Friday, 10 September 2010

COMBAT


Band: BONEMACHINE
Title: Combat
Format: CDr released on the Symbolic Productions label (France) in 2008, catalogue reference SYMBCD38. Professionally printed inlays with blue inner disc tray, silver disc CDr and printed sticker.
Edition: Limited to 250 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:

01. The Sound Of Marching Feet 2.24
02. Rythmus Der Einsamheit (Different Version) 3.59
03. Die With Your Boots On 9.12
04. Feuertaufe (First Take Mix) 22.47

"The record is horrifying, crushing, weighing upon your brain..."

So ended a short review of this album on the Heathen Harvest website, and their somewhat cataclysmic assessment seems a fair one in the light of Nazgul's swift re-visit of this particular Bonemachine release!

It must be one of the last 'old school' Bonemachine releases before the band morphed into the two-man B-Machina project, although in the absence of an official Bonemachine discography (Nazgul really must get on with that, one of these fine days) it's hard to tell exactly where in the chronology it falls. 'Old school' in this context equates to the creation of what might be styled 'rhythmic noise' (militant rhythms, samples of combat and explosion, ambience and choral effects mixed with heavy percussive impacts) that the project revelled in in its earlier ambient-industrial years.

An interesting group of tracks are contained on this short CD - the opener 'The Sound of Marching Feet' overlays the rhythm of an army of - you guessed it - marching feet with an experimental percussive drive. Heathen Harvest described it as the sound of "...numerous clashes, beats reverberated, all making me think [of] a huge hostile machine moving forward (or hordes of Teutonic knights in full metal)."

It's a short precursor to one of the longer tracks on the release, 'Rythmus Der Einsamheit (Different Version)', which literally translates to mean 'Rhythm of Solitude'. We last came across this track on 24 March 2010 as part of the 2xCDr joint-label compilation "Skull The Stench", where this track represented Bonemachine but in a remixed version by US ambient band Mystified (with Bonemachine remixing the Mystified track 'Idyll' later on the same release). Nazgul's comment on the effect of the Mystified remix ran to the words, "Ever wondered what Bonemachine might sound like filtered through a fuzzy 1930's wind-up gramophone whilst being constantly detuned on the wireless?" Presented here in a 'different version' there are less intrusive effects and a more involving sense of various musical genres colliding to form this track, commencing with distant ambient sounds and choirs being augmented with a deep, sonorous male voice leading into a thick soup of ambient noise.

'Die With Your Boots On' is not, as some may have hoped, a cover of the old Iron Maiden chestnut from 1983's "Piece of Mind" but more of the same instead! Good news for hardcore Boners (Hmmm...that certainly looks worse written down than when Nazgul thought it up) but for the casual listener another aural assault to the senses! And then to the finish, with a first-take version of 'Feuertaufe' ('Baptism of Fire') that will leave you quaking in your boots, teeth rattling and ears bleeding.

The primary output of this album is the creation of dark, ambient noise that is both complex in its composition and challenging to listen to. It is broadly similar to the music of artists such as Mourmansk 150, Flutwacht, and Brandkommando. The sounds created trigger an emotional response as much as a cerebral interpretation, and when they work to best effect leave the listener with goose-flesh and a sense of dread and wonder. The Heathen Harvest reviewer noted that "...admirers of industrial atmospheric and noisy things with martial aesthetics will certainly enjoy this record" and you'd have to go along with that assessment too!

As ever, availability is a slight issue. Released in a larger quantity than is often the case (250 copies) it still isn't a release that you tend to find advertised for sale that widely. Were you to venture to the label's website (www.symbolicprod.blogspot.com), however, you would be able to snap one up for a very reasonable 7Euro/US$10. Would this be a CD to convince the more general fan of Hugin's Uruk Hai project to convert to his more challenging Bone-sounds? Well, no it wouldn't. But for any reader whose musical taste strays away from the common-place and into the avant-garde then this CD would be well worth seeking out.

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