Thursday, 22 November 2012


Title: Bonemachine / Käelteeinbruch & Catgirl split
Format: A split CDr on Hugin's W.A.R. label (Austria), released in 2012, cat. ref. WAR075. The disc comes sandwiched between 2 colour inlay cards, and the release contains various other small card inserts (see text). The gold coloured disc is housed in a plastic wallet, with a sticker showing Hugin's contact details.
Edition: Hand-numbered in an edition of 16 copies

Track Listing:
01. Bonemachine * Knochenwerk (Teil 1)  8.04
02. Bonemachine * Knochenwerk (Teil 2 Rostrausch)  8.27
03. Käelteeinbruch * Commercial! Commercial!  14.53
04. Käelteeinbruch/Catgirl * The Dusty Trucker & The Lady With The Purple Hair  16.49

Certain combinations instill terror into the general public: Jekyll & Hyde, Burke & Hare, Rogers & Hammerstein ... you get the idea. Well, add another to the list for future reference: Bonemachine + Käelteeinbruch/Catgirl. Simply terrifying, and probably a less sensible idea than letting a pyromaniac with a blowtorch loose in a firework factory. In fact, parts of this recording sound very like they might have been made by a pyromaniac let loose in a firework factory, so incendiary are they. So don your best asbestos suit and grab a fire extinguisher as we venture unwisely into another bizarre split release in that oddest of genres: that of industrial, rhythmic-noise experimentalism.

All four songs seem designed to push the listeners tolerance to new limits, with staccato bursts of static and noise sitting side by side with repetitive percussive beats and - in Käelteeinbruch's case - snippets of what sounds like pre-war German radio broadcasts. Taken as a whole it is a bewildering experience; disorientating, occasionally painful and distinctly lacking in accessibility. For seasoned listeners of bands such as Merzbow, Whithouse, Brandkommando, MSBR, and the like this is probably a walk in the park, but for those of us honed on the principles of song-structure and melody it is challenging to say the least. Nazgul recalls that one of his early reviews of a Bonemachine demo likened it to the sound of an orchestra falling down a staircase: on this demo the participants have upped the ante further still and conspire to sound like a staircase falling down a staircase. If, on playing this release at high volume, Beelzebub himself were to manifest and join in the hellish dance then Nazgul for one would not be in the least bit surprised.

The first of the two Bonemachine 'Knochenwerk' compositions (literally: 'bone work') utilises repetition as its medium through a lengthy drawn-out sonic attack - akin to a drawn out cymbal splash- and this forms the backbone of the piece, sounding not unlike the Toy Dolls' drummer Dave "The Nut" Nuttall doing a soundcheck! The second part (translating literally as 'bone work part 2: rust intoxication', though I suspect in its original language it may be more elegant that that!) has more variety of sound, and is all the better for it, although it remains as inaccessible as a military-grade chastity belt and will still loosen all of your teeth at twenty paces.

Käelteeinbruch translates into English to mean the 'sudden onset of cold weather', although Kaltblütigkeit might be more appropriate a name given the cold-blooded way they inflict aural pain on their audience. Catgirl are more typically described online as purveyors of finest porno-noise (and Nazgul remains uncertain if he wants to know what that actually means in practice). The songs titles of their two pieces here (especially the second) draw a vague comparison with those employed by Gothic/doom romantics Autumnblaze but that's as far as any similarities go in that direction. 
Their similar approaches- spiky and thunderous static bursts interspersed with odd radio broadcast clips and assorted weirdness - is pretty hard to sit through more than once, which quite possibly may have been their intended aim. However, to paraphrase an early review of Napalm Death in Kerrang! magazine; whilst they may well be addressing great social injustices through their music, if the singer sounds like he's drowning in a bucket of sick and you can't understand the words, what's the point? Käelteeinbruch don't employ a singer per se, but the principle remains valid.

Their track 'Commercial! Commercial!'- and you have to smile at the irony of that title - is described by the band thus: "Manufactured, extinguished and recovered in 2012 by Jack Mountverno at the Old Railway Control Centre after a shopping expedition in Germany". Oooookaaaay then.....?! 
The background to the second collaborative song 'The Dusty Trucker & The Lady With The Purple Hair' is more bizarre yet: "The first 50% dieselized, industrial dustized and broadcasted by Jack Mountverno for the Old Railway Control Centre to Shira Tails in her local radio station, predominant[ly] called The Red Tokyo Hotel Lounge in Japan. For creating the last 50% Shira was inspired by her long purple hair twinkling in the sun". 
Whatever these guys are on (presumably purchased on that German shopping trip) I want some.

The packaging is nicely conceived on this release, as we have come to expect from W.A.R. Productions. There is an attention to detail, some colourful inserts to admire, and an overall impression of quality and care. Bonemachine has a colour card showing our hero A.W. in casual pose somewhere near Vienna, whilst all three bands get a personalised truck for their efforts in a matching style to the decaying images on the cover artwork. There's also an promotional card advertising W.A.R. and a card giving the song information/descriptions detailed above.

With only 16 copies of this release out there (Nazgul's is #1 he is proud to note) there is a theoretically limited scope for this release to terrify dogs and scare small children out in the real world, although in this age of streaming and digital piracy one suspects that accessibility to the music will not prove to be that restrictive in actuality. You could most likely find the tracks online within a few clicks of your mouse, a practice which is not to be condoned (always buy originals and support the artist) but leads to the inevitable closing question: how brave are you feeling today...?

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