tirsdag den 16. oktober 2018

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010

Written by Mads Heilskov


Beyond the Black Rainbow is the debut of director and writer Panos Cosmatos, and what a strange one it is: think the cosmic, psychedelic parts of Twin Peaks, but colder and darker. The loose, almost inexistent storyline is set at a psychiatric research facility called The Arboria Institute during the 1960s and 1980s. 

Here you follow a young heavily medicated girl, Elena, trying to escape the strange and somewhat menacing Dr Barry Nyle. From that base, the movie descends into a realm of madness, delusion and paranoia. The Arborea Institute is a cold and dark place where everything is kind of off. Throughout the movie, we are met with scrambled timelines and weird stuff happening. Everything is set in hazy red and black colours make it hard to follow what is actually happening on-screen. In that sense, we see things from the perspective of the captive girl, whose sense of reality is blurred due to her treatment and general mental state as well as that of Dr Nyle, who seems to be completely out of touch with any conventional reality throughout the entire movie. 


Beyond the Black rainbow only features sparse dialogue and most of the time strange things are taking place in front of your eyes to a dark whooshing ambient score. When words are incidentally spoken, they barely make any sense, just emphasising that what goes on at the Arborea Institute has a deep impact on the sense of the reality of all who participate. As the plot unravels, it opens up a little bit and you get little snippets of the institute’s history and hints as to what kind of research is going on. Without revealing too much, the research at the Arborea Institute is linked with the psychedelic experimentation and interest in the cosmic and the occult in the 1960s. We are never really sure if the whole thing is simply a lasting bad trip instigated by heavy drug use or if the doctors and patients really have had their third eye opened and are able to experience a fearful reality beyond the ordinary. What remains is that Beyond the Black Rainbow is a paranoia-inducing and disturbing psychedelic trip into the dark side of the human mind, hinting at something larger and more frightening. It is not for everyone, but if you enjoy watching beautiful images of deep paranoia happening inside hyper-modernist rooms shot in hazy colours or if you simply find the entanglement of psychedelic drugs, science and the occult interesting, you should give this a shot and enter a strange dimension beyond the black rainbow.


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søndag den 14. oktober 2018

Kraaiengebroed - S/T



The physical cassette already being sold out from his highly obscure and experimental dark-ambient / noise-drone act called Kraaiengebroed. An act having one sole member, who is also known and work as Gnaw Their Tounges, Aderlating, Mowlawner, and Slavenij. This one is the fourth album and it had been released on Ominous Recordings, as of now the digital album version being the only version available... maybe we can hope for a cassette re-release? While we all are having our fingers crossed, let us all then dive into this mouldy thing of utter darkness and see (and hear) what it is all about. 

The first thing you´ll notice would be the GREAT (and scary) cover-art. A kind of hooded figure with a bird´s skeletal visage, looking straight at you. Surroundings being a dense and dark forest. You press play on your cassette deck and the first track The Sound of Moss begins, actually surrounding your very senses in a thick and syrup-like ghost-fog. You might as well just... give in because you are not going to get out of this. Blackened and angelic heavy ambience glues the listener to the very ground, frost-cold your limps. We are actually talking about a VERY spiritual experience here, almost religiously (like inside a huge cathedral). The sounds of eerie vocals of the dead...almost trying to break into the recordings. Mysterious telephone-like tone-drones (and string-like), rattling ghost-cains stirring things up while heavenly voices from deep below (and above) floating through your body. The Sound Of Moss? A scary and interesting sound indeed! 


Next piece called Brought Down Haunted (love the title!), brings you straight to a bottomless pit of sound. Crackling cellar/tomb-noises, terrifying and subversive evocative demonic-voices, echoed and haunting sounds from below rushes up to torment the listener. There is also raw metallic bangings going on a percussive ritualistic string being tapped in a very mesmerizing and minimalistic way. Kind of sounds like a dark-ambient version of early In Slaughter Natives! (not bad eh?). A VERY haunting piece.

Third offering Night Whispers continues into the night with ritualistic and tribal-like drums, infernal radio-chatter voices moaning, disturbing strings and spine-tickling sounds playing backwards. Really otherworldly and supernatural material going on in here... could convince the sceptics regarding the existence of a parallel universe filled with spirits with only ill intent! 

The fourth track on this challenging smörgasbord-of-horror gives you a track called Lost, being ONLY 27 minutes and 24 seconds. A primal and lo-fi ambient-treat for people who are trying to record the dead through esoteric radio-equipment. The entire track contains worlds... and other dimensions. Try reading British horror-author Ramsey Campbells The Plain of Sound. and you´ll know what I mean!.

Last track on the album called Machine leaves you alone... with the Machine. What kind of machine? An abandoned and rusty thing in a closed-up factory? A subterranean and haunted machine in the cellar of some ancient hospital?. We really don't know. The noisiest and harsh piece on the album, which I am sure must have been recorded in complete darkness. With microphones, amplifiers, metal-junk. A punishing and doomy piece to end your miserable night! I can almost imagine killer-Bob from Twin Peaks moving at you, in complete slow-motion while listening to this. 


And now for a break... Have to catch my breath here! A truly wonderous journey into pure human fear, the sort of fear that basically can (and will) manifest into a thousand forms. The fear of the unknown being the strongest of these, as our beloved Lovecraft once said. Yup, this is my favorite Halloween treat for the year 2018. Give it a listen in the late hours after you´ve tried contacting the dead?. Great one I say, a really great release!


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torsdag den 11. oktober 2018

Turgor - Imferrum



Italian label Industrial Ölocaust Recordings is back with a new project while hails from the capital of Russia, Moscow. Called Turgor, which means:


"the state of turgidity and resulting rigidity of cells or tissues, typically due to the absorption of fluid."


In other words, absorbing fluid at the point where you´ll crack from the pressure. I am not sure what the album title means, maybe being something being... infernal perhaps?. Nevertheless, it has been released by physical means via Industrial Ölocaust Recordings on a pro-CD-R encased in a jewel-case. How limited it is, I am not sure (no info). If you should have the interest in only having the album by digital means, that I can reveal to you that the album is available though UK-based dark-ambient label called Kalpamantra plus US-based label called Studio 4632 (see Bandcamp links below). 

So what is Turgor about it?. According to a small piece of paper which was with the promo CD-R (which I received through the post) the info is as following:

"TURGOR is a process of sound research of the material from which the world around us is built"

"TURGOR method: work with ancient ritual musical formulas in the space of individual experience of project participants; conjugation of the sound of natural materials and possibilities of synthesis of sound. Objects and tools used to build sound spaces are created uniquely for each particular process."

In other words, we are dealing with an esoteric industrial and experimental-ambient project which uses found material as it is. The first track You´ll Never See (In) gets you right into the very foundation of which industrial-ritual music is about. Mass-like and esoteric ritual rhythms, spine-tingling metallic sounds, evocative chantings and something... just something sounding like that Tibetian thighbone trumpet (Do a Google search!), in other words: A GREAT INTRO! Something in between Lustmord´s Heresy and Endvra´s Black Eden. Next track Outer Space Transmission lets the listener leave the earth for a while in search for angels or aliens, the Tibetian vocal-themes roams in the background while harsh and cold ambient atmosphere caresses the ear. While you are wondering what the journey to deep space was for, you´ll subconsciously flow through the next track called Invitation To War. In the Warhammer 40K universe, you have probably entered a universe where the everchanging forces of Chaos roam. Which could mean an Invitation To War? Martial metallic percussions (Heavily distorted), eerie and warped dark ambiance (and vocals), TG´ish proto-industrial guitar-work. Not bad, fans of In Slaughter Natives and MZ.412 might wanna check it out. 


Next track Anomalyra slows time down to a pleasant halt, a deep and heavy paul-stretched industrial-ambiance treat for modern dark-ambient stoners. Hauntology is the fourth track on the album offers new completely new sides to the album. Cool sounding and mysterious percussions and doom´ish soundtrack synth-works, the saddest thing is that it is the shortest track on the album!. Second, last track offers menacing post-apocalyptic rhythms, looped distorted guitars and evil-sounding gasmask vocals... sounds a bit like early Scorn?!. Last track Nessus ends the album ends the album beautifully in the deep and dark cellar, with a movie-sampled whispering voice and blackened atmospheres. 

Everything works on this album, both the ideas and how it all has been created. Only one minor issue with the album, at times it sounds like the recorded sounds having been recorded.. too loud? It creates minor clicks and glitches. BUT, I do think that the quality (and the uniqueness) of the album can make the listener look-away from these sound-issues. Have a go on it!


Label (Kalpamantra):

Label (Studio 4632):

Label (Industrial Ölocaust Recordings):

fredag den 5. oktober 2018

Megaptera - Disease (Rerelease)


One of the most anticipated death-industrial releases of 2018, a cult item worth anyone (who is into dark-ambient, death-industrial and dungeon synth)´s attention! One of the grand and classic death-industrial pioneers, besides other pioneering acts like Brighter Death Now and Archon Satani. The release Disease being the 7th album by Megaptera and it was originally released on Art Konkret back in 1996, in a limited stock of 1000 copies. Since then it has been a collectible cult item for death-industrial fanatics, the price tag on Discogs would explain that. Nevertheless, it was decided to re-release in a stock of 300 copies via Ur Muzik, remastered the damn bugger but none other than Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (MZ.412, Folkstorm etc). And of course, re-creating the cover art to fit the modern age. You can notice in the cover-art that someone in Megaptera being a huge Cabaret Voltaire fan, even had it made to be a tribute to the dear old band and their classic cover designs, enough of that. The album works like a mini-album/EP with only 4 tracks BUT... it almost runs 60 minutes!. 

The first 2 minutes of the first track, gives the listener that certain (and GREAT!) Megaptera sound. BAM! Dialogue samples from classic 80s horror flicks, heavy and evocative looped industrial drones, sacred religious synths and slowly ritualistic metallic rhythms. Soo damn convincing, the sound and the re-mastering sound truly fantastic! I am (almost) getting a religious experience out of this. This track called The Passage To Your Evil Dreams also one of my favorite Megaptera tracks. And yes, the Gemini is still dead! 



Next track Disorientated leaves you all alone in a huge abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere (in the night), how the wind rushes through the building while it creates strange noises through small crevices and metal-junk, paranoid voices surrounds you, and sounds of great wind-mills outside starts raising the hair on your neck while a cold... and  metallic thumping rhythm keeps pounding in your head!. Fantastic eerie piece. Third track Haunted By Demons continues with circling machine-like mood-drones and offers sound-visions from demon tortured souls. Post-apocalyptic metallic and tribal rhythms and the sound of tortured and worshipping humans. Last track The Squire Goes Insane, is a track with 4 tracks inside! A heavy meditative intro welcomes the listener, feels (and sounds) like being invited into an apocalyptic Christian cult while you can hear the cars outside... Just driving by.  


A strange and insect-like chirping sound being also at present. The religious and trance-like state overtakes you, and it drowns you into a repetitive state of being. Fluidlike noises, heavy alien-like/non-human breaths, evocative (and metallic) drums, mesmerizing (and heavy) monk-like choirs, church bells... The sound again of Megaptera (and the remastering) is beyond perfection. All of this (almost relaxing) heavy ambiance gets replaced by an infernal and eerie sound, which afterward gets combined with an even strange looped rhythmic sound-element. You have to hear it to experience it!. Whoever started the rite in the cult, someone (or something) unnatural is being summoned for sure!. Could it be... Hastur (He who should not be spoken), Azathoth (Idiot Demon Sultan), Asmodeus?... You decide! The drama ends when the portal has been opened... and it throbs like a huge heart with icy winds from foreign dimensions surrounding it, hypnotic ritualistic beats marks their present... silence once again, only the sound of the huge heart being present. Ritualistic chantings and tribal beatings start, to bind the summoned (NON-Christian) elder god at its place within the sacred circle. If it got loose, it would probably devour the entire world!. The drama rises with heavy winds and jackhammering insect sounds, while the tribal beatings are relentlessly going on in the background. This mood continues, ends and intensifies with a haunting drone-ish synth... Makes it all sound very uncomfortable, in a good way that is. Heavy good shit, that is all I have to say!

So there you have it. A death-industrial/dark-ambient bible for every freak who hates pure drone music for hipsters. Obey my command, DO GET IT!!!!!

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lørdag den 29. september 2018

Bryn Jones ( Muslimgauze ) 1961-1999.

Written By Kristian Robert Carter



The music of Muslimgauze has been a big part of my life. I discovered Bryn's work by accident sometime during the year of 1992. I was dating a woman a little bit older than myself and we had been to see Finitribe at a club in London. We were crashing the night at my partners best friend house in Clapham in London. Up to half the night chatting, one by one my companions drifted off to sleep. I was left the only one awake and with artificial energy rushing through my veins I wasn't going to get any sleep for a few more hours. Deciding to chill out with the headphones on the record deck in the flat I began to browse through their vinyl collection.

I was already familiar with Coil as Loves Secret Domain had been released recently and was a favourite come down album post-clubbing. I flicked through the vinyl marvelling with envy at the Test Dept & SPK records. Jealous because I hadn't managed to track many of them down myself yet. I remember stumbling across two types of vinyl I was intrigued by. I didn't recognise the artist, Muslimgauze. However, the sleeves were wonderful and my interest grew. 


With a certain sense of trepidation, I lowered the needle onto the vinyl and sat back to listen. I wanted this to live up to the mystery of the sleeves. I was hoping for metal bashing occultist brutality. I didn't get that. What I got actually stilled my pounding heart and racing senses. The moment the bass started, a voice in Arabic began to mutter and a strangely disjointed beat began to unfurl I was hooked. Those two vinyls were played over and over again, I was unaware of daybreak and morning arriving. I sat there totally absorbed with the trance-like pulsation of the music, trying to make sense of the intricate calligraphy, patterns and artwork of the sleeves. Poring over all and every detail I could find. I was in one of those youthful moments of discovery. A moment and a passion that becomes rare as the years go by. From that moment I was hooked. 

This was pre-internet days and looking for music was an adventure and a task. I dug out all my copies of fanzines like MFTEQ and began to hunt down anything by Muslimgauze I could find. Initial success was with Extreme Records in Australia and was lucky that Tower Records in London held their catalogue. I recall spending a week's wages in Tower solely on Muslimgauze albums. I was on an engineering apprenticeship at the time so spending a whole weeks pay was a pretty big thing to do. Did I regret it? Not a chance. 

I never met Bryn. I sadly never saw Muslimgauze play live. I'm not sure how exactly I came by his phone number, It may have been given to me because I was hoping to interview him for a fanzine I had done some reviews for. One Sunday I nervously called him and was surprised at the soft-spoken gentle articulate voice that emanated from the earpiece. I had been expecting a gravel-throated granite-jawed hard man. We spoke for over an hour. I was young and nervous and when the phone call ended I kind of thought that he maybe he was glad it was over. Two days later Bryn called me back and this time the conversation was easier. More fluid and we discussed the situation in the Middle East. My neighbours were Palestinian Christian refugees from Bethlehem and my interest in Middle Eastern politics was now personal. 


We spoke again for over an hour and agreed to talk again later in the month. In all, we spoke perhaps 7 or 8 times on the phone. Lengthy conversations, one even lasted over 3 hours. It was decided I would interview Bryn in Leeds after a live concert he had planned. I went out and bought a small dictaphone in preparation. Sadly I never made it to Leeds for the interview and the gig. That morning I lost someone very close. The interview was shelved for a later date and the next 18 months I disappeared into a maelstrom of self-destructive grief and self-loathing. 

I received a nice letter from Bryn asking if I needed to talk I had his number. I never did call him. Then he too was dead. Tragically taken in the prime of his artistic peak. A rare blood disorder. I miss him, even though we never met. When he found out I was going to Jordan and the West Bank he was so excited for me. Asking me to take photos of anything and everything in regard to 'the struggle'. Thanks, Bryn for your music that remains a centrifugal axis on which my life rotates. Your missed every day.


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onsdag den 26. september 2018

My Own Sisters of Mercy to Suicide Connection



So... How does one end up buying the Sisters Of Mercy, and then Suicide later on?. It was the year 1998 and I had just spent 2 whole years educating myself to a so-called informatics-assistant (Computer-nerd in a firm), with the "terrible" results that my grades were too low. I have spent my classes surfing the Internet, chatting over Alamak and doing serious research into roleplaying games, industrial music, esoteric chaos magick and weird post-punk instead. To aid me further in my quest for music wisdom, I was further helped with the Danish A-Z Encyclopedia of Rock book. Which mentioned the genres (and sub-genres) for the various bands mentioned within. Therefore it was easy to pin down the gothic-rock thing, and of course, Sisters of Mercy was one of the very first.

 

As it turned out, I was lucky in locating (amongst porn magazines and trashy comics) the Some Girls Wander By Mistake compilation with the Sisters in the local used-record store in town (Silkeborg) called Læsehesten. And of course, I was thrilled. Nonetheless, some of the very best recordings by the best band with the gothic-rock tag was stored onto this single Compact Disc. I loved it to bits, even the primitive and raw first singles. Perfect music for my dark cellar room! (Parents house). I thoroughly examined the booklet for additional information and was more-than-happy to find the written text about the compilation on the very last page, describing the early days and how the legendary cult band would come to be. BUT, it also mentioned bands and early influences!. They mentioned Möterhead (which I quickly ignored), thuggish proto heavy-metal, not me. They mentioned Stooges, I was thinking it was just garage rock (Naughty me!), Hawkwind (hippie-rock?). But last but not least, they mentioned Pere Ubu and Suicide. 


They just had cool sounding band names, plus it was bands that I haven´t heard before. And of course, I thought that Suicide was the first band that I should check out. I mean, whoever calls their band Suicide and then go-on and inspire the likes of the Sisters?!. So, before I received the final boot from the college (Terrible grades) I was again lucky in locating the re-released version of Suicide´s first album in Pladeshoppen, which was one of the hottest spots for locating alternative music in town. 


The album artwork just STOOD OUT amongst the boring looking indie/alternative-rock albums. The simple white background with the blood-smeared logo. I decided to give it a listen. My first thought when I heard it was... That I have NEVER heard anything as ugly and raw as this, the kind of stuff that hardcore punks will piss in the pants over. It just wasn´t music as most of us know it, pure minimal-primal mood music. I only heard the first track (Ghostrider) and bought it right after. It was a Friday, and I spent the whole weekend listening to it. And now it´s 2018, and I am STILL listening to it. Absorbing it, digesting it. Who could believe that there could be so much meat on that minimal recording?. I can tell you, amongst one of the purest demonic-possessed released recordings ever done!    



Wikepedia (Suicide):

Wikipedia (Sisters of Mercy):

søndag den 23. september 2018

Vlimmer  Angststand



A newly released EP/Mini-album caught my attention, called Angststand by a one-man Berlin-based act called Vlimmer. They play a mixture of darkgaze (Darkgazz?), darkraut (hm?), drone, dark-wave, and ambient. In other words, a mutant offspring between shoegazing, kraut-rock and atmospheric gothic/industrial aesthetics... Post-dark-wave/rock maybe would be an easier definition?. Either way, we are probably gonna have to spare the rock-element away from this... cause you ain´t gonna find it on this one. 

There is a certain kind of avant-garde opera thing to this. A German dark-wave Ulver maybe?... I don´t know, kind of hard to describe it. Let us try going through the tracks!

First track called Furchtdämpfer (Fear Damper) welcomes the listener with a lovely (and scary!) old-school industrial-humming sound. And then the tracks starts with atmospheric and dreamish German vocals, glittering guitars, spine-tickling rhythms, horror-movie sounds, and moody synths. A really good track, one of those (which I can recognize) of being a track which really grows on you. Lots of meat on that bone. Next track Angststieg follows it up in the same tradition, just with a bit more drama (and cool sounding synths). Fans of Ultravox/John Foxx take notice. Third track Tiefststand sucks you into the empty and dark spaces of big cities, while clearly showing a love for Kraftwerk (Radiation).


So far this EP works as a soundtrack. The fourth track is a slow, mesmerizing and dragging moody piece with hints of certain doom here and there.  Fifth track Minusgrade freezes you into a deep sleep, with cold mechanical beats and epic dream-synths. Last track is the most up-tempo track on the album, crystal-like moods, and mysterious strings sum up the film-noir mysticism.

A decent album which delivers what it is meant to deliver. It´s quite professionally made, and the lush melodies and moods work where they should. At the end you can of getting (a bit) tired of the reverbed/echoed effects which you will meet on every track on the album. And a higher sense of melodies is also sadly missed BUT!... As I mentioned before, there is some meat on this bone. It is one of those that will grow on you. And the honest sincerity/hard-work that is on the mini-album is real. Would I recommend it?. Yes, I will, for the patient listener. Do check up on the physical releases, it has been released on a beautiful CD and cassette (see pictures below).  



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