Saturday, 8 August 2009

THE FEAR







Band: WACH
Title: The Fear
Format: Matt black digipak CD containing 2 discs: the 5" DVD of "The Fear" movie, plus a 3" CDr of "soundtrack" music. There are 4 formats to this release, each in a hand-numbered 'series' and with a different colour seal, and each having the same standard 3 tracks but a different bonus track each.
Edition: Blue seal (series 1) limited to 20 pieces, Silver seal (series 2) limited to 21 pieces, Orange seal (series 3) limited to 22 pieces, and Green seal (series 4) limited to 23 pieces.

Track Listing:
Standard to all series variants:

DVD movie "The Fear" 9.20

CD
01. Intro 0.12
02. The Fear 8.54
03. Chains 1.06

Bonus songs for series variants:

Blue seal: 04. Return Into A Dream 5.50
Silver seal: 04. Phantasm Behind A Mirror 5.10
Orange seal: 04. Rainmaker 5.38
Green seal: 04. Dissilusion Of Mankind 6.31

The world in which WACH exists is a shadowy, ill-formed environment of half-seen shapes, edge-of-the-eye visuals and disturbing sounds. This release - well titled "The Fear" - makes capital on all of those elements within the sumptuous packaging that one has come to expect of this project, all under the watchful eye (or should that be WACHful eye?) of Reverend Kim and Herr Insomnia.

Distributed by the good folks of The Eastern Front (Igor & Tanya), this takes the packaging for an essentially short EP to new heights: four series variants, each with a wax seal embossed with the WACH logo (see second photo for the best of the lot, the Silver one!), and each bearing a different bonus track as well as the standard 3 songs plus 9 minute plus DVD movie.

Of course, the limitation on these items was pretty severe: Nazgul's particular editions are #4/20 for series 1, #2/21 for series 2, #22/22 for series 3 and #22/23 for series 4. Particular hails of gratitude have to go to Reverend Kim who saved the day when it appeared that no copies of the Silver seal second series were to be found anywhere, and whose kindness and labours unearthed the one you see in the set above complete with that masterful seal! Many thanks once again....

Musically there are in essence two short instrumentals on each release (tracks one and three) which set an atmospheric bookend to the main track 'The Fear', and lead the way into the various bonus tracks on offer. A review of these three tracks at Heathen Harvest came to the conclusion:

"...the cunningly titled, thirteen second 'Intro' and the looping Aphex Twin-isms of third track 'Chains' amount to the sum total of just over a minute of atmospheric noises that set the scene but little else. 'The Fear' itself is a nine-minute exploration of various stereo panning synth pads which supports some eerie WW2 radio/Morse Code interference and which then gives way to Jean Michel-Jarre style sweeping electronics"

Nazgul wouldn't disagree with any of that, but the nightmare-ish quality of 'The Fear' (and indeed the movie, which swirls and reels in alarming black and white imagery leaving the viewer quite uncertain what he has just witnessed) is rather lacking from this review.

Each bonus track has its own peculiarities whilst in keeping with the music patterns being laid down on the preceding tracks, so there is a coherence to the album no matter which version you find. If pushed, Nazgul would profess 'Phantasm Behind A Mirror' to be his particular favourite of all the bonus songs, but this opinion is apt to change at any given time as fresh nuances come through the songs the more they are listened to. It's not the kind of catchy music that you'll pick up and remember in a handful of listens, which adds much to the longevity of the albums.

All in all another most successful WACH limited edition release, fitting nicely in to the niche that the project has carved for itself both in terms of the exemplary artistic standards for packaging and finish, and for unleashing superbly eerie music of the night onto an unsuspecting world...

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