Monday, December 31, 2012

2013

Happy new year! And yes, I have no life :3

(Project) Ritual Noise - "Сonfirmation of Diagnosis" [2009]

Artist: (Project) Ritual Noise
Title: Сonfirmation of Diagnosis
Label: Mental Excitement
Genre: IDM
Country: Moldova
Release date: 2009

Track List:
  1. Clinical Death
  2. Do’t F*ck My Mind Now
  3. Rollback Of Life
  4. Сonfirmation of Diagnosis
  5. Eyes of the dying cat [vocal - Olesya Chursinova]
  6. Some words about Easter
  7. Do’t F*ck My Mind Now (Railroad Mix)
  8. Euthanasia
  9. I Can’t Dive
  10. Hollyday [vocal - Nataly Jorin]
  11. Symphony 4 [kick with an orchestra]
  12. Industrial Symphony ( ]crucifactor[ mix)
  13. Do't F*ck My Mind ( ]crucifactor[ remix)
(Project) Ritual Noise is an one-man Chisinau-based act, started in 2004. PRN's music can be described as IDM with some elements of power noise, which isn't quite "my" style, but I'll post it anyway, because: 1) it's the only Moldovan industrial/experimental electronic project I know; 2) PRN has done several collaborative works with one of my good friends (Cracked Core).

NB: the spelling "do't" instead of "don't" is intended for a pun.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Animassacre - "Shi no Sedai" [2008]

Artist: Animassacre
Title: Shi no Sedai
Label: DigiVirus
Genre: EBM, Dark Electro
Country: Bulgaria
Release date: 2008

Track List:
  1. Apathy (Candle Nine Remix)
  2. Ignore It
  3. Mecha Tremors (CAT Remix)
  4. Mecha Tremors (Zwelwe Remix)
  5. Shi No Sedai
  6. User Hostile Interface
Animassacre are probably the only Bulgarian industrial band who are more or less known outside their home country. They're a duo (Simon & Diana) who draw their inspiration mainly from the "dark" anime (cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, dystopic/sci-fi, horror/guro etc.) While I'm definitely not a weeaboo, I quite enjoy these kinds of anime too, and I've searched long and hard for a band that sounds similar to 2 Bullet (the only Japanese dark electro project I know). Special kudos to Animassacre for the phrase "I am a freak and you are a freak, we should make a contest who's a bigger fucking geek!" that appeared on their album "Evolve" in the track "[R]evolution". I got no idea if "Evolve" is officially available for free download or not, but "Shi no Sedai" definitely is:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Waves Under Water - "Red Red Star" [2010]

Artist: Waves Under Water
Title: Red Red Star
Genre: Darkwave
Country: Sweden
Release date: 2010

Track List:
  1. Red Red Star
  2. Danslokal
Waves Under Water are a darkwave/electro band from Stockholm, currently consisting of Angelica (vocals, synth, cello), Johan (synth, guitar, backing vocals) and Ursula (live synth). Here's my favourite release of theirs, "Red Red Star" (2010 single). Angelica's voice may seem to "cold" and "robotic" to some, but I think it matches the music perfectly well. Overall it's the kind of darkwave I like the best, and I hope to see them live one day (they already have performed in Moscow in 2010, but I didn't have the opportunity to come there back then).


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

age++

So, today is my 26th birthday. Of course, greetings are welcome.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sand Aura - "Elegy Of The Orient" [2012]

Artist: Sand Aura
Title: Elegy Of The Orient
Genre: Folk Metal, Progressive Rock
Country: Egypt
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. The Sand Aura (From the Land of Nod)
  2. Aljahelia
  3. The Orphaned Child I (Pilgrimage for His Name)
  4. The Orphaned Child II (Fountain in the Desert)
  5. Fountains of Moses
  6. Ya Sabbya
  7. The Shepherd's Elegy
  8. Sidi Abd El-Raheem
Sand Aura are the first Egyptian metal band I came across. While their debut album, "Elegy Of The Orient", isn't quite as good as "Desert Call" by Myrath, the style is similar, and I definitely would recommend it for anyone who's interested in folk metal/rock with oriental themes. By the way, the 5th track ("Fountains of Moses") is one of the most unusual interpretations of Hava Nagila I've ever heard (along with the one by Rootwater). If you wand a download link, try a filestube search and have a good listen, while in the hometown of Sand Aura various political factions are bickering over the project of a new constitution.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Demokhratia ‎- "Bled El Petrole Takoul Lekhra" [2009]

Artist: Demokhratia
Title: Bled El Petrole Takoul Lekhra
Genre: Hardcore
Country: Algeria
Release date: 2009

Track List:
  1. Poumpi L'Efuel Ou Enbi3
  2. Boudinar
  3. El Fahem
  4. Lemssid (Usine À Bombes)
  5. Ana Enbi3lek Ana Rabak
  6. Ana Jeune Algerien
  7. Ministere Des Anciens Moujahidine, Ministere Des Actuels Serakine
  8. Seb3iyem
  9. Sonatrach Etrih Khra
  10. BMP (Beghlerized Mass People)
  11. Legal Prostitution
  12. Nigrou Genocide 2
  13. Madrasset L'Ehlak
To be honest it isn't my favourite kind of hardcore, but a band from Algeria playing such kind of music with highly political lyrics definitely deserves some attention. "Bled El Petrole Takoul Lekhra" ("Country Of Petrol And You Eat Shit" or something along these lines) is the first Algerian punk album that was released on vinyl (by France-based Darbouka Records). However, it looks like they aren't the only punks in the Algerian underground - Beghlerass and As We Fuck are from Algeria too:



Download

Dr.Zeke - "Udda Pälsar" [1979]

Artist: Dr.Zeke
Title: Udda Pälsar
Genre: Punk
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. Jag Ska Aldrig Dö
  2. Vild I Skogen
Here's another one of the bands that made me interested in the obscure punk scene of the late 70's, along with Crisis, NY Niggers, and Aryan Disgrace. As far as I know, the first song on this 7'' is considered one of the all time classics of Swedish punk, but I personally prefer the second one, Vild I Skogen - a quite catchy song with energetic female vocals.  Unfortunately, not much is known about the band. Here's all I could find:

"Sissi and Göran (who did the songs on the single) was added after some controversy about the music. Maybe it's time to present what they're called, set that was on the single were: Janne (Drums), Peter (Bass), Sussi (vocals), Torsten (Organ) and last but not least, Göran (Guitar & Vocals). Dr Zeke was formed in February '79 and played out in mid-March at Konstfack in Stockholm, the gig went pretty well. Then it was three girls, but two of them disappeared after a while, they had nothing else to stand in. The single recorded Dr Zeke in October 1979, and both songs are high energetic punkrock and their only output and it's a shame because I think that Dr. Zeke was damn good. The band recorded more songs but nothing happened so they remain missing"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Deafknife - "VI ER DØDE" [2012]

Artist: Deafknife
Title: VI ER DØDE
Genre: Post-Black Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. Kings Don't Reign Forever
  2. Catchers Of Forgotten Voices
  3. Urfin Joos
  4. To The Stars
  5. Shape
  6. Flock
  7. Void
  8. The Wall
  9. Blood & Ice
Finally, a long-awaited full-length album from this Siberian post-hardcore/black metal band, which turned out to be a total masterpiece - easily the best ex-USSR metal release of 2012. Now I have two favourite Russian metal releases of all times - "Planeshift" by Rakoth, and this one. What's interesting - both Rakoth and Deaknife have their roots in black metal scene, but the final result is relatively far from "true" black metal (in terms of both sound and lyrics/ideology). "VI ER DØDE" LP mostly consists of remastered songs from their early demos, with improved quality of recording. However, I still think the demo version of "Kings Don't Reign Forever" is better:

The "Lovecraftian" atmosphere of their early demos is almost completely gone, and replaced with the rebellious spirit of (post-)punk/hardcore which strangely goes well with the overall depressive mood of the album. The lyrics are great too, I can try to translate some of them into English if you want. Overall, an awesome release, definitely recommened if you like Amesoeurs, An Autumn For Crippled Children, and post-metal/shoegaze in general. I'll certainly buy it on CD at first opportunity, such a band surely deserves to be supported.


P.S. For those who don't know: Urfin Joos is a character in a very popular series of fantasy novels by Alexander Volkov. The books are loosely based on F.Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" (see here for more info). Urfin Joos is probably the most popular character in the whole series - a charismatic and misanthropic dictator in the earlier books, and a reclusive farmer/amateur astronomer (no longer a villain) in the later ones.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kurgal / Annorkoth - "Through the Woods And Mountains" [2011]

Artist: Kurgal / Annorkoth
Title: Through the Woods And Mountains
Genre: Ambient / Neoclassical
Country: Iraq / Russia
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. Kurgal - Sada Emedu
  2. Kurgal - Līlīṯu (ki-sikil-lil-la-ke)
  3. Kurgal - The Hanging Gardens
  4. Kurgal - End
  5. Annorkoth - Memories I
  6. Annorkoth - Memories II
  7. Annorkoth - The Last Day
  8. Annorkoth - Grey Skies (piano version)
Two piano-based ambient/neoclassical projects, one from Iraq and another one from Russia. Kurgal is a side project of Lord Erragal, who also has a dark ambient/DSBM side project called Almenakru. Unlike Janaza, whose authenticity is very dubious, Erragal is a legitimate black metal/ambient/neofolk musician from Baghdad, whose primary sources of inspiration are classical music and Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian) history and folklore. Annorkoth's side of the split is also good, but not quite as good as Kurgal's.

Azar - "Damya" [2006]

Artist: Azar
Title: Damya
Genre: Neofolk
Country: Algeria
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Ifurkan
  2. Unknown cover
  3. It-tij
  4. Zagder
  5. Child & Time
  6. Id-dhess
  7. Crimson Towers (Dissection cover)
Another dark folk project with a quite exotic place of origin - this time it's Algeria. Azar is listed as a folk/black metal project on most sites, but this particular demo is pure instrumental neofolk. There's one more demo of Azar called "Izorane" which actually does sound like folk/black metal, but I didn't like it as much as this one. The person behind Azar describes his music as "Amazigh/Berber Metal", where "Amazigh peoples" refers to the pre-Arab population of the North Africa (known as "Berbers" in Europe). It's really refreshing to hear some good neofolk based on non-European tradition (leaving aside the Chinese scene), as I'm tired of these "neofolk is fundamentally European genre!"-claims. Yes, it looks like Berbers/Kabyles/Amazighs are traditionalists too, but their ideologies doesn't look as reactionary as those of many European neofolk bands. Their place in the history of North Africa is akin to the place of Celts and Basques in the European history - but Basques and Irish Republicans are known all around the world, while the Berbers aren't...


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chaos As Shelter & Agnivolok - "Henbane" [2009]

Artist: Agnivolok & Chaos As Shelter
Title: Henbane
Genre: Dark Ambient, Experimental, Neofolk
Country: Israel
Release date: 2009

Track List:
  1. Agnivolok - Volka
  2. Chaos As Shelter - Alien
  3. Agnivolok - The Heart And The Hunter
  4. Chaos As Shelter - Purgatory
  5. Agnivolok - Belena
  6. Chaos As Shelter - The Sacrifice
  7. Agnivolok - Black Forest
  8. Chaos As Shelter - Silver Lips Of Tomorrow
  9. Agnivolok - Volka Volka
This album is a product of collaboration between Vera Shapiro aka Agnivolok (guitar, lyrics, female vocals) and Vadim Gusis aka Chaos As Shelter (arrangements, everything else). If I'm not mistaken, it was recorded in the late 90's, but released only 10 years later. Stylistically it can be described as something in between of dark ambient, experimental/noise and neofolk with lyrics in Russian. While it isn't a music for everyday listening, it's quite good, and remarkable for coming from a region that's not rich with industrial acts. Here you can read an interview with Vadim Gusis, if you're interested (nice to see RIO/zeuhl along with punk and early industrial on his list of influences, BTW).

Gevolt - "AlefBase" [2011]

Artist: Gevolt
Title: AlefBase
Genre: Folk/Industrial Metal, Neue Deutsche Härte
Country: Israel
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. Hakdome
  2. Trinken A Bisale Vayn
  3. Der Rebe Elimelekh
  4. Sha Shtil
  5. Tum Balalayke
  6. Shpil Zhe Mir A Lidele In Yiddish
  7. Mayn Rue Plats
  8. Zog Nit Keyn Mol
  9. A Mol Iz Geven A Mayse
  10. Sheyn Vi Di Levone
  11. Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn
  12. Tshiribim Tshiribom
  13. Der Alefbeys
Probably one of the most interesting releases of 2011 - the first album in the history of metal with all the lyrics in Yiddish. Who might have guessed that there'll be a band playing NDH in Israel... however, Yiddish sounds very similar to German, so the choice of genre doesn't look odd. The band exists since 2001 and released their first album (with lyrics in Russian) in 2006. I found "AlefBase" much more interesting than their first one, though. It entirely consists of cover versions of various well-known Yiddish (Klezmer) songs, some of which ("Tum Balalayke", for ex.) sound quite funny in this "Rammstein-esque" arrangement. IMO it's a really original release, and not only because they're singing in Yiddish. Since they're officially giving it out for free on rutracker.org, I think it'd be OK to post it here as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Drama Radio - "Virtual TV Test" [2012]

Artist: A Drama Radio
Title: Virtual TV Test
Label: Mental Excitement
Genre: Dark Ambient / Experimental
Country: Russia
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. The Snow (TV Startup)
  2. Mourning (TV Morning)
  3. Amber Nip Nature (TV Pain)
  4. The Spill Song (Extended TV Bug)
  5. Brave Old World (TV News)
  6. Nurses Love The Worms (TV Values)
  7. Spectral S.O.S. (TV Host)
  8. The Bloom Ocean (TV Sleep)
  9. Parasomnias Parasuicide (TV Death)
  10. Icy Cacophony 2009 (TV Help)
  11. Ann Reprise (TV Bye)
  12. Test (TV Shout)
  13. Waitfall (bonus)
  14. Script (bonus)
A Drama Radio is an experimental music project started by Nazar Markov in 2008. I think he knows about my blog (because of Cracked Core and his label), though I'm not sure if he reads it on regular basis. While I didn't like his debut album ("Perdition Signals", 2010), "Virtual TV Test" is definitely interesting, although not easy to get into. While it still can be classified as dark ambient, it's quite experimental and obviously influenced by the classic industrial scene. Just like all the other Mental Excitement releases, this album is distributed completely for free.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ok.Sa - "Awake!" [2012]

Artist: Ok.Sa
Title: Awake
Genre: Synthpop/Darkwave
Country: Belarus
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. O.K.S.A.
  2. Wings(Up To The Sky)
  3. Golden Hoops
  4. Awake
  5. Just Another Winter
  6. Behind The Wall
  7. Mourning
One more female-fronted synthpop/darkwave project from the ex-USSR (this time from Belarus). Personally I found this demo a little boring (except for the last track), but the band clearly has potential, and it's good to see Belarusian scene becoming more diverse.

Suicidal Romance - "Love Beyond Reach" [2007]

Artist: Suicidal Romance
Title: Love Beyond Reach
Label: Infacted Rec.
Genre: Darkwave, Electrogoth
Country: Estonia
Release date: 2007

Track List:
  1. Love Beyond Reach
  2. Not Alone
  3. Will It Be (For Us)
  4. Call Me
  5. Angel Of Love
  6. White Snow
  7. Poisoned Kiss
  8. Lonely Tears
  9. Prince Of The Darkness
  10. Star
  11. In This Night (Lullaby)
  12. Not Alone (Blutengel Remix)
  13. Star (Lost Area Remix)
I discovered this band in 2007, when I was a big fan of L'ame Immortelle and wanted to find something similar to them, but from the ex-USSR. Suicide Romance are a Russian/Estonian project based out of Tallin, consisting of composer Dmitry D. (also in Freakangel) and two female vocalists (Viktoria and Maarja). "Love Beyond Reach" is their first release, sounding a bit naive and simplistic, but that's what is good about it. I for one don't like their consequent releases at all (especially "Memories Behind Closed Curtains"), despite much more professional production - they're just too boring for me. It also should be noted that "Love Beyond Reach" is their most melodic and least "aggressive" release, which I think goes well with the lyrical content. The lyrics on this album are mostly about love and sexual relationships, which aren't my favourite subjects in general, but in this particular case I found the lyrics quite touching. Overall I'd compare SR with Blutengel, in terms of both music and band's image:

P.S. Don't know if their label is OK with this album being available for download, so I won't post the direct link... but anyway you can search for it on filestube, if you wish.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Neurotech - "Transhuman" [2008]

Artist: Neurotech
Title: Transhuman
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 2008

Track List:
  1. Impakt
  2. Transhuman
  3. Down the Drain
  4. Subsonic Omega
  5. Nex
Although a small country, Slovenia gave the world an impressive amount of excellent industrial projects - Laibach, Coptic Rain, Borghesia, and now Neurotech, an one-man band started by Wulf in 2007. Here's his debut EP "Transhuman", released in 2008. Didn't chech out the subsequent releases yet, but anyway all of them are available off Neurotech's bandcamp page for free (just set the price to 0).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Oversun - "Pinnacle's Obsession" [1998]

Artist: Oversun
Title: Pinnacle's Obsession
Genre: Industrial Rock
Country: Russia
Release date:1998

Track List:
  1. Burn In The Night
  2. Niya (Burn Mix)
  3. Test Behind
  4. Torture Tower
  5. Lullaby
  6. Pleasure Of Lust (Burn Mix)
Oversun were an industrial rock/metal project started by two members of a relatively well-known Russian progressive metal band Ens Cogitans in late 90's. The name "Oversun" is apparently taken from the sci-fi novel "Destination: Amaltheia" by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky. 
They're largely forgotten by now, even though their second album, "Tragedy of Time", received an award from DarkCity magazine, and there were even plans to release it on Metal Blade Records. As for this album... well, it isn't a masterpiece, but it isn't a bad debut either, especially if we consider that it was one of the first Russian industrial rock albums, released in 1998.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The A.I. of Rah - "RahZoom" [2003]

Artist: The A.I. of Rah
Title: RahZoom
Label: Dominatrix Rec.
Genre: Electro-Industrial
Country: Russia
Release date: 2003

Track List:

pt.1: "Яд"
  1. Разум
  2. Странный Сон
  3. (Яд)
  4. Спираль Огня
  5. Всегда ("The A.I. Of Rah" vs. "Время Сумерек")
pt.2: "Зеркало"
  1. Мона Лиза Овердрайв
  2. Ржавый Рассвет
  3. Прозрение
  4. Вечная Ночь
  5. Зеркало
  6. Радостные Кибернетические Пляски
часть 3: "Тишина"
  1. Тишина - 1 (Спокойствие)
  2. Tишина - 2 (Голос Памяти)
  3. Тишина - 3 (Голос Забвения)
  4. Тишина - 4 (Люди)
+ bonus: (techno-mockery something) 

One more The A.I. of Rah's album from 2003, this time a full-length release of 3 parts (last one is my favourite). The album name is a word play: "Rah" + "Zoom" = "Разум" ("mind" or "consciousness" in Russian), and the lyrics are mostly cyberpunk-influenced (especially by Gibson's novels). I have a lot more releases by Dominatrix (not only from The A.I. of Rah, but from other Dizorder's projects as well: Наташкин Атомный Мусоропровод, Shakram Rogue, The End Of The Cyberworms, Maitreya Dusk), but I haven't listened to the majority of them yet. So if you're interested - have some patience until I'll have the time to review them.

The A.I. of Rah - "Sintetika" [2003]

Artist: The A.I. of Rah
Title: Синтетика
Label: Dominatrix Rec.
Genre: Electro-Industrial
Country: Russia
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Радуга
  2. Мечта О Сверхчеловечестве 
  3. Синтез - Бог
  4. Восхождение К Гармонии 
  5. Преображение
  6. Новый Мир
The A.I. of Rah was one of the numerous projects started by Dizorder, an experimental/industrial musician from Ryazan. Out of all his projects, it has probably the least "noisy", and the most "electro"-like sound. The EP "Синтетика" ("Synthetic") was released in 2003 on Dizorder's DIY label "Dominatrix", and it's my favourite Dizorder's work so far. The lyrics are mostly transhumanism-themed, based on an futuristic idea of a technologically enhanced posthumanity vastly superior to modern humans in terms of its almost godlike abilities. There's also a GITS AMV for the track "Синтез-Бог" made by Dizorder, which I think well reflects the ideology and atmosphere of the song:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cracked Core & Sergrunt - "Between Solstice and Equinox" [2012]

Artist: Cracked Core + Sergrunt
Title: Between Solstice and Equinox
Label: Mental Excitement
Genre: Industrial / Ambient
Country: Russia
Release date: 2012

Track List:

Solstice:
  1. Cracked Core & Sergrunt - Rising Up
  2. Cracked Core & Sergrunt - Sunlight After Rain
  3. Cracked Core & Sergrunt - Blue Warm Water
  4. Cracked Core & Sergrunt - Twilight Of Burning Madness
  5. Cracked Core - Solar Rad (Bonus)
Equinox:
  1. Sergrunt & Cracked Core - Betweens Solstice And Equinox
  2. Sergrunt & Cracked Core - Following The Waveriders
  3. Sergrunt & Cracked Core - Birds From Empthy North
  4. Sergrunt & Cracked Core - In The Night
  5. Sergrunt - Officer Child (Bonus)
"Between Solstice and Equinox" is a product of collaboration between two Russian industrial musicians, released on the eve of Autumnal Equinox '12 by Mental Excitement (Cracked Core's DIY netlabel). This will the 66th and the last album released by ME, because CC now has neither the desire nor the energy to run the label. R.I.P. :(

P.S. "And I thought I'll never release an album with a swastika-like symbol on its cover..." - CC. I don't think it resembles swastika, though (at least not any more than any other solar symbol).

Cracked Core - "00×0" [2012]

Artist: Cracked Core
Title: 00×0
Genre: Industrial / Harsh Noise / Ambient
Country: Russia
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. End is High
  2. Black Days / Dog days
  3. ACAB (part 1: SPMU)
  4. ACAB (part 2: Abuse of authority)
  5. Hate / Fear / Death
  6. City Without Drugs (Roizman)
  7. True Drama (Booze)
  8. Debug Mode
  9. Stand Alone
  10. Achievement Unlocked (Game Over)
"00×0" is the newest solo release by Cracked Core, and according to his own definition, his" nastiest" release. I think he meant the harshness and "noisiness" of the sound (it applies only to several tracks, though - not to the whole album), regarding which "00×0" is on pair with CC/Brandkommando split. It also contains a lot of samples from movies ("[Anti]Killer", "The Inhabited Island", and some other movie which I don't know), video games (Deus Ex, CoD: MW3), and news reports from the recent political demonstations in Moscow. I'm afraid the concept of "00×0" would be hard to understand for those of you who don't understand the Russian language and aren't familiar with the context of recent political events here - just like in case with МП44. However, if you don't mind politics and just want some good noisy/experimental stuff - "00×0" is for you. It's also worth mention that it was recorded during a quite hard period of CC's life (family problems, health problems, etc), which is obviously reflected in the music.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Complex Numbers - "Утро Нового Тысячелетия" [2002]

Artist: Complex Numbers
Title: Утро Нового Тысячелетия
Genre: Techno, Futurepop
Country: Russia
Release date: 2002

Track List:
  1. Эволюция
  2. Утро нового тысячелетия
  3. Пробуждение
  4. Экспансия
  5. Солнечное затмение
  6. Цветущая земля
  7. Время
  8. Бесконечный путь
  9. Трилогия
  10. Неизбежность
  11. Ещё не поздно начать всё сначала
  12. Inevitability (bonus - Russian SE)
  13. Inevitabilite (bonus - French SE)
The second album from Complex Numbers, which is probably the best in their discography (if Victor Argonov's solo work "2032: A Techno Opera" doesn't count). Just like their debut album, this one contains only two tracks with vocals, and they're clearly the best on the whole album. I also added two re-arranged versions of 10th track to the archive (in Russian and French, from CN's maxi single "Last Ring" released in 2009). BTW, I especially like the voice of their new vocalist "Ariel", which you may hear on these two bonus tracks. The lyrics are excellent as well, dealing with quite serious matters such as transhumanism, "hard" science fiction, and the future of the humankind. I think this video will give you an idea of what their music is about:

Complex Numbers - "Земное Притяжение" [1998]

Artist: Complex Numbers
Title: Земное Притяжение
Genre: Techno, Futurepop
Country: Russia
Release date: 1998

Track List:
  1. Вcтупление
  2. Пути цивилизаций
  3. Над землёю алеет закат...
  4. Солнечный дождь
  5. Подводный туннель
  6. Разбег
  7. Тайфун
  8. Минбарский снег
  9. Ускорение
  10. Конвейер
  11. В полёте
  12. Две системы
  13. Земное притяжение
Complex Numbers are an "art-techno" project started in 1996 in Vladivostok by Frol Zapolsky and Victor Argonov (the latter being one of the most well-known transhumanist activists/publicists in Russia). After more than a decade of being largely unknown, CN suddenly became a sensation in the "intellectual" segment of Russian internet, thus finally reaching their intended audience. "Земное Притяжение" ("Earth's Gravity") is their debut release consisting of mostly instrumental tracks recorded during 1996-1998. However, my favourites are two tracks - #3 & #8 - with beautiful female vocals and sci-fi themed lyrics. Sadly there are only two of them...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Protacryl - "Future" [2007]

Artist: Protacryl
Title: Future
Genre: Electronic/Industrial
Country: Russia
Release date: 2007

Track List:
  1. DOOM
  2. Utopia #2
  3. Zikr
  4. Touch My Plaque
  5. The Other Side Of The Mind
  6. I Don't Know
  7. Hydrogen Jamaica
  8. Forgotten Eyes
  9. The All-Or-Nothing Days
  10. The Gap In The Head
  11. Sterile Nurse
  12. Universal Faith
  13. Surreal Reason
  14. The Step In The Next Day
  15. Future
Protacryl are an electro-industrial duo from Tomsk (western Siberia), formed in 1992 as an aggro-industrial/punk band, but never released anything in that style. Since the release of their debut full-length album "Proto" (2004), they're playing purely electronic music. Here's their latest album up to date, "Future" (2007), which is definitely not bad for a self-produced release.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Farid Aslanov - "Planetary Shift" [2012]

Artist: Farid Aslanov
Title: Planetary Shift
Genre: Ambient/Electronic, Soundtrack
Country: Azerbaijan
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. Passive
  2. Long Journey
  3. Lost In Time
The latest release from Farid Aslanov up to date, this time more "cosmic" in atmosphere (as opposed to his previous EP, "War With The Z", which was intended to resemble a soundtrack for a zombie movie). As for me, it's too soundtrack-like, which makes it a little boring for ordinary listening, but I can't blame Farid for this - I understand he has a family and a lot of work which leaves little time for making music, plus he lives in a country where underground music scene barely exists. Perhaps I should try to contact him once again and ask him about his future plans and the current state of his main project, Mechanic Fist (I heard they've split up...)

Abu Lahab - "As Chastened Angels Descend Into The Thoracic Tombs" [2011]

Artist: Abu Lahab
Title: As Chastened Angels Descend Into The Thoracic Tombs
Genre: Noise / Avant-Garde / Industrial Black Metal
Country: Morocco
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. Sentient Graves
  2. A Ripple of Matricide
  3. Prayers of the Kyphosis
  4. Fear-Induced Faith
  5. To Stab a Pregnant Sun
  6. Bismih
Very, very strange release from North Africa that definitely won't appeal to everyone. However, I found this (anti-)music actually interesting and carrying that atmosphere of insanity that most generic noise/PE/BM releases lack. Just look at the tracklisting - the music is just as weird as these song titles. Certainly not an album for everyday listening, but a good addition in a collection of weird/avant-garde DIY stuff from obscure countries. As for the moniker "Abu Lahab", it means "Father of Flame" and probably comes from the Islamic mythology where it's a nickname of Muhammad's uncle who later became one of his most staunch enemies.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ID:VISION - "Destination Cybermind" [2011]

Artist: ID:VISION
Title: Destination Cybermind
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Belarus
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. Enter The Cybermind (Intro)
  2. Human Hazard
  3. Zarathustra XXI
  4. Eschato-Logics
  5. World Wide Wrath
  6. Pandora's Box
  7. Destination Cybermind
  8. Hi-Tech Knell
  9. X-Ray Sun
  10. Seven Days Before The Fall (Prelude)
  11. Vośmy Dzień
  12. The Man
  13. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

One more Belarusian band, one of whose members used to post on "M-Forum" ~10 years ago. Back then, he seemed to be quite immature (your typical "trve black metal" fan), but junging from this album, he grew up into a good musician. The best track on "Destination Cybermind" is probably "Zarathustra XXI", but the whole album is quite good and definitely recommended to every fan of industrial death/black metal (and what's important - it's officially FREE for download).

Download

Pulsar (BY) - "Civilization" [2005]

Artist: Pulsar
Title: Civilization
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Belarus
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. The Voice of the Earth (intro)
  2. Civilization
  3. Fire & Ice
  4. Eternity
  5. Путь к фортуне
  6. Солнце Бессмертных
  7. Пегас
  8. Орден Креста
  9. Моя любовь, моя печаль

One more band named Pulsar, this time from Belarus and playing power metal. First I heard about them was circa 2003, when I used to read the "M-Forum" (probaby the only Belarusian metal forum back then). They were quite unpopular among the users of said forum (because it was considered "cool" to listen to BM and brutal death metal, not gothic or power metal), but I personally liked some of their promo songs ("Civilization" and "Eternity") very much, even though I couldn't find their first and only full-length album anywhere. Now I found it, and I have to say that the 2 songs I mentioned are indeed the best. "Fire & Ice" isn't bad either, but the rest of the tracks (with lyrics in Russian) are just generic power metal, and the album cover image is so stereotypical it hurts. "Civilization" and "Eternity" are very beautiful songs, though - a good example of power metal that's about more serious topics than fantasy and dragons. The vocal work isn't perfect, though, as well as the overall quality of production, but it's good enough for an underground metal band from the ex-USSR.

Download

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pulsar - "The Strands Of The Future" [1976]

Artist: Pulsar
Title: The Strands Of The Future
Genre: Progressive Rock
Country: France
Release date: 1976

Track List:
  1. The Strands Of The Future
  2. Flight
  3. Windows
  4. Fool's Failure

Second album by Pulsar, which is in my opinion better than their debut "Pollen". Excellent progressive/space rock, would be a perfect soundtrack for some French sci-fi movie or cartoon like "Les Maîtres du Temps" (I don't like its original soundtrack, except for the closing theme). After "The Strands Of The Future" Pulsar released one more album called "Halloween" (which wasn't as popular as their first two albums due to rise of punk rock scene, which seriously diminished the fanbase of classic rock), and then split up. Personally I found "Halloween" not as interesting as either "Pollen" or "Strands of the Future", but it's still definitely worth listening (won't post it here, though).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pulsar - "Pollen" [1975]

Artist: Pulsar
Title: Pollen
Genre: Progressive Rock
Country: France
Release date: 1975

Track List:
  1. Pulsar
  2. Apaisement
  3. Puzzle / Omen
  4. Le Cheval de Syllogie
  5. Pollen

And one more classic progressive/space rock release that may appeal to those who liked "Martian Chronicles" by Solaris. Listen to the whole album on youtube:


P.S. If you want to have "Pollen" on your HD as MP3, just use Google blogs search - I'm sure it was already posted in a lot of blogs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hidria Spacefolk - "Symetria" [2007]


Artist: Hidria Spacefolk
Title: Symetria
Genre: Progressive Rock
Country: Finland
Release date: 2007

Track List:
  1. Symetria
  2. Futur Ixiom
  3. 322
  4. Flora/Fauna
  5. Radien
  6. Sine
This Finnish band is often recommended to those who want something more in the vein of "Martian Chronicles" by Solaris. However, I think they're closer to bands like Ozric Tentacles in terms of sound, although the melancholic and "cosmic" feel is definitely present in their music too. They're also compared with such Hungarian bands as Korai Öröm and ColorStar, but I don't like both of said bands (or maybe I should give their albums one more listen?..) Can't say "Symetria" is a masterpiece (compared to "Martian Chronicles"), but it's certainly very good.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Solaris - "Marsbéli Krónikák (The Martian Chronicles)" [1984]

Artist: Solaris
Title: Marsbéli Krónikák
Genre: Progressive Rock
Country: Hungary
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. The Martian Chronicles I
  2. The Martian Chronicles II-III
  3. The Martian Chronicles IV-VI
  4. M'ars Poetica
  5. If The Fog Ascends
  6. Apokalypse
  7. Prelude In E Minor
  8. Undefeatable
  9. Solaris
  10. The Planet Of Orchids (Bonus Track)
  11. The Yellow Circle (Bonus Track)

It'd be very hard for me to write a proper review of this album, because it's one of my all-time favourites, and definitely included in my personal top-5. In short, "Marsbéli Krónikák" present everything what I love Hungarian prog-rock for: catchy and beautiful melodies, atmosphere of bright sadness, excellent musicianship, analog synthesizers from the 80s, and the influence from sci-fi classics like Ray Bradbury and his "Martian Chronicles". Even though the album is entirely instrumental, it accurately reflects the mood of "Martian Chronicles" and a lot of other "hard" science fiction of the 20th century. That probably what The Martians would listen to, if they were born half a century later :) I should also note that Solaris is progressive rock, but not avant-prog; so it's sophisticated enough, but isn't hard for listening at all. A true masterpiece, perfect example of good Eastern European prog-rock sound.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

After Crying - "Megalázottak és Megszomorítottak" [1992]

Artist: After Crying
Title: Megalázottak és Megszomorítottak
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Hungary
Release date: 1992

Track List:
  1. A gadarai megszállott
  2. A kis hős
  3. Noktürn
  4. Megalázottak és megszomorítottak
  5. Végül

After Crying are probably the most well-known Hungarian avant-prog band, often considered to be the best RIO-influenced band in their country. Personally I heard only two albums out of their considerably big discography, and here's my favourite one. I think the album cover says all about the music - the atmosphere it creates is as quiet and melancholic as winter forest at night. Don't know how to express it better...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vágtázó Halottkémek - "Semmi Kapuin Dörömbölve" [1992]

Artist: Vágtázó Halottkémek
Title: Semmi Kapuin Dörömbölve
Label: Alternative Tentacles
Genre: Folk Rock, Avant-Prog
Country: Hungary
Release date: 1992

Track List:
  1. Hunok csatája
  2. Aláírhatatlan történelem
  3. Az én lőrései
  4. Feltámadt kép
  5. Ősvilág
  6. Álmodom
  7. Botrányos probléma
  8. Örökkévalóság
  9. Halló, mindenség! II.
  10. Nincs más megoldás

Vágtázó Halottkémek aka VHK, formed in Budapest in 1975, were one of the most unique and innovative Hungarian progressive rock bands. There's a lot of bands in Hungary whose music is inspired by Hungarian (and Uralic/Altaic in general) mythology and epos, but VHK really stand out even among them, being a very dedicated concept band.

While I haven't heard anything of VHK been influenced by Rock In Opposition or similar movements, their music is quite hard to get into, quite comparable to most of RIO bands in this regard. Their style ranges from shamanic/psychedelic rock (this album, the most-well known release of them) to hardcore and even metal (some of their earlier releases), but the influence of Hunnic culture and pantheistic beliefs (Tengrianism?..) is always evident. Very original and sophisticated music, but definitely not for everyday listening.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Samla Mammas Manna - s/t [1971]

Artist: Samla Mammas Manna
Title: Samla Mammas Manna
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1971

Track List:
  1. Circus Apparatha
  2. Pausus
  3. Vidgat Läge
  4. Släde till Satori
  5. Schekina
  6. Uvertyr till Snäll Häst
  7. Flickan i Skogen
  8. Manna Jamma
  9. At-One-Ment
  10. Skrik från Embassy
  11. Fittravisan
  12. E'Pop Tai
  13. Circus Impala (bonus)
  14. Lawrence in Sahara (bonus)

One more album by Samla Mammas Manna, full of silly humour, circus references, excellent musicianship, and everything else that SMM are known for. Personally I like this one and "Klossa Knapitatet" more than "Måltid" (widely perceived as their best albums), or their later works under different names ("Zamla Mammas Manna", "Von Zamla", Lars Hollmer's solo albums), characterized by somewhat more serious approach to music.

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Samla Mammas Manna - "Klossa Knapitatet" [1974]

Artist: Samla Mammas Manna
Title: Klossa Knapitatet
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1974

Track List:
  1. Ingenting
  2. Liten Dialektik
  3. Sucken
  4. Långt Ner I Ett Kannihål (liten tuva stjälper ofta stort lass)
  5. Kom Lite Närmare
  6. Musmjölkningmaskinen
  7. Influenser
  8. Klossa Knapitatet
  9. Ramlösa Kvällar

Samla Mammas Manna were one of the 5 original RIO bands (along with Univers Zero, Henry Cow, Stormy Six, and Etron Fou Leloublan; later followed by Art Bears, Art Zoyd and Aksak Maboul), but their music is actually rather far from RIO. SMM undoubtedly were virtuous musicians, but they preferred to play much more lighthearted music strongly influenced by Canterbury scene and Swedish progg movement. Seems like they also shared the ideology behind the progg scene, as the album name,"Klossa Knapitatet", is an obvious pun on "Krossa Kapitalet" ("Smash the Capital").

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Miriodor - s/t [1988]

Artist: Miriodor
Title: Miriodor
Label: Cuneiform Records
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. Regards
  2. Spirale / Spiral
  3. Marche Funebre / Funeral March
  4. Valence
  5. Piège / Trap
  6. Suspicion I
  7. Insomnie Prémonitoire / Premonitory Insomnia
  8. Réseau / Network
  9. En Attendant Rémi / Waiting for Rémi
  10. Pleine Lune / Full Moon
  11. Suspicion II
  12. Oriflamme
  13. Convoi Nocturne / Nocturnal Procession
  14. Moyen Âge / Middle Ages

Ugly album cover, but beautiful music. It's the only album by Miriodor I've heard so far, and it's quite good (I heard all their later albums are better, though). Not sure if they're comparable to 80's Art Zoyd, Univers Zero and other RIO bands (I think Miriodor are more melodic and not that overtly "avant-garde"). But just like in case with Art Zoyd, I can surely say it's music for listening at night.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Univers Zero - "Implosion" [2004]

Artist: Univers Zero
Title: Implosion
Label: Cuneiform Records
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Belgium
Release date: 2004

Track List:
  1. Suintement (Oozing)
  2. Falling Rain Dance
  3. Partch's X-Ray
  4. Rapt D'Abdallah
  5. Miroirs (Mirrors)
  6. La Mort de Sophocle (Sophocle's Death)
  7. Ectoplasme
  8. Temps Neufs
  9. Mellotronic
  10. Bacteria
  11. Out of Space 4
  12. First Short Dance
  13. Second Short Dance
  14. Variations on Mellotronic's Theme
  15. A Rebours (In Revers)
  16. Meandres (Meanderings)

Here's my favourite album by RIO classics Univers Zero. It's definitely nowhere near as "dark" or avant-garde as their classic releases like "Heresie" or "1313", but I like the mood and atmosphere of this album (as well as the cover art). Maybe I'm not a real fan of avant-prog, but I never pretended to be one :P Anyway, here's the kind of progressive rock I like the most - melancholic, "cosmic" (as opposed to UZ's early releases, which carry a "creepy", horror-movie atmosphere), melodic yet full of electronic noisy parts.

Download

Ahvak - s/t [2004]

Artist: Ahvak
Title: Ahvak
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: Israel
Release date: 2004

Track List:
  1. Vivisection
  2. Bertha
  3. Regaim
  4. Dust
  5. Cement
  6. Yawners
  7. Ironworks

"Most of AHVAK members met through an internet prog-rock forum in Israel. They started rehearsing but didn't work seriously until drummer and composer Dave Kerman (5UU'S, THINKING PLAGUE, U-TOTEM, PRESENT etc.) came to Israel and joined the band. Their debut album was released on Cuneiform Records in the USA and got some pretty flattering reviews" (progarchives.com)

Besides that, not much is known about Ahvak. Don't even know if they recorded their 2nd album, but their debut one is quite interesting. It's probably the one and only RIO-influenced avant-prog release from Israel (correct me if there are any others).

Download

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Art Zoyd - "Le Mariage Du Ciel Et L'Enfer" [1984]

Artist: Art Zoyd
Title: Le Mariage Du Ciel Et L'Enfer
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: France
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Sortie 134 - Part 1
  2. Cryogenèse - Rêve Artificiel
  3. IO 1
  4. IO 2
  5. IO 3
  6. Mouvance 2
  7. Mouvance 1
  8. Cryogenèse - Les Portes du Futur
  9. Sortie 134 - Part 2

Along with Univers Zero, Art Zoyd are probably one of the best known bands in the whole Rock In Opposition movement. Most of their albums aren't that hard to find, so I won't post their complete discography here. However, I'd like to post one of their lesser known, but nevertheless great albums - "Le Mariage Du Ciel Et L'Enfer". Recorded in 1984, this album isn't as "electronic" as their later releases, but no less "dark" and experimental. According to the release notes, "Le Mariage Du Ciel Et L'Enfer" is actually music for some ballet by Roland Petit. Unfortunately, my knowledge of ballet is very limited, so I won't comment on this...

Download

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nebelnest - "Zepto" [2006]

Artist: NeBeLNeST
Title: ZePTo
Label: Cuneiform Records
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: France
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Pillars of Birth
  2. Manjnuns
  3. The Old Ones
  4. The Thing in the Walls
  5. Fabric of Reality
  6. De Thriumpho Naturae
  7. Do What Thou Wilt
  8. Station 9

Another French avant-prog band, strongly influenced by Rock In Opposition movement (but significantly heavier than most RIO bands). Here's their third and most recent album, "ZePTo" (capitalization rule - all consonants are in capitals, unlike the vowels). Besides the obvious references to Crowley ("Do What Thou Wilt") and Lovecraft ("The Old Ones"), the album has a strong futuristic feel, and creates a "cosmic" atmosphere. Happy Cosmonautics Day, BTW!

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Magma - "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" [1973]

Artist: Magma
Title: Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Genre: Avant-Prog, Zeuhl
Country: France
Release date: 1973

Track List:
  1. Hortz Fur Dëhn Stekëhn West
  2. Ïma Süri Dondaï
  3. Kobaïa Is de Hündïn
  4. Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanïk
  5. Nebëhr Gudahtt
  6. Mekanïk Kommandöh
  7. Kreühn Köhrmahn Iss de Hündïn

...And speaking of Magma - here's their most well-known album, "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh", released in 1973. MDK is considered to be a seminal work for the whole zeuhl genre, and a very original release even by nowadays standards. At first listening, my impression was like "WTF am I listening to??!!", but after ~10 re-listenings it became like: "Wait... but this is great!!!". Need I say more? Here you can read a detailed review of MDK and an explanation of it's sci-fi concept. I can only add that the only downside of this release, IMO, is that the Kobaïan language turned out not quite as exotic as I expected. Bands singing in made-up languages always fascinated me, but Kobaïan sounds quite like Dutch or some weird German dialect, not something that I would expect from an extraterrestrial language...

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Shub-Niggurath - "Les Morts Vont Vite" [1986]

Artist: Shub-Niggurath
Title: Les Morts Vont Vite
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: France
Release date: 1986

Track List:
  1. Incipit Tragedia
  2. Cabine 67
  3. Yog Sothoth
  4. La Ballade De Lénore
  5. Delear Prius
  6. J'ai Vu Naguère En Peinture Les Harpies Ravissant Le Repas De Phynée

"SHUB-NIGGURATH was formed in 1983 and consisted of six musicians: Allan Ballaud on bass, percussionist Franck Coulaud, Frank Fromy on guitar and percussion, Jean-Luc Herve on harmonium, piano and organ, vocalist Ann Stewart, and a trombone/bass player Veronuque Verdier. The band released their first untitled demo on 1985 and got good feedback from critics. The promising debut album, "Les Morts Von Vite", was released on Musea label in 1987. The album received good reviews and is their finest moment: it caught the band at the peak of their creativity. Musea reissued this album on CD in 1997, including two rare bonus tracks. The debut sold well and later, in 87, SHUB NIGGURATH's song appeared on Musea's Zeuhl compilation "Enneade", a tribute to the legacy of Magma. [...] SHUB-NIGGURATH's best album is the debut, and it's also the best place to start exploring their music. However, their career has been fairly consistent and the other two albums are quality efforts. If you like dark, brooding mix of RIO and Zeuhl you will like SHUB-NIGGURATH. their avant-ish dark prog with a sharp edge is both unique and challenging"

While I can't say this album reminds me of Magma, it's definitely a classic and should be recommended to anyone who wants to hear some progressive rock that's really hard to get into. The atmosphere on "Les Morts Vont Vite" is quite dark, but what else to expect from a Lovecraftian band?..

Komintern - "Le Bal Du Rat Mort" [1971]

Artist: Komintern
Title: Le Bal Du Rat Mort
Genre: Avant-Prog
Country: France
Release date: 1971

Track List:
  1. Bal Pour Un Rat Vivant
  2. Hommage Au Marie De Tours
  3. Petite Musique Pour Un Blockhaus
  4. Pongistes De Tous Les Pays
  5. Fou, Roi, Pantin

One more album released in 1971 that was influenced by early hyper-progressive rock and radical politics of May 1968. Komintern, a French band formed in 1970 and disbanded in 1975, are often labeled as "the first Rock In Opposition band". While I can't fully agree with that (as the whole RIO thing started in 1978), Komintern definitely were one of the most important precursors to the whole RIO movement. Can't believe "Le Bal Du Rat Mort" was released in 1971!

P.S. Some members of Komintern were also active in an avant-garde act called Red Noise. While I couldn't find any of their recordings, their name sounds promising, and I wonder if they sounded at least remotely similar to the earliest 70s' industrial acts. The whole thing of mixing avant-garde (anti-music) and radical political imagery strongly reminds me of Throbbing Gristle, early Laibach and the early industrial scene in general. German Oak, Faust and Neu! were called "proto-industrial" on several occasions, but I think it can be applied to a much wider spectrum of 70s' avant-prog.

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Knutna Nävar - "Internationalen & Andra Revolutionära Arbetarsånger" [1971]

Artist: Knutna Nävar
Title: Internationalen & Andra Revolutionära Arbetarsånger
Label: Proletärkultur
Genre: Folk / Progg
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1971

Track List:
  1. Internationalen
  2. Arbetarmarseljäsen
  3. Demonstrationssång (Roter Wedding)
  4. Röda fanor
  5. Visa att sjungas i fängelse
  6. Om jag någonsin ska strida
  7. Dialektikens lov
  8. Arbetare och förtryckta
  9. I ena handen hackan
  10. Rorsmannen
  11. Sång om Kina
  12. Kampsång (Warschawjanka)
  13. Lappen och rocken
  14. Lär av historien
  15. Proletären

Another early-70s progressive rock band, this time from Sweden, known for their heavy use of extreme political imagery. "Internationalen & Andra Revolutionära Arbetarsånger" is their debut album, and probably the best in their discography (they also have at least one more LP, "Svarta Listornas Folk", and a couple of singles). Some tracks on it are Knutna Nävar's original material (my favourite is "Visa att sjungas i fängelse"), some - cover versions of well-known revolutionary songs like The Internationale, Marsellaise, Roter Wedding, and Warschawjanka. As you might already know I always liked such songs covered by rock and punk bands (like Banda Bassotti or Leningrad 44), and it's definitely great to hear these songs sung in Swedish - although my favourite version of Roter Wedding is the original German version performed by Ernst Busch, and my favourite version of Warschawjanka is in Hungarian (by Magyar Néphadsereg Művészegyüttese). Don't know for the rest of numerous Swedish political progressive rock bands (known as the "progg" scene), but Knutna Nävar's music is hardly rock at all - in my opinion, it'd better be called "riot folk". Their tunes are relatively simplistic, yet very catchy; + I like the female vocals in some of them.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

German Oak – "Nibelungenlied" [1976]

Artist: German Oak
Title: Nibelungenlied
Genre: Krautrock, Avant-Prog
Country: Germany
Release date: 1976

Track List:
  1. The Heroic Deeds Of Siegfried
  2. Nibelungenlied I: Siegfried & Kriemhild
  3. Gunter & Brunhild
  4. Hagen Von Tronje
  5. Siegfried's Death
  6. Dankwart, Ruediger & Hildebrandt
  7. Dietrich Von Bern
  8. Nibelungenlied II
  9. Lament

The second and unfortunately the last album by German Oak, which is even more amazing than the s/t debut. While the debut one was ispired by WWII history, "Nibelungenlied" is based on... guess what? Right, The Song of the Nibelungs (which also was one of the main sources of inspiration for R.Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" cycle of operas).

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German Oak - s/t [1972]

Artist: German Oak
Title: German Oak
Genre: Krautrock, Avant-Prog
Country: Germany
Release date: 1972

Track List:
  1. Swastika Rising
  2. The Third Reich
  3. Shadows Of War / Rain Of Destruction
  4. Airalert
  5. Down In The Bunker
  6. Raid Over Dusseldorf
  7. 1945 - Out Of The Ashes

"In the strange Olympic summer of 1972, the Düsseldorf instrumental group (community of 5 hippies / open mind artists) German Oak entered the Luftschutzbunker (or Air Raid Shelter), in order to record their eponymous first self-titled LP. The purpose of recording in a bunker was to recreate the feelings experienced by German soldiers during the Allied invasion of 1944. The strange acoustic conditions in the bunker made the music, which was a series of long, spacious guitar jams, sound distant and filled with echo. The cover of album (a militaristic image which is a portrait of the third Reich military force) provides an illustration of anger expressed by the WWII’s young generation against their parents. Julian Cope, in his in-depth review of the album, describes the bands sound in unequivocal terms: “…imagine a brutally recorded, brazen and ultra-skeletal industrial white funk played with all the claw-handed technique of the Red Crayola recording their famous Hurricane Fighting Plane. By consequence German Oak’s music is very tortured, dark and weird, dominated by heavy, “distorted” guitar solos & rhythms. The background creates “painful” & “ambient” sequences thanks to delay echoes, electronic “fuzzy” noises & repetitive bass lines. A funkadelic / jazzy felt punctuates with discretion this grandiose. In a rather discretion they also recorded (1972-76) the moody, cloudy and experimental epic-kraut Nibenlungenieg.""

IMO, German Oak are notable primarily because they were probably the first cryptofa band. While I dislike the whole cryptofa movement (mostly because they were too aggressive when forcing CF as a meme), I also admit that there's a lot of people fascinated by the history and symbolism of totalitarian and genocidal regimes, but not being fascists themselves. The industrial (and especially martial industrial) scene is full of such people, and I like German Oak's hyper progressive rock as much as I like early 80's industrial acts. I won't listen to such kind of music every day, but I think it's a must to know such classics.