Cold Spring

Melek-Tha * De Magia Naturali Daemoniaca (cd 1999 cold spring)

I remember Melek-Tha’s debut on the French metallabel Adipocere. I listened to it ones. I found it cheap and primitive. Somehow I got the idea that this is the third album of the French “Lord Evil”, but I don’t really remember what the second one is called. Anyhow, “De Magia…” opens brilliantly. A sample from Hellraiser (II if I’m correct) supported by the brillant opera chorus “Dies Irae” of Verdi’s “Requiem”. The combination of the two makes a great piece of dark classical music with battle sounds. Unfortunately, this is the very way that the cd proceeds. Samples from movies (not the most original ones either, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is sampled at great length) with a minimum of ‘music’ over it. Sometimes dark ambient, sometimes industrial, but never really as dark as the first track. Actually again I find this a cheap and primitive cd. If it wasn’t for the opener, this one would be just horrid.

Kreuzweg Ost * Edelrost (cd 2005 cold spring)

About five years ago I bought the first cd of this project in a recordshop. I listened to it first, found the album pretty funny and decided to take it home. “Iron Avantgarde” seemed like an album of metalheads fooling around with a popular kind of music (militant industrial) while forcefully distancing themselves from the (possible) politics of that scene. They didn’t take the music too seriously and their first album is total laughter: crazy, weird, childish, funny and amusing. Then I heard that there would be a new album and I figured it they could make the same joke again. I can both comfort and displease you about that: no they didn’t. “Edelrost” is a more serious album, still in the strange style with weird samples and even weirder melodies, but not as much presented as a joke. A comfort to some, but maybe strange for those who heard the first album and pushed it away. As for myself, sometimes I put “Iron Avantgarde” in my player to listen to the walking boots and childrens-songs, Dutchmen trying to speak English and stupid Italian. Not thinking too much about that, “Edelrost” is enjoyable too. What to expect when you never heard of the band before? Silly melodies and weird samples, not too structured music that is very busy in the beginning of the cd (reminding of the debut album), but as the cd continues more serious tracks, sometimes ambient/industrial, sometimes slightly orchestral. Again a nice album to play when you are in a silly mood. <7/11/05><4>

Karjalan Sissit * s/t (cd 2002 cold spring)

I have been looking forward to this cd actually only by hearing about it. When I got it in my hands I already noticed that it would be somewhat different from what I expected. There is a text in the booklet that seems to be Finish and under the bandname on the cover it says: “written by Markus Mikael Pesonen”. The cd is recorded in the Erebus Odora studio and produced by Peter Pettersson who also took part in the performing of the music. So, add to this a rather Sophia-like sound and there you have the explanation for the rumour that this is another Arcana/Sophia sideproject.
Inspite of the photos of soldiers in the artwork, this isn’t really one of these popular martial industrial things. Actually Karjalan Sissit has -as mentioned- a sound more reminding of Sophia than anything else. Slow industrial, quite tranquil, orchestral, but with heavy beats but not as heavy in sound as Sophia itself.
The bandname seems to be some Finish reference to soldiers, but I haven’t been able to find out what exactly. Also I can’t find out what the text in the booklet means, but it is said that this cd is dedicated to Pesonen’s uncle who died in some war, so maybe that is it.
The cd lasts for only 41 minutes and count off some 6 or 7 minutes of Schlager (not too original of course) and you have left a very short cd.
So, about the music. It is a bit too monotous for me and there are some far too obvious samples from popular horrormovies, but it sounds alright. Not too original though. Just a nice cd. <13/4/02><3>

John Waterman * Calcutta Gas Chamber (cd 2006 cold spring)

John Waterman also appeared on the “Swarm” compilation, but I don’t really remember the track. Judging from the Cold Spring biography we have a multi-artist who makes films, photos and music. He decided to make the soundtracks for his films himself and this resulted in a soundscape approach of experimental ambient. “Calcutta Gas Chamber” goes from Tehôm-like ambient-scapes (but not as dark) to more noisy tracks with a lot of samples and strange sounds. Also there are very (not to say: too) minimalistic, monotous tracks. Overall this cd sounds pretty exciting and it sure is an album to put on, sit back and just listen.

H.E.R.R. * Vondel’s Lucifer – first movement (cd 2006 cold spring)

Long anounced, this second full-length of HERR. As the title suggests, this is truely a concept album. HERR presents a hear-play version of the famous play by the Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679) about the rebellion of Lucifer against the fact that God placed the humans higher than the angels. HERR used English translations of the text which is a bit of a pitty. This fact is completely swept away by the mastery of this album though. The style remained HERR, soft to more bombastic neoclassical music with some martial touches and great vocal-work. This being a play, there are of course different vocalists who mostly speak their texts over the great music. The more I listen to this album, the more I like it and I already liked it from the start. Save for a few minor dips, a masterpiece and therefor rated:

HERR * The Winter Of Constantinople (cd 2005 cold spring)

“Heilig Europa / Romeins Rijk” (“Sacred Europe / Roman Empire”) is the new Dutch star in the scene, however there is one Brit in the four-piece-band. HERR did a few smaller releases of which some are reviewed within these pages and now Cold Spring picked up the talented band with this rerelease of a vinyl release and the anouncement of another full-lenght. The band has an original and nice sound, orchestral, sometimes tranquilly bombastic, here and there a militant touch, but mostly striking are the wonderfull vocals, usually spoken in beautiful Britisch. MP3s can be found on a few places on the internet (try Equilibriummusic for example) so you can have a taste. A minor point about “The Winter Of Constantinople” is that when you also have the four-band split cd “Hopes Die In Winter”, you get the same tracks again. Oh well, they surely are very nice and I am glad that there is another good new band from my country.

Goatvargr * s/t (cd 2006 cold spring)

Goatvargr is Goat (USA) and MZ.412, etc. (Swe), so you may know what to expect. This untitled album contains about 45 minutes of very heavy industrial noise. Some (parts of) tracks (such as the beginning of the cd) are nice and dark, other tracks are too chaotic noise for my taste, but the heavy industrial beats make Goatvargr better to endure. For the lovers of extreme electronics.

Folkstorm * Sweden (cd 2004 cold spring)

Cold Spring found 2001 material of this Swedish noise-combo that they forgot to release and the band decided to remix and remaster this material and make it into a goodbye cd, the last Folkstorm release. Funny, when I got the cd and saw the cover there is a picture looking awfully much like that on a t-shirt that I recently bought, but then the print is a mix between our Dutch royal ‘logo’ and the logo of the shop. Anyway, “Sweden” contains 50 minutes of extreme noise. Some tracks are fairly enjoyable with dark drones, some kind of rhythm or highly distorted melodies, while others are nothing but earcracking noise. I prefer the more structured kind of noise and this cd is a bit too much in the other direction. When I only pick the good tracks, this cd is still relatively enjoyable, but the other half is not really my cup of tea. Those who DO like the more extreme kind of sound will already be familiar with this Swedish band, have their other material and buy this last cd as well.

Deadwood * 8 19 (cd 2005 cold spring)

Cold Spring noise. When I put on “8 19” (unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out what the title refers to, 19 august of some year?) and heard the uncompromising and unstructured extreme noise opening track, I feared that this would be a cd with a kind of noise that I can’t stand. But after 11 minutes we go to track two and things get a lot better, very dark ambient, a little monotous, but nice. Almost 15 minutes later we go on to a better kind of noise, low frequencies, an industrial background, but still pretty damn loud. This goes on for 11 minutes after which a track opens with dark ambient, but going over in very dark noise, a really great track. The last two tracks are shorter, 10 minutes and 4 minutes. The fifth track has some kind of rhythm, but very slow and the last track is more like a dark industrial ambient piece. Accept for the first one, I really like “8 19”. All track have the highly distorted vocals, but that is okay when the music is distorted too. It seems that nowadays noise tends to have the nice, dark sound that I enjoy and not as much making ‘noise for the sake of noise’. Deadwood is also a good example of a noise act that doesn’t stick to one kind of noise, bringing variety and innovation to the genre. That is nice, because I find myself enjoying noise more often than a couple of years ago!

Bleiburg * Pieces Of A Broken Dream (2cd 2006 cold spring)

I knew this band only by name and from a few mp3 snippets that I heard. I think that they are part of the ‘new generation’ artists in the scene, but apparently they have been around long enough to have a double cd compilation with almost only tracks for which they coorperated with other bands from the scene. Bleiburg itself makes neofolk and industrial (ambient) and so do the bands on this cd, from The Soil Bleeds Black to Thorn-Agram and from Harvest Rain to Vidna Obmana. The first cd is relatively tranquil with ambient and folky pieces, the second cd is a bit harder with more industrial and noisy tracks, but still ambient. Most tracks are actually pretty good and especially with of the variety of cooperators and styles, the cds are still structered well enough to form some kind of unity. A nice release of a band that I didn’t know well enough.