Music Reviews



Shock Frontier: Tumult

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 29 2018
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Artist: Shock Frontier (@)
Title: Tumult
Format: CD + Download
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Shock Frontier's 'Tumult' was released in December of 2017, but it was one of a number of albums sent to Chain D.L.K. central and not to me directly. The review wheels grind slowly when that happens as my reviewing time is limited, and it could take a while before I get to something when it comes through an indirect channel. Shock Frontier is the duo of Robert Kozletsky (Apocryphos) and Kyle Carney, and 'Tumult' is their second release after 'Mancuerda Confessions'. (Haven't heard that one.) Kozletsky and Carney are assisted here by Kristoffer Oustad, Grant Richardson (Gnawed), Noculture and Christopher Angelucci in certain areas on some tracks. The program is a varied one but most certainly weighted on the dark side with very little light entering this oubliette. By definition 'Tumult' means highly agitated, distraught and/or turbulent, and there is plenty of that on the album. Opening track "The Cold Illucid World" sounds ritual-industrial with a blaring warning horn and mechanical thudding as Carney's morose funerary intonations turns into screams as the piece progresses. A jarring, but effective way to open this opus. Shock Frontier is not adverse to employing dialogue samples (movies or otherwise) to achieve their morbid objectives, and sometimes it's highly effective while others somewhat of a distraction (a bit of an overkill on "What We Are"). Some of the atmospheres such as "I Am Afraid & Bringing Fire" are quite chilling and creepy fostering an aura of apprehension like a cold sweat tricking down your neck. Others such as "Duress" and "Our Vain Illusion" are heavily industrial-percussive with all the subtlety of being bludgeoned by huge mauls in a reverberation chamber. Some tracks such as "Ashes of Others" are simply inscrutable with what sounds like raining shards of something metallic, abrasive and unpleasant with hoarse screaming arriving later in the piece. "Forefallen" sounds like it would work as a good background environment for nearly any horror-oriented computer game. I was particularly impressed by the final (and title) track "Tumult" which utilizes a good amount of Oustad's sound sources. As with most things I’ve heard that he’s been involved in, the dark ambient atmosphere is predominant, eschewing some of the noisier aspects of death industrial in favor of thick, joyless drones that weigh heavy on the soul. All of this was mastered to perfection by John Stillings of Steel Hook Prosthesis, someone who definitely knows his way around this genre. While some of 'Tumult' does recall the darker acts from C.M.I. such as Brighter Death Now and Peter Andersson’s harsher industrialized recordings , this isn't some tribute to the founders of death industrial, but rather an exploration of new terrain for a new age of darkness. While I can't say I love it all, there is enough of value here to please most death industrial enthusiasts.

Stromstad: New Devored Human

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 10 2018
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Artist: Stromstad (@)
Title: New Devored Human
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
I know this has been out for a while, but it has come into my hands only recently (through no fault of anyone), and although my taste for noise-electronics has waned over the years I feel compelled to review it because I believe that it's an important work. Stromstad is a collaborative project between Jasse Tuukki and Toni MyöhÄnen of STROM.ec and Kristoffer Oustad. Oustad is known for work under his own name, and also as part of the Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester with Peter Nyström (Megaptera). If you're familiar with STROM.ec then you know their type of power electronics/death industrial music and already have a pretty good idea of what this album might sound like. Oustad brings his own flavor of dark ambient to the mix making this an expansive and intriguing outing that doesn't disappoint. Beginning with the harsh opener - "Inherent Resurrection," we get nastily processed, shouted vocal over an abrasive storm of (sometimes rythymic) electronics. It may sound like just another angry rant, but when you read the printed lyrics (and you will probably need them), it will begin to make sense. "...By the fragmentation and degeneration of the 'old world,' we stand on the very brink of oblivion. The beginning of the end has set in. The beginning of a new religious era. There must be a new heaven and a new earth. A new heart and a new soul. All new, a pure resurrection...." That’s some food for thought there. This is a much more spiritual work than a cursory listening would leave one to believe, and that's amplified by Oustad's droning dark ambient strings on "Nattsvermer" and "Kosto," where stark minimalism is the order of the day. The 8 tracks on this album are short (the longest being 6:38, and the whole being a compact 36 minutes) for this genre which is often prone to lengthy excess, giving it a modicum of commercial appeal. Most of the more abrasive tracks have similarly inclined vocals ( Grutle Kjellson from Enslaved provides vocals on "Reluctant Traveler"), and I suppose in this kind of environment anything other than that would be inappropriate. But the words are poetic, the poetry of the diseased, displaced and disenfranchised. In other words, a major portion of humanity as they will likely appear in the not too far off post-apocalyptic future. Rhythms, where present, are of course industrial-mechanical but not tribal, so there is no sense of community, just the thrumming of process. Yet this is the best course for the delivery of the artists' vision. 'New Devoted Human' is effective, compelling, and thought-provoking, far more than I thought this kind of music was capable of.

FFI Digital: 180125

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: FFI Digital
Title: 180125
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I quite enjoyed the last FFI Digital release that I reviewed, so I was interested to see how this would compare. For those of you who missed the last one, this is the work of Dan Fox, who has many other projects (including Loss, Fail, and This Is What I Hear When You Talk) and runs Inner Demons Records. The insert notes that “This album was created with only freeware / shareware instruments and effects, plus plugins packaged with Cubase.” With that established, let’s get into the music. This disc consists of two tracks at just over 10 minutes each. We start with 180125, which is a well put together composition of grinding noise over a thudding, metallic beat, which brings to mind the rhythms of older Test Department. This is not put together haphazardly, though, and everything fits well together. Later in the track, we have harshly distorted unintelligible vocals as the track slowly grinds to a close. 180125 (180305 RMX) gives us a sense of what the track sounds like with a month or two of distance from the original recording. The opening is far more stripped down, with the beat taking the center stage, before bringing the noise. This sounds a lot more mainstream industrial, kind of like Fox is trying to channel Front 242 through his own music. It’s much different from what I am used to hearing from him, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The vocals may be the same (you can’t tell in the remix either), but otherwise they are very different tracks. Overall, this is well done and quite enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 21 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.

Nightmare Park: Box Of Teeth

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: Nightmare Park (@)
Title: Box Of Teeth
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
Nightmare Park hail from Connecticut and describe themselves as “Blackened Harsh Static and Noise Walls, sounds sourced from Horror films that I like. . . . HELL IS REAL.” I suppose that this gives us some sense of what we are in for, especially when we take a gander at the disc titles. This set consists of three 3" discs neatly packaged in a small box. We begin with the first disc, which consists of one 20 minute track entitled, “I Am the Devil.” This is a crackling, rumbling wall of noise that consists of a nice blend of low-end rumble and choppy white noise static. It shifts slowly over time, but remains the same idea throughout. It’s honestly kind of soothing. Disc two is one 18 minute track, titled, “And I'm Here To Do The Devil's Work.” This opens with heavy low end bass and some quiet crackling static, making you think that this will be similar in approach to the first disc. However, at about two minutes in, the static suddenly becomes much louder, kicking in with more force. This is a much more involved piece than “I Am the Devil,” and the evolution of the track is more interesting. Grinding and scraping noise mixed with distorted low end bass. Disc 3 brings the noise with one 18 minute track titled “An Interview With Evil.” This is a more complex track than the other two, and much noisier, as if the first two were simply a warm up for the finale. This is like standing next to a blast furnace in a sheet metal factory. Overall, the tracks keep a similar feel throughout and hang together well as a whole. At times I wish that it would have had some more variety, but the overall effect is oddly soothing and hypnotic. One may expect the standard horror movie samples and over the top “check out how evil I am” from the titles, but thankfully Nightmare Park resists this impulse. Instead, we have solid discs of straight wall of noise. If you like your noise with a lot of low end, this is worth checking out. This set weighs in at just under an hour and is limited to 42 copies.

Mariela Rossi: RF-545L

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: Mariela Rossi
Title: RF-545L
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Mariela Rossi, and other than finding out that they are based in Essen, Germany, I could not find much on this project. Looks like the music will have to speak for itself. This disc opens with “Manual Tuning,” which is a heavy slab of low-end rumbling staticy goodness. It moves along until it completely disintegrates into a wall of static and feedback at the end. “The Quiet Space” begins as a much more subdued composition, but about 3 minutes in begins to unload with high pitched screeches of noise. The piece crescendos and decrescendos throughout, making good use of dynamics to keep it interesting. At times there are heavily distorted voices that emerge in the maelstrom, but you can’t make out what they are saying. The entire piece is held together by a bed of crackling noise. This one also ends in sustained high pitched squeal – definitely an experience in headphones. Overall, this is well done noise and worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 18 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.


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