Black Earth – Gnarled Ritual Of Self Annihilation (2019)

Discogs.com

In the early 1990’ies some black metal heads started to make ‘other music’, electronic music. Some sort of ‘sub-scene’ emerged with melodic acts such as Mortiis and Cernunnos’ Woods and darker projects like Profane Grace and Darkness Enshroud. Collectively the music was often called “ritual music”. Here and there the guitars were not entirely abandonned and a project such as Abruptum made what nowadays would be ‘drone metal’ or something.

Cyclic Law has found a contemporary project from Spain that makes me think of these “ritual music” days. The band-name does not ring a bell, but this is not the first release. There is a split with Sewer Goddess which may place the band in the right music corner for the listener of today.

The music is dark, minimalist, with muffled voices, droning guitars, samples and what not. Perhaps a description could be that Black Earth sounds somewhere between Equimanthorn and Khost.

Initially I was surprised about this album. It took me back a couple of decades and after some “ritual music” I started to play old black metal (yet briefly). “Gnarled Ritual” itself did not really keep my attention for the whole 45 minutes. Perhaps another run will point to details that I missed.

I think people who like the drone type of metal, especially the darker bands in that style, may want to try “Gnarled Ritual”. People who know the music I started this review with could be transported back like myself when listening to this album.

The album is in a way interesting, but not terribly good for my taste, but bringing back memories is a quality too. Out September 27th.

Links: Black Earth, Cyclic Law

Lingua Ignota ‎- Caligula (2019)

Discogs.com

The new Lingua Ignota reminds me even more of Diamanda Galas than the previous album. The music is mostly piano with singing, but frequently Ignota goes over in the tortured screams that we know her for.

Where “All Bitches Die” has more and more pomp electronics, the new album goes back more to what Ignota appears to be trained in: piano and soprano vocals. There is more classical music here too, cello and violin.

It is quite interesting to look at the (guest) musicians by the way. There is a vocalist who Discogs has listed as playing both folk and “harsh noise” and there seem to be links to Uniform and The Body and from there on with hardcore and grind bands. I guess Ignota did not just drop out of some classical music school and started to make extreme vocal music.

“Caligula” is a moody (in an extreme way) album. Not as sonically extreme as the previous album, but certainly vocally.

Links: Lingua Ignota, Profound Lore

Consumer Electronics – Airles Space (2019)

Discogs.com

I did not see this one coming. A new Consumer Electronics. A cd even, with a very ugly cover too!

“Airless Space” is not as brutal as Consumer Electronics can be. Most tracks are centered around the slow, steady beat that we know from previous albums. The male vocals are of the spoken words type in most tracks and the brutalism is for Sarah who screams her lungs out in many of the tracks.

Here and there the sounds gets a bit harscher, but there are no “Come Clean” wall-of-noise type tracks (unfortunately).

When you know this long running noise outfit, you will know what to expect with the above. Should Consumer Electronics be new to you, this could be an album to try since it is fairly typical and brutal vocal-wise, but a lot less so music-wise.

Links: Consumer Electronics, Harbinger Sound

She Pleasures Herself – XXX (2019)

Discogs.com

For some reason I was under the impression that SPHS was pop-band with a gothic sound, like Editors. I was quite surprised when I saw them listed for the 2019 edition of the Wave Gotik Treffen and even more so when they were scheduled for the smallest of WGT venues, the Moritzbastei.

The overly S&M-themed lyrics and the label could have proven me wrong already. SPHS shares labels with Gitane Demone, Dear Deer (playing just before SPHS in the Moritzbastei), M!r!m and even Agent Side Grinder.

The new album makes it even more obvious. One song features Bestial Mouths, two others have been written with Ash Code and Crying Vessel. So I guess SPHS is ‘just’ a ‘more gothic’ band within the ‘minimal wave’ subscene.

The show started like an S&M electro project, but after the intro the typical gothic sound of the band emerged. A three man project, aided by a girl on the synths on stage, a drummer, a gruftie guitar player and an Andrew Eldritch-like vocalist with a great voice. Nice uptempo gothic rock with synths, drum-machine and drumming. Quite a few songs that I did not know from the “Fetish” album (2017) which was made clear at the end of the show: the new album had just been released.

“XXX” starts with a great uptempo song called “Ich Bin Dead” and contains some other great tracks. Others are less my liking and overall the debut is probably a bit better, but “XXX” is a great album of contemporary goth made by a Portugese band that has a magnificent live performance and hopefully a bright future.

One WGT I saw Agent Side Grinder in the Moritzbastei. They were already too big for that small place, but they grew further rapidly after that. SPHS deserves a bigger stage (and audience) especially on a festival such as the Wave Gotik Treffen. Personally I would have scheduled them in the Täubschental together with Dystopian Society, Inkubbus Sukkubus and Shadow Project. Perhaps another year.

Links: She Pleasures Herself, Manic Depression

Miracle Of Love – You Will Be Free (2019)

Discogs.com

This forthcoming album (June 18th) appears to be the third release of this one-man project from Rome. “Post industrial” is the description that he likes to use for his project.

The opening track starts with (dark) ambient tunes. Towards the end there are more guitar driven noisey elements. Then follow some tracks that hold the middle between dark ambient and industrial, somewhat ‘soundscapish’ with here and there a pounding beat which makes me think of Galerie Schallschutz. The noisey guitars often remain in the background. The sound is often ambient, but here and there are more industrial parts leaning towards noise.

So, soundscape-like ambient, sometimes dark, with industrial and noise elements. Does that describe “post-industrial”? It does describe this album at least and that is what this is about. A nice album, forthcoming on Overture Militia.

Link: Overture Militia

Michael Idehall – Marax (2019)

Discogs.com

A digital release for selected people, but since the release is listed on Discogs, its existence is hardly a secret, so I will just let you know that I am very pleased with this release!

I have said it numerous times, Idehall releases soundscapes and more ritual industrial albums. There was just one of these soundscapes on Belzebez, which is (as was to be expected) not my thing. On “Marax” however, Idehall takes a couple of noisy steps in his ritualistic industrial style and the result is great! Vocals, repetitive rhythms, repetitive texts and then layered with distorted sounds giving some tracks a noisy feel, perhaps even more than in some previous tracks with this approach.

“Marax” is only 27 minutes, and as I said, a digital only release with a limited distribution, but I sure hope that this direction will find its way to a regularly released full-length. Become a patreon for your copy, click the link below.

Link: Michael Idehall

MZ.412 ‎– Svartmyrkr (2018)

Discogs.com

The ever active Hendrik “Nordvargr” Drakh / Björk returns under the moniker I first encountered him in back in the days on Cold Meat Industry. Nowadays Maschinenzimmer releases are made available on Cold Spring.

The previous album “Hekatomb” was a pretty descent ‘comeback’. Putting on “Svartmyrkr” I initially thought it was a new Nordvargr. Pompous industrial with the vocals we know from the other project. “Pompous” is a description for other tracks too, just like on the previous album, some tracks lean towards “martial industrial”. Other tracks have more the “black ambient” style of old, others are more noisy and then there is this moody track…

All in all “Svartmyrhr” is a good, dark and varied album.

Links: MZ.412, Cold Spring

Trepaneringsritualen & Nordvargr (2019)

Discogs.com

The collaborations and remixes continue. Where these two artists created music together on Nordvargr’s “Metempsychosis“, this time they reworked each other’s tracks, just as other artists reworked Nordvargr tracks on “Tantum Melior“.

The two tracks, “Konung Krönt i Blod” and “Salve Teragmon” are quite alike. Distorted uptempo industrial with the brutal vocals from Hendrik and Thomas that we are familiar with. Two descent tracks, available digitally and on 7” from May 1st.

Links: TxRxP, Nordvargr, Cyclic Law

Nordvargr – Tantum Melior (2019)

Discogs.com

A follow-up of the excellent album “Metempsychosis” (hence the dead cat again). Where Nordvargr cooperated with mostly TxRxP on the previous album, the list is a lot longer this time, even projects that I never heard of: MZ. 412, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Vassafor, Visions, Kristoffer Oustand, Spetsnaz, Michael Idehall, Thorofon and The Benjamin Codex.

Ah wait, it is another of these ‘remix albums’, tracks of “Metempsychosis” have been worked over by the named artists rather than created in cooperation with Nordvargr. I see that frequently recently, too frequently actually. I seldom like such a remix over the original track and the versions of “Tantum Melior” make no exception. Okay, it has been a while since I heard the vocals of Tomas Pettersson and Michael Idehall usually creates moody tracks, but bringing different artists brings different styles of music and less consistency throughout the album.

Perhaps a way to get (re)acquainted with the named artists, but personally I prefer “Metempsychosis” over the ‘remix album’.

Links: Nordvargr, Cyclic Law

Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries – Survival Bloom (2019)

Discogs.com

I ran into this album on the Annihilvs Bandcamp page where it can be obtained digitally and physically. The name did not immediately ring a bell, but this Chicago based project has been around for well over a decade it seems.

Spotify proves to have two releases of this project (a split and a full-length). Both are noise, not too extreme, but not exactly “ambient noise” either. I am not too fond of the vocals on these releases. I like the vocals a lot better on “Survival Bloom”. They are fairly typical for this type of music: brutally screamed vocals, but I often have a soft spot for vocal noise, so…

“Survival Bloom” appears to be a bit more industrial than the other two releases that I heard, slow, pulsating rhythms, mostly low frequencies (my preference) and, mostly accompanying the vocals, high frequency noises. It may not be brilliant, but the album is pretty enjoyable. Not too extreme and not too chaotic, but pretty brutal. I guess it is no accident that this was released on Annihilvs.

Link: Annihilvs