Sunday, 20 January 2013

VALHALL - update

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Valhall / Assuage My Tristful Soul
Reason for update: An unexpected CDr pressing of this 2005 split release with ambient project Abandoned on the AMF Productions label (Bulgaria)
Edition: Unknown (see text)

Track Listing:
01.  Uruk-Hai * Return To The Great Halls 17:32
02.  Abandoned * Beznadezhnost 01:37
03.  Abandoned * Krvavi Ogledala 06:38
04.  Abandoned * Smrtta E Zanimanie Samotno 04:29
05.  Abandoned * Zaguben Ishod 04:22
06.  Abandoned * Po Techenieto Na Svoite Slzi 03:17

This is one of those rare posts where Nazgul uncovers something previously unseen (well, more accurately that should be 'relatively unknown', as obviously somebody somewhere has seen it before or it couldn't exist. Which reminds Nazgul of the joke- what's the best present to give a transcendental furniture lover? An occasional table. Yes? No? Oh well, suit yourself. But enough philosophising, let's get on with it...) and thus of interest to you, the educated and dedicated readers of Honour and Darkness.

This unprepossessing CDr appeared on the sale list of a chap in Brazil and was part of a parcel of rare Hugin releases imported to Castle Nazgul over the past month. Speaking of Brazil, as we were, have you noticed how many fans of Hugin seem to reside there? A quick look at the Flag Counter shows that Brazilian readers form a significant body of visitors to Honour and Darkness, and the country is established as the 6th most popular country of origin for Blog readers.. So let's take a moment to send brotherly hails to our Brazilian comrades, before moving back to the review at hand.

"Valhall / Assuage My Tristful Soul" was a split tape release from 2005 featuring one lengthy track from Uruk Hai (a tribute to Hugin's friend, Geri) and 5 songs from Bulgarian ambient project Abandoned. Honour and Darkness reviewed the cassette way back on 27 May 2009, and a good time was had by all. But one of the salient facts of that review was that this was strictly a tape-only release, and that nugget of information remained resoundingly true as far as anyone knew: this demo had never received a CD release. Except...that it apparently had, as the item pictured here demonstrates.

So what are we looking at here? Well, to be honest, no one seems quite sure. To put it in perspective, Hugin himself had never heard of this release ever being released on CD, let alone seen a copy. Nazgul in all his years of sniffing around the dankest parts of the Internet had never heard even the smallest rumour that such a CDr had been produced. No distro - large or small - has listed one for sale as far as Nazgul can see, suggesting that this item cannot have had much of a circulation back in the day. 

 It's semi-professionally produced though and someone has taken the trouble to screen-print the disc itself with album artwork rather than just sticking a silver CDr in the case. And let's face it, plain silver CDr discs feature in a large proportion of early official releases of Hugin's material, depending on the label in question.

The obvious thing to do was to check it all out with the ever-helpful Alexander of AMF Productions, on the basis that it might have been some form of promotional item or master copy for distribution to other labels. Here, however, the mystery deepens as Alexander notes, "No, I never re-released it and never made other presses, versions, re-releases or whatever. What you told me is really strange... As far as I know only my tape version exists, with pro-printed black-white covers and small tape stickers and I haven't heard someone has re-released this material in any form..."

So there we are, well and truly perplexed! Of course, it's highly likely that this is simply a bootleg release (but would it still carry the AMF logo on it, and would not more of them have come to light by now?) but it could also be a one-off made by a dedicated fan who wanted something unique. It's a mystery that may linger for a while longer yet...

Notwithstanding all of that, it's (i) a nice collectible item for the Hugin museum, and (ii) a good excuse to revisit this age-old demo to get a fresh perspective on its content.  And Nazgul would stand by his review at the time, which read:


"Following a clap and subsequent rolling peal of thunder the music commences, and there are two distinct 'movements' at work here in two halves of the piece: the first developing an atmosphere of a vast, grandiose nature which really does bring to mind a peaceful journey of unimaginable length to the echo-haunted halls on high. A second phase, more keyboard oriented, takes one on a more uplifting journey before the vast space of the former refrains come to bear once again, before a distant rumble of thunder once again takes us into the silence....

It's a sombre piece, both a cause for uplifting celebration and quiet reflection too (in the way that you might find the vastness of a cathedral interior subdues the noise and bustle of the outside world) and as a piece of ambient art is very pleasant to listen to indeed."

Incidentally, that original May 2009 review didn't give much information about the other band on this split release, Abandoned.  Well, the truth of the matter is that not a lot of information is out there to be found.  About the only pertinent reference online reads, "Abandoned Shelter was a Bulgarian dark ambient project that was terminated in 2008", which is hardly helpful. 

However, for those of just dying to know what 'Assuage My Tristful Soul' actually means, a translation into more common English would read, 'relieve my melancholy soul'. And in a random Skyclad lyric reference, 'pray for my poor melancholy soul' appears as a line in the song 'Helium'. There, Nazgul knew your day would be better for knowing that. 

And by happy coincidence, one recent gift from Hugin in a supplies parcel from W.A.R. was this original Abandoned demo CDr, called "Melancholic Urn"  and which came in a limited run of 66 copies.  Feast your eyes, as this might also be a world exclusive!
#61/66 of this Abandoned demo

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

UNITED WITH THE FALLEN ONES...


Band: URUK HAI
Title: United With The Fallen Ones...
Format: 3-way split cassette demo released on the Silent Scream label (Serbia) in 2011, cat ref SSR005. Professionally printed black and white inlay, standard C60 style tape.
Edition: Hand-numbered in an edition of 80 copies

Track Listing:
Side 1
01. Uruk-Hai - Return To The Green Fields (2011 Remix) 18:48
02. Zloslut - La Misterieuse Promenade Macabre Du Défunt 02:28
03. Zloslut - Abyss Of Eternal Deception 07:40

Side 2
04. Gromkult - Tulibu Dibu Douchu 02:23
05. Gromkult - De Brûlure Dans La Pisse De Grom 01:06
06. Gromkult - Pik Van Grom 05:51
07. Gromkult - Te Zijn Van In De Bruine Domeinnaam 02:03
08. Gromkult - I Am The Chaos And Lust And Brown Fire 02:55
09. Gromkult - Khaoshit Rapethroat 03:53

Here’s a label new to Honour and Darkness; Serbian based Silent Scream Records. It’s run by ‘Hunter’, who also happens to be the sole musician behind Zloslut, one third of this split release. ‘Zloslut’ is a Serbian word, incidentally, and literally translates as something like ‘the one who means evil’. Whilst we’re doing the introductions, Gromkult is an American band from Oregon, who appear on a number of similar split releases on a variety of international labels. And then there’s Uruk Hai, who ... well, we know all about Uruk Hai!

Introductions out of the way, let’s do the credits: The Uruk Hai song comes from the 2011 Smell The Stench/Tryby 3” CD release, whilst the three Zloslut songs hail from their demo "Abyss of Eternal Deception". Gromkult songs 4, 5, 7 and 8 are from the pithily titled demo "Salopes Sucent Le Feu Sur Le Noirmarron Éruption Ov Grom, Seigneur De Viol Élevé De Partout", whilst songs 6 and 9 are from the 2011 "Gromkult / Satanvolk" split release. Nothing newly recorded for this release, therefore, but pulled together for a discerning audience to savor and enjoy.

Promotional flyer for this release
It's a point made previously on these pages (and brilliantly made, if I do say so myself) but the stylistic contrast between Uruk Hai and more traditionally black metal bands does lead to some rather odd results. This manifests itself once again on "United With The Fallen Ones...", where the restrained and delicate elements of the Uruk Hai composition contrast with Zloslut's misanthropic and depressive assault, cunningly disguised with improbable bursts of acoustic guitar, and Gromkult's rawer black metal trappings. 

 Your 'average' underground fan looking for blasphemous fare on a sinister looking tape must be left perplexed by an opening salvo of nearly 19 minutes of laid-back ambient keyboards, doubtless to be left wondering if the distro put the wrong tape in the box. On the other hand, your 'average' epic-fantasy fan who appreciates the span and subtlety of Uruk Hai may well suffer a frontal lobotomy once Gromkult had projected themselves brain-wards.

From a Huginophile's perspective, rather a superfluous release really given you might well have this song from other more recent releases. However, from a positive point of view, Uruk Hai is certainly the best known of the three bands on offer here and if the name encourages the odd speculative purchase and gives the other two bands much needed oxygen of publicity, then that's a good thing. And with 80 copies kicking around the Internet somewhere (well, 79 allowing for this one) there's a good chance you could track one down if you so desired.

A better view of the cover artwork, courtesy of the  Silent Scream website

Saturday, 12 January 2013

SCHWORZEICHN II

Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Die Schworzeichn II
Format: CDr single in A4 sized packaging released on 7th April 2012 by the Catgirl (Historical) label (Germany), cat ref HISTORICAL #004. The release has two colour covers, one for each side, housed in a transparent envelope, and contains 6 artwork/information inlays on photographic paper.
Edition: 20 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Joe Matera * Travellin' West 02:36
02. Hrefnesholt * Die Schworzeichn II 03:21

The original 'Schworzeichn' was a four-minute song on the 2011 "Kreuz" demo and later on the splendid "A Haund Voi Dreck" compilation CD. 'Die Schworziechn II' is the reworked and shortened return of this blackened folk song, forming half of a split single release with Australian guitarist Joe Matera. On the face of it this seems an unlikely mix of bed-fellows: a 'clean' played instrumental rock guitarist combined with the slightly fuzzy percht-folk of Hrefnesholt - as unexpected a combination as Lemmy recording a single with The Nolan Sisters, but one that works just as well (for those of you old enough to remember the 'Don't Do That' single from Young & Moody, you'll know what Nazgul's blathering on about). When you realise that Joe is now signed to Hugin's W.A.R. Productions label for his European distribution, it begins to make more sense.

Whilst you don't get much music for your money - in terms of duration that is - the release does provide some nice inlay cards and an A4 colour cover for both releases. Nazgul is an extremely lucky chap as you'll have seen from the photos as his copy (#20 of the 20 produced) is signed not just by Hugin but also by Joe, being autographed in the Castle Library following Joe Matera's recent UK Tour.


Amazingly enough, given the usual dearth of reviews of Hugin's material, some thoughts on this particular release have been posted online in a couple of places! Firstly, there is the review on Metal Archives, courtesy of Rotorschnee (aka our old friend Nick Diak), so let's hear what he has to say:

"Schworzeichn II is a 2 track split release between the Hrefnesholt project of Austrian musician Hugin and Australian musician Joe Matera, who is a recent addition to Hugin’s W.A.R. label’s line-up.

The first track on my copy of the split CD is actually Joe Matera’s track, an instrumental entitled 'Travellin' West' [Nazgul's note: same here, hence the track listing above reflecting this fact]. The track is built around a melodic acoustic guitar, accompanied by some effects, such as rattles. The song has a pastoral quality to it, and with a title like 'Travellin' West', it’s not hard to conjure South Western United States imagery with the song.

The Hrefnesholt track has a folk vibe to it, starting off with a repetitive guitar and effects with some background percussion that recalls imagery of more primitive drums being beat. In all, the first half of the song has characteristics similar to Alpine group Allerseelen. Halfway through the song the pace becomes quicker and beatier, but still seems canonical to the first half of the song. The lyrics change as well, become more like a traditional structured song. An ambient treat over all.

While the two tracks on the CD are quite good, the packaging for this release falters. In a true fashion of releases put out by Catgirl, the packaging is extremely DIY. The CD comes in an oversized DIN A4 transparent envelope. If the envelope is not sealed, than you have no worries, but if it is, it’s impossible to open without cutting or tearing into it, ruining the packaging. The CD itself is a generic CDr with no labels or printing on it. Inside the envelope, aside from the CD proper, are 6 pieces of art on photo quality paper. 

Two photos act as the front and back of the release, with Hrefnesholt representing one side and Joe Matera the other. The artwork isn't so bad: the Hrefnesholt is of a moss covered cave entrance while Joe Matera is of a South-western Desert, but the actual image quality suffers. The other cards include a cute anime girl thanking the buyer for purchasing the release and stating the number their release, a card with lyrics to the Hrefnesholt track (a rare treat to have lyrics to follow along to), and a card advertising Joe Matera.

The split itself is limited to 20 copies, and the music itself is quite polished and pleasing to listen to. I can only hope these tracks wind up on other releases under their respective musician’s repertoire."

The lyrics to 'Die Schworzeichn II', referred to above, are as follows:

'Dunkla Bam allan im Woid

Schworz....Schworz...Schworz...
die Nocht da Tog die Hoell – ois is heit schworz
Schworz
da Huemmel des Wossa des Feia die Soeö de Stimm de Musi
Schworz
de Perchtn de Leit da Brauch da Woid de Bam des Gros
Schworz
da Sturm da Wind des Liad da Berg de Stoa da Foes
Schworz
de Todn de Leich da Soarg de Eichn des Blattl da Ost
Schworz' 



A second review of this release appears on the French site Forces Paralleles, the content of which reads broadly as follows (after being tidied up through online translation software):

"The production discography of Hrefnesholt -, project pagan/ambient of the Austrian musician Alex Wieser- is linked to the black/folk/pagan über-underground scene, which continues to publish albums in vintage audio format and that often produces discs limited to 20 copies for a public of sorted aficionados. This new publication of this project musical does not breach therefore to the rule: going out in only 20 copies through the German label Catgirl Historical, it groups together under the form of a split-single two unique titles, the first one being an instrumental track of the Australian guitarist Joe Matera (a big friend of Alex Wieser, and a recognised rock journalist), and the second being an unpublished title of the project Hrefnesholt. If this disc interests you, rummage therefore a little on the Net and you should discover a copy or two, with luck!

The first track, "Travellin' West " by Joe Matera, is purely an instrumental title, with guitar played only by the Australian musician without any backing band (one will note some discreet percussion in background). The melodies and the arpeggios march and the airplane takes off: we fly above the big spaces of the American red desert, Matera using here a melodic blues feel, ambient and poetic, aerial and never sentimental. It is necessary to signal that this song is not unreleased. In fact it has already been published before in 2010 as a simple single, in an Australian edition. This re-issue in the company of a Hrefnesholt song gives him another flavour, since it is confronted with a very different universe.

If old Joe chooses to takes us across the New World in company of his guitar and its delicious arpeggios, Alex Wieser on the other hand brings back us to more European territories , if not necessarily better know ones; the second track, "Schworzeichn II" (I remember very well the release on which the first part came) is in fact a flood of forest moods, heavy with strange moods and mystical colours. This is very intriguing, one hears didgeridoo, accordion, guitar, it envelops us in the middle of a cloud of pagan/folk ambient experimentalism and conceptual music. This is rather fresh. The project Hrefnesholt obviously rich in finds, especially when one knows the other discs of Mister Wieser.

One takes pleasure to putting these two tracks in opposition, one evoking the New World and its big spaces, the other evoking the old Europe and its dark forest atmospheres."  

Promo CD single of Travellin' West, not included in this release ...
Two great reviews, both complementary about these two very different songs. It really isn't hard to imagine storming down Route 66 when you crank up the Joe Matera song, and in keeping with Joe's other instrumental tracks you get some memorable melodies and the apparently effortless ability to conjure up your own lyrics to put to the words. 

Oftentimes instrumental releases can be a bit cold and remote, but no chance of that here. And if the big skies and muggy weather get too much on your desert voyage, skip to the damp and mossy reaches of Hrefnesholt and lurk in the shadowy corners of the most remote Austrian cave networks...both are sure to pleasure and delight in equal measure.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

SMELL THE STENCH FROM A BATTLEFIELD WITHOUT HONOR

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Smell The Stench From A Battlefield Without Honor
Format: Box-set release on 24 August 2012 on the Fallen Angels Productions label (South Korea), cat ref Fap022. The box is card, with a sticker on the cover, and contains 4 CDr discs in a special case along with 3 cassette tapes. The set is completed by 6 colour inlay cards and a woven Uruk Hai patch.
Edition: 25 hand-numbered copies

Contents:
CD1 - Elves and Man / The Barbarian 37:35 
CD2 - Gil-Galad / Nargothrond 01:10:00
CD3 - Return to the Green Fields / March to War 39:07
CD4 - Battle of the Southern Flame / Dagor Dagorath 32:23

Tape 1 - Side A: Long Before the Creation of the Sun & Moon / Side B: Northern Lights Part II 45:21
Tape 2 - Side A: Orc Funeral / Side B: unmixed edit 41.59
Tape 3 - Side A: Orc 59:17 


Another month, another box-set! Whilst that sounds a tad blasé, you'll know from the 2012 annual round-up that there has been an avalanche of box-sets spewing forth from Mount Doom this year, mostly - but not exclusively - relating to Uruk Hai. But when it comes to best titles of the year, this release may take some beating....!

The surfeit of expansively packaged box-sets presents both challenges and opportunities to the average fan. It is undoubtedly a golden opportunity to lay hands on some rare material that was restricted to limited numbers originally is not to be overlooked, as it's patently true to say that may of the early demos are essentially impossible to find and will drive you insane trying to do so (take it from a dark lord who knows...). On the other hand, there is the inevitable challenge of finding the necessary loot to purchase the box-set which - inevitably perhaps in this case - comes at quite a price. 
 
Orc Funeral
Long Before The Creation / Northern Lights Part II
Orc (Parts 1 and 2)
Look on the bright side though: from a value for money perspective you're getting a total of 8 3"CDr releases on a more convenient 5" disc size, plus 5 more demos across 3 tapes. As a 13 demo compilation release it starts to look like a fair prospect to pay in the range of £40-60 when the individual items would easily be £5+ apiece. Comparing this to the wider world, it's interesting that both Motorhead and Elvis Costello have apparent been the subjects of corporate greed at the hands of Universal Records, who have recently issued box-sets of the artist's material at an eye-watering £275 and £250 apiece respectively. On the basis of such astronomical pricing, this box-set seems the epitome of restrained fan-friendly merchandising!

What we have here in essence therefore is an über-collection of recent Uruk Hai releases, all but one of which have previously been reviewed on these pages. The CD's compile the 3"CD releases released by both the Tryby and Smell The Stench labels in 2012, whilst the tape selections add four further demos, including the yet to be reviewed "Orc" release (which Nazgul will cover in a specific post sometime soon). The one odd factor in all of this overwhelming goodness is that "Northern Lights Part II" was originally a tape-only release, and appears here in tape format again: It would perhaps have been a welcome incentive for those who don't buy tapes to view this set as a way to get their sticky mitts on a copy of this demo in CD format. That said, the 3 songs in question are available on other CD releases so unless you are a fanatical collector maybe this is be a moot point?

Insert cards show dark, melancholy scenes...
Despite looking a little too much like a box of chocolates (a pink box with a brown ribbon - with a title like "Smell The Stench From A Battlefield Without Honor" - really?!) Fallen Angel Productions have made a good job of this release, with some suitably battlefield-y artwork on the picture cards, and excellent inlays for each of the tapes and for the CD box. And as alluded to in the previous post of 6 September 2012, this is the same artwork as used on the cover of Hugin Munin's "A Thousand Spears For A Thousand Gods" release. 

Anyway, take a look at the photos accompanying this post and see what you think of the overall packaging. The woven patch is also rather nice to have, and despite the complexity of the design it translates well into this format. So the next time you're at Download or the Wakken Open Air festivals see how many of your mud-covered compatriots have this Uruk Hai patch sewn onto their denims, next to their Venom back-patch. If you spot anyone so attired, odds are you've just bumped into Hugin...



As a sharp-eyed, attractive and intelligent reader of this fine Blog you'll have spotted the reference to Smell The Stench in the title, which might naturally lead to to assume that the Australian label of the same name has some involvement here. Well, this particular set actually originates in South Korea rather than from Australia although Nazgul understands that there was (and maybe still is?) a plan for a slightly different version of this release to emerge on Leigh Stench's label at some point, although nothing has apparently been confirmed one way or another. Time, as they say, will tell.

The original ribbon-tied packaging...
The Castle's resident monkey informs me that an anagram of the words 'smell the stench battlefield' produces the rather apt phrase, "hell-bent, tactless filth", on which dubious note Nazgul shall take his leave...

Sunday, 6 January 2013

URUK HAI > Android application

Band: URUK HAI
What's this then?  An android application!  See text for details

You might remember in our interview with T of Extreme Ambient he offered to assist Hugin with the development of an android application for Uruk Hai.  His very word, if Nazgul recalls correctly, were:

"It also would be great to build an Smartphone app (a small synth with some sampler/sounds/excerpt from Uruk-Hai) in the vein of the Nordvarg's easel.  Maybe I can help you - I did one for my own personal use."

Well, the results can be seen here

Endorsed by Hugin, it's well worth checking out so point your browser in that direction pronto, and bookmark for future reference.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

UPCOMING RELEASES

Band: BONEMACHINE
Title: Upcoming Releases
Format: Promotional CDr from W.A.R. Productions, containing tracks destined for release as part of split releases with other projects or artists. Estimated date of release is circa 2006/07.
Edition: Unknown, possibly just 1 copy (see text)

Track Listing:
01. Wem Die Stunde Schlagt 5.23
02. War Against B. 10.50
03. Cyber terrorism 10.56
04. Acidhumanix (featuring Kenji Siratori) 20.45
05. Jetzt! 24.59

No, not a plug for Hugin's 2013 release schedule ... something different instead!

Just in case there was a whiff of smugness about Nazgul's recollection of another year of collecting anything and everything related to Hugin, rest assured that there remain items that have eluded the fiery eye and which doubtless many of you lucky souls out there possess and treasure. Nazgul remains resolutely positive and upbeat about this tragic situation, and takes a pragmatic and down-to-earth view about it. Simply put, a pox on anyone such items in their collection who refuses to relinquish ownership to the Dark Lord; Nazgul will spew forth his Black Breath amongst you until terror and submission pervade the land and all free-will is subjugated. Just so we're clear, you understand....

In the meantime, here's one that got away, explaining the poor quality photograph (grabbed from the web) and a degree of speculation.

Nazgul had presumed that this Bonemachine sampler CDr was issued to a few websites and magazines with the hope of promoting some upcoming releases, hence the cunning title. Nazgul has yet to find one of these, and knows of its existence only through Adam X and his review of October 2007 on the Heathen Harvest website. In terms of actual numbers issued, no idea I'm afraid, but Hugin ventures to think that it may even have been a one-off piece. Adam's review is re-produced in full below, but if you're itching to know where the songs on this release can actually be found, read on:

01. Wem Die Stunde Schlagt (appears on the "Erste Rotation" compilation)
02. War Against B. (appears on the "War Against Banana" split release with Maskinanlegg)
03. Cyberterrorism (also appears on "Erste Rotation")
04. Acidhumanix (appears on the split CDr "Acidhumanix" with Kenji Siratori)
05. Jetzt! (subsequently appeared as 'Now' on the "Right Now" CDr release)

So, what did Adam X make of all this?

"Hailing from Austria, Bonemachine is a completely new name to me. "Upcoming Releases" is the title of this self produced CDr and contains six tracks each destined for release as part of a respective collaboration with another artist or project. As there was precious little information accompanying this release I decided to undertake some internet sleuthing in the hope of turning up something that could help me provide some background to the project. I thought I’d struck pay-dirt when I ran the ubiquitous Google search and hit upon a Bonemachine website. However, this mild stroke of euphoria was short lived as it was readily apparent that I was looking at a UK website for a young, dark trip-hop artist. Sounded promising, and worthy of further exploration, but not what I was ultimately looking for, this time. After a more refined search I uncovered the relevant Bonemachine webpage on MySpace and, additionally, a separate dedicated website. This was more like it.

Given the fact that I hadn’t stumbled across Bonemachine before, the MySpace page afforded some tantalising background information stating, quite simply and succinctly, what Bonemachine is all about: 'a journey through war and time'.Founding, sole member A.W. describes his style as Military Industrialism and cites his influence as 'the sounds of war'. Given these descriptions and citations I guess I was expecting a classic martial/military industrial audio experience in the vein of Arditi, Toroidh or Turbund Stermwerk and to be fair, I guess this offering isn’t too far removed from all three, although it tackles the genre in a unique way and from a different angle. 

The emphasis on all tracks definitely seems to be tilted in favour of pulsating, old school industrial with metallic and military sounding percussion beating a strident forward advance towards no mans land. Whereas the majority of todays martial/military industrial projects seem largely pre-occupied with incorporating old WWI & II samples, speeches and music over sombre, battlefield anthems interspersed with elements of the neo-classical and military snare, Bonemachine’s approach is singularly different and all the more refreshing for it. No gratuitous use of vintage dialogue here to hammer home the military industrial credentials, just good old, brooding, turbulent sonics dressed in crisp battle fatigues.

Track 1, 'Wem Die Stunde Schlagt', destined to be released as a remix for Tod Durch Arbeit, is a study in down-tempo industrial. A piercing, sustained high pitched tone ushers in a bubbling, deep sine tone underpinned by a subdued and muted percussive battery that sounds distant, obscured by the fog lingering on some far flung killing field. The muted percussion is evident throughout as the desolate sine waves rise and fall before morphing into a portentous drone.


Track 2, 'War Against B.' is for a 3" CDr with another act, also unknown to me, by the name of Maskinanlegg. A repeating series of reverberating, metallic, percussive hits sets this track off nicely, followed into the fray by a pulsating bass motif that gives the impression of a war machine on manoeuvre. Additional, monolithic, metallic hits join in beating out a slow, somnolent rhythm. This sounds like early Neubauten or Test. Dept slowed down and stripped back, the frenetic energy quenched leaving a muted and soporific industrial machine in its wake. At the six and a half minute mark the track receives an energy boost as modulated whip-crack rhythms merge and a whistle like timbre punctuates the track at regular intervals. The track ends with the same reverberant percussives that kicked the track off, fading out slowly.

'Cyberterrorism', track 3 - a split with Blood Into Water - sounds like some behemoth of industrial machinery repetitiously carrying out its prime function, generating a primal, charnel house rhythm. This industrial, factory rhythm is augmented by heavy metallic hits that seem to phase out of sync with the main rhythm giving the impression of two machines working on ever so slightly different cycles. At the six minute mark a strident and pulsing bass throb kicks in followed by the addition of some de-tuned arpeggio, drenched in reverb, climbing from the depths and rising high above the proceedings.

'Acidhumanix' clocks in at nearly 21 minutes and features our old friend Kenji Siratori providing textual relief. Over a staccato percussive backdrop Kenji spits out his prose and delivers an aggressive sonic barrage that provides the perfect accompaniment to this war machine forging forward. The industrial rhythms build and chains rattle across a hard floor. This sounds like some dread hell, an asylum or prison where the manacled inmates trudge forward towards some impending terror. The tempo builds and Kenji’s recitation resurfaces at the point the track undergoes a lull in the proceedings. Strange machine rhythms and industrial sounds ebb and flow. This is exactly the sort of sound that truly compliments Kenji Siratori’s apocalyptic readings: harsh, industrial and conveying the dystopian vision that Kenji is famed for.

Final track, 'Jetzt!', for a split with Institution D.O.L. is another long track falling shy of 25 minutes by one lousy second. The charnel house and factory rhythms are prevalent beneath a spoken word sample. This track bears the hallmark of vintage Coil and Foetus where strange sonics build over glitchy machine effects and shards of metallic percussion batter away remorselessly. This is cold, industrial and metronomic. Fifteen minutes in and the pace quickens as the rhythms divide and fragment. The remainder of the track undergoes subtle variation before concluding with a vocal sample instructing an invisible other to ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’.

It’s apparent from this taster promo CDr that Bonemachine seems more interested in, and occupied with, the sound of the machines of war, rather than the sentiments and nostalgia tinged view of conflict that the majority of martial industrial projects seem to embrace. Across these six tracks Bonemachine has managed to pull off the difficult feat of taking an old school industrial sensibility and giving it a thoroughly modern twist and which has been a welcome breath of fresh air. I very much look forward to a Bonemachine album release and the further development of the core sound. Thoroughly recommended."


It goes without saying that if you have a copy of this CDr and can be persuaded to part with it, then drop Nazgul a note and let's do business....