on the Death Industrial bones of this album as well, occasionally getting chomped up with careful attention to detail, lifting the straight forward crushing beats and screaming that you would expect and soundtrack sensibilities pull this album up in the originality stakes.
Diversity is the key with KNO and that is not something you hear so often within the circles these guys reside in; ‘Overlook Hotel’ does have something for everyone within those genres however and something that will strike a chord I would imagine along the way for the casual listener as well.
CONTROL: Deadly Sins CD Malignant Records
This was originally released as a limited CDr for the 11th incarnation of the Electroanschlag festival and thankfully re-released for the masses by the impressive Malignant Records label.
Picking on the seven deadly sins (the titles of the individual seven tracks on offer), may not be the most original of concepts, but then this is Control after all and Thomas Garrison can pretty much do what he pleases within this genre.
Blistering Power Electronics (obviously) are on the menu with ‘Sloth’ oozing like treacle through the speakers as slowly as the title implies, rolling through into the barrage of noise that pans out on ‘Pride’, with Garrison’s vocalisations screaming through a blizzard of blistering venom. There isn’t much I can say about a release like this, apart from I enjoy it and Control always make me want to go out and punch someone in the face; which I think is the point.
To the casual listener and non-follower of the genre this would all appear ridiculous; to the untrained ear this is nothing but a mash of nonsensical noise. The initiated however will relish this release for everything it gives; with subtle changes to the machine head hums flicked through distortion pedals and the vocal equivalent of a chainsaw through the throat, this will surely please the most loyal of PE purists.
NEGRU VODA: Våld De Luxe 3xCD Malignant Records
This has been out a couple of years now, but it’s been sent for review now, so here it is.
Negru Voda was originally penned as the side project to the now defunct Dark Ambient legend that is Megaptera and a more expressive and solo outlet for Peter Nyström.
Before I go into the music, let me express how awesome the packaging is for this release; this looks stunning really with three CD’s housed in an eight panel digipak and is an absolute must for collectors out there, I am surprised I didn’t actually pick this up myself out of my hard earned cash.
Disc one ‘Våld De Luxe’ is a varied collection of live tracks with the title track displayed first in it’s full 25 minute glory, comprising of hypnotic beats over Death Industrial pulses and Dark Ambient to glue it all together; it won’t be for everyone in its repetitiveness as a whole but is entirely relevant. Live tracks are separated by a collection of remixes, of which P.A.L is the most impressive.
Disc two ‘Dark Territory’ is a re-release of the original that appeared on the Old Europa Café label with a couple of extra tracks to add validation for the addition to this release. In essence it is darker in some respects to the work Nyström did with Megaptera, venturing into way noisier territory as well.
The closer to this release is disc three ‘Whispers From the Silent Shaft’; opening with some of the better works of this project with the double whammy of ‘The Mine Shaft’ and ‘The Drill’, where beautifully stripped clean ambient slides down the bones of rhythmic Industrial at its very best. The rest of disc three is a collection of rarities and live numbers.
As a whole this three-disc collection is a must for fans of Peter’s works right across the board, with a broad range of Dark Ambient and pure Industrial to satiate genre lovers of this ilk everywhere; a lengthy release that doesn’t cost the earth and looks great too.
STEEL HOOK PROSTHESIS: Atrocitizer CD Malignant Records
Texan duo SHP have finally found a worthy home in Malignant Records. Sinister, visceral, spacious power electronics approached form the lighter end of the scale make for a creepier uphill climb than I first imagined, but effective none the less. I fair expected to have my face ripped off from the start, but SHP are more subtle than that.
Death Industrial, Black Ambient, whatever genre title floats your boat, this lot pretty much cover it all in an almost purest form. Gutteral vocal styles are complemented with squelching electronics, pulsating bass lines and razor sharp sounds that have the effect of nails scratching a blackboard (can we still say blackboard?). It’s effective stuff and one for the die-hards out there.
At times this can be unnerving to say the least; it’s on the edge of your seat stuff undoubtedly, although I do prefer a more sledgehammer to the face approach with these matters usually. The use of hellish samples work effectively and it all becomes a bit of a creeping mass of sound exploration and swarming undercurrents of brutality.
Atrocitizer stands on its own more as a threat rather than an outright punishing force and in its own way is all the better for it. It is all too easy nowadays to go for the immediate smack in the teeth bullying and all credit to Steel Hook Prosthesis for taking a step back, judging their surroundings and going for the underdog approach.