Rome * Confessions d’un Voleur d’Ames (cd 2007 cold meat industry)

Rome from Luxembourg has delighted us with a magnificent mcd and a brilliant full-length and only months later there is a new album, again on CMI. I hope this tempo will not continue and lead to overkill. “Confessions” is again a masterpiece. It is slightly different in style, but still ‘very much Rome’. The bombastic and orchestral opener may appeal to the lovers of the popular martial industrial style, but again the cd is very tranquil and melancholic. Just on a few occasions you will get something more industrial. Actually, this new cd is more tranquil with accoustic guitar and singing than on the previous releases. Besides this you will hear ambient, wave-like sounds, industrial, orchestrations and here and there a martial tone (especially in the background samples). Rome as a concept is carefully put together with a great ear and eye for details. The music is multi-layered with a lot of things happening on the background. This care also shows during live-performances where a beautiful film is projected on the background which goes perfectly with the songs and the lyrics. If you like the previous releases, you will also like “Confessions”. As a personal note I have to add that the previous releases (which I have put on one disc and always play as one thing) have more songs that really give me gooseflesh and work on my emotion, so in this regard “Confessions” may be a little less good than “Berlin” and “Nera”. Maybe this is because the novelty is gone, I cannot tell. In any case, do not expect popular martial and orchestral industrial, but a very personal, intimate and melancholic release with brilliantly built-up songs.

v/a * Credo In Unum Deum (cd 2006 trinitas)

Some people, especially outsiders, think that our scene is one big pagan, anti-Christian bunch of (musical) extremists. Personally I always liked the fact that there is actually a multitude of convictions, ideas, ideologies, musical tastes, etc. This compilation seems to be a calling for listeners of our music to return to our Christian roots. The cd is pretty apologetic, sometimes even rather aggressively so. Kriegsfall-U has an aggressive track with as lyrics: “destroy all untrue and evil human” and in the accompanying booklet in which every artist can scribble some thoughts, Kriegsfall-U writes: “We offer this composition to Michael Moynihan, Thomas Petterson, Hendrik Nordvargr Björkk. Dead men, awake! You cannot play with Perdition.” Gregory Bardini writes against certain ideologies that can be found within the scene, including Evolaian and Guénonian and says: “I would want to point out that the more authentic neo-folk scene is forgetting our closest tradition: Christianity!”, it gets even better: “Why? Because of a lack of study, time, knowledge”. Personally I can only reply that I spend many hours a week reading and studying a variety of subjects. I have respect for the Christian faith, but I can only conclude that it isn’t mine. I don’t see the point in judging other peoples ideologies simply because they are different from your own. If this compilation would only have been a statement of Christian artists within our circles, I would have had the greatest respect. With this apologetic tone, this cd seems more like a fundamentalist Christian aim to reconvert the scene to one faith instead of allowing everyone to walk his/her own path.
But let me also say a few things about the music. There are famous and small artists. Most tracks are tranquil and alright. The artists are Von Thronstahl (this was to be expected, Josef also was behind this compilation), The Days Of The Trumpet Call, Rose Rovine E Amanti, Parzival, Kriegsfall-U, Lonsai Maikov (with a metal track), Gregory Bardini, Oda Relicta, Zebaoth (a nice Sophia-like track), Thorn-Agram, Kayno Yesno Slonce, Hidden Place and Militia, but beware, this is not Militia from Belgium, but a side-project of Magnifiqat from Italy).
Nice try, a bit too overly fanatic in intention, musically agreeable.

v/a * The Cold, The Silent (compilation cd 1999 dragon flight recordings)

Well, this is a strange compilation cd. The first time I listened to it, caused quite a stir. This cd starts with a couple of very descent dark orchestral tracks of Nocturath, Dream Into Dust, Chants for the Fallen, 4th Sign of the Apocalypse and As All Die. Then there’s a doom metal track by Skepticism and I wondered what was the use of that. But the next track of Krieg is a boring black metal track! Next up is Ember who make quite nice melodic black with horrid vocals (or is it Gothenburg-style death?). Then we have Novembers Doom bringing (as the bandname suggests) doom metal. Ningizzia make …eh… black metal? Well, their homepage url says “darkmetal”, so I guess you can call it that. After this we return to some more moody music with Shellyz Raven who play atmospheric metal with female vocals. The pre-last project is Veinke, this is dark ambient again. The Cold, The Silent closes of with the known gothic/doom metal band Canaan.
All in all I’m not happy with this compilation. The first tracks are really worth buying a compilation, but they should definately have left these shitty metal tracks. I suppose the aim of this cd is building a bridge between the gothic and metal audience, but I don’t know if this will ever really succeed.

v/a * Il Sium E Il Vencul (lp 1999 sin organisation)

I have wondered if I should get this lp for quite a while and eventually I did. Now I remember why I don’t buy that many compilations again and I guess I will be more carefull in the future… Not that there isn’t an interesting line-up here, but I hate it when a compilation is full of tracks that I already have. The bands that I didn’t know vary between boring and alright, but there is one point of light: I don’t believe I had the live version of Tempestra Noire’s song “The Outset For…”. The other bands are Nobody, Ataraxia, Ordeal, Neither/Neither World, Sisygambis, Dead Leaves Rising and Autumn.

v/a * Neo-Form 2 (online compilation 2006 neo-form) + v/a * Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (online compilation 2006

When the first online compilations were published by these two websites late 2004 and early 2005 it was in a way still new to offer music like this. A good way to get to know new bands though. More bands and websites started to release online compilations, but it is not really that this took a really high flight. After Ny Regret De Passe, Ad Perpetuam Gloriam and Neo-Form 1, I never really checked the websites where I found these compilations anymore. Recently for some reason I stumbled upon both and both proved to have new compilations available. In the case of Neoform, both old (Allerseelen, Tribe Of Circle, OTWATM) and many new bands. “Honi…” presents ‘two cds’ with mostly smaller or completely new bands. Like I said before, the website names suggest neofolk music, but obviously the websites are maintained by people who use this term to catch the whole scene. There is not much neofolk on the compilations, but more ambient, industrial, a bit of noise, military pop (but not as much as you may expect) and indeed, also a bit of neofolk. Both compilations are pretty good again, especially Neo-Form 2. Happy downloading! Oh, you may have to find software to unpack the files, but nothing that the internet can’t solve. <12/1/07><4>

v/a * Flowers Made Of Snow (2cd 2004 cold meat industry)

Traditionally every 10th CMI release is a compilation and they are always eagerly expected. Even though it was a long wait since the last compilation while the ‘normal’ releases come like a flood, “Flowers Made Of Snow” lives up to the tradition. It features old and new bands, has mostly exclusive tracks, looks wonderfull and has a high level of musical quality. Apparently CMI wants to push its boundaries of the typical CMI concept. There are bands who are not even from Scandinavia, let alone Sweden and there is more folky music again. Here you get a good overview of the old and new CMI. Bands such as Ordo, ISN, BDN are present, but also new names such as Olen’K, All My Faith Lost…, The Last Hour, Apatheia, Hesperos and Sibellian. Definately a must-buy for old and new listeners!

Umbra * Ater (cd 1999 fluttering dragon)

After releasing the first cd of Ontario Blue (a solo project of Stephen Pennick of Endura), Fluttering Dragon seems to be growing quickly.This time the label releases a cd of an industrial project from their own country: Poland. I guess it’s the first cd of Umbra and I must say it’s surprisingly good!
The opening reminds of the first Ildfrost cd (94 cold meat industry), but soon the resemblances are greater to the cd of Aghast (95 cold meat industry). The same haunting female vocal effects and stretched-up sounds. The rest of the cd keeps bringing remembrances to both bands, but not as strong as in the first track.
Overall Umbra brings some mystical piece of industrial with female vocals, either whispered, spoken, sung or with effects. Often it’s very ambient, but sometimes there’re orchestal influences (piano, violin) and the last track is even a magnificent piece of dark orchestral music (with male vocals by the way).
The package looks really good too, but the cover and logo reminds a bit too much of a metal band to me…
Oh, for those interested, this cd is mixed by Fredrik Söderlund of Puissance, Setherial, etc., etc., etc.

Tor Lundvall * Empty City (cd 2006 strange fortune)

A new album of the multi-artist Tor Lundvall. Of course the cover-painting and other artwork are by the man himself. The music is more dark ambient than the other album (“Last Light” 2005) that I reviewed. Slighty ‘CMI’ish’ this time. Rather monotous, but not boring, tranquil with slow rhythms and stretched sounds. Not too much to say about it. “Empty City” is just a nice, moody album.

Tor Lundvall * Last Light (cd 2005 strange fortune)

I knew Tor Lundvall mostly because of his art and one track on the Cynfeirdd compilation. Now his latest cd is released by the American label Strange Fortune who where so kind to send me a copy. Lundvall’s music can be described as “ambient music”. Not monotous soundscapes, but tranquil and moody music accompanied by Lundvall’s voice. The music makes a nice atmosphere, so do Lundvall’s paintings, because he of course took care of the artwork himself. A cd for lovers of moody atmospheres.

Scivias * …And You Shall Fear Death Not (cd 2000 eis & licht tonträger)

Long announced and often delayed, the debut cd of the Hungarian band Scivias. I was told that this was not the typical Eislicht release and that the cd was not very folky, but more industrial. Well, I think the cd is pretty folky and doesn’t have much to do with industrial myself!
The music is quite avantgardistic, sometimes folky and sometimes a bit more electronic, often with Hungarian spoken vocals (lyrics printed in English in the booklet). Even though the cd is dedicated to the Japanese culture, I don’t hear much that reminds me about that country in the music. Actually, what Scivias reminds me most of is Actus, which music sounds quite similar to me.
I don’t particularly like the cd, but there are a few wonderfull moments and the rest is… alright.