Friday, 21 May 2010

STAHLERNE LICHTER [V/A]



Band: WACH (amongst other artists)
Title: Stahlerne Lichter
Format: CD in digipak format, released in 2010 on the Licht Und Stahl label (Germany), catalogue reference LICHT006. A compilation of the label's genre releases, including Dark Ambient, Industrial, Noise, and Neofolk.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 300 copies

Track Listing:
01 Dieter Müh - Let Him To Sleep 4:56

02 Flutwacht - Stahlfieber 4:41

03 N.Strahl.N - Blutleuchte 6:30

04 Galerie Schallschutz - Electro Convulsive Therapy 5:07

05 Atrox - Shunning The Light 6:15

06 Minamata - Soviet Time / Putin Time 5:01

07 Le Syndicat - Legal Slavery 5:49

08 Vacio Perfecto - Torsion Mecanica 3:37

09 Kraftkammer - Autoclave 2:04

10 Leiche Rustikal - Es 5:22

11 Wach - Licht:Maschine 6:07

12 Fieberflug - Schleppend 4:28

13 Erdlicht - Lichtbote 4:54

14 Sturmkind - Im Fall 4:59

15 N.Strahl.N - Inwendig 4:32

Compilations pursue usually two goals: they provide (or, at least, should provide) on the one hand offer the consumer - for comparatively little money - an overview over new or unknown artists associated with a particular label, or genre of music. On the other hand it allows a label the possibility to introduce its signings to a wider audience. Both of these is the case for "Stahlerne Lichter" (literally "Steel Lights") on the fledgling Licht Und Stahl label.

What is also extremely positive and makes this compilation doubly worth purchasing is the fact that it contains exclusive contributions by the artists involved, at least as far as old uncle Nazgul is led to understand, as he's not entirely familiar with all of these groups you understand!

For an overview of the album in totality, let me refer you once again to those trusty and far better informed reviewers at www.gothtronic.com for their thoughts:

"Licht Und Stahl is a fairly new label that releases post-industrial music, run by M.W. Löhr from N.Strahl.N. While the label releases mostly CDr’s and tapes, this compilation is pressed on a real CD. The compilation presents well-known acts among lesser know, which is always a nice thing. The bigger names include Flutwacht, Galerie Schallschutz, Atrox, Leiche Rustikal and of course N.Strahl.N.

The compilation starts very strongly with a track by Dieter Müh, with a track called ‘Let Him To Sleep’. The track is a combination of deep spacey drones, industrial sounds, some processed guitar sounds and vocal samples. The song has a good balance between drone ambient and harsher industrial moments. Flutwacht presents us a very old school sounding track with ‘Stahlfieber’. The song is far removed from his power electronics onslaughts and is more of a ‘metal on metal’ soundscape. N.Strahl.N continues with ‘Blutleuchte’, which is a good percussive old school song with some mild power electronics moments. Galerie Schallschutz is known for their subliminal sound imagery and here is no different, with a track called ‘Electro Convulsive Therapy’. Lots of various subtle sounds surround a heavier industrial ambient atmosphere. The message is delivered through speech samples. The second half of the song is quite heavy and ventures into a kind of Land:Fire industrial ambient approach. Great song!

Then it's Atrox turn to for some industrial violence with ‘Shunning the Light’. The song however begins more minimal, with deep and slow pulsations and a very dark and gritty industrial sound. In the second half, industrial hell breaks loose and we enter the Atrox power electronics arena. Minamata is a very heavy power electronics project and with ‘Soviet Time / Putin Time’ they create an unhealthy dose of industrial noise. Still some sort of structure can be found, and is quite layered, and is not mere static noise. With ‘Legal Slavery’ Le Syndicat also go for a more old school sound, but is aided by more modern glitchy moments. Vacio Perfecto delves with ‘Torsion Mecanica’ into a heavy industrial soundscape with a very corrosive atmosphere.

Kraftkammer gives the listener a very intense sound experience with ‘Autoclave’, which sounds like the beast awoke in the power plant. Another well-known name, Leiche Rustikal is a diverse project, so it’s always guessing what to expect. With ‘eS’ a very gritty and percussive track is delivered that sounds like a train-wreck is passing by, which is a compliment! Things go relatively quiet with ‘Licht:Maschine’, by Wach. The song is a very menacing and dark slow industrial soundscape. Feiberflug also creates a very dark industrial soundscape with ‘Schleppend’.

Then things turn unexpectedly melodic with Erdlicht’s ‘Lichtbote’, which also ventures into mild martial industrial. The song is layered with some organ and orchestral sounds. Sturmkind also delivers a quite diverse sound from the rest with ‘Im Fall’, which is a very nice neo-folk song. N.Strahl.N comes by again to close the compilation. This time it’s more of an old school industrial soundscape and less noisy.

‘Stählerne Lichter’ is an excellent and interesting industrial compilation. A lot of the tracks make good use of an old school approach, which also makes sure the whole is well-rounded. Some of the highlights now are the tracks by Dieter Müh, Galerie Schallschutz, Atrox and N.Strahl.N. But the whole compilation is interesting and there are no bad tracks. A real must for lovers of old school industrial and power electronics."

I like the fact that this reviewer stated that "things go relatively quiet" with the WACH track, as Nazgul began his listening experience with that one (as you might imagine) and quiet wasn't precisely the word that he'd have chosen for it! More of a older Bonemachine influence is present in this composition to these ears, with plenty of industrial skulduggery and more than a touch of mechanised frenzy about the piece.

All in all, an interesting and worthy compilation that has opened Nazgul's ears to a few new bands, which is rather the point of the thing really. This digipak is available from http://www.lichtundstahl.blogspot.com/ but be quick as only 300 have been pressed (this particular copy being #287) and given the exclusivity of tracks on offer I doubt it will be around for long!

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