Deathpanel – Age Of Insignificance (cd 2018)

Tesco comes with a loud debut album of this new German outfit. “Age Of Insignificance” mostly contains violent noise and death industrial, with here and there a little gas off.

After a great death industrial opening follow a couple of noise tracks (less rhythm). These styles alternate until my favorite track of album, the title track, a wall-of-sound type track with brutal vocals in the middle. The vocals are varied from undistorted screaming to talking to a sound that is almost unrecognisable as a voice. There is not much focus on vocals. Where some music in the style has screaming lads from the beginning until the end, Deathpanel usually only has vocals in a part of the track. A couple of tracks contains good sample-work giving these track extra atmosphere.

Of the eight tracks presented, half I like a lot and the other four are still good. Indeed a promising debut.

Link: Tesco

Operation Cleansweep ‎– Release Now! Apathy Induction (12″+7″ 2018)

It does not happen often that Operation Cleansweep releases new material. In 2012 there was a cd of a ‘side project‘, in 2006 a split release with Anenzephalia and Inade and then we are already back in 2003. The last full length (2003) was released on the Italian XN recordings and for this label we can also say that it does not happen often that there is new material. The last release is over 10 years old!

XN releases are always very limited and come in luxury hand-made covers. “Release Now!” is not as luxury packed as the Proiekt Hat / Brighter Death Now split 7″, but it comes in a tasteful, hand-made sleeve that you have to cut open in order to play the release for the first time. The package contains a 12″ and a 7″. There are 86 red vinyl versions and 200 black vinyl versions. Because they are hand-made when ordered and this takes a while, my guess is that they were long gone by the time I got my copy, but it can never hurt to ask the label.

The 12″ has two times four tracks. The 7″ has one track on each side. The opening track is relatively soft, but in the second track we already get a glimpse of the noisy industrial style of Cleansweep, but this track is by far not as dark and extreme as it can get. Again a bit more of that we can hear in “Hunters”, but less so in what follows, especially side II is quite tame and there are (almost) no vocals, not even many samples. Until the closing track of the 12″ and the opening track of the 7″ that is, this is in the style that I love Cleansweep for, especially the latter.

The music certainly is not easy listening though, but when you put this music against “Fuck Your Brains Out” or “Powerhungry”, you have to imagine another approach. A couple of ‘alright tracks’ and a few good ones. Not my favourite Cleansweep release, but still nice to hear some new material after all this time.

Links: Operation Cleansweep, XN Recordings

Distel – Nadagen (mc 2018)

After a couple of years of silence, the Dutch project Distel returns on Beläten, the Swedish label that put out more releases, with a two track cassette tape.

There is a four minute title track and a somewhat shorter track named “Galapagos”.
The opening track has all the Distel elements. Dark, rhythmical and slow music, somewhat danceable and with deep vocals in the background. In the second track Distel has a more accessible take with a recognisable tune and sung vocals. I am not too fond of this second track, but it certainly is not bad.

Links: Distel, Beläten

Blitzkrieg Baby – War Gods (mc 2018)

Blitzkrieg Baby again releases a tape through Beläten. “War Gods” comes quite naturally after the previous Beläten tapes with a mix between “industrial disco” and more minimalistic tracks. And of course there are the known Blitzkrieg Baby vocals.

The opening track is a recognisable Blitzkrieg Baby track with repetitive music, a steady rhythm, an organ-like sound and the typical vocals. Then follow two track revolving around a repeated sound either or not with vocals. The best track is “Bott Hammer Kiss” which has a much more industrial style. The closing track is less ‘disco’, but certainly rhythmical (slow though) with whispered vocals.

5 Tracks, a little under half an hour of music available in a limited tape edition. This makes a nice addition to the discography of the Swedish project. I like the first and last two tracks best, but “War Gods” makes an enjoyable tape overall.

Links: Blitzkrieg Baby, Beläten

Michael Idehall ‎– Prophecies Of The Storm (2018)

When I reviewed “Machine Spirit Transmission” earlier this month, I said that an album on Ant-Zen was forthcoming. Well, here it is! That other album has Idehall’s wonderful dark ritualistic style, but also the more soundscapish side of the project that is not entirely my thing. “Prophecies Of The Storm” opens somewhat uncommon, a bit IDM-ish. That is not too strange though, since Idehall used to make IDM-like music and elements of this style can be found in his music every now and then. The opening track goes over in a more recognisable approach, but not too typical and pretty damn good. The second track is even greater. It is again a developed Idehall track with the known elements of Michael’s voice, a defining rhythm and repetition, but the details on the background and the noisy tones in this track make it another great one.

“Prophecies Of The Storm” contains but small surprises. It is a logical development of Idehall’s style that I like most. The repetitive lyrics are there, the simple yet effective rhythms, together giving a ritualistic feel to the relatively soft industrial. Even though I find Idehall’s music quite unique, my girlfriend asked if I was playing Coph Nia. The link is not too weird. Both projects come from Sweden and have an occultist / ritualistic approach to industrial music. Coph Nia mostly leans towards the dark ambient side (but with industrial elements) and Idehall to a more rhythmical approach with ambient elements (and soundscapes in ‘the other style’), but both projects have clearly different sounds.

The newest album is not as dark in sound as the opening tracks of “Machine Spirit Transmissions”, but perhaps it is fairer to say that “Prophecies Of The Storm” sounds dark in another way. It is another great album and this time there are no tracks in the style that I like less. So, if you like albums suc as “Deep Code”, “Sol” and (to a slightly lesser extend) “Solar Symmetries”, you will not go bad with Idehall’s latest.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

A Place To Bury Strangers – Pinned (2018)

Even though the band still has the line “total sonic annihilation” on their website, “Pinned” is again softer than its predecessor “Transfixion” of 2015.

As before, some tracks of the new album have been made available earlier as singles. These tracks already gave the idea that the band again took a step away from “total sonic annihilation”. The same was true in 2015, but “Transfixion” still contains some descent mayhem. Not so on “Pinned”…

The album opens with the downtempo track “Never Coming Back” that was one of the singles. It is a good song with a nice noisy middle piece. Also “Execution” reminds of older days, a minimalistic song with noisy out-of-tone guitars, but again, on an earlier album this would have been one of the soft songs. Then follows a very soft song with the “wavey” sound that the band has played with before.
The album develops towards slightly noisy tracks that are somewhat “poppy”. Most tracks are nice, but as I previously preferred older material over “Transfixion”, I think I will play “Pinned” even less.

And then comes something weird. The album lasts for only about 35 minutes (12 tracks). This is the album that is available on ‘normal’ cd. There is also a “Brainwash Machine” version which has an extra cd with 8 extra tracks and a running time of about half an hour. These two would have easily fitted on one cd to make an album with a proper length. This double cd version can only be bought as part of a box set which has thrice the price of the cd. The extra tracks are available on digital music sources though…

This cd opens with a drilling machine and guitar noise and the tracks here are more wickedly experimental and noisy. I suppose this cd is the side of the band that is (now) regarded as ‘less suitable for the general public’. It is not that here we only get the “total sonic annihilation” that we were waiting for, but there are some new style-experiments with little coherence, possibly songs that were recorded, but which the label did not find fitting for the album itself. Looking over this cd, in general the tracks are not better than on the album itself, but the more interesting material is to be found here.

A thing that I noted -by the way- is the prominent place of female vocals. Is Lia Braswell a new member or was she pushed ‘forward’ more? In any case, according to Discogs the band has had some line-up changes with four members no longer present. I have no idea if these changes are recent and perhaps explain to more ‘accessible’ (relatively speaking of course) style, but just something I noticed.

So to wrap things up. “Pinned” makes a nice album. Be sure to get the double cd when you liked the band before. Again the band seems to be drifting away from my musical preferences, so my guess is that when I feel like listening to “total sonic annihilation” I will keep going back to older albums.

Links: A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Oceans

Ausströmen – Immobilise (cd 2018)

A pre release review!
A while ago a young lady posted a couple of tracks of this British noise project in Haus Arafna related Facebook groups over a period of time. Especially the first tracks were pretty mindblowing wall-of-sound type noise with aggressive vocals. I shared the tracks on the Tesco Facebook page and like to think that this helped to get Ausströmen on the Projekt Neue Ordnung II compilation.

Last week Ausströmen put the forthcoming debut album on Soundcloud. The debut will be a self-released cdr available in a limited edition of 50 copies from April 20th.

Where the first tracks that I heard were (as I said) wall-of-sound type noise, later tracks were less extreme and more rhythmical and industrial in approach. On putting on “Immobilise” the album seems to have that ‘new approach’. If you know the contribution to the said compilation (it is available on the album too) you have a good idea of the style of a large part of this album.
The tracks vary from descent to very good, sometimes relatively tranquil, sometimes harsher, but always fairly dark and usually with vocals. These vocals are not always the distorted and screamed vocals common to this type of music, but also talking and something that is closer to singing. As the album continues, the sound gets even more noisy and even though the selling line says that all tracks “were recorded around the same time as the well-received “Pornography Of Violence” track” I have the idea that my first encounters are to be found at the end of the album.

“Immobilise” lasts for about three quarters of an hour. Most tracks are good to great, three are less convincing to me. If you want to get a copy of the debut of this promising debut, be quick.

Links: Ausströmen / Faktion

Nordvargr – Metempsychosis (cd 2018)

This album sounds a bit like a companion to “Kainskult” of Trepaneringsritualen. Even though Spotify lists TxRxP’s cooperation for only one track, I have the idea that all vocals are done by Ekelund. Otherwise Nordvargr’s voice sounds very similar!

“Metempsychosis” in some tracks sounds like the more tranquil tracks of “Kainskult”, very dark, with similar sounds and especially with similar vocals. In other tracks there is more of the dark ambient sound of “The Secret Barbarous Names” and towards the end some more experimental (technoish) sounds that Nordvargr sometimes blends into his music. This does result in some nice sounds though.

I particularly like the TxRxP-like tracks, the others are nice to good. The album is fairly short: 37 minutes.

Links: Nordvargr, Cyclic Law

Michael Idehall ‎- Machine Spirit Transmission (mc 2017)

So how could I miss the latest Idehall until he informed me about it himself? “Machine Spirit Transmission” is a tape on Raubbau, but it is also available on Spotify and I believe I noticed it there, but forgot to listen to it (or something)… And when I look at Discogs, there are more releases that I missed!

Now Idehall is a bit ‘difficult’ to me. He has great ritualistic industrial tracks in a unique style that I love, but also more soundscapish tracks / albums that do not really ‘work for me’. When I put on this release, I expected it to be of the soundscapish type and that I only skipped through and forgot about it. This is not true though. Not entirely at least.

The album opens with a dark and noisy “Opening” with Idehall’s voice. It is obviously Idehall, but slightly different. Then we go to the great “Ma Kra Oum Ka Bra Nha” which also appears to be Idehall in a somewhat more industrial mood. “Power Mantra” is a very good, somewhat more typical track with a slow rhythm and vocals. Then one more great track and then the style starts to change. “The Singing Of Machines” is a dark and slightly noisy soundscape, not bad at all. After this come more ambient tracks which are somewhat dark, not all that bad, but not too interesting to me either. Particularly the 17 minute closing track is not really my cup of tea.

So about half of this album is great and the other half is descent or alright.

There is an album forthcoming on Ant-Zen by the way.

Links: Michael Idehall, Raubbau

Hadewych – Welving (cd 2018)

You can leave the making of weird music to Peter Johan Nijland. Nijland is probably better known for his project Distel, but he has other projects too and Hadewych is not a new project either. I know Hadewych’s previous full-length (untitled) in the 2009 rerelease, but judging Discogs I missed a range of smaller releases.

Hadewych found its way to Malignant Records which will certainly improve the spread of the release. “Welving” is an odd release on Malignant though. Just as on the debut, the music has quite a lot of guitar. Sometimes the music reaches towards (industrial) metal, most of the time it is dark and ‘droney’ though (with or without guitars), sometimes slightly ritualistic. The combination of guitars and dark electronics brings memories of bands such as Necro Deathmort or The Body. The mix between dark and ‘sweeter’ sounds made me think of Dream Into Dust as well. It is not like Hadewych really sounds like these bands, but just to give you an idea of the odd sound.

“Welving”, just as on Distel releases, contains poetic lyrics, often in Dutch. The album is somewhat short, but contains good to exceptionally good tracks.

Indeed, recommended!

Links: Hadewych, Malignant Records