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Zenial ‎* Chimera (lp 2013)

That is funny. Just like the previous album of Zenial that I reviewed, I was going to say that Zenial makes music that I would normally not like, but yet I do. “Chimera” has very experimental soundscapes, is minimalistic and has little structure. Normally that would annoy me, but in this case I again like this album. There are ‘industrialistic’ rhythms (to not give you the idea that this sounds like industrial music like we know it today), soft noise and enough happens to keep drawing my attention. The music sounds like it is made with some stoneage electronic equipment and on Discogs I noticed that the release was tagged “musique concrete”. Should you know what this term (used to) refer(s) to, you might have a good idea of what this album is like. Like the previous album: interesting.
Links: Zenial, Zoharum

Spiritual Front * Open Wounds (2cd 2013)

Spiritual Front presents a limited box with two cds, a book and a t-shirt, but the good news is: I can also listen to this album on Deezer. The first cd contains all new versions of old songs and I wonder is the band tries to please the old fans or scare the new. There is material all the way back to the debut and most songs remained close the originals, with the mumbling singing from “Songs For The Will”, the depressive sound of the first two albums and the sexually explicit lyrics. This first cd does show that the old material is still pretty damn good, but depressive. On the second cd Spiritual Front explores new paths. They did not continue the pop-direction of “Rotten Roma Casino” (fiew!), but whereas the first cd is quite neofolk, the second goes from Swans-like guitar-madness to beautiful chamber music to more experimental and instrumental tracks. Indeed, Spiritual Front just keeps doing what it wants without getting confused by the success of the more accessible albums. On this new album you get a variety of styles of music, not including a poppy one. Interesting for sure.
Link: Spiritual Front

Igorrr ‎* Hallelujah (cd 2012)

There are many breakcore artists who simply throw a whole lot of samples in the blender, put some extreme rhythms over this and thus create their albums. Initially the French project Igorrr seems to be one of those, but on closer listening, there is something in Igorrr that I miss in a lot of breakcore: dedication and detail. Try to imagine a combination between classical music (orchestral and opera), folk, breakcore, grindcore, jazz, heck, is there music that Igorrr does not use? There are flinches of Venetian Snares, not in the last place the brilliant “Rossz Csillag Alatt Született” album, but Igorrr goes way off into the extreme sound of breakcore, but at as many moments he also employs very moody orchestrations and creates the weird beats according the music. There are piano parts with accompanying beats at the speed of the piano, the same with Spanish guitar. The music goes from breakcore maddness right into some folksong and on to opera; oftentimes metal and allways with a breakcore basis. On this new album Igorrr also seems to sing himself more and his vocals are as varried as his music, from opera to screaming and death-grunts, sometimes in one track too. I am sure that this music is not for anyone. You have to be able to stand complete musical maddness and extremity, but when you can enjoy breakcore and not just the noisy side of it, you might want to check out Igorrr. In a way Igorrr falls something between Venetian Snares and Arcturus with its orchestral metal with varried vocals. Hard to describe, but if you like humour and extreme electronics… Sometimes brilliant, sometimes just good, but certainly something you have never heard.
Links: Igorrr, Ad Noiseam

Dream Into Dust ‎* So Beautiful And So Dangerous (cd 2012)

Nine years after “The Lathe Of Heaven” I had never expected another album by Dream Into Dust. Then a while ago I ran into the band’s Facebook page and there was an announcement for “So Beautiful And So Dangerous”. Exited I sent some money to Derek Rush and yesterday the cd fell in the mailbox. The new album opens unexpectedly with a technoish rhythm going over in some kind of industrial rock (or actually drum’n’bass rock). That is not how I remember DID! Would the sound changed that much? The next tracks are more like earlier material. Soft, somewhat poppy rock music with a lot of electronics in the background, dreamy atmospheres and a complex set of layers to the music. There seems to be more IDM this time and there even are elements of synthpop and other (too) catchy sounds. The larger part is either dark or darkly melancholic. Dark ambient soundscapes alternating with shoegaze songs and whatever you (did not) expect from DID. The album certainly is mature and well-structured, but it does not grip me like its predecessor does. Still a very interesting album not following any of the scene’s trends. Dream Into Dust keep doing their own thing and they do it well.
Link: Dream Into Dust, Chthonic Streams

Näo * Näo (cd 2011)

I might have never heard of Näo had they not played at this year’s Summer Darkness festival. Not that I saw them, but when I was checking the schedule to see what I missed, the Soundcloud tracks of this project sounded interesting enough to get myself the whole second album. This album certainly is interesting! It sounds like almost nothing I know, perhaps the closest comparison would be Hadewych. Näo makes ambient music with a lot of IDM influences, strange beat-experimentations and after a while things go over in something that I think is best described as psychedelic rock, sometimes soft and 70’ies, often closer to drone doom metal or something, always instrumental by the way. Carefully built up tracks with tons of ideas and a unique sound. Not my usual kind of music (but what is usual with the ever growing width of my musical taste?) and perhaps not (always) sublime, but certainly very refreshing and interesting. I need to play me that Hadewych album again some time soon too!
Links: Näo, Ant-Zen

nEGAPADRES.3.3. * La Phobie Du Cheval (cd 2011)

In a luxery three-fold DVD digipack comes the third album of nEGAPADRES.3.3. and the first one that I hear. The first lp of this à;Grumh sideproject is from 1987! Their previous cd was also released on Hermetique (2006). “La Phobie du Cheval” is a very weird album. It sounds nothing like the dark noise ambient of most other Hermetique projects. It is more dark soundcollages with sometimes low frequencies, sometimes some noise, sometimes a more industrial sound. Everything is very experimental and I do not think that I know anything like it. This is good in a way, at least something out of the ordinary for a change, but this cd is not completely my cup of tea. The ideas are quite nice, but are each time repeated for an entire track and sometimes it is a bit too much experimentation. It is nice to hear that there is mostly a dark atmosphere to the sound and most tracks are good as background music.
Links: nEGAPADRES.3.3., Hermetique

v/a * Zu Neuen Ufern In Alter Frische! (cd 2002)

This was already HR!35. I am not sure why I did not buy it when it came out, but I suppose I thought that I would have most of the music on it. Before HR!35, Hau Ruck! had only released two Of The Wand 7″s, the Dernière debut, the Tribe of Circle debut, some Novy Svet, Sal Solaris, Lucisferrato, Changes, I-C-K, that sort of stuff. Yet to come was the better Dernière material, Foresta di Ferro, Bain Wolfkind, Varunna, etc. Just to place this release a bit in time. Of course, I have much of the material present and of Dernière there is an obviously old-sound track, but the compilation has some nice tracks and taken as a whole, it is a nice compilation and I got it for only 4 euros at the Tesco sale.
Link: Hau Ruck!

Joris J. & Ratbag * Liar Paradox (mp3 2011)

A digital split release on a label / webzine site that has more free releases. Joris J. has some material available, of Ratbag this is the debut. Both projects make ‘noisescapes’, very noisy soundscapes. The opening track of Ratbag is quite nice, but the other two tracks are a bit too unstructured and too monotous for me. There are quite some low frequencies (always nice), some high frequencies (not so nice) and no samples, rhythm or anything. Joris J. opens in the same way, but his second track opens with a strange compilation of samples and continues with relatively rhythmical weird soundscapes. His third track is more industrial and more interesting than the previous material. The last track opens with a sample and continues with soft and slightly distorted sounds. Not such a bad track either. The noise presented sounds different from the noise that I am used to hear and even though I do not really like it, it is interesting to listen to, especially Joris J.
Links: Joris J., Ratbag, Kulturterrorismus

MekanOrganiK * How To Extract Sunlight From Cucumbers (cd 2010)

Woe me. I have heard of MekanOrganiK a long time ago. Initially this album was announced to be released on Cold Meat, but in the end Neuropa took care of the release. MekanOrganiK is a side project of members of the Belgian tribal industrial outfit Militia and when the cd was out, I listened to some of the tracks on Myspace, but I was not convinced. I did not take a whole lot of attention until I got the cd. Well, MekanOrganiK may be even more interesting than Militia! The album opens with some sort of soundscape, perhaps the track that I heard on Myspace? The rest of the material reminds a lot of Militia, similar rhythms, similar sounds, same vocals. The difference is that MekanOrganiK sounds more electronic, more industrial perhaps. There are all kinds of strange, analogue sounds (water, stones, bottels and… cucumbers) over repetative rhythms. Very nice indeed!
Links: MekanOrganiK, Neuropa

Jägerblut * Tannöd (cd 2008)

I heard of Jägerblut linked with the so-called “Alpine folk” trend that comes from Steinklang and I did not pay much attention. Then I understood that Jägerblut actually consists of Thorofon members and I listened to their music a bit. Indeed the debut release of this project is a split 7″ with Sturmpercht and the music sounds like Sturmpercht. On the first album Jägerblut made more neofolk-like music, but that is usually not my thing either. Still, on the UMB compilation the second track is more experimental and less typical which is actually what I expected of Courtman and co. “1896-1906” Is not really an interesting album, but more interesting than “Tannöd”. The good thing about “Tannöd” is that Jägerblut hardly looked at their past. There is no “Alpine folk”, almost no neofolk, but a lot of dark ambient and soundscape experiments. It is just that this is mostly quite boring…
Link: Jägerblut / UMB Kollektiv