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v/a * OEC 100 (7cd 2008 old europa café)

OEC100For their hundreth release The Old Europa Café label has released a 7-cd compilation with a track of each band and project they have been involved in during the years. However looking around the internet it seems like the bands are featured alphabetically, this is not the case, the cds are ordered somewhat thematically / according to style. “Somewhat” I say, since it is not completely that there are industrial and folk cds, there is some overlap. That is only for the better, the compiler of the cds has a rather good ear for things. In the beginning I had the idea that there are alternally more industrial and more folky cds, but this is not entirely true. The compilation opens with a cd with mostly not too extreme noise, a nice cd. Then follows a cd with more (neo)folky music, but not the too typical sounds of a compilation that I reviewed a few days ago. Then we have cds with power electronics and the extreme, chaotic style that isn’t mine, but also more old industrial things, strange experimental soundscape music and more of an old neofolk cd that I find awfull (Ain Soph, that sort of bands). Having heard the whole thing, my temporary conclusion is that the first cds are the most interesting and towards the end are some cds that I will probably never play. I think that four out of seven cds are enough of my taste to put in the player every now and then, so the “price/quality balance” is not that bad.

We didn’t put limits to the sound stiles, so here you can really hear all the sounds of the Industrial sub-culture featured on OEC !

This is a sure thing and it would be utterly impossible if everybody would love everything on this “mammoth compilation”, but I guess that for people who like the better stuff from the scene, there will be plenty to enjoy on “The Old Europa Café”.

v/a * John Barleycorn Reborn, Dark Britannica (2cd 2007 cold spring / woven wheat)

Actually I had the impression that besides the “neofolk scene” which is part of the industrial scene or the gothic scene to use a ‘larger tag’, there was also some kind of “folk music scene” or maybe two, but with a variety of styles, etc. According to the booklet of this “dark folk” compilation, this is not the case. There were many bands making some kind of folk music, but not before the internet brought them together, all worked separately. This compilation is meant to give an idea of what is available and indeed, what you get is a varried compilation with all kinds of folk(y) music, from the traditional 60’ies sound so more rock, “psychedelic” and some neofolk. Of the two cds (a third one can be downloaded), there are only four bands from the neofolk scene, the rest is new to me. The compilation is a cooperation from a folklabel and Cold Spring and the first in a series to come. I have never really listened to folk music, neither is it really my thing, but “John Barleycorn Reborn” gives a nice overview of what the compilers call “dark folk”. There are very nice songs on the cds and also not too appealing. Both words in the term “dark folk” are used somewhat differently from what you may expect. “Dark” is more like “obscure” as in “outside the large audience” (including the ‘normal folk audience’) and “folk” does not really refer to a musical style, but to a certain background of the music. Andrew King has written a nice text about the modern attitude to folk music. “JBR” overall is an interesting project and music-wise the compilation is a nice cd to have on the shelve in case you want to play something different.
Links: special website, Cold Spring Records, Woven Wheat Whispers

v/a * Steinklang Industries III (compilation cd 2007 steinklang records)

Steinklang again offers a cheap compilation with tracks of their own and befriended releases. III is not as II a double cd. The first half of the cd is filled with industrial, dark ambient and a violent noise track of Dissecting Table, the second cd with neofolk and other folky sounds. Just as with the previous two issues of the compilation there are some very good tracks here and especially bands that were new to me, so that is always nice.
links: Steinklang

Bleiburg * Way Of Crosses (cd 2007 the eastern front)

Of this strange, German band I earlier reviewed a cd on Cold Spring from the UK. This new cd is released by this much smaller label The Eastern Front from Israel, but the band surely fits on this label. Way Of Crosses opens with a nice martial neofolky track and continues with a two minimalistic tracks with dance rhythms with are either a bit dull or interesting as sounding new (and with a very amusing variation on the “Woher stammst du?” scene from Triumph Des Willens). Also there are of course the traditional (Russian?) songs, strange experimental soundscapes, some poppy and industrial tracks… You read it, this cd does not contain a single and predictable style of music, but an interesting collection of ideas and tracks of which most are interesting enough to get a copy of this nicely packages (but limited to 1000 copies) album.
link: The Eastern Front

Witch Hunt * The Rites Of Shamhain Incompleto

I heard about this project of Blood Axis and In Gowan Ring, but I didn’t know there were any releases. “The Rites Of Shamhain Incompleto” is a live registration. The music is folky, songs from In Gowan Ring, Blood Axis and songs that I didn’t know. Nice to good, a funny thing to run into. u

v/a * Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe (cd 2004 aorta)

Mr. Kadmon of Allerseelen/Ahnstern/Aorta asked 17 bands to make an impression of the same poem of Friedrich Hielscher. Most of the time you get (neo)folky or medieval music and there are a few industrial tracks to be found. As far as I know all material has not (yet) been released outside this compilation. The idea is very original and challenging and after several rounds in my player, I still haven’t made up my mind how I like the fact that all songs have the same lyrics. One or two bands use translations, but the majority sings the same. Musically this compilation surely isn’t disappointing, especially thinking of the fact that most music is neofolk. Particularly nice are the opening song of Der Arbeiter, Lady Morphia, Turbund, Blood Axis (folky) and Riharc Smiles. And now you also see that you get both well-known and less-known acts. For more information about Hielscher and the compilation to the the Aorta site.

v/a * Tyr II (book+cd 2004 ultra)

Tyr is a magazine by Collin Cleary and Michael Moynihan and “celebrates the traditional myths, culture, and social institutions of pre-Christian, pre-modern Europe”. In the editors own words, the magazine is of a “radical traditional” content. The magazine can hardly be called a magazine, it is more like a book that is “published annually”. I will review the book in my bookreviews section as soon as I read it. On to the cd.
It opens with a wonderfull song of Primordial. If I didn’t know this was a black metal band, I might have described this song as neofolk. Then we get Moynihans own Blood Axis with the well-known track “Brian Boru”, but this time the opening statement seems to be more focussed on current events. Further you will hear nice tracks by Changes, Fire + Ice, Blood Axis/LJDLP, Waldteufel and other bands. Most tracks are exclusive.
When I wanted to order this thing from my usual distro a month or so ago, it was already sold out, but when I was in the States, it is sold in the regular magazine stands for ‘only’ $ 22,-. Certainly not bad with our strong Euro. For the rest of you who do not live or will be in the States, you may have to look around to get a copy. If the book is worth it (from what I have seen of it so far it is), you will hear from me lateron.

v/a * The Pact… Of The Gods (cd 2000 fremdheit)

Let me start with quoting the back of the booklet: “The Pact… Of The Gods” is the companion cd to “The Pact: Flying In The Face” [that was released some time ago]. The original idea was conceived by Ian Read and the late Robert Williams”. It is compiled by Ian Read and Michael Moynihan and the latter participates in several of the contributions with Annabel Lee.
The opening track is for the godfathers of neo-folk: Changes. Then Der Blutharsch has a tranquil and very good track. Some nice tunes are then presented by Fire + Ice and Ataraxia contributed a song from their 1995 cd La Malédiction d’Ondine. The Austrian occultist Kadmon presents a tranquil ‘orchestral ambient’ track with Allerseelen and then we hear a very nice folky song by In Gowan Ring. The first negative thing on the cd is from Camerata Mediolanense who can be found with a live song with a horrible sound. Blood Axis worked a bit on their contribution to the “Saturn Gnosis” and this is a very minimal track that you may have to get used to. The booklet has the ‘original’ face of the “Saturn Gnosis” cover to accompany the Blood Axis information and it doesn’t look a bit like Anton LaVey anymore (see my “Saturn Gnosis” review). The first band that I didn’t know is Shining Vril (a project of John Murphy) with an ‘organ ambient’ track which is quite nice. Another band that I didn’t know is next: Mee. Minimal ambient to accompany female vocals, a bit long for my taste. The Forseti song can be found on their Eis & Licht 10” “Jenzig” and the Ostara song is taken from the “Secret Homeland” cd that was released a while back. A wonderfull folk song from Waldteufel is followed by some spoken work of Dave Lee and the closer-off is for Beastianity with a chaotic ‘industrial punk’ track so to say.
All in all I think that the largest part of this compilation is really worthwhile. A few more exclusive tracks may have maded it a bit more interesting, but people who are not too familiar with this music and/or those who can’t keep up with the (vinyl) releases can be pleased with “The Pact… Of The Gods”.
Get your copy from Tesco!

v/a * Swarm (2cd 2006 cold spring records)

It sure has been a cold spring so far, but fortunately the British label with this name comes with a heartwarming compilation. There are some famous bands, but also new names to me, especially on disc 1. The compilation opens with a heavy martial industrial track by Kreuzweg Ost, followed by ambient and industrial tracks (some pretty heavy) ending in the noise of Necropolis and Deadwood. The second disc begins with the new noise star Sistrenatus from Canada with an alternative version of track “IV” from the demo. Disc two is mostly dark droning noise in the beginning, but what are these terrible version of Von Thronstahl’s “Adoration, To Europe” and the poor track “At Dawn We Meet Our Maker” by A Challenge of Honour doing there? Also the last one may be a bit out of place, but “Stalingrad” by the Dutch band HERR is a nice track to close this compilation with. A compilation with old and new, good and bad tracks, but a good introduction to the Cold Spring label.

v/a * Steinklang Industries II (2cd 2006 steinklang)

The second cheap promotional compilation of the Austrian Steinklang label. One cd with industrial, noise and order harscher music and a cd with (neo)folk, ambient and martial music. Most tracks are good (especially in the beginning of the cds) and overall this cd is surely worth its few euros. A good overview of a varried label and most tracks (and even some bands) where new to me so…