v/a * …Where Tattered Clouds Are Stranding (2cd 2008 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front has released a very nice double cd compilation with a whole range of famous bands on the first cd, most of them not from their own label. Cd 1 (“Grief”) has bands such as the resurrected Belborn, Cold Fusion, Cawatana, Kammer Sieben and Horologium and includes a cooperation between H.E.R.R. and Von Tronstahl. Most tracks are bombastic and militant, sometimes more orchestral, sometimes more neofolky and in most cases quite enjoyable. The second cd (“Birth of Psyche”) has mostly more minimalistic and ambient tracks from Artefactum, Rose Rovine, Shining Vril, Bisclaveret and a range of projects that are new to me. This cd surely isn’t bad, but less interesting than the first cd, but the projects Wach and Sitra Ahra offer a nice surprise. Both cds have a running time of well over an hour, so you get what you pay for! The simple but very nice booklet looks good, like we get used to from this label and also the limited amount of 1000 copies goes for this compilation. I noticed that it is available from about every descent mailorder, so it shouldn’t be too hard to lay your hands on a copy.
Link: The Eastern Front

Combative Alignment * A Broken Union (cd 2007 avatar records)

When I bought the “The Ritez Of Higher Communication” lp (2003) I was quite impressed by the minimalistic ritual ambient of this project. Later I bought the “…And Outside Glows The Red Dawn” cd (2005), which sounds quite the same; nice but nothing really special. The same I can say about this new album. Ritual soundscapes that are minimalistic and monotous. Maybe the sound becomes even more minimalistic with every new album, because “A Broken Union” seems to appeal to me even less than the other albums that I have…

Be Not Idle In Preparation Of Thy Doom * Sermons Of The Unwelcome + Saturnine Malediction (cd 2007 desecrative phoneticism)

Yes I know the bandname, albumnames and artwork looks like a metal band and indeed, it is from that very corner. The man behind this project owns the label and has several more projects, either electronic or metal. Some 15 years ago I listened to all those dark “ritual” projects popping up in the black metal scene of that time and it seems that nothing much changed since. BNIIPOTD also is such a dark ambient ritual soundscapes project with the dark sound and the creepy vocals (on the older release). “Sermons…” (2006) is also available from Itunes and “Saturnine…” (2007) has been added to this release for a limited cd version. The sound is rather typical and often too monotous for my liking, but not bad or boring and there are some nice moments. I guess you may want to contact the band if you are interested in projects such as Profane Grace, Darkness Enshroud and the like.
Links: Label/band website and the Myspace.

v/a * The Fossil Dungeon (cd 2000 memento mori)

Dark Age Productions (DAP) was ‘founded’ to make the Cernunnos’ Woods demos look more “official”. This man now runs the Battle Helm heavy metal magazine for which I do the alternative pages When three demos had seen the light of day (94/95/96) “Bard Algol Eriboas” decided to release the demo of another band “Under Crushing Wings” (usa 96) which was more or less the start of DAP growing into a label. Then a folkrock band caught Bard’s ear and he urged the band to go for a more medieval approach and two …The Soil Bleeds Black demos were released. Two of the three members of this band (the Riddick twins) proved to be active music makers who also ran a tape label of their own called “7th Key Creations” that for example released the early Equitant demos (known for playing in the metalband Absu). Later the Riddicks and Bard decided to work together and more later sir Prosciptor MacGovern (also of Absu) joined the ranks and DAP from then on consisted of three “Towers”.
The three towers more of less independantly released their material under the DAP banner and still all releases were limited to about 100 copies in most cases. Of the 20 releases before the split of the towers, I only miss two items. The full discography is (with all other information) in the booklet of The Fossil Dungeon.
Somewhere in 1996 Cernunnos’ Woods was asked by the Swedish cultlabel for a cd on a to be founded sublabel “Cruel Moon International”. Roger Karmanik also showed interest in …The Soil Bleeds Black (in my ears always the best DAP act). Things didn’t exacly go as planned.
In 1996 DAP released a red double 12” of Prosciptor called “The Venus Bellona”. This would be released on cd by Cruel Moon being the third DAP act on CMI. CMI not only released the cd, but also a vinyl version that more or less made the DAP vinyl superfluous. Other problems caused the third act (Prosciptor) being the first Cruel Moon release, the second act (TSBB) the second and Cernunnos’ Woods was released after two long years. Plans for an Equitant on CMI were never carried out.
Profane Grace also became quite well-known, but more in the dark industrial scene, releasing cds on the same label who made this compilation possible (and for who Michael Riddick does the artwork).
As you probably know …The Soil Bleeds Black was the fastest rising star of the DAP firmanent. After the cd on CMI, they released two cds on Draenor Productions (a sublabel of Napalm Records from Austria) and now they are on the notorious World Serpent label.
The tracks on “The Fossil Dungeon” as mostly taken directly from the mastertapes for the demos. 4 Tracks are exclusive, Cernunnos’ Woods, Profane Grace, Prosciptor and …The Soil Bleeds Black. The music ranges from medieval, to atmospheric and extremely dark ritual industrial.
Because of the ‘strange’ and mostly pretty good music, DAP was called the “American CMI”. After several years of activity, changing interests, quarrels and maybe a lack of things to be released, caused the demise of DAP. The second Prosciptor cd “The Serpentine Has Risen” was released after the break-up by Prosciptor himself. “The Fossil Dungeon” may be regarded as DAP 022, the final release of the label.
The Riddicks have plans to continue DAP as a new sublabel of CMI under the name… The Fossil Dungeon.

v/a * Saturn Gnosis (2×10″ compilation loki)

In an extremely luxery box comes this compilation of the German Loki label. A label that with the growing acceptance of more extreme ideas in the gothic scene gets more distribution and knowledge.
As expected from this label, the compilation has a theme. It is dedicated to the Grandloge “Fraternitas Saturni” in Berlin, which is an irregular, magical masonic lodge. At first sight there also seems to be a link to Satanism here (a Saturn/Satan connection?) because of the cover which is a painting of a face of that looks a lot like that of A.S. LaVey. The face just represents a demon though.
But, let us move to the music. The bands featured here are Inade, Herbt9, Blood Axis, First Law, SRP, Predominance, Endura and Turbund Sturmwerk. Definitely not the least bands and all in close relation to the Loki-circle. All tracks are pretty minimal dark ambient tracks, so you should not expect any bombasm, not even from Blood Axis or Turbund Sturmwerk. None of the tracks belong to the best that I have heard of the various projects, which is a bit of a pitty. Blood Axis brings a piece of spoken word. A poem accompanied by violin-playing and some synthetic sounds. Turbund’s track is pretty typical, but fits the musical concept of this compilation very well. The Endura track sounds similar to what they do on “The Watcher”. When you know Inade you will have a good idea of what to expect here. Predominance are not as industrial as usual and then we have to bands that I never heard music of. Herbst9 just released a cd on Loki, but their track is not too good. SRP contributed with a great track, but I don’t know anything about them further.
This box is pretty expensive and I recommand it only to people who really admire the bands on this compilation.
However I don’t really like the cover painting, the rest of the artwork is really beautiful.
Please check out the rest of these pages for reviews of releases of some of the featured projects. <13/6/00><3>

v/a * Incendium (cd 2003 loki foundation)

I almost missed it, this cheap compilation of the fine Loki label. I was thinking, I know Loki for 8 or 9 years now but I don’t have many of their releases, mostly some of the older tapes. Still I know most of the tracks on this compilation. It proved to be a label promotion compilation with tracks from older releases. If you are not too familiar with Loki, this cd is a good introduction. Loki freaks will already have everything. Darkambient lovers may want to get this cd anyway. Personally I think most dark ambient on Loki is too monotous.

Profane Grace * Serenity Of The Endless Graves (cd memento mori)

Some of you may remember Profane Grace as one of those dark electronic black metal side projects. I must say that their music still sounds like those projects of years back. It’s dark, monotous and has ‘evil vocals’. Years back I liked these crappy demos sometimes, but I never figured that such projects would end up on quality labels as Cold Meat Industry (Valor, Valefor) or Dark Vinyl (of which Memento Mori is a sub). There’re much better and darker projects within the industrial scene itself too!
The great artwork of Michael Riddick fits perfectly in the CMI/Dark Vinyl style though.

Organisation Toth present Birth Ov Light (cd 2002 old europa café avs)

He, OEC still exists. I don’t hear much of them recently. Organisation Toth is no new name to me, but I don’t have any of their earlier releases. On this 40 minute full length cd, they make very dark ambient with quite a lot of industrial influences. The music is just not too monotous, quite enjoyable but not brilliant. A nice dark ambient cd. <25/10/03><2>

Hexentanz * Nekrocrafte (cd 2004 fossil dungeon)

“The Soil Bleeds black & Psychonaut 75 present: Hexentanz”. Yes yes, a cd of this coproject of the two named bands. In may 2002 I reviewed their wonderfull 7″ and here we have a fulllength cd. Ehm, fullength? 35 Minutes is a little short. Anyway, back to the times in which dark and occult alternative projects appeared in the black metal scene. Hexentanz makes dark industrial/ritual music, while other tracks are slighly more bombastic or medievalish. Sometimes the music reminds me of Akhkharu who you may know from the same label (“The Fossil Dungeon” compilation), the opening track maybe a bit TMLHBAC? This project is inspired by medieval and modern witchery and the sound is dark, occult and yet there are medieval sounds played on medieval instruments. Really a wonderfull release. Much better than the Equimanthorn cd that was made available several months ago which more or less sounds the same as their 1994 picture lp. Hexentanz sounds more mature and modern than that. Just one thing: too short!

Genitor Lvminis * Deam Adessa (10″ 1999 state-art)

When I finally got this 10″ it was long sold out. This review is therefor more for informative reasons than to tell you to buy it. Genitor Luminis is a Swedish act that released a demo called “Heliokrator” in an edition of 50 copies. On it you find some Puissance kind of apocalyptic orchestral industrial, not very good. This 10″ was supposed to be brilliant, but I’m not too crazy about it myself. There’re four tracks,which are all -more or less- in the vein of tranquil tracks of industrial acts like Der Blutharsch and Turbund Sturmwerk, but not as good. Sometimes I hear similarities with Swartalf and Elhaz. The music is very monotous and repetative. In the beginning I quite enjoy all the tracks, but after a few minutes I’d liked to hear some change in it.
The German label State-Art is now frequently launcing releases, read reviews of other 10″s from this label elsewhere.