DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINATE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND: Today I Want to Catch Clouds CD WKN / Tesco Distribution

DBinfinatechurch

DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINATE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND: Today I Want to Catch Clouds CD WKN / Tesco Distribution

Albin Julias has been pedalling Der Blutharsch for many a year now along with his many appearances with other artists in associated genres, such as the likes of Death in June etc.   Once again we have the almost alter ego of his main project, in the form of The Infinate Church of the Leading Hand; and in some respects this is where I feel Julias’ works at his best, producing an array of remixes he has worked on for other and collaborations, rather than a straight forward new release for the band.

The title track opens up this album in ritualistic fashion, with harmonious dual vocals and airy, well pitched ambient; glorious and uplifting, there is a real synergy that melds well between the soil of the earth and ascendance to the heavens capturing everything that is good about two projects working together and the fusion with White Walls works well.

In stark contrast, a remix of Phallus Dei’s ‘Will You Come Now?’ fuses Anti-Pop and Post–Punk sensibilities into a warming array of staggering bass, subtle guitars and early eighties vocals that you can really latch onto and feel yourself singing along with in no time at all.

Folk music has always played its part in much of Julias’ work and once again this latest Blutharsch release (of sorts) is no stranger to its appearance, but this time in the form of a remix for the almost legendary band, Changes.

Given that this album features so many other artists along the way, it pains me to say it, but I appreciate this album more than a lot of Der Blutharsch’s previous affairs; enjoying Albin more, as always, when he works on other related artists’ albums in collaboration.

Overall, ‘Today I Want to Catch Clouds’ is an excellent introduction for those that have not taken it upon themselves to listen to Der Blutharsch; providing a distinct variation in approach along the way that should appease those that listen to a multitude of different styles of music, escaping the confines of the tunnel vision attitude we have witnessed in this scene time and time again.

9/10

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ATRIUM CARCERI: Reliquiae CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

ATRIUM CARCERI: Reliquiae  CD  Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

Here is the seventh album by the well respected Simon Heath; spanning 19 tracks, we once again have a real treat on our hands with impressive Dark Ambient, cleverly wrapped and woven into a mass of free flowing underground atmospherics.

‘Unveiled’ gives us gorgeous ice like piano and is a stand out moment, along with  ‘Knowledge of the Few’, utilising harmonies that float along in soundtrack form over a sea of gently padded bass, with machine like whirs that click in the atmosphere in between.

Heath is a master of variation; in a scene that can quite often become bogged down in the blackest of paths, he manages to reign in the oppressive beast and tames it with ingenious mastery; adding his own individual flair for precise flickers of sound, he creates an entirely different aural landscape that remains as threatening as much as it does beautiful and majestic.

‘Reliquiae’ is a glorious release; a thoroughly engaging affair, with more than its fair share of nooks and crannies to explore.  Seven is a lucky number for us as well, as Heath has once again delivered the goods, outshining many of the scenes greatest; one of the best Dark Ambient acts on the market with more to offer than the genre tag implies.

9.5/10

DHALIA’S TEAR: Dreamsphere CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

DHALIA’S TEAR: Dreamsphere  CD  Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

As a concept, ‘Dreamsphere’ is based upon a constant recurring nightmare; it’s an instantaneous hit from the off, with operatic vocals and rumblings of crashing storms outside your bedroom window, as an all out aural attack from every angle hits your senses.

After the initial opening to this extended dream sequence, we have five more tracks that take you throughout a chaotic, yet strangely enough low-key affair, almost like you are sat along for the ride looking, almost voyeuristic if you will, at various screens of the artists’ disturbances.

It’s been five long years since the last album ‘Under Seven Skies’ and once again we have another high quality jaunt through eerie, ghost-like caverns of sound that drift and soar, occasionally being interrupted with downright beauty; the title track for example, displays a fine array of talent and depth with some gorgeous piano lines, that hauntingly glide into the mix only to fade before you can latch on to any hope the cascading emotions bring.

Like some disturbing stretched out lullaby, ‘Dreamsphere’, in all its 47 minute long glory leaves the listener with the long lasting impression of tormented nights, where restful slumber seems nigh on impossible.

8.5/10

SALA DELLE COLONNE: XX.A.D. CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

SALA DELLE COLONNE: XX.A.D. CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

There is something so ludicrous about Sala Delle Colonne that you could almost laugh upon first listen; however, ‘XX.A.D.’ is so utterly bombastic and full of energy that you cannot help being charmed and thoroughly engaged in equal measure from start to finish.

Inspiration has come from Wagner, Sibelius and Mahler and it shows; huge crashing cymbals, operatic string sections and glorious emphasis on composition, drive the release on like the backdrop to the aural equivalent of distant battle from centuries past.

SDC is wasted just sat doing albums for the Martial Industrial genre; his work here wouldn’t be lost on an array of movies out there and would be a fitting soundtrack to the abundance of Roman gladiatorial films that glitter the silver screen.

I am genuinely intrigued as to how this was created; I am fairly certain a heck of this was done electronically, but it sounds so organic for the most part, such as ‘Tradizione Futurista’ with its simply gorgeous cello and wonderfully placed vocal sections; it’s a truly wonderful track and effortlessly epic.

‘XX.A.D’ is just one of those rare albums in the genre, that truly has got every element right without any misgivings whatsoever; one of the best examples of Neoclassical Martial music I have heard in some time.

9/10

RAISON D’ETRE: When the Earth Dissolves in Ashes CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

RAISON D’ETRE: When the Earth Dissolves in Ashes  CD  Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution

Here we have fifteen tracks taken from various live shows between 2010 and 2011, seamlessly woven together to sound like one long performance from one location.

The source materials for the track list have their roots sown in previous releases; however, Raison D’etre has masterfully created brand new songs at each of these events, mixing them live on the spot and there is no doubt, that is where the true beauty and genius to this release lies. There are no edits, there is no sitting down and rectifying mistakes; it is all here, raw and all the better for it.

‘Shedding ‘ is a highlight; blissful pads soaring up to the heavens whilst clattering metallic soundings stumble aimlessly in the background, fading into the bleak epic pools of ‘Darken my Soul’, which is a sinking pot of pure black ambience.

It’s a brave person who faces their target audience, with the pure intention of playing them a brand new array of tracks when they come to see them live; even braver when they’re going to hear new material conjured up right in front of their eyes.  I wouldn’t expect anything less but consummate professionalism from Peter Anderson though and this new album, solidifies the sheer creatively strong output he has treated his listeners to for many a year.

9.5/10

DERNIERE VOLONTE: Immortel CD Hau-Ruk!/Tesco Distribution

DERNIERE VOLONTE: Immortel CD  Hau-Ruk!/Tesco Distribution

Now for some dodgy camp vocals, simplistic badly played synthesizers and acoustic guitars; I didn’t expect anything less really after being subjected to this artists previous works.

Tragic as it sounds a lot of this is really catchy stuff;  ‘Mon Orage’ in all fairness is really decent, like a foreign, more camp Ultravox hanging out with The Human League whilst dancing with Kraftwerk and you might be somewhere close and its hard not to like it (I say through gritted teeth).  For example, ‘Immortel’ is a mix of folk and synth-pop, it’s bizarrely infectious in many a way and it really pains me to say that I like a lot of this.

Unfortunately over the course of fourteen tracks there isn’t much variation and the truly sad thing is,  I have a suspicion this isn’t done tongue in cheek and I really believe they’re being serious which goes against the fun nature this album invokes.

I would love to have seen more of the impressive vocal-less ‘Fragile’ which had a deeper side to it and could have been a truly massive number; in fact I could have listened to a whole album of that alone with its glorious dark pads and atmosphere-rich film score quality.

Still, as an album this is gorgeously packaged and is pleasant and solid enough, probably enough to become a Euro-Pop guilty pleasure for a few people out there, myself included.

7.7/10

BLOOD AXIS: Born Again CD Storm Records

BLOOD AXIS: Born Again CD Storm Records

Not heard from this bunch in a while, so getting past the standard cheesy intro it was down to business.

I am used to Blood Axis being ever so dodgy, with beards and politics alike; but I also expected something a little more aggressive as opposed to the rather wet ‘Song of the Comrade’, with its annoying accordion and bodhran sections seeming to go on for an entire age.

What can we do to really irritate people?  I will tell you what; rant on alongside what I think is a badly played bagpipe that’s what. There’s more than enough capability in certain sections that could have made for excellent listening and it’s not through lack of being able to play their instruments, it’s the shoddy song composition and self indulgence that just stinks badly.

You know what would have saved this album? They seem to have a decent female vocalist in Annabel Lee, why she wasn’t utilised as much as she could have been is anyone’s guess…instead we just get repeats of Michael Moynihan droning on and on basking in his own self importance.

‘Born Again’ is just thoroughly annoying and irritating from start to finish.  Beautifully packaged in a six-panel digi-pack and booklet this just has become a waste of oil and card.  I lost my patience with some members of this scene some time ago and while the classics are still great, this just hammers one more tired nail into the coffin that is highly prolific artists producing talentless twaddle.

4/10