Music Reviews

Institution D.O.L.: Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Mar 15 2019
Artist: Institution D.O.L.
Title: Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World
Format: CD
Label: TORM Ent
Rated: *****
Institution D.O.L. are back. If you love power electronics/death industrial and all that, you know what I’m talking about. Institution D.O.L. is the project of Barbie B. & Meta Dolor. The album is called “Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World” and it is definitely an album that will become very important - eventually a classic - in extreme music. Institution D.O.L. look as passionate as musicians exploring a new type of music, but they have also 20 years of experience, so the result is just perfect - experience and passion. The album has been recorded in 3 different countries over 3 years, so you may get also an understanding of the character traits of the musicians involved - patience is what can transform good music into great music.
The tracks are elegant and, from a point of view, simple. I do not mean simple as simplistic, but simple in the sense that Institution D.O.L. does not just put together as many sounds as possible just to create unbearable noise - they are no noise tourists.
A few songs are more ‘traditional’ in the sense of power electronics typical of Genocide Organ, Grey Wolves, or similar acts. I have in mind songs such as “We are the black ones”, which is a noise wall standing in the background and generated with samples but also expert use of synthesizers, complemented with a voice shifting between spoken words and screams. Another example is “You are all lost”, which plays smartly with synths parameters to create a feeling of discomfort - the excellent vocal performance completes the song (sometimes screaming, sometimes growling, sometimes talking). “In dust and death” is a little bit different - a very acid synth create a sort of martial rhythm complemented by a very angry voice - noise and sounds of a crowd in the background.
But other songs are different - “Invocation”, Abschlachtung”, and the closing song are what Institution D.O.L. define a sort of ‘deathscape’. They have elements of the other songs, but they also create a dark and dense atmosphere by adding laments, pianos, nice and elegant pads, organs. The last song is particularly cool. The beginning is a walk towards the perfection of death industrial, but suddenly, an elegant pad enters softening the tense (and dense) atmosphere. A delicate melody is complemented by an angry and distorted voice. But it’s not over, since in the middle of this very long song (12 minutes or so), there is also space for a delicate piano, playing a melody that, after you have experienced the entire album, is really an invitation to vanish and die.
The choice of the order of the songs is also smart - you do not have the power electronics first, and then the more ‘relaxed’ songs (or viceversa). You have a mix. By listening to this album, you shift between states of fear, fury, and mystery. And that is exactly what you should expect from genuine extreme music.
To sum up, the year 2019 has started in the right way for the fans of extreme industrial music.
Artist: VV.AA (@)
Title: Merry And Bright
Format: CD
Label: Zaftig Research (@)
Rated: *****
For a while, ever year Brett Lunceford would release a Christmas compilation on his label Zaftig Research. I believe the last one for a while was in 2008 then it came back in 2017 and now we have the 2018 version to review. I am not usually very good about reviewing compilations because it is tough to break down every single track but I wrote a short little blurb here about each one as I went through them, some two times to get it all in.

Conure: The Return of Ralphie is more sapling from A Christmas Story layered and chopped into an ever-growing noisy nightmare, excellent as expected from Conure!

Darmkwadraat: Electric Snow is a digital soup of synthesizer bleeps and bloops with a noisy edge on top. Great stuff from a pretty new act who as far as I can tell only has one release on Lage Landen Lawaai, which puts out super limited tapes. Lots of fun!

Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain: Jingle Construct is the track I provided for this compilation, so I will not be reviewing it here ;-)

Goose: Sugarplum Dreams contains a beautiful winter landscape of drones and bells, you can hear the wind in the background and some bells jingling nearby, excellent mood music. A brief version of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy shows up at the end.

Praying For Oblivion + Skullwall: Stockholm Syndrome brings together two harsh noise masters with a track of layered chaos. Both projects released a collaboration at the end of 2017 and much like this split they bring in the sound from each project and mix together very well.

Jan-M. Iversen: Christmas Morn brings a beautiful drone piece that is so intricately layered and musical. If you know how prolific Jan-Morten Iversen is you will not be shocked by the talent behind all of his music.

Orange: No Presents For Christmas is another one of Brett's projects, this time though he brings in the Power Electronics to punish our ears, good old school dirty vibes.

Narishkeit: The Ant Eater. Narishkeit appeared on last years Christmas compilation and they also have a release on Inner Demons. This project from the Netherlands has not been super productive but what they are putting out there is pretty great. The project has some mystery behind it but hopefully, we will hear more from them in the future.

Phog Masheeen: It Will Be Christmas In Hell is a weird loungy track with spoken/sung "lyrics" on top of it. I have not heard any of their other work to know if it is like this but it is odd and I'm not sure if I like it.

Weeping Wall: Five Minutes With A Ten Dollah Ho Ho Ho brings a "noise" track that I wouldn't call harsh at all, it is like a broken digital sounding wash of static. Not many changes in the track but I dig it. I can't find much about this project out there, hopefully, more will turn up soon!

Survey Control: Salamajarvi National Park is an excellent stark track that sounds like someone floating through space attempting to make radio contact with someone out there. Gorgeous outer space drones! Sounds a bit like Bad Sector maybe?

Stolen Light: Boxing Day where Brett brings in the layering of noise and recordings from home maybe? Layered professionally and masterfully.

Bardoseneticcube: Ambioz is another classic ambient sci-fi sounding track as would be expected from this project. Never disappoints!

C/A/T: A Letter To Santa sounds like what we have come to expect from Ben Arp after all these years, classic Rhythmic Noise, I am happy to see that Ben is working on new material again!

Collapse: Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Revisited, the first part of that track name "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is a John Lennon song but I am not sure if that was the inspiration for the title. Collapsist is a project that I believe uses modular synths. Excellent repetitious waves of synthesizer sounds!

Overall this is an excellent compilation from Zaftig Research, I know Brett has more planned for the label which is very exciting for myself being a fan for years.

Compactor: Technology Worship

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (10777)
Jan 12 2019
Artist: Compactor (@)
Title: Technology Worship
Format: CD
Label: Oppressive Resistance Recordings
Rated: *****
Who is Compactor? The website explains that “Compactor is an interconnected set of machinery that is manipulated by an anonymous figure known as The Worker under orders from faceless corporation Waste MGT. Industrial, Noise, Techno, and other related sonics are crushed into something else. The project uses mostly obsolete equipment, which is set up, broken down and maintained by System Administrator Derek Rush.” Yes, that Derek Rush, of Chthonic Streams, Dream Into Dust, and for those on Facebook, the man behind the hilarious HNW Memes group. This should give you some insight into what you’re in for. First off, let’s get this out of the way. Buy this album. If you like noise, you need to just get this. I have been recording and listening to noise music for two decades now, and there are very few albums that blew me away like this one. This was not just enjoyable listening, but also inspiring to me as a musician. The rest of this review will just be more about why you need this album. First off, the liner notes frame this work with “Terms of Service” like “Long Distance Rage: Thou shalt cultivate greater irrational anger towards thy neighbors whom thou never see’est in the flesh (Externals 20.2).” In much of this, Rush seems to be channeling the eminent media theorist and critic Neil Postman, with his skepticism of technological advancement. Now on to the music. “Ease Of Use” kicks it off with heavy plodding beats and digital noise. This is pure industrial; factory music for the digital age. “Autonomous” is what you hear when the machines are no longer in spec. Grinding noise over the chugging sound of a gas-powered generator. “Cellular Degradation” is a nice mix of high-end crackling and low rumbling bass, as the sound of bottle rockets and analog sweeps blast through. In “Timeloss,” a relentless beat scrapes over a low-pitched static tone, as a variety of noise blasts enter the scene, only to leave as quickly as they entered. Just when you think it is over, it rattles your speakers with bass and piercing analog sweeps. “Interconnected-Isolated” starts off with dial-up modem noise before hammering you with overdriven bass as the modem continues to peek through. It all dissolves into an almost subdued throbbing bass tone. “Long Distance Rage” is pure, grinding, staticy noise, once again giving us a good mix of high and low range. “Vaporware” is more subdued and atmospheric. This is the point in the soundtrack where the protagonist discovers the robot uprising plot, building until the climactic moment when the protagonist is suddenly discovered. “Unclean Power” is pulsing waves of noise that has an almost hypnotic quality. This also collapses in on itself with harsh noise squalls and rumbling bass. “Screen Hypnosis” is a short track of subdued crackling sound, which is almost peaceful by comparison. Finally, “Church Of Virtual Reality” illustrates how what is not done can sometimes be more important than having a overwhelming wall of noise. There is a good use of dynamics and silence here, with bubbling noise that is punctuated by pounding thuds. Overall, the compositions are wonderfully complex, with a clear attention to detail. This is well worth getting for noise fans. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.

Shock Frontier: Tumult

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 29 2018
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
 Edit (10674)
Oct 10 2018
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 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 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.

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