lørdag den 4. februar 2023



K2 - Lost Land Of Chiba 




K2 is one of those legendary Japanese noise acts that I’d expect every noise head to have some kind of relationship with. Active since the early ‘80s, K2 has been a stable on the global noise scene. I personally never consciously collected K2 releases, but have a bunch of them anyway. It’s just one of those bands whose records you end up buying every now and then because they never really let you down. 
I guess most people know them mainly for their unrelenting junk metal assaults of the 90s, and that is certainly my favourite part of their vast discography, but the current phase is pretty interesting too on its own terms if you like the wondrous world of modular synthesis. 

Lost Land Of Chiba is a concept album dealing with the typhoon that hit east Japan in 2019. I was not overly familiar with the current phase of K2’s sound, but going into it I expected a kind of digital noise sound based on the cover art which (to me) is kind of reminiscent of techno releases of the early 2000s. This expectation was partly honed, as the album consists mainly of modular synthesis and mixer feedback manipulations.

Though split into three separate tracks, two very long pieces surrounding a shorter one in the middle, the sounds and atmospheres blend into each other and create a whole experience, making it pointless to describe the tracks individually. The overall atmosphere is controlled and subdued compared to earlier stuff. You get some howling and screeching feedbacks for sure and some pounding rhythmic parts as well, but the overall atmosphere is more bleak, cold and clinical. It reminds me of the cold and monotonous blips and echoes you hear at a hospital. 



Mixing the noisy cut-up feedback with rhythmic parts and even some more “empty” echoing parts, Lost Land Of Chiba balances the thin line between chaos and structure perfectly. At one time feedbacks are cut up and randomly put together with cacophonic results, at another sharp rhythmic structures interlace to create pounding almost industrial sounds – at times the beats are even almost danceable (but just almost). 

This way of letting the music zone in and out of chaos creates a dynamic album which may not be super noisy compared to older stuff by K2, but which is an enjoyable and complex listen. There is never a dull moment and the soundscape is ever-evolving and dynamic without ever really cascading into pure chaos. In sum, Lost Land Of Chiba is a mature noise record from one of the Japanese masters. It is the sound of someone who has mastered his craft over almost four decades and is now in complete control. If you like modern noise and enjoy cold and bleak atmospheres, be sure to check this one out.

mandag den 30. januar 2023

 Krister Bergman - Last Entertainmnt



With the latest bunch of stuff I received from Marbre Negre, one such artist (Unknown to me) was Krister Bergman. Not much info to find about this enigmatic artist, no website, and not much to read about him on Discogs. I can say a couple of things though, we´re dealing with a HIGHLY productive artist (presumably from Scandinavian), working within the fields of power electronics, industrial, and dark ambient. I have reviewed one of his releases some years ago, the Earthly Thoughts Be Silent Now album... a split between his project called V.O.E.R and another called P.O.V. 

This latest release/album from him called Last Entertainment gives a hint or two of the style to be found within (when looking at the cover artwork). Some kind of mysterious golden human skull, and when you take a look at the name for the tracks on the back cover then yes... you are probably dealing with something highly atmospheric and ritualistic. A limited 50-copies  full-length CD in a nice and cool-looking slim-lined digipack. So let us get on with it. 

The first track called Purification (Step 1) works as a long first track/introduction to the album. A deep ritualistic, looped, and melodic hum starts the track, and additional ambient sounds are added... and still, the simple and minimalistic aesthetic is maintained. Less is more... right?! Beautiful satanic dark-ambient for fans of Inanna (Archon Satani-related project, Organisation Toth and Jarl. So far a perfect intro/first track for the album! 

The second track Purification (Step 2) is a slightly more sinister one. The clattering of metal, an eerie drum pattern, evocative synth-melody, and a hint or two of distorted strings in the background? Moments here that remind me of early Lycia here. Later on, a haunting piano melody shows its presence. A beautiful (and simple) orchestral ambient piece here, the eerieness of this track just makes it way more interesting and mysterious. 

The third track Purification (Step 3) moves further away from the darkness and closer to the light. From a hellish hole of despair to a holy temple of angelic beings. Love the contrast when the aesthetic is still maintained! There is more than meets the eye in this album! Another track on the album worth the time. 

The fourth track is called the Awakening (Part 1), and yes... it does sound like some sort of awakening. An epic fusion of dungeon synth, ritual music, and harsh noisy ambient music. Harsh music can also be beautiful music!

The fifth track The Awakening (Part 2) moves away from the melodies, and further into glitch and noise. Not 100% sure what kind of awakening we are dealing with here, something of a cosmic origin for sure. Strange radio voices can also be located here...from distant stars. As if someone is trying to pull open a secret dimensional door into our world. 



The sixth track (666?) is called Coming Of The Anti-God. A VERY industrial-sounding track. Lots of grinding metal are being cut by a huge buzzsaw, obviously, everything is being controlled by this big, evil, and humming machine... from hell itself. Again, fans of Inanna should take notice here. 

The seventh track No Prison Can Hold Him Now starts as a purely minimalistic ambient piece, a good 2 minutes soundtrack for 100% isolation. Looped sound-harshness is added here, giving the track a rhythmic sense/vibe. Some interesting vocal-based recordings later on, love the various effects on the vocal parts. The ending here is very enigmatic.  

The eighth (and LAST) track is called A Storm Will Cleanse. Rhythmic pink noise, ritualistic sounds, voices being looped, and dynamic sounds in the background. It does feel like a cleansing, and it also sounds like one as well. 

And finally! ... That was the so-called Last Entertainment. Not with a whimper... or a bang... but with the moaning sound of pleasure. I loved this album. Not because that it was technically well-made, not produced or mastered probably either. But because (of the opportunities available) the artist succeeded in getting the expression through to the listener, despite all the various challenges that the challenge contained. It´s a very honest and simple album with a lot of strength within, and it does require a couple of listening before it will seep into your mind and soul.


Bandcamp (label):


    

fredag den 27. januar 2023

 Live Report: Cold Meat Industry, 

The 35th Anniversary


On the 19th to 20th of November 2022 the legendary Swedish record label Cold Meat Industry, run by Roger Karmanik of Brighter Death Now, celebrated its 35th anniversary at the prestigious and historic venue, Södre Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden. I was there, and man, am I happy I was!

I arrived in Stockholm a few hours prior to the festivities, just leaving enough time to check in at the hotel before heading to the venue. Arriving in Stockholm I was greeted by snow, making Stockholm even more picturesque than usual. After a short walk in the snow-covered streets, I arrived at the venue; a beautiful old building that was fittingly decorated with posters for the event. Going inside, the bar area (one of several) was filled with people and two stores selling CMI and related merch and records, including Roger Karmanik’s personal for-sale collection. Lots of gems to be found there as well as some oddities! The venue itself was great. An old theatre with balconies and everything, which also meant that all shows were to be enjoyed sitting down. This was no problem at all, rather it suited the ambient nature of the music well, but the restrictions regarding photos led to a bit of frustration for some of the audience. The mood, however, was good throughout, and even though I do not know the final number of tickets sold, it seemed that the venue was almost full. Judging by the people I talked to, many among the audience had traveled a long distance to take part in this magical event, highlighting that this was expected to be truly special.

Day 1

The opening act was Morthound. A stable in CMIs vast catalog, but an artist that I think many have missed out on throughout the years. From my perspective, anyway, it seems like Morthound was always a bit underappreciated. He started out in an ambient/sound collage style which I thought was a tiny bit too artsy for my taste. But as the music evolved it turned more and more noisy, rhythmic, and churning, and by the time the background visuals were showing a naked lady in various positions (halfway through, maybe?), I was won over completely. Morthound was the perfect show-starter, outlining exactly the kind of atmosphere one would expect of the CMI label and setting the mood for the entire festival beautifully. 

Now in the mood for a more trademark CMI atmosphere and well hydrated on overpriced beer, I was ready for the second act of the evening: legendary post-industrial outfit and another CMI stable Deutsch Nepal. Lina looked happy on stage and gave a rather loose performance focusing mainly on the newer more “song-based” records. When at his best there was some reminiscence of certain parts of the Coil back catalog, but overall I was not entirely convinced. The audience seemed to like it though. Lina also proclaimed that this was the last ever Deutsch Nepal live performance, so I guess we can all wish him a happy retirement from this part of his activities.

Next up was Sephiroth who gave a stunning performance all the way through; crushing, rhythmic, and trance-inducing. Sephiroth has always seemed to me to be one of the smaller and more unknown acts on the CMI roster, but judging by the way the audience reacted and talked about experiencing Sephiroth live, I might be mistaken here. In any instance, his tribal industrial/ambient really made a huge impact, and talking to people afterward it seemed that too many this was the best show of the night so far. Surely that was also my experience and I hope that he will hit the stage more often in the future!


The next band on stage was Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio who delivered their classic recipe of neofolk/goth/industrial and did it exactly like I would expect them to. I used to like them a lot back in the ‘90s and have a soft spot for a lot of their songs, but this night I did not really feel it. It felt a bit tired and a bit overdone. Like something that was past its prime. For me the weakest show of the festival by far, but not as such bad. They did what was expected of them, stuck with their usual structure, and for those into that, I am sure they got their money’s worth.

The headliner of the evening was Swedish black industrial legends MZ 412. A large portion of the people I was talking to had them as the main attraction of the whole festival, and everything was buzzing with expectation before they hit the stage. Little did we know about what was waiting to happen. The band members were standing on individual podiums and were wearing their trademark robes and facemasks. Everything was great, the sound, the aesthetics; all was going well until another sound suddenly blended in with the black industrial attack: the sound of an alarm. Was it part of the music; was this a gimmick, what the fuck was going on? Well, this was sadly not part of the gig. No, some fucktard had apparently walked out of the wrong door making the copious amounts of dry ice used by MZ 412 trigger the fire alarm, so before we knew it we were all standing out front in the freezing cold watching a fire truck. I think we got to have 10-15 minutes of black industrial magic before the unfortunate incident, but judging by what we got, I hope this will not be the last time I get to witness MZ 412 on stage!

Day 2

On the second day, I arrived while the first act, Lamia Vox, was playing. I decided to cure my hangover in the only logical way: getting a pint and catching up with people. That means that I missed the show and cannot really say much about Lamia Vox’s performance. I am sure they did just fine.

After getting back on track and in the mood for more ambient/industrial, Raison d’Etre was the perfect band to start the day’s program with. Peter Andersson’s pioneering dark ambient records have been in heavy rotation in my home since they came out in the ‘90s and I think they are some of the records that have had the most profound impact on my musical taste throughout the years. I still listen to them on a regular basis. I have seen him live before and he has always delivered the goods. He did so this time too: real-time sound manipulations and as always razor sharp sound with a level of finesse and refinement that is absolutely stunning. I did not really feel time or space while Raison d’Etre played, but just drifted into his evocative, dark, and melancholic sonic universe. Then, after some 45-60 minutes it was over and I slowly came out of my trance. This was truly a great performance and I hope to catch Raison d’Etre live again sometime in the future.

After this performance and lubricating and socializing further at the bar, it was time to see the mighty In Slaughter Natives.  I have seen him a few times before and it has somehow always been slightly underwhelming, especially when thinking about the huge impact his records have had on me. Truthfully, I had such a good time at the bar that I for a second thought about skipping In Slaughter Natives, ‘cause do you really need to see him a third time? It turns out you do! Especially this evening, where the sound was razor sharp and Jouni Havukainen’s haunting stage presence was given the perfect sonic and visual surroundings. After Raison d’Etre I thought I had already had the highlight but was I wrong! In Slaughter Natives was heavy, bombastic, haunting, beautiful, and terrifying. A true fucking manifestation of power. The best performance so far for me, and judging by the talks I had with people afterward, I was not alone in that experience. Even the sound guy was full of praise for In Slaughter Native’s sound and performance.

How could anyone top In Slaughter Natives? Well, I think Brighter Death Now, who was up next, did. I saw Brighter death Now three times this spring, twice in Denmark and then at the OEC Congresso Post Industriale in Pordenone, Italy. The Pordenone gig was by far the best of them, but at each gig focus was on the pumping, churning bass-heavy, and kind of punky tracks of the post-2000 albums which are not my favorite Brighter Death Now era. Since that has been Brighter Death Now’s an approach in recent years, I kind of expected them to deliver more of that on this occasion, but I was surprised, very pleasantly surprised. This night’s show marked a return to pure, unadulterated, death industrial. From start to finish Roger and co. (Lina + Kristian Olsson) dragged the audience through the catacombs of Great Death and Necrose Evangelicum era death worship, heavy ambiance, tormented howls and screams, and the whole thing made complete with skulls and bones forming the main bulk of the video backdrop. This was by far the biggest surprise and one of the very best live experiences, not just of the night or the festival, but of my life. Suffice it to say, after a whole line of excellent performances, label boss Karmanik took the crown. Utterly fucking brilliant!

The next band to enter the stage was Arcana. They were on heavy rotation in my teenage room way back when and for me personally, the chance to see Arcana live was one of my main reasons to go to Sweden this cold November. They looked funny there on stage in their comically oversized goth dresses and I was annoyed with the opera singer’s voice in the beginning. It also struck me as odd that Peter’s wife was doing the talking since everyone knows it is his band. Anyway, after a slightly bumpy beginning (from my perspective), the band slowly but securely won me over. One classic replaced the other on the set list and at the end, I was completely immersed in Arcana’s melancholic gothic/neoclassical universe and no longer had any regard for the world around me. It was a magical experience for me to hear these classics performed live for the very first time so many years after their release and I am very thankful for that.

The last band to enter the stage was Trepaneringsritualen, who was never on the CMI label but can be said to have continued the proud Swedish death industrial tradition with a musical output of consistently high quality and some rather spectacular live shows with foul-smelling incense, skulls, bones, blood and the signature sack on the head and rope around the neck outfit. The show this night was without the props except for the attire, but with the addition of a live drummer instead of the usual solo set-up of past performances. Thomas Ekelund did a good job. The performance was energetic, the vocals were powerful and the sound was good. Still, after the absolute onslaughts of In Slaughter Natives and Brighter Death Now, Trepaneringsritualen felt a little bit anticlimactic for me personally. It was not by any means bad, but how could anyone be expected to top Brighter Death Now’s performance? Anyway, the audience seemed satisfied and Trepaneringsritualen manifest the impact of the Cold Meat Industry sound and aesthetic as well as the future of the death industrial genre, so in that way, it was fitting to have them close the show and they did it very well. 

After the final live performance, it was time for the after-party which was fun although a lot of people had already left and the venue, therefore, felt a bit empty. It was good to talk to people from near and far and bond over our love for this little niche in dark underground music. Overall, the 35 years of Cold Meat Industry and Roger’s impressive legacy were celebrated with a bang and I certainly had a blast. I hope that the 40th anniversary will be celebrated in the same manner and that the crowd will be just as enthusiastic when that time comes. Under all circumstances, the legacy of Cold Meat Industry lives on and this event just shows how deeply the label has impacted a lot of people from all over the world and continues to do so after so many years.



mandag den 16. januar 2023

 ZeroNull - Red Mars




Marbre Negre is mostly known for being a noisy label, dealing in lots of noisy harsh-noise and power electronics releases. But once (in a while) they also deal in QUITE spacy material. Acts like Gargara, B°tong, and Clavius (Just to name a few!). ZeroNull is another one of those highly mysterious deep-space ambient acts, and they/he/she has just released a new album delving into the mysterious nature surrounding the red planet of Mars. After some research, I did find out that this release is the first of a trilogy based on Kim Stanley Robinson´s books about Mars. So I guess we will expect two more releases after this one. I'm curious of course, about who this Kim Stanley Robinson is... I read a lot if you ask me! Anyways, a double-sided cassette with two tracks on each side 35 minutes in total here.

The first track is called Katabatic Winds Over Olympus Mons. A nifty and highly esoteric-sounding intro to the track. Sounds of stretched metallic strings, evocative synth-work, manipulated sampled sounds, and with a majestic atmosphere from some other dimension. Think Dune, Vidna Obmana, and Maeror Tri... that kind of stuff. Love this deep shit!

The second track Thermokast Evolution Of Valles Marineris has more ritualistic-tribalistic moods going on. Deep machine drones, a looped and thumping crashing sound, evocative reversed (and reverbed) sounds with an interesting and ice-cold scraping sound on top of it. Dream-like strings on a synth are added later on. This stuff is great, takes my breath away here!

We flip the cassette and continue on the B-side. And the third track here is called Phobos Tidal Decelartion. Phobos?... Weren´t we on Photos when we played Doom on our stationary PC?!. Anyways! A deep and endless chasm of ambient sound opens the track. You get the sensation of endless desert dunes on a cold night, with an utterly alien sky above. Beautiful drone sounds, evocative synth work, and ritualistic undercurrents give any thirsty ear an aural orgasm.



We continue with the fourth and last track Terraforming Red Mars. Not as murky as the former tracks, but more of an optimistic piece. Still maintaining that enigmatic synth-driven ambient sound from the great cosmos. The big question is, would it be a good idea to terraform Mars? Let us hope so!

What a fantastic journey of sound with Zeronull. A thorough and well-thought/constructed ambient soundtrack to Mars. All the thoughts and ideas the listener would have about Mars, and how these thoughts and ideas would sound if they were turned into pure sound. Red Mars by Zeronull gives you all the answers and more to it. What a fantastic album that I would recommend to any fans of ambient music! Cannot wait for the other two releases in the trilogy!




Bandcamp (label):
https://marbrenegre.bandcamp.com/album/red-mars



torsdag den 5. januar 2023

 Barrera - My Rage Knows No Input



Second-latest release (from 2022) with this great Spanish HNW act. Might just be the ultimate noise-wall experience with Barrera, since we are dealing with a cassette having only one track... which is 60 minutes and 5 seconds long. Released on the Polish label Antenna Non Grata as a limited 23 copies (sold out!), it should already be a cult release. Why you ask me, how can a limited cassette release become an item of cult worship? Please...let me explain.

It´s a spiritual and almost religious experience. A pure archaic primal noisescape that would leave Boyd Rice bloody jealous. Primitive and brutal yes, but filled with a hidden and esoteric world inside. Interesting layers of sound here, almost like listening to both dark ambient and noise at the same time. 


A close recording of our burning sun with the sound of hell... (or heaven?) somewhere in the background. I don´t know if it was the intention of the recording itself, but I do find this incredibly enjoyable... almost relaxing. Again, monotonic yes... but with a vibrant and organic feel to it, like being inside some living organism. 

Different from the fetish kind of HNW-themed stuff, closer to ANW and to the recordings of early NON/Boyd Rice of the Haters. The sound is absolutely superb, great to hear on stereo speakers in a cold basement! A perfect album to lay your ears to after a totally fxxxxxx-up day. Prime noise-wall stuff from Spain, absolutely prime!


    

fredag den 30. december 2022

 Kalteldur top 10 of 2022



A strange year with its ups and downs. Corona has "turned" into a thing of the past, while a war was going on in Europe at the same time. Either Corona or the war had destroyed the motivation for being creative, lots of great releases needed to be reviewed (as you can guess). As you can see on the so-called top 10 list, then yes... it has been a year of noise rather than industrial or ambient. Re-issues and new releases of various kinds of noise music have been in high demand, and some of those releases need a review... which of course explains why Kalteldur still exists (course!). It has also been a year where a lot of friendly artists (and labels) have reached out to Kalteldur, and for that, I am incredibly thankful! Although the talk is that record reviews are a dying culture, the releases are still being made and the artists & labels still want reviews. Which of course must mean that the interest in obscure electronic music is still there... living and thriving! So let´s get on with it!

Number 10

Kadaver - Micro Death

Fantasy 1

Kadaver´s Micro Death was a relentless mix of abstract ambient noise with atmospheric and angelic harsh noise. Soo much expression in sound and soo little time! A very concentrated and compact mini-album, with a little world inside. If you slowed down this album, you could have it as a double-CD album! A great noise album to represent the year 2022!




Number 9

Black Leather Jesus - Anti

Ominous Recordings

I have said it before, and I will say it again... I LOVE re-issues of older cult releases. This time I had the pleasure of reviewing Anti by Black Leather Jesus. Proto HNW before Vomir or the Rita. I will quote my last words from my original review... since I nailed it!: 

"A strangely comforting beast of sheer brutality, perfect background noise for obsessive minds... and perfect textured sound recording for a decent power nap. Keep it simple, less is more and all that." 

Greatest re-issue of 2022, and one of the best HNW releases as well!




Number 8

Sagenheft - Hypnerotomachia

Moonlit Castle Records

A seducing medieval trip into the world of seducing nymphs and satyrs. Or just one of those lovely scenes from that classic Caligula flick! I would dare to say that we need more of this kind of dungeon synth in 2023! An incredible journey that any soundwise escapist would love! A classic dungeon-synth act seeking new ideas, while maintaining the old-school sound! Do seek it out!.




Number 7

Lesser Dog - Tavistock Anthropocene
 
Danvers State

Classic old-school (post) industrial is still alive and kicking. And Lesser Dog (who were by no means were a Lesser Dog) proved it all with this release! A brutal and nightmarish industrial-ambient album that would even satisfy the fans of power electronics. As mentioned in the original review, take early experimental Test Dept and then the harshness of the Grey Wolves! And yup, it is that good!




Number 6

Jugendwerkhof - Mernscharmierung

Marbre Negre

Actually, the second time around that Jugendwerkhof enters the top 10 of Kalteldur. I will say (and I will say it again!) Jugendwerkhof is one of the best harsh noise acts in Europe as we speak! And this release 100% proves that fact! Lot more sound to it than just harsh noise. Post-industrial scrapyard sounds with tons of apocalyptic noise on top of it. Fans of Mauthausen Orchestra and Incapacitants must check this act out!.



Number 5

Room of Wires - Fever Switch EP

Rednectic

Whoever said that 90s technoid-electronica was dead anyway?! Room of Wires proved w(with their futuristic high-tech EP) that mind-bending electronics were still a thing to look forward to... in the near future that is. This a lovely example of how a utopic cyberpunk-inspired sound aesthetic can thrive in a modern techno/electronica vibe. Do yourself a favor and check up on Room of Wires! 


Number 4

Samsuo - You Probably Think It´s The Ocean

Elm Records

Or you would just probably think it´s a bloody masterpiece instead. Samsuo´s release on Elm Records was a breath-taker for sure, not only did it deliver pure and beautiful ambient music but also elements of guitar-based sadcore... not that far away from 4AD in their late 80s period ( Red House Painters, Cocteau Twins ). After the album was done, I was 100% sure that it had entered the top 10 list... so here it is. Seek it out, you will not be disappointed! 


Number 3

Schloss Tegal Prezsents Kollektiv - Music From The Sanitorium

Tegal Records

This obscure compilation from the ancient past (made by the minds of Schloss Tegal) not only disturbed us deeply... but also gave us new ideas on how to evolve moody experimental music in the coming future. So what kind of weird experimental stuff did people record back in the cassette days of the 80s? This compilation gives you all the answers you need, and what a trip this is! Best various artists compilation I have heard in years, and what a lovely collection of obscure recordings that hides within... worth exploring!


Number 2

Third Organ - S/T

Abhorrent Creation Tapes

Never been a big fan of Japanoise, but when I heard this one with Third Organ... it completely changed my mind. Well... It´s noise alright BUT! being completely high-tech meets low-bit, imagine a thing between Autechre and Merzbow. Some kind of artificial intelligence is stuck inside an old Atari game, kind of gets me back to Robocop 2... where the mind of that criminal drug addict gets inside that killer robot! This release is a blast...ALL THE WAY!. When a bad trip turns into a good trip, an absolutely relentless release!   


Number 1

Don Mandarin - Pekin A Porm / Guided Meditation

Environmental Studies Bathtub Press Collaboration

One of the latest with Don Mandarin. A release that instantly took my mind away to other places. A release that can give the listener an instant touch of the soul behind the act. 100% excentric character/artist creating otherworldly experimental music, with so much much of his own soul trapped within! There are hints of exotic Asian-based world music (Martin Denny fans?), heavy post-punk-inspired dub, real field recordings, harsh noise-ambient, and the sort of back-to-basics feel from an old album by Throbbing Gristle. The album is the bloody works, and I am sure that anyone would approve. Even proud that I was given this opportunity to review this magnificent masterpiece! 








  











      












søndag den 25. december 2022



Vrna - La Vecchia Madre




Vrna has released a steady stream of releases since 2000 so this is not exactly a new act on the post-industrial/dark ambient scene. I remember the Lares album fondly but have not heard anything since then until this album landed in my lap. “La Vecchia Madre” is also not exactly a new release, but actually came out in 2018, making it 6 years old already. Befitting that a release entitled ”The Old Mother” should receive a review when it is itself a bit old, right? The packaging is simple but effective and the cover art has a nice tactile feeling to it. Some kind of surface treatment that makes it feel kind of rubbery to touch. The music itself is dark ambient with some percussive tribal industrial elements and some hand-played instruments in the mix such as flutes and, I think, guitar?

The album starts out in a very calm fashion with “Of Great Silence”, a 7 minutes long droning piece with some chants. The second track, “Ritual Of Self-Burial”, follows the same recipe but quickly evolves into more percussive and noisy territories. For me personally a step up from the first track, which was a little too static and “nice” for my taste. The third track, simply titled “Empty” follows suit and is equally calm and chaotic, balancing the two poles and ending with some almost new age-like sounds with some serene piano chords before descending right back into chaos. A strong central piece with a few elements that disturb the organic progression towards chaos, which is kind of a pity, I think, but which in turn creates a certain dynamism. 


The next track is my favorite on the album; a whirlwind of ritualistic ambient noise called “Cenere” (Ash) with howling distorted chants and drones drenched in reverb taking me straight into dusty catacombs and dark vaulted cellars. The next track called “Campi Di Polvere” (dust fields) is a calm affair that does not do much for me except for leading to the final track “La Vecchia Madre – Ritual of Awakening” which in turn goes full-on ritualistic tribal industrial with nice polyrhythms, chants, screams and growls (male and female) and a beat you can almost dance to. A strong way to finish the album.

Overall, despite a few critical points, I am quite pleased with this album. The sound is very good, sharp, and focused, and everything is nicely and neatly done. At the same time, it left me wanting a little more. Something that makes it stand out a bit. Much of the things I like about “La Vecchia Madre” have been heard before, and I could have done without the new-age parts that pop up in most tracks. Personally, I would have liked a stronger focus on the rhythmic and ritualistic parts. More chaos and darkness and less calm droning, flutes, pianos, and whatnot. I am, however, sure this will appeal to dark ambient fanatics who like Raison d’Etre, Sephiroth, and acts of that ilk, and deservedly so: if you like ritualistic dark ambient with noisy and percussive tribal industrial elements, this will certainly not disappoint.