Analfabetism – Skammen (cd 2017)

The previous album was also released on Malignant and contains an excellent piece of “ambient noise”. Dark and thundering distorted sounds and a very good atmosphere. The latest album opens with a dark ambient track that is somewhat noisy and nicely dark. The rest of the album seems to lean more towards dark ambient than towards noise though. For a dark ambient album “Skammen” is still pretty noisy, but the previous album sounds (to me) more like an ambient version of noise.

There is a very noisy outburst in the third track though that just may be loud enough to scare away some dark ambient lovers, but other tracks are too ambient, even ‘soundscapish’ for people who like noise. Overall the style is rawer and perhaps even more industrial than many dark ambient releases, so do not think that me using the term means that this sounds anything like Raison D’Être.

I personally found “Av Hjord Är Du Kommen” much more convincing, the new new album is still a descent one if I feel more ambient some time.

Link: Malignant

Am Not – First Morbid Vibrations (2012/2017)

I got to know Am Not when he released the great second album “Unpunished” (2015). A while ago another good album was released (“The Developing World” 2017). Then I learn that Am Not’s debut tape from 2012 has been rereleased on cd.

I had already heard this 34 minute debut, so I knew it is not as good as the later albums. An artist can develop, right? “First Morbid Vibrations” opens with a great, dark, noise track. Then follows a more ambient track and the third tracks starts off quite quietly too, but we soon go over in complete noise mayhem, a pretty damn dark piece of wall-of-sound style noise. Track 4 is again more ambient and the fifth a somewhat strange kind of fairly extreme noise, but not very chaotic of sound. The closing track is one of these extreme, high-pitched, unstructured noise, the not-my-kind type of noise, tracks, that is to say, I have heard much worse noise. Perhaps I will get used to this track.

It is safe to say that the album starts well, but develops in a negative way, but certainly without getting bad. The larger part is still pretty good. Not as good as the meticulously created later albums and I miss the vocals, but this is a descent document of a time past,
People who are curious about the debut of Am Not can now get a copy on cd.

Links: Am Not, Unrest Productions

Detrimental Effect – To Brandon Bryant (mc 2017)

Once again thanks to Noise Receptor for bringing this tape to my attention. It was Noise Receptor who introduced me to Am Not and hence Unrest Productions, now I learn about an Unrest sublabel, Unsound.

What is a bit weird is that Unrest releases cds, vinyl and tapes and Unsound also releases tapes and according to Discogs also vinyl. Noise Receptor understands that Unsound aims at cheaper productions that can be released with higher speed. Indeed, the three Unsound tapes that I got come in cardboard sleeves with black and white printing, while the Unrest tapes that I have come in a normal case.

That said, Detrimental Effect makes a not too extreme kind of noise with pulsating rhythms and rough, screamed vocals. Perhaps the sound is somewhat akin to that of Anenzephalia here and there. For some reason when there are vocals in noise (or voice samples) the music is ‘plussed up’ in my head. Detrimental Effect has a bit of the Unrest style of not too complex noise, but with vocals. There is good use of samples in the background, not too many high pitched sounds and plenty of low frequencies, another element that raises my ratings. The atmosphere is certainly descent and the sound is often that of good-old industrial noise, but not the chaotic, unstructured style.

This is Detrimental Effect’s debut release and it surely is promising.

Link: Unsound Recordings

Code Neda – The Death Of Neda (mc 2017)

Another debut on Unsound. Code Neda makes what you can describe as “noisescapes”, a slightly noisy type of soundscapes. According to their Soundcloud page, this project comes from Germany.

As regular visitors of these pages will know, I am usually no fond of soundscapish / monotonous music and I am afraid that Code Nera is not an exception to this. The slow rhythms and samples on the background are alright, but overall this is too monotonous for my liking. Towards the end comes a somewhat harder track that reminds a bit of Ex.Order and which is much more to my liking though.

Links: Code/Neda, Unsound Recordings

Exitus – Treatment Plan (mc 2013)

I thought I bought a couple of recent Unsound tapes, but this one proves to be a couple of years old.

“Treatment Plan” opens with a monotonous track that is almost dark ambient. Then follows another fairly tranquil track with a soft rhythm, but with a wee bit of noise that gets more noisy as the track develops. The last track of side A is another track with a slow rhythm and which becomes more of a typical noise track later on.
Side B opens with two tracks that are somewhat alike, but also the more interesting of this release. Low frequencies, an industrial rhythm and developing to something close to death industrial.

Like the other Unsound tapes, six tracks divided over both sides of the tape and with a total running time of about half an hour. Also the packaging is comparable to other (also later) unsound tapes: a cardboard slip.

This is still Exitus’ only release. It is not a masterpiece, but it is alright. If the project continues, I hope it is in the style of tracks 4 and 5.

Link: Unsound Recordings

Trepaneringsritualen – Kainskult (cd 2017)

Late 2013 I heard of Trepaneringsritualen because Distel cooperated to an album. The styles of these projects have little alike. Where Distel is more of an “angstpop” type of project (especially in the earlier days), Trepaneringsritualen makes very dark “death industrial”. I did (nor do) like all material, but some albums are great and live performances are too.

I got quite some material of this “Götisk dödsindustri” project, but it often sounds quite alike. Therefor the project dropped on my priority list.

I am very glad that I gave “Kainskult” a try though! This album sounds as exciting as when I first encountered this project. All known elements are still there, but as Tesco’s selling text says: “somehow it reaches a new level of intensity”. Among earlier material there already were tracks with less distortion, but on “Kainskult” Thomas Ekelund experimented with his common elements again together with a whole host of fellow conspirators. One of them is Michael Idehall who I think sings on the great and moody opening track. Also there is Kim Larsen who I think sings on the magnificent closing track. Between these two tracks there are Trepaneringsritualen tracks that are somewhat more uptempo than the usual material, Ekelund’s vocals moved more towards a kind of rhythmic growling with more text than just a few lines. Walls of dark noise, hammering on metal and well-placed drumming, “Kainskult” without a doubt contains Trepaneringsritualen’s best material so far. Distel returned as conspirator as the mixer of this album

Links: Trepaneringsritualen, Tesco

The Grey Wolves – Exit Strategy (cd 2017)

So does my taste shift towards power electronics legends, or does their sound shift towards my taste? For decades I have known, but never liked, the noise outfits that started in the 1980’ies, but only recently projects such as Consumer Electronics and Sutcliffe Jugend released material that I do like (but I still do not like their entire back catalogues, so perhaps their music is shifting towards my taste). Now The Grey Wolves comes with a great album too. What is too bad is that this is their last album.

“Exit Strategy” does not have the typical TGW sound. There is no earcracking, unstructured noise with brutal vocals. Rather, there is an ‘ambient noise’ type of sound with distorted film samples and here and there a noisy outburst. Some tracks reminded me of Propergol and then I saw that Jérôme Nougaillon indeed produced the album.
Should I make a comparison to Propergol, mostly think of his “United States” (2000) / “Regegade” (2001) period to get an idea of the sound of “Exit Strategy”.

Not all tracks are great, but most of them are. Available from Tesco on vinyl or cd.

Link: Tesco

Ex.Order – The Place Of Dead Roads (cd 2017)

The new Ex.Order is not a new album. It is a compilation with ‘old and rare’ tracks, just as “War Within Breath“. But the tracks are not really that rare. They are mostly of compilations that I have, probably bought because Ex.Order is on them. “Juche” (2008), Zugzwang” (2010), “Heilige Feuer II” (2002), “Collapse” (2000), “Resistance” (1999)and “Don’t Hunt What You Can’t Kill” (2002). Then there are two unreleased tracks from 2008 and 2010.

The tracks vary in style like we are used to from Ex.Order. Some tracks are not-too-extreme noise (what I often term “ambient noise”), sometimes they even lean towards dark ambient. There are also extreme “death industrial” walls of sound with aggressive vocals and/or samples. Back in the days I was not fond of these extreme sounds (just read back my old Ex.Order reviews), nowadays I think such tracks are the best. Especially when they are as structured and ‘moody’ as Ex.Order can make them.

Indeed, the new album that is named after a book by William Burroughs, is a wonderful release of one of my favorite noise projects. I would not mind a release with really new music (or a compilation that includes material of the old 7″s), but I have another great album to play while laying on the couch with a glass of whisky and a book!

Link: Power & Steel (Loki Foundation)

Abscheu – Pretense (mc 2017)

Unrest may not be a guarantee for a good release, but of the labels that I (relatively) recently discovered, Unrest has a descent success rate.

Here we have the second release of Abscheu, both tapes on Unrest Productions. I do not know the debut, but judging the new tape, it may be a good idea to get a copy. “Pretense” is limited to 141 copies though, so perhaps “Breviary Of Chaos” might well be sold out.

Similar to other Unrest releases, Abscheu presents great tracks and not-my-kind-of-noise tracks (chaotic, high frequencies, etc.). The thing is, there are some great death industrial things here, perhaps even reminding of Ex.Order. Other tracks have a bit of that structured noise sound of Am Not, the project that acquainted me with Unrest Productions.

Perhaps I should make some sort of Unrest playlist with the good tracks and leave out the ones that I do not like, because the good tracks can be great and this can be said for “Pretense” too.

Links: Abscheu, Unrest Productions

Laibach – Also Sprach Zarathustra (cd 2017)

During their long activity Laibach made quite a few things that I enjoy, but also a lot that is not my taste. Therefor I do not follow them closely. Perhaps it was the title of the new album that caught my attention, but I put on the new album and it is great!

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” is something like a hearplay, but there are not too many vocals. The music is slightly orchestral, tranquil, minimal and every now and then there are the typical low frequency Laibach vocals (spoken). I guess parts of Nietzsche’s book.

There is not much more to say about the album. Musically it does not represent the best-known side of Laibach, but that certainly is no problem to me.

Links: Laibach, Mute