The 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.
Stone Wired is a death dark ambient project from Gyorgy Turoczy, also known as Human Vault and Mortum Exabyss. He’s been re-releasing some of his older output as part of his record label Exabyss Records, and much like the Human Vault Tears of the Quiet Ones/Souls Inflicted double-CD-R album, Something We Should Endure is a collection of tracks from Stone Wired’s early days. This is meant to coincide with Something We Never Endure, another series of tracks from 1997-1999. If you check both of them out, that’s about 28 tracks and over two hours of material, something that might overwhelm when talking about death and dark ambient.
Something We Should Endure is a relatively immense release, and it covers quite a bit of ground throughout its running time. This is certainly well-rooted in death industrial; there are quite a number of vocal interludes sounding the death march, or synth-heavy sustained notes held out while percussive tones punctuate the darkness.
Stone Wired does these well, however. There’s an abundance of death and dark ambient music that often falls short of the mark because of the ease in which it can be produced – hit a note, hold it out, and pull in some sort of heavy breathing or marching beats for a concise approach – and yet Stone Wired’s feels somewhat different. Part of that is the style of Something We Should Endure – as a compilation of tracks, it feels loosely connected instead of recorded at the same time. It is also heavy on the atmosphere, and that’s something that can’t really be copied; it’s simply felt by the artist and listener, and when it’s there, it works.
The variety helps things significantly. There are regular ambient tracks, there are vocal interludes like “Regen” that carry right into much harsher songs like “Ode to the Catafalque.” The ordering and pairing of Something We Should Endure provides room for Stone Wired to showcase his abilities, and as a compilation, one can’t go wrong checking out this album simply for the hour of death ambient and dark industrial thematicism of Stone Wired’s work.
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.