Tuesday, 7 April 2009

SCHWARZES JERUSALEM

Band: BONEMACHINE
Title: Schwarzes Jerusalem
Format: Split CDr release with Austrian Black Metal band Elymas, released in DVD-case format by Smell The Stench (Australia), 2006. Elymas tracks recorded 1999, Bonemachine tracks between 2002 and 2006. Cover design by Hugin.
Edition: CDr pressing presumed unlimited

Track Listing:
Elymas
01. Intro
02. I Wear The Crown Of Malkuth
03. Satanic Soul
04. With The Smell From Hell
Bonemachine
05. Schall & Rauch 8.00
06. Die 4. Dimension 0.58
07. Raserei (Klangniederschrift Eines Krieges In 2 Akten) 7.36
08. Endzeitensturm 8.16
09. Flucht Nach Vor! 2.27
10. Akustische Impressionen Der Letzten Grossen Schlacht 5.30

As with previous split albums, I'm not going to cover the Elymas element of this 'Stench release in any great detail. Suffice to say, it's Black Metal from the Austrian horde (also of Linz) and is perfectly listenable stuff. I think the band may be largely dormant now, although there's an interesting website at http://www.elymas.at/ if you fancy a look.

Onto the Bonemachine tracks, and great balls of fire - this is some good stuff! What you have on offer here is a tale of two parts: industrial hell, and catchy industrial rock. There are a couple of 'noise' based tracks scattered across the album: "Die 4. Dimension" is an minimalist industrial noise piece reminiscent of the inner workings of a machine, whilst "Flucht Nach Vor!" has a somewhat more "industrial sci-fi" feel to it, with its laser-percussion effects.

The final track is connected to the 2006 film "The Nebula Dawn" by Yves Steichen and takes as its core theme the sampled sounds of war - air raid sirens, the whistle and detonation of falling bombs, the heavy machine gun fire of chain-fed guns, the screams of the victims of the conflict as they fall. I'll update this part of the Blog once I get a handle on whether this music featured as part of the film soundtrack, or was influenced by the film: there is a link on the film's web-page (http://nebula.kml.lu/) to the now-defunct Uruk Hai pages at Dragonsbreath.tv so clearly there is a connection here somewhere! Watch this space....

For me the highlight of the whole album are the three remaining tracks, which - with the right record company support - could lead to a couple of cracking single releases. "Schall and Rauch" kicks off with a short piece of big-band radio show music before morphing into a time-based motif (lots of ticking clocks, pseudo Floyd stuff) and orchestral build-up before...BLAAM! We're in the midst of a Bonemachine track with lyrics! And not just any old track, but a well-constructed and downright catchy one, with deep spoken word German vocals adding a sense of drama and menace to the overall song. Some really clever complementary samples in this one too, including haunting synths and female vocals that emphasise the chorus very nicely.

"Raserei" also has a similar spoken vocal approach, and also benefits from having a synth melody in the background near to the chorus that the mighty Summoning could have written, effective and atmospheric as it is. Again, a great mix of sound and samples, including the triggering of the chorus (pun intended) by the cocking and firing of a breech-action rifle. Also interesting with this song is the initial frantic riff and melody, which is very much in the spirit of the ska-new wave bass-lines of the early 80s!

"Endzeitensturm" is a notable song in that the first half is based on a 'laser-shot' rhythm and simple drum beat, before the latter half of the song changes mood completely and develops into a pseudo-cathedral sounding environment with haunting vocals in the background underscored by a piano. Very cool, and quite unexpected, and actually quite haunting in its nature...it's almost a little war requiem in its own right.

This CDr version from Leigh at 'Stench compliments a limited and numbered cassette tape version from Alex's W.A.R. Studio called "Zeit", which adds a bonus track to the songs list above plus another new song on the b-side of the tape. I'll be posting a separate Blog entry on this tape in due course.

Overall, a high quality Bonemachine release that I would wholly recommend to any fan of this genre. Drop Leigh an email at smellthestench@yahoo.com.au and invest the few quid that it needs to purchase this split album - a definite winner.

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