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The Eastern Front

Refuse To Die * Collection Of Agnostic Flies (cd 2008 the eastern front)

It seems that this is my first encounter with Refuse To Die, even though they have released material since 1996. However the bandname suggests a martial industrial project, the cover of this album is a better pointer of the style: weird and ‘collagic’. Most tracks are sound-collages, either or not with an industrial tone, sometimes a bit soundscapish, sometimes more industrial/noisy. It is all pretty strange stuff, so do not be surprised to get a little bit of cabaret as bonus. An album full of odd ideas without much of a definate style is of course a ‘dangerous’ thing to do. I can hear the humour in some tracks, some tracks are nice to listen to, but there is also a totally awfull track called “Who Are The Brain Police” and there are things that simply don’t ‘work for me’. I doubt that I will play a cd like this very often. Perhaps I should put a few tracks on the mp3 compilations that I play in my car, but 45 minutes of such weird stuff…? Of course you might actually enjoy crazy industrial sound collages, so just visit the band’s website to listen to some tracks and see if this is an album for you.
Links: Refuse To Die, The Eastern Front

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

Majdanek Waltz * Hamlet’s Childhood (cd 2007 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front has quite some (ex-)Russian artists on their list, the same goes for Majdanek Waltz. In a very nice package comes a 40 minute cd with a tranquil and minimalistic form of neofolk with lots of moody violins and which because of the spoken text in a strange language reminds a bit of Scivias. I think that this album will appeal to people who like the more atmospheric kind of neofolk.
Links: Majdanek Waltz, MW @ Myspace, The Eastern Front

Phragments * The Burning World (cd 2007 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front usually releases strange experimental cds, but this album of Phragments is a lot easier to describe. Dark ambient with beats and industrial elements, some orchestral and atmospheric influences, but also marchdrums and a flinch of noise. The cd is very nice, but here and there tracks tend to become a bit monotous. When the sound gets more industrial, things get more interesting and the short noise eruption is great. All in all “The Burning World” is a very nice album to listen to with ‘just fine’ and great parts, but an above average total for the field of dark ambient/industrial. The package is a simple, but well done very glossy three-folk A5 cover. Next up for our Israelian label is a compilation with an interesting line-up, but no Phragments.
links: Phragments, The Eastern Front

Rose Rovine e Amanti * Early And Unreleased Songs (cd 2007 the eastern front)

Here we have a cd full of “a small collection of old postcards” of Rose Rovine e Amanti. The tracks vary from silly experiments, to more ‘dance’ track, nice poppy (and bluesy?) neofolk songs and a not-too-good Von Thronstahl-like collection of sounds and samples. I particularly like the neofolky songs which have a nice atmosphere and an atypical sound. The cd is 42 minutes and as the title says, contains old and unreleased material (either completely new, or in an alternative version). There are some references to my own country. Two tracks are called “Holland Sea” and Theo van Gogh is on the cover.
links: Rose Rovine e Amanti, The Easten Front

Bleiburg * Way Of Crosses (cd 2007 the eastern front)

Of this strange, German band I earlier reviewed a cd on Cold Spring from the UK. This new cd is released by this much smaller label The Eastern Front from Israel, but the band surely fits on this label. Way Of Crosses opens with a nice martial neofolky track and continues with a two minimalistic tracks with dance rhythms with are either a bit dull or interesting as sounding new (and with a very amusing variation on the “Woher stammst du?” scene from Triumph Des Willens). Also there are of course the traditional (Russian?) songs, strange experimental soundscapes, some poppy and industrial tracks… You read it, this cd does not contain a single and predictable style of music, but an interesting collection of ideas and tracks of which most are interesting enough to get a copy of this nicely packages (but limited to 1000 copies) album.
link: The Eastern Front

Gregorio Bardini * Sentinelle del Mattino (cd 2007 the eastern front)

This album opens with IDM (‘intelligent dance music’) and something that I would call ‘ethno-ambient’, a very interesting start. Ambient music, soundscapes with flutes and German poetry. Halfway the music gets less interesting with instrumental and experimental parts, but not too much of my liking. The last third has even more experimental sounds with an industrial sound that sometimes reminds of Sanctum, sometimes of a band such as Knifeladder; guitar, industrial sounds, screamed vocals and the clear sound of a flute or some other instrument. Towards the end, Bardini goes back to where he started with tranquil soundscapes with a flute. There is some very interesting music on this album, but also some less interesting music. The whole album is highly experimental and progressive which is good; so, if you are into something new, you might want to try “Sentinelle del Mattino”. <5/5/07><3>

v/a * Letters From The Front (cd 2006 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front from Israel is a relatively new label from Israel. With this release they literally turn the scene upside down. First: “”The Eastern Front” dedicates this tribute to their glorious grandmothers and grandfathers who fought with great valour as soldiers and officers in the Red Army and laboured selflessly in the Soviet rear during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)”. An honour to those who “resisted the Nazi power” and “dedicated to 61 Anniversary of Victory in WWII”. A release investigating ‘the red side’ of WWII instead of the brown. Secondly. Whereas many releases include ‘Schlager’ songs for enjoyment and amusement, this compilation cd is almost completely filled with ‘Russian Schlager’ (of course this is a very bad term!). The cd alternates speeches (such as those of Stalin, Molotov and Levitan) with a great many songs from the period and only here and there are ‘songs from the scene’. The bands Silence & Strength, Westwind, Storm of Capricorn and Neon Rain mostly contributed tranquil, rather ambient, sometimes a little bit martial tracks, accompanying what I described before. I like the idea. The execution is rather well done too. Sometimes the 1940’ies songs tend to become too much, but when the Russian choirs set in, my attention is drawn back. The tracks of the four bands are not the greatest pieces performed in the scene, but they go very well with the traditional sounds and speeches. The compilation comes in a highly limited 244 edition with a magnificent cardboard ‘poster’ folded into a triangle. A wonderfull release for sure!

Silence & Strength * Opus Paracelsum (cd 2006 the eastern front)

This is the second album of S&S on the Israelian label The Eastern Front. Whereas the first was dedicated to Cagliostro, the new album is dedicated to Paracelsus. The album contains strange soundscapes, here and there with a dark ambient style, at other times more silly of sound. Most of the music is slow stretched soundscapes though. The album has almost no neofolkish parts this time and however it sure has its moments, I prefer the debut of Silence & Strength.

Silence & Strength * Le Divin Cagliostro (cd 2005 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front is a new label from Israel, whose first release was the special Der Blutharsch Israel cd “Speech Of Truth Will Be Eternal”. “Le Divin Cagliostro” is the second cd. Silence & Strength are not entirely new too, since they appear on the Aleister Crowley tribute “100 years of Liber AL”. As the title suggests, this 41-minute cd is dedicated to Giuseppe Belsamo or Joseph Balsam (1743-1795), better known as Count Cagliostro, who founded the Memphis Rite in Freemasonry. The cd contains soft ambient soundscapes, darker tunes, a rhythmical part and a few World Serpent like neofolkish songs with male and female vocals; also there is room for some silly humour. The neofolk songs are nice, but I prefer the dark soundscapes that can be found on this disc. Overall the album is very nice and not too typical of sound. A very nice debut both for the band and the label. The cd comes in 620 DVD-cases and later a handpainted wooden box with extras will follow. The next release by The Eastern Front will be an album with four bands, dedicated to the Russian side of WWII and then another Silence & Strengh album.