Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Twin Obscenity—For Blood, Honour and Soil (1998)

Details

Recorded and mixed at Sound Suite Studio from May to June 1998. Produced by Atle Wiig, Knut Naesje and Jo Arlid Toennessen. Engineered by Terje Refsnes. Mixed by Terje Refsnes and Twin Obsenity. Mastered at DMS, Marl, Germany.

Encyclopedia Metallum

Band

  • Atle Wiig—Vocals and guitars
  • Jo Arlid Toennessen—Bass
  • Knut Naesje—Drums

Guest musicians

  • Mona Undheim Skottene—Keyboards and vocals
  • Alexander Twiss—Guitars

Tracks

  1. In glorious strife
  2. The usurper’s throne
  3. For blood, honour and soil
  4. Upon the morning field
  5. The wanderer
  6. Riders of the Imperial guard
  7. The thrice-damned legions
  8. The 11th hour
  9. Lain to rest by the sword

Review

Well, here it is… four and a quarter years after I began this project I’m staring at the cover of the final CD: For Blood, Honour and Soil the second of three albums by Norwegian black/pagan/death metallers Twin Obscenity.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this album isn’t your usual black metal release. It’s strangely melodic, and has echoes of Celtic Frost’s early work, with avante garde flourishes and female vocals weaving in and out of the riffs and solos. The guitars are strummed quickly, the drums beat and crash at a m, and the bass rumbles beneath it all. The album is dark but grand, melodic but atonal in places (there are a few solos like this), and keyboards gentle tinkle a haunting melody.

Melodic black metal isn’t really my thing, so to me this isn’t a great album, but it is played with passion and conviction. I can see why someone might really enjoy this.

Conclusion

I had hoped for an outstanding album to be my last review of this collection of CDs. But I guess you can’t have everything (I mean, where would you put it!—Steven Wright). If I was played my albums on random and this one came on then I certainly wouldn’t skip it, I’m just not certain that I’d go hunt it out.

Review score: 70%

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Manes—[view] extended play (2006)

Manes—[View] Extended Play

Manes—[View] Extended Play

Details

Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 6 recorded at Godt Selskap Studio, 2005. Remixes by Cordell Klier and DJ Don Tomasso. Limited to 999 copies. Produced by Manes. Mixed and mastered by Emil Sporsheim. Additional mixing by Rune Hoemsnes. Released February 2006 on Code666 Records.

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Band

  • Asgeir Hatlen—Vocals
  • Tor-Helge Skei—Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
  • Eivind Fjoseide—Guitars
  • Torstein Parelius—Bass
  • Rune Hoemsnes—Drums, Percussion
  • Tor-Arne Helgesen—Drums

Tracks

  1. cinder alley (16 horsepower cover)
  2. terminus rmx [DJ Don Tomaso remix]
  3. the neoflagellata revision
  4. terminus deconstructus [Cordell Klier remix]
  5. knife and kleenex
  6. title [“somewhat inspired by Duran Duran”]
  7. terminus dei profundus [Cordell Klier remix]

Review

Manes started life as a Norwegian black metal band in the 1990s. But to be fair, as far as I can see that’s an almost obligatory starting point for any rock band in Scandinavia. They evolved into what Wikipedia describes as “a hybrid of jazz, trip hop, electronica and metal with clean sung vocals and many progressive overtones.”

The EP opens with a cover of American alternative country band 16 Horsepower’s song “cinder alley”. I haven’t heard the original but I really like this cover, which doesn’t sound at all country. It has more of an alternative rock feel to it — think somewhere in the region of Smashing Pumpkins.

“terminus rmx” is a completely stripped down and remixed version of “Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” from Volisophe (2003). Every ounce of metal has been removed by DJ Don Tomaso. It actually reminds me a lot of the Rockabye Baby remixes: laid back and gentle. I liked it, but not as much as the original, to be honest.

Next up is the first original track on the EP, “the neoflagellata revision”. It’s a bouncy electronic rock anthem. I really like how the simple keyboard melody weaves its way in and out of the guitars, drums and vocals, like a thread being sewn throughout a garment. About two minutes in the song opens out into a more dance track, that put me in mind of Killing Joke or Crowforce.

“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” is treated to another remix by Cordell Klier in “”terminus deconstructus”. This is an even bleaker version of the song. It could be the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Original track number two, “knife and kleenex” has quite a remixed Depeche Mode feel. It bounds along quite pleasantly, like a train carving through the countryside.

“Title” claims to be “somewhat inspired by Duran Duran”, which is exactly what I thought when I listened to it at first in my car. But like many of the other tracks, there is also a Depeche Mode feel to it — which isn’t surprising given the band’s use of guitars and keyboards. It’s a really good track.

“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” remix number three, “terminus dei profundus” also by Cordell Klier is little more than pops and crackles and white noise. It is a profoundly deconstructed metal song, reinterpreted as electronic noise. This is real pop music. It’s not an easy listen, but if you like it do pop it on after listening to The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle (1977) and Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice (1996)

Conclusion

This is a curious EP from Norwegian experimental band Manes. It touches a little on their past, reinterpreted by their present and offers something for the future.

If I was to listen to this EP regularly I expect that I would reorder the tracks: group the covers and new tracks and perhaps even hide the last one, which stands more as an example of art rather than listen-able music.

Review score: 85%

 

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Details

Music by Detritivore. Artwork by Justin Bartlett. Produced by Joakim Jensen. Mastered by James Plotkin.

Band

  • ?

Tracks

  1. Postludium
  2. Lutring
  3. Messe
  4. Undergang
  5. Pakt
  6. Finale

Review

With an album cover like that I expected something dark and black and Norwegian. And it is but not in the conventional sense.

It’s hard to categorise this album. It reminds me in part of Monotheist-era Celtic Frost (it’s the dirty, slow guitar sound) and Justin Broadrick’s post-Godflesh shoegaze/drone outfit Jesu.

This album is certainly not easy to listen to in the background; the album demands your attention, and there’s something really great about that.

So, a quick run down of the tracks:

“Postludium” is initially like an atmospheric soundtrack to the zombie level of one of the Call of Duty games. Then there’s a bouncing distorted riff that puts me in mind of Apocalytica at their most energetic, and distant sung vocals in the style of something from Towering Inferno’s Kadesh (1993).

“Lutring” builds on a distorted, sustained note. This could be something from Bladerunner. The note broadens to a chord. A heavily detuned guitar punches Tom G Warrior-style riffs out through a deeply distorted amplifier. It closes with the sound of planes flying over a post-apocalyptic landscape.

“Messe” offers more weird noises into which a guitar picks out a diatonic pattern beneath a quietly wailing violin. Eventually these are joined by a bass and overdriven guitar. Sustaaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnn,,,

“Undergang” sounds like it was recorded in the London underground. During a flood. It’s a study in white noise without anyone actually saying “Shhhh!”

“Pakt”. The title track. A clean arpeggio opens the track. Bludgeoning riffs. Dischordant chords. All played slowly and deliberately.

“Finale” beings with high-pitched squeals. Out from it emerges a rolling, almost bouncing riff that eventually burns itself out after eight minutes.

Conclusion

This is an unexpected gem. It’s experimental. It’s interesting. It demands attention. I really, really loved this album. Well done… whoever you are.

Review score: 90%