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Arcana * Isabel (mcd 1999 cold meat industry)

Just like the previous album-taster “Lisabeth” this mcd is limited to 3000 copies. There is a good part and a bad part about “Isabel”. The bad part is that it is pretty expensive. There are three songs and this mcd lasts as long as 8 minutes. The good part is that the songs are much better than those on the last album “Cantar De Procella” from 1997. The music did not change that much, but there are texts again instead of just chanting. One track is instrumental, another has male vocals and the last song female vocals. The first song is exclusive, the other two will also appear on the forthcoming album. This actually makes “Isabel” even more expensive. Only the the real fans then?

Apoptose * Blutopfer (cd 2002 tesco organisation)

For a long time I doubted whether or not to buy this cd. I have the “Nordland” debut and like it quite a bit, but I find it a bit too tranquil and monotous. This cd was supposed to have more drumming and be less tranquil and eventually I decided to get it anyway. As you probably heard by now “Blutopfer” is Apoptose’s remembrance of the Spanish “Semana Santa” festival that is held in the village of Calanda. This festival/ritual involves a massive amount of people drumming. Apoptose recorded the drumming and made this cd with these recordings. The result is sampled drumming (sometimes you can hear people talking in the background) combined with monotous soundscapes. The drumming isn’t as lively as it could have been and again the cd turned out to be quite good, but again a bit too tranquil and monotous for my liking. <29/6/02><3>

Apoptose * Nordland (cd 2000 tesco)

Another descent Tesco release. Not the usual Tesco sound though, because “Nordland” is very tranquil. The music is very ambient, often atmospheric, sometimes a bit darker now and then with some drumming and mystical samples. 7 Long tracks making a cd of 51 minutes. Not too long though, just like my reviews of today. Anyway, the digipack looks very nice and the music sounds very nice as well. I can recommand this to CMI fans and anyone who enjoys tranquil ambient. <31/10/00><3>

Aghiatrias * Ethos (cd 2006 epidemie)

I knew this project from the website of Vladimir Hirsch, whom you probably know better as Skrol. I have listened to the mp3 snippets on the mans website and I think that his projects (Skrol, Zygote and this one) sound a bit too much alike. Still, this “Ethos” cd isn’t bad (neither is the rest btw.). Aghiatrias you can place somewhere halfway between Skrol and Sophia. “Ethos” is pretty dark and bombastic, of course orchestral and has some pretty loud outbursts here and there. Overall the atmosphere is threatening and oppressive, so this album sure ain’t no boring listening. <3/4/07><2.5>u

A Challenge Of Honour * Seven Samurai (cd 2005 divine comedy)

However it seems that Peter Savelkoul has shifted to other activities (no more website, founded a small label, became a tekno-DJ, etc.) ACOH releases keep being made. The nice part about ACOH is that you can no longer know what to expect. Whereas early releases where bombastic industrial, now you can also get more neofolk-oriented, dark ambient or industrial music. Or of course orchestral! “Seven Samurai” is a very orchestral album, with mostly tranquil songs, but with here and there a martial touch. If you like the (also Dutch) band HERR, you will also like “Seven Samurai”. The album is put together very well and what I noticed immediately is that much more care has been taken to the sound. Older albums sometimes had strange sloppy elements (samples that cut too early, elements that seem out of place; this did get better as ACOH evolved though), “Seven Samurai” not only lacks these little points of annoyance, but it also has a crystal clear sound which really lifts this album above everything ACOH has done before. The artwork is beautiful and very atypical for the scene (and I hate clichees, so this is a compliment), so I can rightly say that ACOH has released a great album. <5/12/05><4>

A Challenge Of Honour * Monuments (12″ 2005 steinklang industries)

From the early days of this Dutch act, I’ve been following ACOH and I have most of the early material. Then it seemed to get a bit silent around mr. Savelkoul, but also some more very limited releases have been made available on various small labels. (This 12″ comes in 500 copies which are relatively many.) This makes it hard to keep up. Besides, ACOH experiments with its own sound. This is good of course, but doesn’t always result in something that I like a lot. The early releases where mostly orchestral bombast, then followed more dark industrial / ambient releases which are still very enjoyable. I am not too fond of the neofolk elements. This time ACOH sticked to a more tranquil pace with nice orchestral tracks, a terrible ‘poppy’ track, but also a very nice neofolkish song and a wonderfull dark orchestral track towards the end.
The (like this 12″) long delayed “Seven Samurais” cd seems to be available, so I suppose I will have my copy soon. I wonder what that one will sound like. Always a surprise! <4/6/05><3>

Karjalan Sissit * Karjalasta Kajahtaa (cd 2004 cyclic law)

In a luxery package comes the third cd of this Finnish project. Karjalan Sissit already made bombastic industrial with orchestral influences, but on this cd mr. Pesonen exceeded himself. This new cd will maybe even more appeal to people who like Sophia than the previous. The tracks with opera vocals remind of Predella Avant, others are in the Sophia-style. Also like Sophia, you get dark ambient/industrial tracks and very bombastic tracks. Because this of course is a Karjalan Sissit cd, also some schlager(-like) music. Also again noisy influences, which is fine with me! <29/7/04><3>

The Days Of The Trumpet Call * I Saw No Temple In The City (10″ 2001 black rain)

On 29/11/01 the Trumpet Call played in London with Death In June (surprise act), MZ.412 vs Folkstorm, Von Thronstahl and Nocturne. Live Raymond P. had invited some guest musicians in the form of a guitar-player/singer, a bassguitarplayer and two girls handling the equipment. Raymond himself took care of the electric drumkit. The show was more bombastic than the cd with of course drumming, guitar and singing. I figured that this 10″ would somehow have the same style, but in fact “I Saw No Temple…” is in the same neo-classical style as the “Purification” cd of last year. There is some acoustic guitar here, but not like live and also no drumming. Just as the cd I think that this is alright, but not groundbreaking.
This 10″ is limited to 555 copies.

Blood Axis & Les Joyaux De La Princesse * Absinthe, la folie verte (cd 2001 athanor)

It has been a long wait since “Blót” and even longer since “The Gospel…”, but here is new material of Michael Moynihan. It was recorded together with the well-known French industrial act LJDLP, who had much influence on the music. Therefor “Absinthe” doesn’t contain the orchestral bombast that we came to love Blood Axis for, but more minimal industrial and ambient with here and there Michael’s voice and sometimes a short moment of bombast. The lay-out and lyrics were found in the “musée de l’Absinthe” in Callé, France and are an hommage to liquor. However I find the lay-out nice and original, the music is a bit too LJDLP for me. Still quite nice, but I like Michael on his own better.