Tetrad Veil – Solar Sequence (C50[?], Involition)

Black Noise, death industrial, Review, Uncategorized

tetrad veil solar sequencwThe first thing that you’ll notice about Tetrad Veil’s debut (only?) cassette Solar Sequence is that its font is nearly inscrutable. Seriously, I first did some research to see if I was simply bad at reading or if the writing was in Cyrillic. Alas, no it was not – I happened to figure out that the label was Involition, and then from there I got the rest of my information. So the thing that stood out most popping this tape in was that Tetrad Veil wanted to make it as hard as possible for me to actually figure out their name and title.

Yet maybe that’s the point, because after the opening sounds of “DWR” begin I was hooked on the death ambient ritualistic tones that Tetrad Veil were putting forth. Though one might expect low production values from this blackened tape, the noises here are actually fully formed and unhallowed. The group offers up ten-or-so minute excursions into electronic darkness, with rhythmic looping bass and very atmospheric patterns.

Over top of it all is the echoing screeches of Tetrad Veil’s vocalist, set back far enough to not be obstructive but harrowing enough to reach into the soul. The lofi nature of those screams work really well just above the churning bleakness of the electronics.

Solar Sequence shows good variety here, and Tetrad Veil are loosely stepping around subgenres like martial industrial, black metal, power electronics, and death industrial to create a very compelling sound that is also strangely catchy. “Wake the Dormant” on the second side features deep bass tones and a ringing tone along with chanted vocals that help induce heavy trance states.

The tape is a great release from Tetrad Veil, both disturbing and hypnotic. The simple looping rhythms don’t stray far from their initial patterns but Solar Sequence manages to be a tight listen all the way through. You can still check out this release on their Bandcamp page.

 

EXCELLENT |||||

Isolator – Culture & Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation (CD, Black Plagve)

Black Noise, Drone, Noise, Review

isolator culture

Isolator is a blackened noise project featuring The Nothing and The Sculptor; however, if those code names don’t give you any indication of their association with other noise projects, the duo features members of Set, Father Befouled, and Encoffination. From the gloomy packaging to the lyrics featured in the fold-out digipak, it’s pretty clear that Isolator are going to bring dirges of black drone to the listener, and that’s exactly what they deliver.

However, it’s not as cut-and-dry as it may seem. Though the liner notes indicate there will be a lot of vocals, there really aren’t as many as expected. Or at least, they’re not delivered in the expected manner – whispers and growls are the common denominator here. Over the course of five tracks, Isolator craft heavy drones out of their instruments; at times it sounds like guitar, but there is bass and samples on here as well. Opener “Cast Into Blood” brings the momentous clamor of the duo right away with surging pulses that climax relatively quickly, while the longer tracks “Your Heaven Will Writhe In the Chaos of My Hell” and closer “Into the Blood of Our Kingdom” are reluctant to open up.

Isolator packs a lot of sound into these tracks, but it’s important to have the volume all the way up to really notice the detail. Their drones have a tendency to blend, where the subtle shifts are difficult to hear. However, in later tracks the progression is more evident, and the finale of “Into the Blood of Our Kingdom” hammers home the main idea of Culture & Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation; the whirring feedback tone in the forefront drops out midway through to open up for percussive cymbal smashes and an electric shock of rhythmic fuzz. It’s what the album has been building to, and it feels powerful.

Isolator have the black drone sound down very well, and their tracks tend to stick to the formula frequently. They’re not copycats of Sunn O)))’s devilish guitars or the intense vocal-tinged blackened noise, but something in between the two, exploring the darkest crags of drone with aplomb.

Steel Hook Prostheses – The Empirics Guild (CD, Malignant Records)

Black Noise, death industrial, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, power electronics, Review

the empirics guild

Steel Hook Prostheses is the duo J. Stillings and L. Kerr, and their sound sits primarily within the heavy power electronics/death industrial genres. The black metal vocals should give it away immediately on The Empiric Guild, but the combination of intensely atmospheric noise and the penchant for producing eerie textures of makes this a soundtrack for a very gloomy day; or, if it isn’t one, it sure will be after a listen to the screaming electronics.

The Empirics Guild is composed of twelve tracks to make up over an hour of sound. These often run the gamut from lengthy to quite-lengthy, most of them not falling under the four minute mark. Steel Hook Prostheses generally envelope the listener in sound, starting out with windy, escalating drones that are joined with harsh, often manipulated vocals. The thing about The Empirics Guild‘s tracks is that the vocals are rarely the same, often heavily modified; “Leprosaria Dross”‘ demonic incantations sound significantly different from the less-modulated screams on the other tracks, for example.

This means that no two tracks fall into the same sort of sound, which is often a problem with death industrial and power electronics. The vocals are an important technique for Steel Hook Prostheses, and they add an extra layer to the noises that populate this release. Spoken word samples on “Debrided Necrotic Tissue” add a creepy texture to the hushed drones; harsher screams give chilling results. The tracks are meant to unnerve, and they do so at all times.

Some tracks may seem familiar to others doing the same sort of styles, but Steel Hook Prostheses is consistently good. If you’re into this type of death industrial/PE, you’ll have no problem finding multiple tracks to enjoy on The Empirics Guild.

Aderlating – Gospel of the Burning Idols (CD, Black Plagve)

Black Noise, Drone, harsh noise, Noise, power electronics, Review

aderlating

Aderlating is part Gnaw Their Tongues and part Mowlaner, or Maurice de Jong and Eric Eijspaart respectively. They’re both coming from backgrounds well-versed in blackened noise and drone, and one look at the titles of the tracks on Gospel of the Burning Idols and the artwork on the fantastic digipak from Black Plagve and no one will mistake Aderlating for anything different.

And yet the sound on offer here is 40 minutes of more nuanced noise than might be expected. Aderlating still rely on some of the usual tactics, including building up their sound for explosive release and the gruff vocal delivery of the introductory track “Opening of the Tomb” (the best track on Gospel of the Burning Idols, by the way); but there’s also a careful consideration of volume and structure that adds much more to the tracks than simple blown-out guitar, synth, and machinery.

Of note are the drum tracks, which are quietened in the mix so as not to overwhelm. Aderlating’s percussion rhythms are quite complex and poly-rhythmic, like the choppy, cymbal-laden elements of “Spewed On By Slaves of Inhumanity.” But the droning, airy qualities of Gospel of the Burning Idols are also reasons to listen – not blasting at the listener, but slowly churning.

It’s a good release made even better by the thought put into the packaging. Both artists behind Aderlating are pros at this type of thing, but Gospel of the Burning Idols doesn’t rehash their styles. It’s bold and original, and enduringly dark.

Krueleco – Regno (C30, Stupro Rituale)

Black metal, Black Noise, harsh noise, Review

krueleco regno

Krueleco are Occultus Parn Diam and Occultus Parc CMII (for those who might not realize, not their real names), a duo that plays black harsh noise. That’s a combination of things, including noise in the vein of power electronics and a prominent display of drum tracking. Seven tracks round out Regno, split into two sides: Kultur and Zivilisation.

The Kultur side features more drumming parts; “Regno I” in particular is a looping track that uses what sounds like grindcore drumming underneath noise as a rhythmic assault. Similarly, “Regno II” attacks with sizzling crunchy hiss while a repetitive drum beat bangs away. Regno‘s tracks generally stay fairly consistent in their sound, rarely traveling very far from their starting points, but the cuts are short enough to allow such subtle movement. “Regno IV” is a particularly good example of cut-up, squally harsh noise.

Zivilisation’s side is more focused on noise than the drum parts of its opposite side. “Regno V” does have a heavy bass rumble akin to double-bass blasts, but its central feature is a loop and sawing noises at the forefront. “Regno VI” has a nice sizzling static line along with huge booms of bass, and the drums drop out for more electronic mayhem, as does the longer “Regno VII,” which involves a whirring, tonal feedback and a saw-like drone that eventually add a fast-paced drum beat. It’s very hypnotic, and the best of the tape.

Krueleco provides a fairly unique experience combining blackened metal and harsh noise together, and Regno features a good range of tracks that utilize these elements well. None are explicitly harsh, nor are they simply black metal with noise; instead, Regno finds a medium that still espouses the darkness of both genres.

 

Unclean/Lapot – Sortovuosien Terrori/Represiju Metai (C70, Terror)

Black Noise, Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review

unclean lapot

Unclean is a Finnish harsh noise artist who throws out some destructive sounds over two tracks on his side of this split tape, subtitled “Sortovuosien Terrori,” while on the B-side, “Represiju Metai,” Lapot allows one long track to expand and contort wherever it likes in 35 minutes. Both sides are bleak, atmospheric, and bleary in sound.

First is Unclean’s “Sodanjulistus,” a very bass-heavy track that is so blurred by the muddy production that the only thing that really stands out is the intense blustery sound. Unclean’s assault also features quite a bit of feedback mid-range, as well as a hypnotic chanting section, but the audio clearly favors the heavy rumbles over the other pieces of the track. “Veri Suomen Kaduilla” is a more balanced track, with a juddering tone paired with a punctuated rumble of bass; vocals kick in about a minute or so in, nicely backgrounded with an echo to them that makes them seem shouted into a bomb shelter.

Lapot’s track “Represiju Metai” is much more contained, starting off with a low drone and segueing into shuddering bass with slight sounds of vocals and a low crackle that could be coming from a guitar. This is continued throughout much of the track, but the interesting thing about Lapot’s textures is that the drone is the most dominant feature of the track, with the subtle nuances of the static crackles hidden beneath the surface. In general, “Represiju Metai” sticks to a solid sound but enhances the black hole-like sound with the presence of small differences.

This lengthy split is worth the time, especially because both artists offer tracks that hide their harsher natures. Unclean allows the bass to drive the tracks, while Lapot’s slow escalation into huge sound works well with the material.

Trepaneringsritualen – The Totality of Death (Programme B) (CD, Silken Tofu)

Black Noise, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, Review

totality of death b

The Totality of Death (Programme B) is the second disc in a compilation of difficult-to-find tracks from Trepaneringsritualen. It’s another hour of death industrial tracks, released on Silken Tofu in much the same style as Programme A with more flip-out panel artwork in a digipak.

Most of these tracks are similar in quality and tonality to the ones on Programme A, some of them appearing on the same releases. Silken Tofu and Malignant Records split up the tracks instead of having them appear back-to-back as they would have on their corresponding releases, possibly for a better mix and proportion of similar tracks.

There’s lots of banging and pounding akin to the death industrial tribalism; “Sacrament & Crucifixion,” “Champ Sacré,” and “Decoupage de L’Orme,” back to back with each other, all sit fairly comfortably in this zone, driven by the rhythmic pounding with the latter featuring a wind-swept drone punctuated by muffled screaming.

Trepaneringsritualen alternates comfortably between upbeat tracks with prominent black metal vocals and more droning efforts like the opener “Beläten”; some are focused heavily on atmosphere, and others, like the rough “Eucharist of Shit & Piss,” fall nearly into black metal categories. It’s a sweeping testament to genres, but The Totality of Death as a complete set is a wonderful arrangement of the differences in Trepaneringsritualen’s work.

Like most compilations, there are some definite hits and a few misses; some of Trepaneringsritualen’s work tends to drag for too long (“Repeating (Anti-Memory),” “Den Fallne Domaldrs Lik”). But for the most part both programmes are intense and effective, with great packages. You should pick up both for two hours of good material.

Trepaneringsritualen – The Totality of Death (Programme A) (CD, Malignant Records)

Black Noise, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, power electronics, Review

the totality of death a

Trepaneringsritualen is Thomas Ekelund, a death industrial/power electronics project that has been around since about 2010. The project itself has amassed quite a number of smaller, hard to find releases on tapes across the noise spectrum (and even a 10″ on Release the Bats, kind of surprising), so in a partnership between Malignant Records and Silken Tofu, Trepaneringsritualen released a two-CD compilation set comprising many (but not all) of his tracks. Thus, one label released Programme A, the other released Programme B.

The tracks aren’t ordered by date of release, so they’re split fairly evenly between the two discs. You’ll get some of Trepaneringsritualen’s old and new stuff on both CDs, so there’s no worry that one disc consists of less quality than the other. It’s interesting how the tracks are structured on Programme A, because some of them seem quite different from his other works.

Opener “Death Reveler” finds a looped, scorched guitar rhythm and some bell-like textures with harsh vocals overtop, while the second track, “Edifice of Nine Sauvastikas,” meanders with an echoing industrial yaw for ten minutes. These moments tend to juxtapose the changes in Trepaneringsritualen’s sound as it evolved, and that’s really what a compilation such as this should be about.

Programme A‘s tracks tend toward the simpler side of things in terms of sonic output; Ekelund is often happy to offer up one pattern of textures throughout an entire track, working with the blackened samples he includes without feeling the need to change the loop. While this often works to his advantage (see “All Hail the Black Flame”), some of the tracks like “The Birth of Babalon” can grow stale. Likewise, the moments where Trepaneringsritualen buries his vocals in the sound, as on “För Svears Väl,” feel like missed opportunities – the atmosphere is there, but the vocals do give the project and tracks an added weight.

The last two tracks on Programme A are considerably lesser in quality, which is fine, because these offerings are quite different from the rest of the output. Drums, guitar, and other instruments combine with his vocals for an amalgam that is hinted at on other tracks but never explored. Trepaneringsritualen even covers Death in June’s “C’est Un Reve.”

Like many compilations, the tracks on The Totality of Death (Programme A) can be hit or miss, but for the most part, Trepaneringsritualen’s output is consistently punishing and worth the lengthy hour listen, especially because the project has been quite varied over the years. The discs from Malignant Records and Silken Tofu come in a six-panel fold-out digipak, too, so the whole package is worth it.

Gulaggh – Vorkuta (CD, Crucial Blast)

Black Noise, Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review

vorkuta

Vorkuta was originally released in 2008 as part of a trilogy of albums about prison camps, but Crucial Blast has re-released the first of those three in a simple digipak. Gulaggh is the transformation of the original group Stalaggh after they concluded a different trilogy of releases; the musicians are surely focused on their themes.

This one-track album, lasting about 45 minutes, is composed of two distinct movements; the first, which lasts nearly half the time, features droning dissonant chords and bass booms along with a Russian giving a speech in what must be a recorded announcement to the gulag. The track swells, expands, ultimately becomes bloated with the encompassing features of the track, and explodes into a series of cries and screams.

At first they could be anything; perhaps they are just screams of anger or frustration. But as Vorkuta continues, they become agonized cries, not of adults but of children wailing in chorus. It’s unsettling, and Gulaggh emphasize that aspect with impacting bass hits and the calculated roll of snare drum.

If there’s a way to put suffering to sound, Gulaggh have managed to do that on Vorkuta. It effectively epitomizes the terrible aspects of a prison camp as much as I can imagine; in a way, this soundscape is the tortuous expanse of being forced to listen to moral and ethical wrongs while also helpless to stop it.

Mors Sonat – Comforts in Atrocity (CD, Crucial Blast)

Black Noise, dark ambient, doom metal, Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review

comfort

From the opening track “Holy Holy Holy Nil,” Mors Sonat’s new album Comforts in Atrocity feels like it’s set up be a release full of dark doom metal – cello chords are scraped, guitar is fuzzed and drums are struck slowly, tenderly, and with a focus on cymbal tinkling. And yet the end of this track builds up to a huge crescendo of static that threatens to overtake the melancholy rhythm heard before – there are screams in the rumble and feedback in the electronics.

Comforts in Atrocity is not your average doom album, although you’ll often find those components within. Mors Sonat have a tendency to move from quiet ambiance to cacophony in a matter of seconds, and those climaxes are the best part of this album. But the duo of Mors Sonat aren’t always using the blown-out bass and static patterns of typical harsh noise; “Sanctuary in Soil” actually does feel like the listener might bet getting buried, slowly, with the sand making a perfect staccato against whatever wooden box we’re housed in.

These tracks are often matched up with louder ones; “The Vengeance of Embrace” is the longest on this release and also one of the most interesting as a straight-up noise track. It’s got huge bass drones and a pattering rhythm at the forefront, but it also has a ton of industrial sounds and whispered voices in the background – not overly harsh or off-putting, but complex with a hint of rhythm.

Mors Sonat’s tracks often feel like they could fit in multiple genres; “The Sweet Long Legs of Hate” has a nice droning groove to it, with off-key piano and a sustained chord leading the track throughout its length. Then, there’s an absolute crushing noise track after with “So Shall I Weep in Liberation Within the Ecstasy of Decay.” There’s something for everyone, and Mors Sonat do all of it well.