ambient noise

Gnawed * Pestilence Beholden (cd 2016)

Thank you Noise Receptor for letting me know about the new Gnawed. I like the previous “Feign And Cloak” album quite a bit and I now see that I also thanked Noise Receptor for bringing that release to my attention.

“Pestilence Beholden” opens with a few pieces of dark ambient, but within the third track we go over to the death industrial style from the previous album. Well, maybe not exactly, the new album seems a little less as extreme as its predecessor, which also has more higher frequencies and overall a more noise-feeling.
The music is still very slow, somewhat rhythmic, with soundscapish tones and here and there highly distorted vocals. Maybe more like a ‘doom’ kind of industrial.

I like the new album. I think I prefer the rougher edge of “Feign and Cloak”, but the latest release may be more fitting to play when reading or something.

Links: Gnawed, Malignant Records

Steel Hook Prostheses ‎* Calm Morbidity (cd 2016)

Apparently the first Steel Hook that I review. This is weird, because I have known this American project for quite some time. I guess I never came to buy any of their releases or I just never came to really listen to them before I started to enjoy noise better.

“Calm Morbidity” is not the first release on Malignant, a label that seems to be shifting more and more towards noise.

The album contains the wall-of-sound type of noise, dark, slow, dense, with extremely distorted vocals, but also more dark ambient tracks. I like this dark type of noise that is not as chaotic as some other styles. The album is not terribly good or varied, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Links: Steel Hook Proestheses, Malignant Records

Isomer ‎* Three Kestrels (2016)

Well well, a new Isomer, would it be more ambient or more industrial or even noisy?

It looks like Isomer continues the darker and more noisy track. “Three Kestrels” is a fairly noisy album with an industrial approach. Not that it is very extreme, but “ambient noise” is perhaps a bit too ‘ambient a tag’. There are 7 tracks raging from very nice to very good. Indeed, “Three Kestrels” is a very nice album.

Available on vinyl (if you are quick I guess) or Bandcamp download.

Links: Isomer, Tesco

Iron Fist Of The Sun ‎* Family Survival Strategy (mc 2016)

If ever there was an album for which the term “ambient noise” was fitting, it would be this one. (Probably) too noisy for people who like ‘dark ambient’, but not as extreme as (some) noise releases.

IFOTS apparently likes to play with styles. As my opening of this review suggests “Family Survival Strategy” is relatively tranquil. There are still nauseous frequencies and unpleasant sounds, but this tape certainly is not as extreme as this project can be.

I do not entirely like the ‘soundscapish’ approach of IFOTS, but the odd closing track is very amusing.

Links: IFOTS, Unrest Productions

Alfarmania * At Ulleråker (cd 2005/2015)

I thought this much spoken of Swedish project was a recent project of the active artist Kristian Olsson. On the contrary, Alfarmania has put out material since 2004.

I also thought I bought something more recent, but “At Ulleråker” has been released on a cassette 10 years before this rerelease on cd. It is a live recording spread over two half-hour tracks.
I guess now I have to see if Alfarmania has developped in style, because like with many projects that like to use the ‘old style’ of noise music, Alfarmania is largely too chaotic for me. The sound is not as brutal as some power electronics projects, it sounds more like ‘noisescapes’ with here and there a sound that is more ‘death industrial’. Most of the time you will just hear an evolving wall of sound, though, with no vocals or rhythm.

Links: Alfarmania, Old Captain

In Search Of Death * III (cd 2015)

There is not a whole lot of information on this disc. No track titles for one. There is this though:
> Recorded in 2003 by – Xavier H
> Mastered in 2015 by Peter Andersson
According to Discogs that would be Peter ‘Raison d’Être’ Andersson and not Peter ‘Lina Baby Doll’ Andersson, but who is Xavier H.? Judging the cover of the cd which is the same as the logo of the label Death Continues Records, my guess is that H. is the man behind the label. So what about the “III”? If Discogs is correct, this is In Search Of Death’s (and Xavier H.’s for that matter) first and only release. Perhaps the third attempt?

I bought this cd as being “death industrial”, but that is not a very good description in my opinion. The cd is not harsch enough to be “death industrial”, but it is too hard to be “dark ambient”. Most tracks hold somewhere in between. “Dark and noisy ambient” that would be a description. There are also passages where the sound gets pretty noisy though, so when you like dark ambient, but not noise, think twice before buying this album.

The music on this cd is alright. It is moody and dirty, but not terribly interesting. It is not boring either, so it will work out just fine as background music.

It appears that there are only 200 copies of this cd by the way.

Links: In Search Of Death, Death Continues Records

Iron Fist Of The Sun ‎* We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps (cd 2015)

Recently I bought the “Embers” 7″, but it proved to be from 2011, so I did not review it. I have known Iron Fist Of The Sun (or IFOTS on the latest releases) by name for quite a while, but I never really got to listen to this project from the UK until recently.

Deezer has the 2009 album “Behavioural Decline”. It is comparable to the “Embers” 7″, the “We Can Yield…” album currently under review and the “Live At The Garage” live mcd that I got with the album, but perhaps the last one is more intense. The music is roughly comparable to IRM or Skin Area. Pretty extreme noise, but not as extreme as Whitehouse or Merzbow. Here and there the sound leans toward ‘ambient noise’ and one track can even be described as a ‘soundscape’ (or a ‘noisescape’).

Some tracks are certainly dark and moody, but I do not like every track as much as the next. I do like the very extreme vocals, which is also one of the reasons I have to think of IRM.

Overall “We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps” is a fair album with a couple of very good tracks.

Links: Iron Fist Of The Sun, Cold Spring

Resgestae ‎* État D’Urgence (cd 2015)

A release on a sublabel of the not too active Nuit et Brouillard label of Jérôme “Propergol” Nougaillon. The Cold Spring newsletter compares this release to the sound of the label owner and indeed the album contains dark, “filmographic” ambient noise. Sometimes the atmosphere comes close to Hermétique projects with many film samples and well placed drones. Other tracks are less strong and more ‘general dark ambient’. Overall the album is very enjoyable and since there have not been too many releases in this ‘style’, “État d’Urgence” is a welcome release.

Should you want to know, Resgestae is the continuation of the Greek project [distopia], but to me, this name does not ring a bell. There have been several releases under this name though.

Links: Resgestae, Force Majeure

Theologian ‎* Pain Of The Saints (2cd 2015)

The productive Lee Bartow recorded 2,5 hours of music that Malignant released on a double cd. Whereas I mostly like Theologian for its oppressive and dark type of noise, this double cd contains a range of styles of industrial music. The noise forms part of the tracks on the first cd, but there is also more rhythmic noise type of music, dark ambient, ambient noise, softer rhythmical material or ‘general industrial’.

Much of the material is not as extreme as I am used to of this American project, but that is does not mean that the material is less interesting. It sounds like Lee Bartow is trying out different approaches and not without merit. “Pain Of The Saints” is an interesting release for when you are in the mood of 2,5 of extreme music.

Link: Malignant Records

Funerary Call / Crown Of Bone * s/t (mc 2015)

Over 20 years ago my first introduction to the Canadian project Funerary Call was a tape, “A Comselh De Ors” (1994). In that time it was a normal thing to do, to release your demos on tapes. These tapes could be copied (“dubbed”) by the person who released it, but more professional was to use blank tapes (rather than preprinted by the manufacturer such as TDK), print stickers to put on the tape (like with “A Comselh De Ors”) or have the tape printed (which was expensive, so rare). The sleeves were often photocopied, printed a bit more professionally (like with “A Comselh De Ors”) or very professional with two-sided print on glossy paper. Small demos of beginning bands and projects could be easily recognised. See here to see some of those covers of these days.

Nowadays tapes seem to be hip again. Labels like Beläten, Aufnahme und Wiedergabe and Fall of Nature throw tapes on the market again. The first two labels offers download links (from Bandcamp) for the people who cannot play tapes anymore. Fall of Nature just releases tapes. The sleeve and the tape are nicely printed and the tape is one of those black “normal” (contrary to “chrome” or “metal”) tapes that were only made available by more professional labels in times past.

The music then. Funerary Call created two very dark, noisy ambient tracks. They are too noisy to be called “soundscapes” or “dark ambient”, but not noisy enough to be “noise” or even “ambient noise”. The tracks are good, but not the best material that Harlow MacFarlane released during his career.

The Funerary Call tracks are a lot better than the tracks on side B from Crown Of Bone. This active noise outfit created two tracks of noise mayhem, unstructured, chaotic; not my kind of noise.

Also I got myself a few other Fall of Nature tapes, but all are so far behind Funerary Call in quality, that I decided to not write reviews, but just to mention them in the ‘blog‘ part.

Links: Funerary Call, Fall of Nature Records

The rating is 3 for FC, 1 for CoB