REVIEW: Deathstench – Massed in Black Shadow

There’s always been a number of shared aesthetic elements between the grittier variants of Black Metal and Death Industrial, as we see with Deathstench. Whenever you attend a concert showcasing either genre, you could see the cross pollination in the crowd. The common disregard for polished production, use of feedback as an instrument, and nihilistic or adversarial themes have led to a few cross-over artists, mostly notably being early Cold Meat Industry veterans MZ. 412, all the way up to the more recent Gnaw their Tongues. It’s also worth noting that Relapse Records recognized something similar in the Death/Grindcore Metal and Power Electronics genres via their Release Entertainment sublabel. While there’s always been a fair number of success in the Grindcore/Power Electronics mix, in the early years I was disappointed with how few of the Black Metal/Industrial acts bring anything worthwhile to the table, with the successful ones taking a more drone/ambient approach. For the most part, you were left with a hodgepodge of stereotypical caricatures of each genre (sorry, Mysticum), which I believe was a byproduct of a misguided yearning to remain elite or true to a hardcore base. This has changed over the past few years, I’ve noticed, with bands such as Gnaw their Tongues gaining much acclaim and Sunn O))) hitting critical mass.

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REVIEW: Mind & Flesh – Martyr Generation

While initially unfamiliar with Mind & Flesh, I immediately took notice of the Force Majeure label imprint (division of the legendary Nuit et Brouillard). It has been about 10 years since I heard anything from them, the last of which was the self-titled Maison Close CD. The only other projects on Force Majeure included Grunt and Slogun, so Mind & Flesh would be in good company. I also noticed that one track, “Purgatorium”, credits Atrax Morgue (the late great Marco Corbelli). After obtaining some promotional info, I realized that the man behind Mind & Flesh is Anders B., formally of the project Babyflesh, which had their debut album released on Corbelli’s Slaughter Productions. All the while I’m listening to this album, piecing together the puzzle of who this guy is, and realizing I’ve stumbled upon one of the most overlooked releases of 2012. Martyr Generation is an amalgam of old school Industrial cadence and cold Nordic ambience, creating a unique flavor of Death Industrial.

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REVIEW: Brighter Death Now – Very Little Fun

What is it about self-destruction that draws a crowd? While standing in the audience at a 2011 Brighter Death Now concert in Germany, I picked up a sense of schadenfreude in the air. On stage was Roger Karmanik, obviously in an intoxicated state, laughing to himself while producing his signature haunting drones and harsh electronics. For a moment I caught his eye. There was something in his stare that unnerved me. I’ve seen this look before. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of individuals who have struggled through depression, through self-destruction. Some survived, others did not. Here was a man on the brink. Who else in the crowd could recognize it? Some are cheering him on, others nod sullenly in accordance.

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REVIEW: Treha Sektori – Endessiah + Sorieh

Endessiah comes three years after Treha Sektori was unveiled through its debut full-length Sorieh – a mind-blowing sound experiment, which brought me on the verge of schizophrenia with its fragmented, chaotic and eclectic approach to sound. The second conceptual entity which Dehn Sora (also in Sembler Deah, Church of Ra) created is far more accomplished, thorough and accessible. Endessiah means letting go of everything, conceptually the record represents a mindset in a decline of the physical world and this is exactly how it sounds. The symbiosis between the ideas and their realization music-wise is clear and logical, which makes the record far easier to swallow than Sorieh, but sufficiently deep, if let to completely unfold in your mind.

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REVIEW: Dissecting Table – Industrial Document 1988/91

The five years from 1987 to 1992 was a profoundly pivotal period in time for Japanese Industrial/Noise music. Merzbow would be breaking through to international markets, performing in the USSR and United States, and then switching from analog to digital production. Kazuyuki Kishino (KK.Null) would start introducing Noise to prog-rock and hardcore audiences via Zeni Geva, and later tour with Sonic Youth. Fumio Kosakai began releasing records as part of Incapacitants in ’89 and form C.C.C.C. with bondage pornstar Mayuko Hino. Masonna was smashing his first pieces of gear on stage. And in the midst of it all, from the frenetic distorted frequencies to the hardcore punk rock guitars riffs of the aforementioned artists, Dissecting Table was the alchemical transmutation of the full range of what was going on in that time period. Consisting of two recorded live performances, this double disc relic titled “Industrial Document 1988/91” from Steinklang Industries documents a seminal moment in Ichiro Tsuji’s prolific nihilistic project and the sub-genre of Death Industrial.

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REVIEW: Son of Eris – Kallisti

A lot can change in five years. Bands and projects come and go, labels open and shut down. That’s about the amount of time I start to question the status of a project if there not a hint of activity. So after such a hiatus, German Discordian Post-Industrial project Son of Eris returned with their sophomore album, defying doubt and again strumming the chords of Chaos. The label publishing this release is Rage in Eden Records, who themselves released Son of Eris’ debut under the record label’s prior moniker, War Office Propaganda, back in 2005. Said debut broke away from popular Northern European mythologies and themes, and would blend Neofolk guitar work with layers of abstract soundscapes, much of which carried through on Kallisti.

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REVIEW: Nocturne – Working Ecstasy

How much money is your time worth? How much of your own humanity are you willing to sacrifice at the altar of commerce and urban living? At what point do you become one of the drones, falling into the open mouth of Moloch? These seem to be the questions that come to mind when listening to “Working Ecstasy”, the latest double CD release from French Industrial artist Nocturne. For over 15 years front-man Saphi has been honing his craft as a purveyor of French Industrial culture, and with “Working Ecstasy” he has achieved his finest work yet.

The album is split into two titles, “Working” and “Ecstasy”, which articulate what I believe to be the theme of the album. That is, the overwhelming sense of demoralization as a result of living in a post-Industrial society. For some, Stockholm Syndrome takes place as a means of survival and one embraces their lot, after all… arbeit macht frei.

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REVIEW: Terra Sancta – Sunken | Buried | Forgotten

As I put on the latest Terra Sancta release I wonder, is it just me or has there been a growing interest in Dark Ambient over the past couple years? There appears to be a swell in sweeping home produced waves of synths, delayed strings, and references to the cosmos. I’m not complaining, but if one has discriminating taste it’s natural to put a critical eye to the growing number of pedantic facsimiles.

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REVIEW: Bryin Dall – Deconstructing Hank

Country music was a part of Bryin Dall’s upbringing, though not by choice. In time, Bryin Dall set his own course, but it’s clear that the desolate persona of Hank Williams resonated with Dall throughout the years. From the Darkwave sounds of Loretta’s Doll to the terrifying 4th Sign of the Apocalypse, and then partnering with Derek Rush in the “dambient” defining A Murder of Angels and the genre-bending Dream into Dust, the uninitiated may have expected these two to have run out of ways of expressing the dark current which has carried them.

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