Part [II]: Channeling the power of Nostilevo!

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Suffice to say, this is the second part of your indulgence with Nostilevo. I’ll keep pressing it to your face, so you can hear it for yourselves, as you roam your apartment late at nights. Peacefully, you’ll sail with me on the wide oceans that is the Spring batch of tapes from this label. Controllable, uncontrollable – everything is relative, but relatively hopeless. Everything from the purest of experimental endeavors, to scarred Gothic delights, topped of by industrial heaviness. For those of you that haven’t checked it out yet, Part II includes reviews (and only reviews) of the following artists/groups/bands: Pure Ground, Ritual Howls, Church Shuttle, Mammal and The Glass Path. Enjoy it while its enjoyable, return when you feel like returning – and read when your eyes aren’t shut.

a3415499200_10Alright, Pure Ground is up first, with his 7¨ release “Crawling Through / Evaporation“. For those that don’t know, Greh Holger (Chondritic Sound) is the man behind this moniker. With two songs that will have you shaking your fist at the decay, and dancing along with the dismay. Cheerfully feeling the musical content that patrol around your ears and back again. It’s hard to understand the apathy that is delivered which such a stale voice, as the monotonous plague seeks its first victim. Firstly, the song “Crawling Through” is speedy, to say the least. Knocking on the door at least five times in a row, together with a synthesizer sound that finds home in your wired brain, re-wiring the circuits carefully to suit the purpose. Everything is basically the same all the way through, with few changes with the synthesizers rhythms, melodies and what not. The whole ordeal is topped off with an echoing singer which continually repeat some lyrical content, with a few changes here and there, just to feed it into your ears like propaganda. When it comes to the first song, it’s pretty easy listening. But as you make your way through the song, it gets harder and harder. What’s interesting is how different the two songs are, while the first one is more uptempo and melodic, the second one relies even more on the rhythmic content. Some melodies can be heard here and there, but they’re outdrawn and relies heavily on the other elements of the song. “Evaporation” surely takes you further into the mysteriousness of Pure Ground. It’s also thoughtful, filled with contradictions and subliminal chaos. The somewhat passive-aggressive sound is what drives everything forward, as you’re not stuck with the same apathy felt by the first song. This simply holds you, caresses you a little bit and makes you play the first song all over again, as you make your way to the second. That’s what could be called a smart move, even though it might not be intended as what’s been said, it’s surely working as intended. If you like Image Of Life, you’ll probably dig this too. They’re different, but that’s only some of the nuances that differ, but they have a lot in common too.

a0089320105_10Have you ever heard oriental, ritual, experimental in the same sentence? Maybe now, you’ll hear them all. Industrial is also something that fits the bill, as it overlaps the influences and stands as a ground piece. Ritual Howls consists of Paul Bancell, Chris Samuels and Ben Saginaw. Their home is Detroit, and it feels like it reflects in how they’re sounding. The release is titled self-titled. You can hear a lot of classic industrial, in the first song “Turkish Leather“, together with the spiritualistic howl of the singer’s sincere voice. Crashing down come the beats, featuring hard-knocked basedrums that tear through roofs, shattering visions and fumbling atmospheric brutality. Condensed with flanged riffs, bringing everything to a stalemate between the increasingly gothic sounding environment that gluttonously eats you whole. It’s a whole web that is opening up, tingling with a spider’s sense as they catch their prey and induce venom in the shape of music, into the listeners ear. Whilst the second song “The Scent of Skin” more is an absurdly atavistic combination of deathrock-ish purveyors meeting your most adventurous and experimental industrial, at least when it comes to the singer who goes batshit insane on this particular song. Everything is a little bit more frightening, demented, cruel and abhorrently evil. It sounds like this could be coming from any Batcave back in the day, or if you wish, an industrially laden landscape filled with abandoned and destroyed buildings. Desolation, everything is so desolate that when you close your eyes, you see more. But you feel otherwise. Even though it’s the shortest song, it feels like an eternity and not just an intermission between the action-packed rhythms of coagulated industrial behemoths that can walk a mile in anyone’s shoe. As if you haven’t heard anything yet, you hear the third song “Laugh At The Moon” and get why they put the etiquette “experimental” in the forefront. You feel like you’re on a boat, traveling through dense landscapes, maybe the rainforest for pete’s sake. Running out of fuel, banging on the empty drums, as you hear someone yelling through the thick forest. Everything is tense, so tense, that you can feel each rhythm that is organically put forward – as it strikes your ears, fiddles with them and then return when you least expect it. The downturn is that there’s just too many things happening, so you loose your concentration after a while. When you regain it once again, they simply bombard your senses with everything from metallic sounds, to wretched howls, concrete avalanches and white noise. Fuck, there is no comparison to this, at least not if you’d want to compare it to anything else. Very unique sound, interesting methods, fearful rhythms and sonically explosive. Just listen to Ritual Howls and you’ll be converted to the mysterious and harder side of industrial and its sub-genres, with the versatility that they’ve shown with this release.

a3887856044_10We’re not done yet, though. Because there’s still a lot of releases to go. Church Shuttle can be called many things, and one of them would be fringe industrial. Since they’re near the safe-haven of industrial itself, but so far away. The release is titled “Human Smuggler“. It sounds like someone had a bad acid trip, recorded their maniac ramblings on tape and blended it together with distorted noise. With the different songs on this release, it’s believable that it’s more of a symbolical gesture than anything else. Since it’s from America, it feels like the decadence and total apathy of that country has been channeled into seven tracks, put on this release. Total annihilation wouldn’t be far away, just to cleanse everyone from their sins. If sinful music was anything, it would be this. There’s too much of the characteristics that are basically the same, just in different shapes, for anyone to regard these tracks as individual tracks. Even though they are, it seems like they could be in the same cluster, since they follow a red line throughout. It’s especially this kind of “back to the roots”-SPK-industrial that Nostilevo does best. Church Shuttle is a total clusterfuck of differentiated pains, agonizing ordeals, a total fucking chaotic membrane of sound-deliverance. Atmospheric to an extent, bombastic until the distortion overwhelms you, minimalistic in the sense that some of the elements are simply so out of touch and weird – that you’d just get a headache trying to analyze it. If a modulator developed human thoughts, feelings, regretting it ever lived to serve a higher purpose by some human garbage – this is what it would sound like. What’s great about it, is that the sounds are so frequently mimicked, forced into a situation of utter decay, then stomped out again into your eardrums. It’s like a person you dislike very much would show up, be totally deranged and try to taunt you with fucked up sounds. Sometimes it feels like torture, sometimes it feels like your mind is sick and needs this desperately. A drug is introduced into your system, and it starts messing around with your cells, basically trying to give you such a bad experience that it isn’t even describable. Even though the pain you feel on a normal basis can be tough to handle, imagine this, if you even CAN imagine it. Like an untreated chronic disease, coping with an infection in your central nervous system, resulting in an outdrawn and complete malfunction. You don’t even know where to begin, because much of this music should be considered non-music. Because some of it actually feels like it. An anti-thesis, if you will. Which is heaved into the marvelous connection between industrialized noise and total control. Freaky things will happen if you listen to this, so this might not fit everyone. It’s secluded, excluding and hard to listen to at times. Church Shuttle is definitely not for the weak-minded parrot.

a1052730714_10After a serious beating, it’s nice to chill out a little bit. Together with Mammal, which is the solo-project of Gary Beauvais since 1996, based in Detroit. The album itself is titled “Fringe Residue“. It’s acoustic psychedelia, noisy fervor, industrial hardness, drone droopiness and a doomed soul making his way, featuring a gazing Beauvais over interesting riffs, with purely grievous lyrical content. Even though it’s more chilled out than the other stuff that’s been reviewed here, it still carries around a noisy movement that shouldn’t be underestimated. Penetrating even the weakest spots of the human mind, collapsing inwards and frowningly escaping the narrow tunnels of your eardrums. Just to return once again, after a calm acoustic session with lots of psychedelia. His techniques create very desolate landscapes of dark character, which as well could be mashed into one entire song. It feels like you follow the line, as you walk along the highway, listening to the fuzzy riffs, the uncompromising strength of noise and his abandoned voice. He’ beating the drum, as we’re invite to his seance, where he calls for everything that isn’t remotely near us. The music is transcendental, as it moves you deeper than you’d thought when listening with one ear for the first time. At first it doesn’t sound that interesting and you wonder yourself what could possibly be good with this. Then you hear it once again, and again – then you realize that it couldn’t get better than this. Which is a good grade, because of the sheer intriguing atmosphere of the sounds themselves and the trip he manages to take you on. Visually, it’s amazing what your fantasy can do when combined with the music of Mammal. It’s rough as dirty nails, but sincere beneath the clouds of judgement. Some of the melodies get softer the longer you get into the album itself, as the psychedelia vehemently crowns itself as a king. The outdrawn riffs are excellent, and it begins to sound more like something that could be incorporated in doom <insert genre here>, as the droning begins for real. This is where you tune out with the last song, titled “Time“, as you slowly make your way away from Mammal. But its not with ease, as this acoustically driven monster of an album, incorporates more than you’d hear with both of your ears for the first time. There’s everything between doom, drone, noise and the likes of it. Psychedelia for those that prefer a trip into acid, as the heavily psychedelic landscape forms after your visual aid, with your fantasy as a key tool to morph it into what you’d like to hear. Certainly, the industrial moments and the experimental ones are stating their case – which makes it a great album for those that prefer those kinds of things. It’s a little bit easier to listen to, but it still maintains the harder parts, which is good. Nothing should be too easy to listen to, because then you’d just get bored. This album is in all excellency, something you’d want to investigate further.

a1171548013_10Now, we’re not done yet, as we pass through the Spring batch and find ourselves with the last cassette. The Glass Path means serious business, as we delve into the experimentalism of seriously industrialized noise. Both tracks are untitled, but it starts with “Untitled (Movement A)“. Striking a chord with its overwhelming use of distortion, noise and the fact that its packed to the brim with loping drones. Abandoned, intriguing – as it brushes against you lightly and forces you to dance to the pipe of the industrialized giant. As the guitar slowly moves away, it is replaced by a static noise with swirling metallic sounds that roars at you within a total overlap of volume. Stuck within the tumbler, tumbling down the mountain, cracking every bone in your skull. This is your head when its smashed, this is what it would sound like. Leave the record on, because the needle will cut through the dark leather flesh and serve you up with a screwdriver. No, not the drink, the tool. You feel no pain as you slowly degenerate, thinking you’d survive this ordeal, but you didn’t. The crackling noise is swooping like the wind, together with other white noise and static fields of noise which gives you a beating. Amidst everything, there are portions of the track that let you rest for a bit. Atmospherically challenging you, dragging you into the whirlwind of temporary feast of atonal, but calm noise. Field recordings ain’t got nothing on this, because this is as wicked as it can get. But when it does get even more wicked, it can’t even release the tension, because it twirls up and delivers everything directly to your sensitive ears. Frustration is what can be heard, as the total decay finally sinks its teeth into the abyss, darkening everything and dampening the sound – as it plays with your senses. Finally, a monstrous voice recants his sins, as he proceeds to perforate the sound-scape with his openly arrogant voice. Fifteen minutes of this frankly feels like an eternity. This is everything you never wanted on your honeymoon trip. Well, what can be said, everything goes wrong! Lastly, you dive into the ocean and drown in (sound) noise. As the second track titled “Untitled (Movement B)” beings, it feels like being drilled in the skull. A constant noise, the harrowing feeling over the tip of your skull, whilst it’s embedding itself into your cranium. It strikes fear in you, as you try to move away from it, but it sounds so distant – yet it feels like it moves closer by the second. Feeling fatigued, the crushing noise of metallic instruments make it an outrageous ordeal. Crunching, sweeping, tight motions of noise compressed into a landscape so horrid you wouldn’t even want to look, yet feel it with your eyes upon it. You have to be a champion to outmatch the sound of this walking abomination. Senselessness has made itself abundant of you, but you feel as if it embodies you. White noise washes over you like the erroneous manner of a man barging into your dining room, stealing your precious silver. Suddenly, you’re at the peer, watching everything getting drowned in noise. Once colorful, now black and white, the crackling sparkles of blasphemous noise takes away everything you hold dear. Not even the most sturdy armor can resist this full-on assault of cacophony. Once you’ve shut it off, and you enter a stage of droopiness, you’re relieved. That’s the point with this, because that’s the sense it seems to give you. Something you need to endure, as you feel the negative emotions that fill you to the brink, just to release them once its over. The Glass Path is definitely one of the hardest, most enduring acts I’ve heard for a while. Also, it’s one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to do for a long time. Everything is so out of place from the regularly fed music you receive through your masked agony. Forget everything else, this is pure adrenaline-filled agony, brazenly disguised between waves of white noise – finding you, before you find it yourself.

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