Music Reviews

Artist: IRM (@)
Title: Closure
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
You probably already know that IRM is Martin Bladh, Erik Jahrl, and Mikael Oretoft of Sweden, and that they are an industrial noise/power electronics outfit that have been around since the late 90's. For those who need a stylistic frame of reference, think Brighter death Now. 'Closure' is the last chapter of a trilogy which began with 'Indications of Nigredo' (12"), continued with 'Order4' (CD) and ends here with this one. Along the way IRM has been refining its technique and changing direction a bit which was hinted at on 'Order4'. 'Closure' paints a new picture for IRM, one that is bound to leave a lasting impression and could even be taken as their "masterpiece". Divided into 9 tracks ("Closure I-IX"), the listener's attention is gotten with three thudding bangs accompanied by an old style TV drone tone, then the processed vocal and a mix of electronic noise comes in. Processing on the voice is a heavy wavering flanging that garble the voice for understanding the words but not the malevolent feeling behind it. Towards the end of this first track the voice engages in some type of indecipherable chanting audible in the background. This blends seamlessly into the next track, a blend of noise and mournful electronic cries and the processed voice returns. Syllables are drawn out for effect in a dramatic infernal recitation. If you want to know what that voice is saying, you can follow along with the lyrics in the 20 page booklet accompanying the CD. The scene changes dramatically in part 3, as you hear a slowly ticking clock or metronome the ambience of a crowd and morose narration (in a normal and unprocessed voice) describing a strange theatrical event while an intermittent ringing tone plays over some melancholy bass guitar playing. You suddenly realize that the narrator is an assassin who shoots the actor on the stage who is himself! It's a nightmare sequence that unfolds in sublime horror accompanied by sobs of various voices. The performance then being over, the spotlight goes out, the audience leaves and we are left with waves of noise, a music box playing an old march melody winding down, and a low, murmuring chanting voice with various ephemeral clattering noises.

The processed voice returns again reciting "cranium-crack-hammer, temple=blast-wall, lead-brain-flow, hung-sinew-chord, loose-car-thread, scratch-scale-line...DEAD-TIME-BLIND, DEAD-TIME-ONAN..." and more, to a slow doom beat and ringing tone in the background. This in itself is quite theatrical. Part 5 sounds like the eternal wail of souls punctuated by death knell thuds with various pitches of electronic noise drones ending with a decrepit voice singing about "a hellhound on my trail". Part 6 has a thrumming machine beat loop and singular sine wave drone while an interviewer asks stock one-word questions (name, alias, sex, age height, weight, etc.) and the respondent gives vague but surprising one-word answers. It could almost be a word association game. Another more piercing electronic drone tone takes over and then breaks into Part 7 with a blast of cacophonous noise and another recitation from the processed voice. I won't quote the words, but suffice to say the lyrics are rather morbid, to say the least. The noise blasts even more intensely at the end and the garbled voice is drown in an electronic storm. Part 8 takes us back to that theatrical event from Part 3 but with a completely different perspective. Part 9 is a reprise of Part 4, again from another perspective, more on the lunatic fringe order of things. I should mention that the work of guest percussionist Ulrik Nilsson is excellent throughout where he is employed, and another guest on this album is English cellist Jo Quail, but I was hard-pressed to pick her out amidst the chaotic sonics.

This is indeed one weighty opus. For industrial noise fans who are looking for something quite out of the ordinary, 'Closure' is surely your ticket to ride. IRM have raised the bar so to speak in the genre, and no description I can provide can come close to experiencing it for yourself.

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