Cold Spring

Kreuzweg Ost ‎* Gott Mit Uns (cd 2012)

“Iron Avantgarde” 2000, “Edelrost” 2005 and now “Gott Mit Uns”. Kreuzweg Ost take their time to make their music. The previous two albums sound a bit like a parody on the martial industrial style with amusing experiments with samples, rhythms and song-structure. Both albums are quite good, but I rarely play them. So what would the third album in 12 years time sound like? First let me tell you that the comedy element is mostly left out. No silly samples of Dutchman trying to speak English or happily marching boots. Almost every track opens with a well-done rhythmic experiment and slowly builds up in melodies and samples. Also, as before, the tracks are stuffed with samples, this time with a (martial) Christian content. The tracks are seven to over nine minutes long with not a whole lot of variation. Again Kreuzweg Ost come with nice ideas and work them out meticulously resulting in very good tracks. The only thing is that they may be been a bit shorter here and there. A good album again, not with the typical martial industrial orchestral bombast, but the Kreuzweg Ost version of the genre.
Links: Kreuzweg Ost, Cold Spring

Von Thronstahl * Conscriptvm (2cd 2010)

Another album with rare songs and alternative versions of Von Thronstahl. I feared I would have most of them, since I have most material of the band and quite a few compilations with Von Thronstahl on them. The nice thing about “Conscriptvm” is that there are songs that were recorded, but eventually did not make it to albums because they did not fit. Therefor there are not only different versions of tracks that I already had, but also new songs. Good news for the people who prefer the early style of the band is that most tracks of the first cd in the old style, there is even a version of “Sturmzeit”. Not that there is much of the dark orchestral industrial style, but the music for the larger part is not of the rocky kind of nowadays. The second cd has more ‘neofolky’ songs. All in all I can say that “Conscriptvm” might not contain the best material of the band, but as usual it is a very nice album to listen to.
Links: Von Thronstahl, Cold Spring

NDE * Krieg Blut Ehre Asche (cd 2009)

Yet another project of Dead Man’s Hill, Alle Sagen Ja, Eisengrau, etc. NDE makes a mix between black metal, martial industrial, bombastic orchestrations and noise. The result is a heavy pompous sound with distorted screamed vocals and raging guitars. Quite extreme, quite original, not alway quite good. There are some nice orchestral noisy tracks, but as soon as the guitars set in, I loose my interest. I think this album will appeal to people who like the later sound of Karjalan Sissit with the noisy orchestrations and screamed vocals, but then with guitars added.
Links: NDE, Cold Spring

H.E.R.R. * XII Caesars (cd 2009)

XII CaesarsTwo Dutch reviews today. Two times soft orchestral music too. “XII Caesars” has the style of “Vondel’s Lucifer” (and I apparently missed the previous album), which means that it is not as bombastic and martial as the earlier material, but still a bit. The orchestrations are nice, the vocals as well, yep, HERR makes some fine music.
Links: H.E.R.R., Cold Spring

Von Thronstahl * Germanium Metallicum (cd 2009)

Germanium MetallicumIn an exquisite digipack comes the new album of Von Thronstahl. This controversial band will amplify the opinions about them with this pretty political release. A “musical terrorists network” was founded (with a funny “wanted” leaflet in the middle of the booklet) and the quotes and lyrics that come with each track are clear enough (but can of course still be either fuel or water depending on your own ideas). 19 Tracks seemingly going over most of Von Thronstahl’s musical history with orchestral tracks, marchdrums (fierce of subtle), rocksongs, neofolk and a lot of martial bombast, but also the more sound-collage oriented tracks. Especially the first part of the album is very good with a variety of good tracks and songs with of course a load of samples. The overall length is 70 minutes. For people worrying about the musical direction of the band: the way the songs are created may remind of “Bellum, Sacrum Bellum?!”, but sound does not really. On the other hand, neither is the sound as dark as on the early releases (which I guess will not be topped anymore). “Germanium Metallicum” is a real Von Thronstahl album and like all of the others, it is pretty good too.
Links: Von Thronstahl, Trutzburg Thule, Cold Spring

Sistrenatus * Sensitive Disturbance (cd 2008)

Sensitive DisturbanceI thought that when I ordered my copy from Tesco, I would have it sooner than when I would order it from Cold Spring. After two weeks of waiting, Tesco tells me that it will take another 10 days before their copies arrive. Impatient as I am I spent € 9,50 to get a download copy from Cold Spring waiting for the ‘hardcopy’. Fortunately “Sensitive Disturbance” is worth paying for twice! Sistrenatus created very dense “noisescapes” with extreme noise terror moments, but not as much as before. The style is mostly the same as on the previous two cds, but that does not matter (yet), since our Canadian friend has again managed to create some greatly structured extreme electronics.
Links: Sistrenatus, Cold Spring Records

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

TenHornedBeast * The Sacred Thruth (cd 2007 cold spring)

For many years, Stephen Pennick and Christopher Walton formed the magnificent dark ambient / ritual project Endvra. I didn’t know that this project was officially dismantled, but Walton seems to think himself “ex-Endvra”. In Endvra, Pennick did the music, Walton ‘the philosophy’. Pennick probably continued under the monicker of his side-project Ontario Blue, which is more atmospheric and melodic and less interesting than Endvra used to be. Walton seems to have been busy under a new name and released two small releases before being picked up by Cold Spring. TenHornedBeast does not sound very interesting to me. The album contains long dark ambient soundscapes, which are sometimes nice (track 2), but sometimes extremely tedious (track 4). Overall the album doesn’t convince me at all. It seems that the line of Endvra is followed by both ex-members. Endvra started brilliantly with Dreams Of Dark Waters and after a few albums the music didn’t get better and the final album is even not that good. The same goes for both projects that came from the split.
Links: TenHornedBeast, Cold Spring

Sistrenatus * Division One (cd 2007 cold spring)

After the magnificent demo (2005) that contains the first tracks of this debut cd, I have eagerly awaited this album. The demo tracks are very dark and noisy with a threatening sound that suggests the coming a violent power-electronic outburst, but which never comes. The other tracks have a slightly different style. V and VI are more ambient noise tracks, while VII is a noise track with a marchdrum. The violent eruption finally does come at the end and VIII is a real power electronics track and IX a more martial and slightly bombastic noise track. More violence is anounced for the second album “Wrought Iron Railings” that will be released on the Propergol label Hermetique later this year. “Division One” is an instant classic in the power electronics field with great atmospheres, structured violence and wonderfully built-up tracks that will definately appeal to lovers of Propergol. One minor point is the length: 37 minutes…


Werkraum * Unsere Feuer Brennen! (cd 2004 cold spring)

I know this band from the recently reviewed ‘Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe’ compilation and this is the debut cd. They are anounced as a new star on the neofolk horizon, mixing “fine neofolk” with “martial industrial […] ambience and neo-classical”. Well, Werkraum makes mostly tranquil neofolk with some drumming. Other tracks are electronic also tranquil tracks. I think the style (but not really the sound) is best compared to Darkwood. Also I like the band about as much as Darkwood, that means, the sound is not too original and the music is not too great, but overal the material is quite enjoyable.