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Expretus * Spiegelsaal (cd 2001 lichtbringer)

Hm, I have to watch out buying cds on package and label. Lichtbringer released the wonderfull “Sonnwin” cd a while back and I was told that Expretus would sound something like Belborn and The Moon Lay Hidden, so I figured I would give it a try. I don’t know where they got the idea of mentioning these two bands, but Expretus has nothing whatsoever incommon with The Moon and very little with Belborn. Actually Expretus is not folky at all, but very gothic of sound. Atmospheric music, sometimes with piano, sometimes a bit electronic. I don’t like the gothic vocals too much and the music isn’t too good either.

Von Thronstahl * “Lichttauffe” Leipzig 2000 (7″ 2001 fasci-nation)

Fuel on the fire of the disaster around the 9th “Wave Gotik Treffen” in Leipzig in 2000. A festival that began like always with 30.000 ‘grufties’ in an Eastern German city. Pretty soon the mayor of Leipzig and the organisation ‘found out’ that there were bands sceduled with a questionable philosophy and Death In June and Von Thronstahl were the first to be forbidden. Still Von Thronstahl entered the stage and after 2 or 3 live tracks, they left and put on the upcoming cd “Imperium Internum”. After this Ostara played a fairly normal show. Anyway, more bands were forbidden, the organisation ran out of money and chaos was complete. Von Thronstahl was blamed for the nazi-controverse and fell from grace in the opinions of many people. Parts from newspapers about the “rechtsradikal Josef K.” are printed on the inlay of the 7″. The fact that the band decided to release the recordings of their forbidden concert will probably not heal wounds.
Personally I haven’t seen the show in Leipzig. I had just heard of Von Thronstahl before the festival and I had no idea that they were actually supposed to play before I got there. When I finally found the “Parkbühne” the band had just left the stage and also it was there that I heard about the controverse around Von Thronstahl and other bands. Also at the festival (a day earlier I believe) I bought my first Von Thronstahl record in the form of their “Sturmzeit” 10″. Later of course there were the cd and recently the second cd “E Pluribus Unum” which are also reviewed in these pages.
The 7″ contains the tracks “Mitternachtsberg” and “Heimat, Mutterboten, Vaterland”, is limited to 500 copies, available from Josef himself, Vaws, Cold Spring or IDM (“initiative identität durch musik”). Apparently the 7″ is dedicated to Archangel Michael who is proudly depicted on the front.
Inspite of all the controversy the music sounds very good in my ears, the sound-quality of the live recordings is agreeable and the package wonderfull. Late november I am going to see how controversial a Von Thronstahl show really is when they play in London. I expect that as usual things are blown way out of proportion and personally I may not agree with the band’s philosophy I still didn’t get offended or scared by this wonderfull musical project.

Mortiis * The Smell Of Rain (cd 2001 earache)

In a vague and distant path I was pretty fond of the music of Mortiis but this died away a bit when he was getting popular and the contact faded. However I suppose that I would still enjoy the music when I played it I had great fears for “The Smell Of Rain” after I read a review. Well, my fears were just. “The Smell Of Rain” doesn’t sound anything like the ‘old Mortiis’ anymore. As a matter of fact, this new cd sounds more like a gothic rock cd to me!! Mr Troll started to sing, there are guitars and only at the background you will heard the pompous sounds of days gone by. If you (used to) like Mortiis, be sure to listen to this one before you buy it. Fortunately I didn’t.

Of The Wand And The Moon * I Crave For You / In A Robe Of Fire (7″ 2001 prophecy productions)

  • neofolk

It was a nice show of mr. Larsson and friends yesterday in Bochum (ger). Too bad about the other two bands (Tenhi and Dornenreich unplugged) who bored the shit out of me. Of The Wand wasn’t even headliner…
Anyway, I didn’t have this 7″ yet, so I decided to buy it. It contains two tracks in alternative versions. I Crave For You this time with Matt Howden and In A Robe Of Fire this time without Matt Howden in contrary to the versions on the latest cd (see review elsewhere). However to be played at 33 rpm, this is a very short 7″. Only for collectors I guess.

Von Thronstahl * E Pluribus Unum (cd 2001 cold spring)

This is the second cd of Von Thronstahl. “E Pluribus Unum” contains contributions to compilation cds and other rare material, which I actually find a bit cheap for a second cd. On the other hand, it makes up for 64 minutes and there is also material that I didn’t have, so… What you will find are the contributions to Riefenstahl, Cavalcare La Tigra, Thorak, Audacia Imperat, Za Dom Spremni, the upcoming Iron Guard / Cordreanu compilation, Judas Kiss magazine compilation and some compilation of the Russian RWCDistribution. Further live in Leipzig, the 10″ and some re-works. All in all mostly unknown to me or different from what I already had. Of course most material is quite old, some tracks even sound more like Forthcoming Fire than Von Thronstahl. Also there is no coherence between the songs, but still this is a very nice cd. I am very curious about new material.

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The second cd of Von Thronstahl (which I first reviewed on 29/9/01) contains hard-to-get material. Compilation contributions, the 10″, etc. The material is a bit older and not all is as good as on the first cd. Still this is a very good album that has now been made available again in a digipack. Beside the packing and the order of the pages in the booklet (nothing left out this time), this new edition is completely the same. Dark industrial, ‘neofolk’, orchestal tunes, martial tracks and at the end a long compilation of ‘traditional music’. Again available for those who missed it.

Coph Nia * Holy War (mcd 2001 cold meat industry)

I still play the debut cd “That Which Remains” quite often and I like it a lot. Now we get a mcd in a simple but well-done digipack. A disc containing 4 tracks (or 7 if you are lucky), beginning with a short piece of dark ambient and followed by a magnificent heavy piece with fierce drumming and shouting about holy wars. The third track is a long dark ambient piece and the last track is a bit ritualistic of style. All in all again a good piece of music from Coph Nia.

Aurum Nostrum/Sonne Hagal * Sinister Practices In Bright Sunshine (lp 2001 ring tor elementarer klangkunst)

  • neofolk

This is the first time that I hear Aurum Nostrum, since their previous lp on the same label passed me somehow. I understood that it was a drum-oriented neo-folk band, but the four songs on this lp are just tranquil neo-folk with not much drumming and not too special or good either. Also the Sonne Hagal songs are fairly traditional, but with some ‘other’ elements like we may expect after the 10″ on Eislicht. Anyway, both sides are alright, but nothing smashing.

Anenzephalia * s/t (cd 2001 death factory)

This isn’t the first band that I expected to release a cd on Cold Meat Industry, but obviously the world is not entirely forsaken of wonders. This untitled cd contains live recordings from september 1996 which are mastered by Peter Andersson and like the Blood Axis live cd put on cd without clapping, cheering and shouting of the audience. Those who know Anenzephalia will know what to expect: noise. Anenzephalia isn’t as extreme as many of their colleagues though. Maybe “sophisticated noise” is a good description for this music. You will hear the usual high frequencies, distorted sounds and samples, but not as a massive attack of noise. The most extreme element in the music on this cd are distorted screamed vocals.
Anyway, this untitled live cd is pretty good since the back-catalogue of this band is hard or no longer available, this is an easy way to get some Anenzephalia.

A Challenge Of Honour * Only Stones Remain (cd 2001 divine comedy)

Strange history of the band. First ACOH was a German named Johan König, who got to know Peter S. of Above The Ruins / Materialschlacht, who eventually released the “The Right Place” demo on his Stahlklang Audio label. Later Johan and Peter made some music together and now ACOH is only Peter S. This definately did do anything wrong to the music though! The demo is alright. I haven’t heard the cd-r “Wilhelm Gustloff” (which will be rereleased) yet, but this cd is actually pretty good. Martial industrial reminding a bit of Dernière Volonté sometimes, but mostly sounding very original. Pretty simple, sometimes orchestral, sometimes folky and with a few magnificent tracks. Including two tracks from the demo “Only Stones Remain” is a 52 minute cd with 11 tracks. Plans and contracts for future releases are already there and I am very curious what the future for ACOH will bring! <29/9/01><4>

Propergol – Music As A Weapon (cd 2001)

Here we have a real Tesco release. A 71 minute noise cd in an oversized package of a French band. 11 Tracks with a lot of variety in styles of noise and power electronics including everything from high to low-frequency noise, from relatively tranquil to very extreme, lots of rhythm, lots of samples, sometimes with distorted vocals and most of the time pretty dark. Get it before it is gone! <29/9/01> <4>