Undirheimar – Heljarrúnar (2020)

Cyclic Law is busy rereleasing old Cold Meat Industry material, but here they found a new project that would have fitted well on that Swedish label.

“Heljarrúnar” opens with an ambient track with drumming, think Sephiroth or Vortex. Then follow minimal dark ambient tracks that could have been released by Loki. Sometimes a bit of chanting, sometimes a drum, ritualistic and all lengthy, haunting tracks of descent dark ambient.

It is not a style of music that I listen to a lot these days. When I do, I do prefer a style darker than most CMI releases of old and I must say that however “Heljarrúnar” may sound fairly typical, the album is well executed and even manages to keep my attention in spite of the minimalist approach.

Links: Undirheimar, Cyclic Law

Dødsmaskin – Verdenssmerte (2020)

I have known Dødsmaskin for a while, but apparently I have never reviewed an album of theirs. I remember liking the first album that I heard in a style that I call “ambient noise” with here and there some dark ambient.

Later albums that I heard seemed to focus more on the dark ambient, with only here and there a noisy tone. Also more and more atmospheric elements seemed to find its way to the music. Thus came that I only liked some of the tracks.

After releases on Malignant and Cyclic Law, the project has been picked up by Tesco. “Verdenssmerte” opens with a soft piano and slowly but surely the track goes over into a noisy texture.

The second track sounds a lot more interesting to me. A somewhat industrial dark ambient soundscape gets some noisy tones after a while. This track is nicely dark and in the style of Dødsmaskin that I like best, especially when things get even more noisy.

After a more experimental ambient track comes another nice noisy industrial track, an alright industrial track and an ambient closing track.

Indeed, some tracks I like, most do little to me.

Links: Dødsmaskin, Tesco

Radar Men From The Moon – The Bestial Light (2020)

It is strange how things go sometimes. Last week Facebook notified me that Aufnahme + Wiedergabe (from Berlin) has an event in my hometown in October. There are never concerts of interest in my hometown, so I clicked to see which bands (Spit Mask and Gnaw Their Tongues, the first has released material through A+W, the latter is a Dutch noisy doom metal band). Then I noticed that another organiser from the concert is a name new to me: Metakamer, “a independent clothing brand based in Eindhoven” (sic). Well, well.

On the Facebook page of Metakamer a radio show was announced which opened with… Haus Arafna. This took place on an Eindhoven radio-station I had never heard of: Rararadio. There prove to be some (locally) famous musicians active there. Then there is also a link between Metakamer and a local band that I already knew, but not too well: Radar Men From The Moon.

RMFTM is an experimental rock band. They tend to change styles with every album and frequently also change members. They very recently released an album (May 8th). A good reason to listen what is what.

“The Bestial Light” contains noisy rock. Sometimes the sound is slightly stoner, sometimes the psychedelic rock background shines through, but most tracks are more like Swans (their noisy style), Zeni Geva or Pop. 1280. The band itself seems to call their style “acid metal” and “strange wave”.

Not bad at all!

Links: Radar Man From The Moon, Fuzz Club

Khost – Buried Steel (2020)

Every once in a while I feel like playing “funeral doom metal”. Yet slower and darker than much doom. I prefer the music to be without vocals (and with electronics), but there are a few bands whose vocals are good enough.

I was somewhat surprised when I found two such bands on the not-exactly-a-metal-label Cold Spring, Sutekh Hexen and Khost. Khost have made a few excellent albums, very dark, very slow. And here is their latest.

“Buried Steel” opens with more of a Godflesh-type industrial metal track, slow, but not as slow as Khost can get. A good track though. The second track is like that too. Then comes the magnificent track “Intravenar” with a slow techno beat, extremely low vocals and minimalist background sounds. The next few tracks are more comparable to earlier material and “funeral doom” is a good description. Great tracks to. I like the long ‘sample tracks’ in between less so though.

As closer off there is a remix of “Intravenar” by Mothboy! Not a better version than the original, but an amusing reference to another kind of music.

A wonderful new album. I am not yet sure if previous albums are better, but the new album is slightly different.

Links: Khost, Cold Spring

A Place To Bury Strangers – Rare Meat (2017 / 2020)

Earlier this week somebody posted a live photo of APTBS on an industrial forum and I replied saying that they are my favourite popband, which was not received well. I found APTBS when I was looking for more uptempo “shoegaze” many years ago and I still see the band that way.

In basis the style of the band is shoegaze, so wave-type rhythms, screeching guitars and soft vocals. The band has two sides. On one end of their spectrum they make soft songs that are well described as “shoegaze”. On the other end they go way off track with extremely noisy rock with massive feedback walls of guitar noise. Unfortunately, the latter style seems to become thinner as new releases are put out.

Somehow I missed the tape from 2017 on which “demos and rarities 2003 – 2017” were released. Due to everybody having to stay at home because of the Corona virus, the band decided to release the “Rare Meat” through their Bandcamp page. A great idea!

“Rare Meat” opens with two magnificently noisy tracks, “I Walk Away” and “Hit The Ground”. Then follows a less interesting soft song, but we are soon back to guitar noise again.

Some tracks are earlier version of songs that appeared on albums. Most tracks were new to me. There are great energetic tracks, but I do not like most of the softer songs here (sometimes they are better), but over all “Rare Meat” is an excellent album that brings back the old days of this great band from Brooklyn.

Link: A Place To Bury Strangers

Broken Note – Exit The Void (2019)

There is another form of techno that I have been exploring the last years. “Dubstep” is a very slow form of techno, usually based on “drum & bass” type rhythms. Much of the music is annoying to me with female vocals and happy melodies, but there is also a more dirty side to the style.

I know “darkstep” is not the term to use, as that is closer to “drum and bass”, but the description is fitting for that style of “dubstep”. Sometimes I run into the description “filthstep”, I suppose that fits the bill.

“Broken Note” is not the slowest, dirtiest, occultist artist in the genre, but it does have some excellent releases. “Dubstep” is good enough of a description here. There are not the typical speedings-up and heavy breaks on “Exit The Void”, but here you have the steady rhythm in spite of the weird beats, the typical creaking sounds and minimalist approach. Maybe you can compare this release to the relatively known project Noisia.

If you want to further explore the genre, for a darker approach (also thematically) look for Substep Infrabass; somewhat more typical for the (darker) style are Datsik and Download.

Links: Broken Note, MethLab

Shxcxchcxsh – VOOO (2020)

There seems to be a great ‘new’ subgenre of techno music. I have written about it before in my reviews of Oake and Kerridge.

A style called “minimal techno” seems to have a rising popularity. It sounds like the name sounds, minimalist techno. Often danceable, sometimes even 4×4 beats. (Probably) within that “minimal techno” scene (if there is such a thing) there are also projects that lean towards an industrial sound, some of these projects take their speed even slower making dark, experimental, rhythmical, well, “industrial techno”. That description as been used for many years for the “hardcore” type of techno, but what Spotify seems to call “mandible” is slow, industrial techno.

The Swedish duo Shxcxchcxsh does not seem to offer an explanation (or even pronunciation) for their project name. Their releases and track titles are just as weird. The four tracks here are called “VOOO”, “OPPO”, “POPP” and “VVOV”.

Shxcxchcxsh sometimes has a somewhat industrial sound, like on the magnificent album “SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs”, on their latest, the sound is more typical ‘minimal techno’, so a simple rhythm and not much else. “VOOO” is not the duo’s best work, but I do want to draw your attention to the project, as their material is interesting. To me at least.

Links: Shxcxchcxsh, Mord

Horror Vacui – Living For Nothing (2020)

Every once in a while I like to listen to old school goth rock (deathrock). A band I discovered this way is the Italian Horror Vacui.

The 2012 debut is “In Darkness Everything Will Be Alright” is -to my ears- still their best material, especially the title track.

After two more full lengths and a few minis, “Living For Nothing” has just been made available digitally (physical releases are forthcoming). 30 Minutes, eight tracks, so is this a mini or a full length?

The music is still typical for the band. One high pitched ‘gruftie’ guitar making the melodies and great ‘grave vocals’. Simple melodies, simple songs, just as goth rock is supposed to sound. Older material was slightly faster and (therefore) a bit more ‘catchy’, but again the more uptempo songs on “Living For Nothing” are enjoyable.

Link: Horror Vacui (Bandcamp)

Am Not – Extraterritoriality (mc 2020)

Thanks to Noise Receptor I heard about this release before the 102 copies were gone.

“Extraterritoriality” is a six track tape. It opens with the brutal “Cleansing Violence”, a great track. Then follow two more tranquil tracks with lyrics or lengthy samples. Recognisable lyrics and samples? The recognisability is certain with “Homecoming” which seems to be an alternative version to “Come Home”.

The latter mentioned title is the first on side B called “Entry” and is a not too extreme, but a somewhat industrial track. Next up the aggression rises again. Distorted sounds, a pounding rhythm, shouting samples and after a while aggressive vocals. “Red Emperor, White Forces” is a magnificent Am Not track. The closing track is again more ‘noisescapes’ with a lengthy sample.

It looks like it that Noise Receptor has a better eye and ear to find the thematics of Am Not’s music, so I suggest reading that review too.

Links: Am Not, Unrest Productions

High Stress Reaction ‎– Cumulative Hurt (mc 2020)

Apparently a debut. I cannot find anything about this project.

In the cover there is a quote in Polish meaning ‘dictatorship is not a bad word’. The quote leads me to a Polish Wikipedia article about Chaim Rumkowski, a Jew who thought that working for the Nazis would save him and his people.

That said, HSR offers muffled noise with an industrial angle and sometimes very distorted vocals. The sound is a bit like hearing industrial while the speaker is below a pillow. There are not the high frequencies of many noise releases in most tracks, but neither is this the ‘wall of noise’ kind of music.

I prefer the more death industrial type tracks, especially when there are vocals, over the more minimalist ones and over the more chaotic (typical) ones.

Overall “Cumulative Hurt” sounds alright. It has a few descent tracks (especially the opening and closing tracks) and the rest is not bad either.

Link: Unrest Productions