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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
It is good to see that some people remain active in the scene. Two decades ago there was this ‘circle’ of American artists who cooperated on several projects. Loretta’s Doll, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, Thee Majesty, A Murder Of Angels, etc. and one of these artists, Derek Rush, I mostly know for December and most particularly the great Dream Into Dust.
Rush also has had a label all this time (well, with a pause), Chthonic Streams and he keeps developing new projects, such as Compactor.
Compactor has quite a discography starting in 2012, of which I have heard some material, but by far not all. On “Multicore” (2017) the sound is a bit “rhythmic noise”, on “Technology Worship” (2018) much rougher, going towards noise, here and there harder rhythmic noise and here and there death industrial.
“Total Data Control” is more of the “rhythmic noise” type, but not of the very heavy kind. Often there is a (somewhat too) repetitive industrial beat with a lot of weird sounds and rhythms on the background, a bit ‘over-the-top IDM’. It is mostly this strangeness on the background that I find most interesting. The tracks on this album are sometimes a bit harder, sometimes somewhat lighter, but they remain (rhythmical) industrial.
Available on tape, but I guess you better be quick, since there are only a 100 copies, or as Bandcamp release.
I do not listen to metal a whole lot. There are a few styles that I (sometimes) enjoy, such as old-school thrash, but for a while I have been sifting through doom metal a bit. I am no fond of the depressive type, but the (often even slower) “funeral” genre (and related) have some bands that I enjoy every once in a while.
There are also bands that blur the lines between electronic music and doom metal which sometimes results in interesting music. Khost, The Body, Author & Punisher, these type of bands.
Of course the name Sutekh Hexen came along in these searches. I never really listened to them though. I remember hearing tracks that are ‘too metal’ for my liking and more interesting tracks with electronics, or at least a noise-type approach. And then Cyclic Law sends a promo of a forthcoming album (end March 2019). A good excuses to listen to this American outfit a bit more attentively.
There are black metal like vocals, high-pitched guitars, but then to make ‘noisescapes’, “ambient metal” so to say, but dark and oppressive. When compared to industrial or noise music, the sound is pretty ‘wall-of-noise’.
There are several such bands whose vocals I do not like (those of The Body are downright annoying), but in Sutekh Hexen they fade a bit into the guitar noise most of the time. In doom metal I best like instrumental tracks still, but this new album of Sutekh Hexen is a good one in the style. I need to listen to some more material of this band. I now see that they even have a split with Trepaneringsritualen.
Even though there are over a dozen of previous releases, this latest album is “self titled”. It will come on CD and 2LP and batter your ears for almost 55 minutes.
From hip Berlin comes yet another form of techno, a minimalist kind. The label Stroboscopic Artifacts has a series of 12″s with alchemical / esoteric covers, all called “Monad” and then numbered. Oake released such a “Monad”, numbered XXIV.
Another artist in these series is Tommy Four Seven who also has a label… 47, the label that released the latest Oake.
The artists in this genre do not just come from Berlin. When you look around there are quite a couple of more or less similar artists. See my review of Kerridge for a couple of names. Strangely enough, with quite a few artists making this dark, minimal and fairly industrial type of music, noone seems to have come up with a way to describe the style.
It is not that the music always leans towards a dark type of IDM (‘intelligent dance music’). Most projects also have tracks of a more minimal techno (hence: danceable) kind. Indeed, sometimes the sound is well described as “industrial techno”. Less convincing is the term “dub” as it has been in use for decades. Spotify / Everynoise seems to prefer the term “mandible“, but they seem to be the only ones using that term.
That said. As I said in my review of “Monas XXIV” I prefer the style of Oake of the first releases “Vollstreckung” (2013), “Offenbarung” (2013) amd “Auferstehung” (2014) which are much darker than what this duo made later. But “47019” is still a nice piece of dark techno music. Four tracks, spanning about half an hour.
This ‘genre’ / ‘scene’ keeps bringing me interesting new names every once in a while. Not all music of all artists sounds brilliant to me, but if you want to get an idea of style that I do like, listen to my Spotify playlist that I named “electronic doom” a couple of years ago when I quickly had to come up with a name and could not think of anything better.