The ever active Hendrik “Nordvargr” Drakh / Björk returns under the moniker I first encountered him in back in the days on Cold Meat Industry. Nowadays Maschinenzimmer releases are made available on Cold Spring.
The previous album “Hekatomb” was a pretty descent ‘comeback’. Putting on “Svartmyrkr” I initially thought it was a new Nordvargr. Pompous industrial with the vocals we know from the other project. “Pompous” is a description for other tracks too, just like on the previous album, some tracks lean towards “martial industrial”. Other tracks have more the “black ambient” style of old, others are more noisy and then there is this moody track…
All in all “Svartmyrhr” is a good, dark and varied album.
In 1994/5 I was happy to be able to leave behind the black metal scene and role into something more interesting. Cold Meat Industry was one of the labels that I discovered and from which I bought dark ambient and strange industrial. Then there was this act with corpsepaint and whatnot even making a style of music that I -at the time- did not like: noise. Well actually, they called it “black industrial”, setting it aside Brighter Death Now’s “death industrial” as Satanic black metal stood aside death metal.
I never really took a descent listen at MZ.412. I have (heard) some of their albums, but I never tried the entire discography. The more death and dark industrial albums sound better to me than some others. After almost 10 years after the last ‘real’ album, Maschinenzimmer moved to Cold Spring and brings a brand new album. Well, “brand-new”… there are some tracks that sound very familiar even to me.
MZ starts with a little surprise, almost martial industrial tones. Soon we are thrown into the deep and dark pits of rhythmic industrial and low-frequency noise. Some tracks are very good, others are less interesting, but certainly not bad. “Hekatomb” became a reasonable ‘comeback’ for our Scandinavian terror korps.
This box is a registration of the first evening of the “Stigma festival” in London end november 2001. I’ve travelled to this little festival (see my report here) and I was surprised that after all this time a release dedicated to it comes out. A strange release by the way. Douglas P. asked if he could open the night with an accoustic set. A nice surprise, which you can hear here. The official and original fourth act, Nocturne from Germany, does not have a disc in this box though and I don’t know why. Another thing is that in two years time you would say that the recordings could have been polished through and through. Nothing is less true! It seems as if the recordings are taken from the microphones instead of directly from the PA. Especially in TDOTTC and Folkstorm you can hear the audience talking loud and clear. Further the sound is quite flat in most cases and for example Von Thronstahls ‘soundcheck’ in the middle of the show isn’t cut out. When you’ve been there, you know the situation, but ‘new listeners’ will see no advantage in it I guess.
So, what do you get? Inspite of the spectaculair descriptions you will read, this box is nothing more (but also nothing less) than a small box like TMLHBACs “The Smell Of Blood…” or Sopors “Songs From The Inverted Womb” (cd box size but slightly bigger). Inside are four slips with a disc in it and a small ‘poster’ with some live photos. The front cover is black with black letters.
DIJ has an 11 minute cd with 6 songs. Just Douglas with a guitar. There was almost no audience when DIJ played (even though the doors opened far too late), so the recordings are alright.
Von Thronstahl has a cd of a little over 50 minutes. They played tracks that were not yet released back then and different versions of known tracks. The recording is quite good.
The Days Of The Trumpet Call present their (to me) best material. In contraction to the normal releases there are some guitars and nice vocals which surely adds to the sound. As mentioned, the audience is too present and the sound is too flat. Short too, 16 minutes.
Folkstorm vs MZ.412 had a nice set which slowly builds up from dark industrial to extreme noise. Also here not too good sound and too present audience. The lenght here 42 minutes.
The price of this box is quite impressive, I paid E 40,- for these 2 hours of alright to nice recordings. Of course (again), I’ve been there, which makes this box a nice memory, but I don’t know if I should recommend this box to people who just like the bands presented. Should you consider buying it, be sure to be quick. There are 1500 copies, not extremely limited, but I suppose that with DIJ on it, it will sell out rapidly.
However I found several MZ tracks brilliant, I never bought any of their cds. The brilliant tracks are accompanied by boring ones making me decide not to purchase any cd so far. I do have tracks from various albums, from their mp3-page, so I have not been quite ‘MZ-less’. I heard this new cd is more dark industrial and less noise, so I wanted to give it a try anyhow. I listened to it in a recordstore, decided to buy it, but coming home I noticed that there are only three tracks on this cd. Quite good, nothing said about that, but the second is a very long industrial soundscape. Anyway, low frequencies this time, so watch out when you like MZ for their noise-tracks. Personally I prefer the low frequencies in noise anyway, so I am not disappointed by this disc.