Vermin, vermin everywhere, and now there is the EP Vermin by Non-Bio. Non-Bio is UK based, HowardGardener’s power/rhythmic noise project, when he is not working on DecommissionedForests or PillarsOfGoldenMisery.
As soon as I hear the first bars of “Vermin“, my lips turn up into a smirk. Yeah, this is the good stuff. It is heavy on the vibrating bass and fritzing electronics that are completing crescendos and decrescendos. It is verbose and Gardner’s voice is within. Feel yourself consumed by the wubbing loops of “TheFeast,” as it literally feels like it is trying to pull itself apart at the seams. The rhythms fighting against each other like a battlefield, as they celebrate the gourmet banquet provided for Death.
“CenterNegative” is an instrumental track and as it rolls on, it gathers more and more noise to itself, growing exponentially in terrifying voracity. It leads into the last track, “Clarity“, which is about where truths meet half truths, feeding into lies, The rhythms jackhammer with Gardner’s words and the crunchy noise threatens to overtake all.
Humans are amazing creatures but they are also the scourge of the planet. We over populate, consume resources and destroy the habitats of the other animals that we share Earth with. In fact, we will even destroy each other to gain that which is not ours. The EP is a look at this darker side/nature of the human race and Non-Bio’s disillusionment embodied in Vermin, with its beautiful, skull beating rhythms and brain addling reverberations.
Out on the rather impressively named Culture Vomit Production, is the new album from London’s Pillars Of Golden Misery, called Turbo Necropolis. Another experimental noise project of the very busy Howard Gardner, who is also Non-Bio and a member of Decommissioned Forests.
The lethargy of “The Demon Ray” turns your way, low wave pulsing which continues into the stalking “Ultimate Fighting Claw Death“. The ominous “Big-Time Blade Trader” lumbers with reverberation causing rising internal tensions and this is built on with “Temple Of Catastrophe” as Gardner adds his intonations to the track that is forever doomed to haunt that mystical abode, and this is just a few of the pieces.
For the most part, Turbo Necropolis is an instrumental affair, and as I always say, it is never good to pull apart instrumental albums as they are crafted often to create a mood. Gardner has put together eleven tracks, that paint a picture in sonics of an ancient city inhabited by the dead. The oppressive dark spaces, wind swept halls, temples where possible sacrifices were made and the people that never left.
The chanting in the title track makes me think of the Indiana Jones movie, Temple Of Doom, and the imagery fits so well. A place tainted by blood sprays and screams of the unfortunate, now rendered in shadowy electronic creepiness, as you make your way through the establishment. Pillars Of Golden Misery are inviting you to visit their Turbo Necropolis…..it’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.
Ner/Ogris is a fairly new project from Germany, but you have more than likely heard of the two guys involved. There is vocalist tinoC from Amnistia and kaiN of Les Berrtas, who is the keyboard player and composer. Their first album, I Am The Shadow, I Am The Light, is full of electronic beats, deep and powerful synths, and raw vocals, released at the end of February on the label Dependant. The guys were gracious enough to talk to us about the album, how it came together, their influences and their shared admiration of Anthony Rother (you lucky lucky man).
Welcome kaiN and tinoC of Ner\Ogris, to Onyx where everything is in balance, which is why we co-ordinate in black.
Neither of you are new to the electronic scene, so what inspired you to create this new project Ner\Ogris?
Ner\Ogris: kaiN had the plan to release a instrumental album under the name NER\OGRIS and sent almost all the to the guys behind AMNISTIA to get some feedback. tinoC had the idea to add vocals to one of the tracks. When kaiN heard the demo he was like “maybe you can give this treatment to some more tracks?”. After about two or three weeks we had 6 tracks ready and it was obvious that we can not name this child a “featuring”… the rest is history.
How do you feel the German dark alternative scene has impacted on how you create music now and what style of music feeds your creative juices?
tinoC: I am in the scene for a long time and I am happy that I can call a some great musicians my friends. I really like the dark music scene and I listen to a lot of old and new music. I don’t like every release of course – that would be crazy, but I know what is going on in the scene and I have my influences there. I try to use my voice in different styles and very likely you can hear this in some of the songs.
kaiN: I was lucky enough to have grown up in this scene. With my other band (Les Berrtas) we had a great time in the early 90s with bands like CalvaYNada or Liederkranz with whom we played some concerts. I can still remember the first EBM nights in Frankfurt. Of course, that left its mark and has continued to this day. Today I think it’s great that younger bands like 2nd Face are taking up this niche again. Even if there are still only a few and the rest are getting older…
Your debut album is titled “I Am The Shadow – I Am The Light” which speaks of duality, for there is no light without darkness. Can you tell us a bit more about the album?
Ner\Ogris: It’s all about contrasts – noise and silence, harsh and soft, instrumental- and vocal tracks. We think the most interesting fact about the album is, that it was not planed. It “appeared” out of the nothing in a very spontaneous way. The music is still like it was before there were words or vocals. We did not change anything on it. It felt right to add the vocals to the tracks. kaiN said on day that the tracks finally made sense with vocals on it.
There are some big beats on the album and contrasts between the synths and vocals in line with the title. Was this conscientious at the time or it was just the way it all came together?
Ner\Ogris: As we mentioned… the music was there and is still like it was. The words and vocals followed the music and they came together very fast.
Do you have any tracks off the album that are particularly your favourites and why?
tinoC: My favourite instrumental tracks are “Pájaro” and “Fiebre Oscura”. “Deepest Fear” and “Reality & Fiction” are my favorites among the vocal tracks.
kaiN: Hard to say … All the songs have somehow been around for so long … Maybe “deepest Fear”, because Vincent from 2nd Face gave the song a phenomenal climax with his co-production. Or Reality & Fiction because of its danceability. But definitely “Faith” from the bonus CD – because TinoC performs awesome vocals to the song.
Do you find working together has brought out relationship that pushes you both to go further?
tinoC: That’s a good question. We will see what happens in the future. At the moment we only know what can happen when I add vocals to finished tracks that were not planned to release with vocals on it. I’m really looking forward to new tracks because I’m sure KaiN’s compositional habits will change a bit when he knows he’s working on a track that will have vocals finally. I really hope he will not lose his craziness for the music because there are parts in the tracks that are crazy and I think that’s great.
kaiN: Yes, we will see what the future brings. TinoC can also write good songs, as he has already proven with TC75 and Amnistia. It’s exciting for me in any case and I’m looking forward to no longer being solely responsible for the music.
How does it feel to be compared musically to fellow Germans, X MARKS THE PEDWALK, circa early 90s?
tinoC: To be honest… I am a big fan of XMTP. I personally think that tracks like “Cenothaph” or “Never Dare To Ask” are some of the greatest tunes of the scene. But I do not see any similarities between NER\ORGIS and XMTP beside the fact that we both are electronic bands. But it’s nice and an honor to know that other people feel that way.
kaiN: I agree with tinoC. I’ve known XMTP since the 90s and they have had a strong influence on the German dark electro scene. It is not the worst thing to be compared with XMTP!
If you could pick any electronic artists (alive or dead) to do guest remixes of the album, who would you pick?
tinoC: Good question! Thinking big is good 😉 I would like to hear Anthony Rother and Trent Reznor remixes from our tracks 😉
kaiN: Anthony Rother is a good choice 🙂 But I would actually be interested to hear what the album would sound like if it had been produced by Rick Rubin.9.
What is in the future for Ner\Ogris?
Ner\Ogris: The album has only been out since February 24th, so there is no new release in the near future but we have some confirmed live dates. We will share them when they are ready for the public. We want to see you all at one of the events and maybe have a chat there.
Mmmmm, from somewhere in New South Wales, there is a man called Dan, though he might be an alien, however, still Australian (actually he’s from West Wyalong, which I had to look up to see where is was). Now Dan has a noise project called DEATHCOMET,and the most current release is DEATHCOMET 14…. yarp, so there is a lot more of where that comes from.
Like all noise music, a lot of this is going to feel like it’s shredding your ears off and brutalising all your senses all at the same time. It tastes of metal, prickles the skin, and smells of sulphur as we journey with the DEATHCOMET, while he decimates pedals “and flangers to kill“.
Even in these buzzing, throbbing, and most possibly sanguinary soundscapes, you can hear bleeding through vignettes of tunes in the miasma if you listen carefully. The final track, “in the lair of the satanic worms” brings the album full circle.
Honestly, who does not love satanic worms, skulls, and aliens?! To quote the man himself….
‘DEATHCOMET plays unholy space metal exclusively – cosmic sonic terror via electric guitar and fx pedals – “it’s like being probed in both ears by aliens with power drills!“‘
Really could say much better myself other than saying death by pedal… wwwoooaaahh! DEATHCOMET 14 is here, and your ears are not safe, but then that’s half the fun and amazing industrial noise all done on guitar.
Well, if you are going to do Christmas music then may you Have Yourself ANoisy Little Christmas care of STAHLSCHLAG. Sometimes I think German, Sebastian Sünkler is half man, half machine, the way he puts out music and tapping that vein of cybernetics, the noise master has graced us with an EP of Christmas covers.
Honestly, you really haven’t lived until you have heard a rhythmic noise version of “Jingle Bells“, which does seem to be a firm favourite with people, as Sünkler ramps up a screaming sleigh ride to get the heart pumping, in a most delightful way, hey! For me, however, my interest lay with the rendition of “Carol Of The Bells“, which is a beautiful track, even if it is a Christmas tradition and one can appreciate the intricacies of its splendour. Could Sünkler really pull this off? Let’s just say that I was not disappointed. Like razor edged snowflakes, perfect in their icy glory, both beautiful and full of cold fury.
There are also covers of “WhiteChristmas” (no Bing Crosby in the mix), “Frosty The Snowman” and “Santa ClausIs Coming To Town“. If you don’t particularly like the Chrimbo music but want to kind of participate, then this is perfect. Christmas cyber party…. then you can’t go past STAHLSCHLAG’s, HaveYourself A Noisy Little Christmas.
November 21st saw the Norwegian’s Dødsmaskin, release their sixth full length out on the ant-zen label. Based on the master and slave morality theory of Friedrich Nietzsche, the album is divided into two parts to represent both sides.
Have you ever started to listen to an album and had to instantly stop doing anything else, stunned into silence? Rare occurrence, but I found myself slightly slack jawed as I played the first 30 seconds to “Trusselbilde“, suddenly turning off the music thinking, ‘I must play this when I am alone, so I can turn it up as loud as I want!‘.
Okay, almost every track has a Norwegian title, but I don’t see the point of looking up the meanings, as the music will speak for itself and it most definitely does. “Trusselbilde” is the single and it is brutal. Super heavy rhythmic noise and yet there are these points of synth lightness where you can ‘breath’. It doesn’t seem possible and yet the noise grows and consumes, until it’s abrupt end. The sludgy “Døpt IBensin, Renset Med Ild“, feels ancient and full of portent, while “Imperium” is on the move, ready to mow you down. There is the perceived horns of war, hammers of destruction and waves of domination.
This is just the first three tracks off the album and that quality is throughout the whole release. Dødsmaskin are known for their crunchy rhythmic noise, but this release seems heavier and even darker, intent on searing your nerves and probing your brain with a javelin. If harsh rhythmic noise is your thing, then you must listen to Dødsmaskin and experience their album,”herremoral | slavemoral“.
Non-Bio is the most excellent industrial project of the rather busy Howard Gardner, whom is based in London and is also in the projects Pillars of Golden Misery and Decommissioned Forests. Halloween was the release date for his latest album, Monkey Feather.
The first track is also the first single/video, “Island In A Lake Of Spinal Fluid“, and the electronic reverberations are already tingling under your skin. Low and intense with Gardner’s voice adding to the noise, the screaming metal sounds, causing ripples to send those tingles down your back. Rhythmic noise is the order of the day, so with that in mind “Monkey Feather” will not disappoint. The crunchy beats fall over each other with sharp agitation, the vocals almost inconsequential in the scheme of things, as all that matters is the pile driver pushing into your head.
Primal is one way to describe “The Melting Man“, not only with the beats but with what sounds like horns bellowing, before the ancient warriors storm the palisades of their foe. “Pressure” is a slower beast, like an iron lung life support, giving the needed air to a patient who cannot fend for themselves. Inhale and exhale with the pressure of accumulated shadows, death is waiting as the life stutters under the heavy odds. It is almost like a chopped up classical piece, gurgling in the background at times.
The grinding electronics vibrate and buzz, consuming the human you are. This is “Amputate Product“, as each bit of the body is replaced by cybernetics… bringing you closer to being part of the machine. The screeching beats chomp away incessantly. Down in “The God Factory” they are busy, twiddling knobs and generating those miracles of life. Making things to keep you alive for longer, glitching and oscillating, usurping the laws of natural order.
Now one is more cyborg than man, here comes the “Imbalance“. The memories of a life lived different or seemingly flashbacks of another person’s previous existence, which is surely not yours. The synapse pulse within the electrical stream trying to reconcile the loss of what was so readily given up. A sharpness and a metal tinged pain. The last track is an absolute treat. When you get two very capable artists of rhythmic noise….well hold onto your pants. “Amputate Product” the STAHSCHLAG remix, has Sebastian Sünkler taking an already heavy track, winding it up and amping up the existential dread. A monster lurks below the surface wanting to escape.
Yep. I hate to tell you but I think this might be the best Non-Bio album to date. It fair pummels the senses, raw and brooding with Howard’s discombobulated vocals filtering through, a comment on the desire to enhance the body and live longer, though, then is it truly considered living? A Monkey Feather is an incongruous thing when talking of playing God but damn it, so good when Non-Bio pushes that electronic noise.
Time for a quickie.. and honestly, who doesn’t like a bit of a quickie?! Recently, our hero, Sebastian Sünkler aka STAHLSCHLAG, has released the new, epic album, A Zone Of Silence. Soooo, what do you do from here? Where do you go?
Why, you throw open a remix project for musicians around the world to participate in, releasing it with 34 artists and calling it More Zones Of Silence. And what a collection it is, with a wide array of styles for one to choose from.
From more synthwave lead remixes, dark ambient, rhythmic noise, EBM, harsh noise, experimental and everything in between under the industrial banner are represented. MATT HART, Non-Bio, Blue Ant, MissSuicide, Mikrometrik, SublimenalStimuli and Dirty K are just some of the bands/projects whom have taken these tracks and twisted them to their will, creating their own monstrous machinations. Very worth of your listening time and then explore the other artists. Immerse yourself in More Zones Of Silence.
Did you like the last single from Germany’s FabrikC and the UK’s j:dead? Did i hear you say yes?! Well, then we have a treat for you, as September the 30th, there is a new single, “Perfect Happiness” where we get to hear the lads getting down and heavy.
The rhythm is that of a laboured thundering heart beat, joined by the screaming vocals of Taylor, when he isn’t whispering his snarling discontent. The synths break out, through the vocals, prodding and urging on the cyclone of noise.
Thorsten W. D. Berger is the composer, while Jay Taylor penned the lyrics in this flying aggrotech track that is meant for the dance floors. Is there such a thing as “Perfect Happiness“? Only a fool would think so, or even want such a thing. But music is pretty close to pure joy, so get yourself some FabrikC vs j:dead.
HXGNL Sounds is where the single “Saturn” was recorded in Barcelona, by 6ymo. Is it is single? It goes for over 17 minutes but there is only the one track, but this is an album. So, with that in mind we should delve into space and see what this track, released on the 2nd of September, has to offer.
This is an electronic, instrumental, noise track and the beginning loops and pulsates like a cosmic life force. As you travel, there is monumental interference that reverberates and clashes, swooping the flight. This is the music representation of the heart beats of the solar system, solar winds and things we have yet to experience.
Juan Pablo Egúsquiza is 6ymo and he has created this opus experimenting with both analog machines, effects pedals and electronic instruments. The more you listen, the more immersed you become in his world of “Saturn“.