Something about the packaging warned of the cataclysm contained therein. The digi-pack is adorned with dark and subtle artwork, and the inside art features a disturbing miasma of styles, that lends to the overall disquieting nature of the music. The song titles and the lyrics further promised aural decimation of a psychologically scarring nature and the album definitely delivers on all fronts.
Those familiar with the band's 2005 debut album Tectonics, will have some idea of what to expect. That effort married the slow motion industro-metal of prime Godflesh to noise and black metal misanthropy. This takes the same idea to its next logical level. The opening riff battles with harsh noise and finally the body of the song comes through. Slow , discordant slabs of ugly guitars drive the killing machine forward, augmented by heavy industrial sounding drums and assorted samples. Strange synth sounds creep left and right, and all elements support the angry raspy snarl of Frederic (suitably delayed to hell and back). Songs may twist and turn, layers may come and go, but the focus is on bludgeoning the listener into submission.
The production has improved considerably, yet remains unique, somehow managing to avoid sounding like the pantheon of sludge or the oh-so-true world of black metal. Despite the ever present samples and synthesizers, as well as the cold and hollow drums, this sounds nothing like the current scene of industrial metal abominations. The only (and very slight) reference I could make was to some of Blut Aus Nord's later works, but the sonics here are much more heavy. Add to that the hateful yet introspective nature of the lyrics,the strange phrasing of the vocals, and we have the audio equivalent of a self-psycho therapy that ends with razor blades and warm tub of water.
I will admit, listening to the entire thing in a single sitting is a rather daunting and draining experience, but when alone and in the right state of mind , this is THE music of hell. It’s a hell created by man himself, where desires and natural instincts are repressed to the point that they become festering sours of the soul, and the world slowly into an abattoir run by machines of destruction, fueled on a hatred that has now forgotten causes, reasons or rhyme.
The music does let up the slow hammering in places, but not even once do the disturbing elements stop their magic. Thus the tracks are dynamic in nature, yet completely focused in their battering of a few emotions : hate , alienation and fear. This will be one of the few reviews where I don’t dissect key songs, because honestly , what is the point ? It's not the kind of release where there is a lot of genre swapping. Rather it is an album that births and defines new genres. To be sure, I have never heard anything like this.
If you like your sludge organic sounding, weed oriented and referencing classic rock, run from this album. If you dig black metal of the hissy fast kind or the slow pompous epic kind, that revolves around Satanism or northern weather, scram. If industrial to you means a club full of fishnets and PVC, raving to stupid beats and naively dark sequencers, avoid. But if you want to see how the revolution started by the early Swans and Godflesh (and contributed to by the short lived industrial doom movement) ends, this is it. Buy and die !
- Syed Suleiman Ali / oct.2008