Friday, 2 December 2011

SPERRGUT


Band: BONEMACHINE
Title: Sperrgut (literally translated, 'bulky freight')
Format: Self-produced demo CDr from 2007 in a purple-tinted plastic wallet with a red title sticker on front (in the style of an industrial label) and a smaller red sticker on the reverse showing the edition number. The disc is a plain silver CDr disc with another small sticker on the non-playing side. There is no catalogue reference present on this demo.
Edition: Only 5 hand-numbered copies produced

Track Listing:
01. Sperrgut 64.25

There are two things, and two things only, that Nazgul recalls running for precisely 64 minutes and 25 seconds.

The first is the 1958 Mexican black and white classic 'The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy' ('La Momia Azteca Contro El Robot Humano' to be precise) in which the walking Aztec mummy Popoca has returned, this time pitted against a mad scientist and his creation - the Human Robot - a cyborg with a mechanical body, steel claws and a human head! It's an absolute heap of garbage, of course, but oddly entertaining in that slightly paranoid manner that sci-fi films of that era tend to be.

The second thing with this exact duration is the Bonemachine demo "Sperrgut" - or to give it the name on the cover sticker, "Sperrgut Encombrant", the other word being the French equivalent for 'bulky' or 'cumbersome'.

The good news is that if it came to a head-to-head scrap this Bonemachine demo would certainly kick The Robot's candy-ass, and despite rumbling on for well over an hour it is both an engaging and actually very interesting release. It has to be said that it was yet another of Hugin's demos that came absolutely out of the blue - Nazgul had never even come across the vaguest reference to it prior to its arrival at Castle Nazgul within a recent parcel of Hugin-related goodies. Contained in a unassuming d-i-y style piece of packaging it doesn't look the most exciting of releases, but as the old adage is so right to tell us, 'never judge a book by it's cover'. In my estimation is actually one of the better Bonemachine demos that it's been my pleasure to hear, and trust me when I say that your old uncle Nazgul has heard a lot of 'em!

Despite its length, the principal asset of this demo is that it remains constantly interesting due to having distinct phases or parts within its construction. Readers of old will know that it's not the normal style of a Honour and Darkness post to attempt a dissection of a lengthy demo, particularly when composed of a single long song, but in this case a small exception is merited. There's a lot of effort that needs to be put into a lengthy composition to retain the listener's interest throughout, and in this regard Hugin has hit the nail squarely on the head with this release.

It starts out - oddly enough for a Bonemachine recording - with something quite musical! Following a brief mechanical introduction - a familiar sound of what could almost be the living, breathing heart of a machine - the next 10 minutes or so has some almost Depeche Mode elements going on within a keyboard landscape of melody and warmth. It's not 'heavy' per se, and not particularly industrial either, which if nothing else serves as a timely reminder not to try and pigeon-hole the Bonemachine sound. All barrels along nicely in this vein until the 11 minute mark, when the song moves away from sprightly-keyboard notes into a more industrially-ambient, pseudo-aquatic sounding phase. I say pseudo-aquatic in as far as there is that distinct feel of being in a large submerged object, with the building pressures and associated sounds of travelling deep into the abyss. It's genuinely quite spooky at times, too, and progresses for a further 15 minutes or so in an unsettlingly descending fashion (you have the distinct sensation of being slowly pulled further and further into the inky depths of the ocean) until a more mechanical resonance takes over.

As the piece develops the intrepid listener encounters increasing elements of repeating, mechanical and otherworldly sonic influences before the demo comes full circle again with another (unexpected) bout of keys at the end, along with some distorted and inhuman vocals from Alex (one presumes - either that, or he's press-ganged The Robot to do a cameo appearance!)

Nazgul is happy to admit he found all of this quite captivating, and even clocking in at over an hour in duration pressing the 'play' button straight after it's finished in order to hear it over once again is an easy choice to make. It's a claustrophobic sound at times, and takes the listener on a staggering journey through many and varied landscapes bourne out of nothing by Hugin's imagination...

"Sperrgut" joins the ranks of past Bonemachine releases such as "Burn Down Psychosis", and the untitled split tape with Novasek, in being utterly brilliant yet destined never to be widely heard, mostly because of the extreme limitation (5 copies, of which this is #1 of 5 and Hugin's personal copy before being ensnared inside the Castle library). Nazgul would be extremely surprised if any of the other 4 copies surface any time soon, but if you do have one then do get in touch. The sheer length of track would also be problematic in terms of uploading it to any file sharing system, or for including the song on a CD compilation. All of which is a great shame, as this really is a fine demo.

You'll just have to take Nazgul's word for it

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