It amazes me when I hear artists who can take fuzz and distortion, crafting it into something musical and even dancefloor ripping. Hamburg is home to Sebastian Sünkler and he is STAHLSCHLAG, a mind blowing project that creates electronic/industrial power and rhythmic noise. Literally music that slams into your cranium at full tilt, boring into your skull but in a fun way. August saw the release of STAHLSCHLAG’s newest album, A Zone Of Silence.

Dawn Of Man” is the starting point with Mikrometrik, as it lurches into being, crawling out of the primordial swamp, for what comes into being, mankind, will eventually destroy themselves, after reeking destruction on their environment. Rick Keiyer is Mikrometrik, whom counts down the end of days and man’s crimes, nicely nestled within the drone. The pace is stepped up, with Sünkler diving into the thundering power noise with “Profusion“, that rumbles along spewing forth an antediluvian sludge of sound, touched by mercurial synths of a god like being.

Lena Heiler of Ultra, graces her vocals on the single, “Doomed“, a track filled with oppressive atmosphere, a portent of catastrophe in the ever pushing rhythm and Heiler’s direct tone. The circular hammering of “Crushed March” draws you into the smashing electronics, while Christian Sander of Morbid Echo, sings you a savage ballad of onward movement, until you no longer can….broken bodies, broken souls. A march towards oblivion.

A change with “Signs” as we are granted cleaner synths with abrasive beats, “Deliverance” is so good with its dance beat maelstrom and what sounds like tribal chants within, like beams of light to give one hope in the dark. There is something about “Static Souls” that fair sends a shiver down my spine. It could be the mix of sweet synths over the heavier fuzzed out electronics but it feels intense.

Hunkering down is something ancient and forgotten in time about “Lost Dream“. Alyx Weaver of Sublimenal Stimuli, creates a whirlpool doubt and fractured conscious stream. You will move with “Stunde Null” with those static filled rhythms and electronics full of stardust. Behold the drums of battle that herald in “Always War 2022” slamming against the abrasive wall, and yet the battles continues with men’s thirst for conflict.

Spem liberationus” has an incredible beginning and continues from there. Tribal and fierce, it reaches into the primitive parts of your psyche, bringing to the fore, the fight or flight anticipation of Germanic ancestors watching the Roman Empire invading. Eerily creeping through the cracks in the fabric of time is “Thanatophobia“. Shuddering and pointedly sharp with the possibility of archaic wisdom carried on the winds.

It is a near visceral response to this particular album. Sünkler really has reached a point that he can use electronics and programming to elicit an emotional reaction from the listener whilst painting pictures for your imagination. The last album, ALIVE, indicated that Sebastian was growing and changing his style, so the inclusion of vocalists have brought a new facet to STAHLSCHLAG’s sound and while there is still the rhythmic/power noise, a thoughtfulness of using less to state more. It is a beautifully crafted album which is name your price on Bandcamp and all monies are being donated to a charity. Get yourself A Zone Of Silence.

A Zone of Silence | STAHLSCHLAG (bandcamp.com)

STAHLSCHLAG | Facebook

STAHLSCHLAG – Electro Industrial Noise from Hamburg

Jamie Blacker is ESA, also known as Electronic Substance Abuse, and we are going to talk about the album, Designer Carnage that came out on February 14th of 2022, on Negative Gain Records. But I will digress with a little background information first. ESA is a UK project that was formed in 2002 after Blacker, who had been involved in the black/death metal scene, started to experiment in and became drawn to the sound of harsh, rhythmic industrial noise, which he has in all essence become a relative master of. The first album was released in 2006, Devotion, Discipline and Denial, then releasing albums very regularly ever since.

Straight off the bat, “Laudanum Dance” is like electrodes connected straight into the brain, sparking with glorious fuzz and beats. Like a fever dream, Blacker yells his discontent. Yet, hark it that a harpsichord? Classical piano which is a gorgeous oddity, played at a decent pace to be suddenly broken by the female vocal sample of Konstantina Buhalis and break beats, that descend into the stomach wrenching, bellowing tones. Those beautiful harpsichord keys again trill away, as they and the piano are played by Frederic Scarfone. Frustration and anger are swirling in the charged track “One Missed Called” which is about repression and fear stopping one from getting further in life. It is powerful with the female sample, of again, Konstantina Buhalis, screaming how much she fucking hates the person who puts her down. The rhythms circle and pounds down, enforcing the angst.

The use of noise and techno is near perfect in “I Detach“, when out of nowhere…ragtime music. Yes, weird and yes unexpected, but it works. The ticking of a clock, alien like electronic warbles, the ragtime and Blacker’s voice just culminate into this bizarre, dreamlike world of movement. The title track, “Designer Carnage” exudes electronic smut and grime. Fantastic! The music grinds while samples repeat the title. It speeds up towards the climax like there is no getting off this ride, only to drop you and drag you along again. Bara Hari is the guest vocalist for “Disruption Only” and it just pounds away. as a good, well lubricated industrial machine should. The rhythm is a drug that you can’t get enough of while in the static, you can hear angry voices. Bara Hari joins in and it becomes something otherworldly while those hammered beats carry on regardless, stuck in a groove.

Come And Find Me” again utilises that ragtime sound throughout in a myriad of stomping beats and electronics. A hallucination induced nightmare which translates to smashing yourself on a dancefloor. Curiously addictive and no we cannot get enough as it builds apon itself in a downward spiral. Saxaphone is by Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson and female vocals by Hellsea. For the track “Hyena“, all the vocals are credited to Pee Wee Pimpin, as he goes from cajoling to viciously snarling, the synths cackling as they track you down in your last moments, but what a way to go/ “Whom Then Shall I Fear?” features Pee Wee Pimpin, as he raps which works ever so well with the heavy electronics in the background. In fact, it is almost like listening to Public Enemy’s, “Bring On The Noise” but they were all industrialised and updated. It is an amazingly strong track.

There is something wicked and it comes this way in the track, “Vast Accept“. Off kilter and deranged, on a psychopathic mission only it knows. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security as it awaits to pounce while you are off guard with those techno beats. The final track is “Saturnalia“, which is full of blast beats, raging guitar and the deep, growling Blacker vocals, that start to fritz in and out. There are also these wonderful science fiction sounding synths and classic flamenco guitar by Frederic Scarfone, that lend themselves to a western touch, while Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson gives us that sleazy saxaphone. With wailing female vocals, it all crescendos, only to die away.

I knew this new album had come out but a friend, whom is also an industrial DJ, thrust it under my nose and declared that if I was to review anything this year, it has to be this album, Designer Carnage. In all honesty, he was completely correct. If this is not in people’s top 10 industrial releases for the end of the year, then I am going have to say that your taste might be in your arse. Jamie Blacker is able to experiment with so many different styles and mould them into something cohesive, with lashings of wicked heavy rhythms, filthy grinding electronics, inject music of past eras, whilst screaming near bloody murder at you. Really can’t much better than that other than you can dance to all of it. I dare you not to find yourself bouncing to the beats. You definitely need some Designer Carnage in your life, so let ESA be your dealer.

Designer Carnage | ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) | ESA (bandcamp.com)

ESA: Electronic Substance Abuse | Facebook

Home | ESA (bigcartel.com)

Frédéric Scarfone (bandcamp.com)

Music | BARA HARI (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/OriginalChopsSax

Pee Wee (@peeweep713) • Instagram photos and videos

Those who like their industrial, dance music, will be familiar with the name Simon Carter for his solo work and also his collaborations with Studio X. He has since left the label, Alfa Matrix and joined forces with German chanteuse, Fabsi, to create Simon Carter and Fabsi. Their first album, The Bitches Potion, was self released on March 20th, 2022.

This album has everything going for it. The single “Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen)” is dance floor candy, even at seven minutes long. In fact, most of the tracks average out at six minutes each. The single, “Beautiful Destruction” is a great track and “Pink Queen” is absolutely bombastic with its deep, pulsing techno rhythm. The amazing and creepy, “Nanobots (Are You My Mummy?)” is a little gem of industrial techno, only to followed up by the thumping “This Is Only A Test“. That is only a selection of the eleven original tracks and all could be played at a club easily.

As a lucky bonus, you get seven remixes, including the likes of Matt Hart, Moaan Exis, Teknovore and Ruinizer (Jay Ruin). The Teknovore remix of “Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen)” is brilliantly smooth and menacing at the same time, while the Moaan Exis remix of “The Witching Hour” has a wonderful, crunchy texture to it. “We Are The Witches” is given a nice helping of heavy electronics by Matt Hart, who touches them up in all the right ways and the Ruinizer version of “Pink Queen” feels like a free fall of deranged rhythmic delights. The other mixes are done by Carter, under the guise of his other projects and they are just as note worthy as the guests. For goodness sake, checkout the Narconic version of “Hex Hex” as you really need to hear it

The Bitch’s Potion will beguile you as it traverses and incorporates so many styles of dance music. Techno, industrial, rhythmic noise and trance, whilst the vocals of Fabsi entrance you. This is one magical elixir that one must imbibe to get the full heady and intoxicating taste. Talking of mystical things, Simon and Fabsi were generous in giving us some of their time to talk to us about their supernatural musical powers!

Welcome to the darkside of Onyx. where we have a no gremlins past the front door policy. So please empty your pockets of all little munchkins but feline familiars are most welcome and will get complimentary tickles.

How did Simon and Fabsi meet and become the fabulous Simon Carter & Fabsi?

Simon: It was during the beginning of Corona and we met in a few Twitch streams, we found our music tastes had a lot in common. The very first collaboration came about when Fabsi left me a rude late night voice mail and I used that as a sample at the end of a joke/comedy track called “Oh Yeah”. It wasn’t long before we thought we should try and do something a bit more serious together! The ‘Simon Carter’ bandcamp page was never meant to be serious, it was my playground for silly tracks and deliberately horrible artwork! Whilst I’d never take myself too seriously… Since (and including) the “Beautiful Destruction” EP I am taking the tracks with Fabsi more seriously and hopefully that shines through in the quality of the music and can also be heard in the later releases on that bandcamp page.

Fabsi: We played some online games together and he kept recording bits of me and made silly little songs. So we thought let’s do something proper and I recorded the vocal for “Beautiful Destruction” with my iPhone and he challenged himself to make as many different versions as possible with spawned the “Beautiful Destruction” EP. That worked out so well that I bought a proper mic and we decided to try and make a full Album together.

Congrats are in order. The album is pretty mammoth, so how long did it take to create?

Simon: I think it took around 12 months to complete, the lockdowns due to Covid allowed me a lot more studio time than I’m used to and as is often the case when a project is new and exciting I had a lot of motivation and inspiration for it from the get-go.

Fabsi: We started straight after releasing the “Beautiful Destruction” EP, which was released exactly 1 year (to the day!) before the “Bitches Potion”.

Has covid interrupted your ability to play and record or did it allow you more time to do things?

Simon: I think we can say that Covid helped launch this project! A glimmer of something good in an otherwise sad and unfortunate time for the world.

Fabsi: Was not a problem from my side as I was recording from Germany. I had time for a new project because I couldn’t go out much here due to the restrictions.

There is a witch house and witch theme throughout, why did you go with beings of the magical arts?

Simon: We can blame Fabsi for that theme, I’m fairly certain she is a witch… but it’s a great theme and a fantastic concept which I’ve really enjoyed embracing, her witchyness is a huge part of this project.

Fabsi: The witchy idea came from me. I get a monthly witchy subscription box and I was so inspired by that and I still am. So there is more to come. We both love watching series and my favorites are those with magical or supernatural backgrounds/topic. I’m also a big Harry Potter fan!

The single Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen) is this huge, trance.techno track that feels like it is looping over and over again, with Fabsi’s vocals in German over the top. Is it about spells and you must be pretty pleased the way it turned out?

Simon: I’m super pleased with this track, it was one of the first to be finished and I knew we had something special, I knew it was a bit of a banger and I think Fabsi sounds best in her native German. Even though it’s a long track, I just knew this is the one for the music video. It’s interesting you should mention Trance as I do have a bit of a background in that scene from my Narconic project but this new techno sound is something I’ve only recently started to explore.

Fabsi: It’s mostly a translation from another track on this album “We Are The Witches” and as German is my native language It was a lot easier for me to record that vocal than some of the others.

Where did you film the video as it looks like it is in the middle of nowhere?

Fabsi: The video is filmed near Frankfurt (Germany) next to a forest. It’s a 2 hour drive away from where I live.

Is someone a big Dr Who nerd? Nano Bots (Are You My Mummy) has to about the episodes where it is WW2 and there is a child walking around in a gas mask asking Are you my mummy. (And now he’s stuck in my brain again)

Fabsi: Maybe it’s me. That’s my favourite Dr. Who episode, with captain Jack Harkness and Rose, they are a perfect combo. During corona, I was reminded of those children with the gasmasks.

Simon: When Fabsi shared this idea and I hunted the sample down (in fact we watched the episode together!) I initially thought there’s no way this will work in a track, no matter what genre I try. I’m pleased to say my initial thoughts were wrong and it’s turned out to be one of the most popular tracks on the album.

Time to fess up. Three of the remixes are done by Simon projects aren’t they?

Simon: Aha yes! I think you’re the first person to realise this! Sometimes I want a break from the hard pounding techno beats and rhythms so I mess about with the vocals and often produce something entirely different, when that happens (and we deem it good enough!) I put one of my other projects down as the remixer.

The other four remixes have been done by other great musicians Matt Hatt, Tecknovore, Ruinizer and Moaan Exis. How did you get these guys onboard?

Simon: Myself and George (Teknovore) go waaaay back so that was a no brainer for me. Since he departed PES0.1 and started Teknovore I knew he was developing a really unique and special sound and I wanted him and only him to remix what I believed to be the best track on the album Hex Hex (Wir Sind Die Hexen). Matt Hart & Ruinizer are fellow Brits who were returning remix favours for me, whilst Moaan Exis was someone I approached after hearing some of their tracks and thinking they could come up with something juicy for us.

I have been watching a lot of the European and British electro/industrial scene people and you guys are so supportive of each other both in terms of helping each other out and morally there for each other. Does if feel that way to you?

Simon: We do like to put on a united front! The world has changed so drastically since Corona and that has affected the scene greatly too. Surprisingly my biggest support still comes from Australia, Canada, the US and Mexico but since this release I have been receiving a bit more interest from Europe including my homeland, the UK. It’s a small scene and I’m very much inclined to support and help out as much as possible where I can.

Fabsi: We both have our qualities and they match perfectly together. We can help each other out and support each other where necessary. It’s crazy that other people can see that and mention that about us. You really need someone you can trust 100% that has your back for doing such a project.

Simon, you are well known for your musical creations with Australians, Studio X and you were both on Alfa Matrix but recently you seem to have struck out on your own, so can you tell us a little about this?

Simon: That’s right, myself and Studio-X released 3 albums, 6 EP’s and 1 single, all on the Belgian record label Alfa Matrix and we both had respective solo projects on that label too. Those were crazy days when I think we both had more time and the creativity was just flowing like a river. We’re still good friends and who knows if they’ll be more in that direction in the future, I am certainly one to never say never. The record label discussion is an interesting one. Since releasing this album a few offers have come in for this project. I’ve never touted this, Narconic or my Humans Can’t Reboot projects to a record label. I know a record label would give us greater exposure but the world is a very different, constantly evolving place these days and I feel happy in the knowledge that I have 100% control in regards to every specific aspect of these projects, their distribution and their futures.

Have you played live yet under the guise of this project or is this going to be something you consider taking live, into the future?

Simon: We have definitely spoken about this, I think it’s fair to say I am more keen on this idea than Fabsi! I’m currently in the process of re-decorating and moving but once that’s done then who knows.

Fabsi: We haven’t played live yet or planned any concerts. But you never know what the future brings.

What music got you into the scene?

Simon: I’ve always had such an eclectic taste in music but I do recall how I first came to find out about the scene. As a youngster I was really into my cheesy harder dance music and especially the vocal tracks. I’d often go to school with my walkman playing such tracks. I heard some tracks from Force & Styles with a male vocalist (MC Junior) and it blew me away. I’d literally only ever heard female vocalists in electronic music prior to that so I did my research and I found bands like VNV Nation, Neuroticfish, Covenant etc. Ok the music was considerably slower but it was amazing to hear electronic dance music with male vocals and passion! I was hooked form then on and dived deeper and deeper into the scene and all the different offshoot genres the scene has to offer.

Fabsi: In My Teenage years I was listening to a lot of Emo and Metal, but my first gothic or industrial song was “Combichrist – Electrohead“ in about 2008 and from then on I was dragged further into the gothic music and style. I’m always open to other genres too, like Hardstyle or Trance.

Who or what do you listen to now?

Simon: A lot of scene music and I like to see what’s hot, what’s the current flavour of the month and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Sierra, Minuit Machine, Mark Dekoda and Tecknovore to get my techno fix and then I’ll mix it up with something like a bit of Empathy Test because Isaac’s voice is fantastic and they make some really nice synthpop.

Fabsi: My favourite band is “The Birthday Massacre” and I could listen 24/7 to their music. But of course I do not, so the rest of the time I listen a lot to Simon’s music and I like to listen to female voices in the gothic scene. My favourite Podcast I listen weekly to is “Communion After Dark”.

We are trying to decide if you are a witch or a normal person by throwing you in the lake because witches float but someone says ducks also float. What do you do?

Simon: Entirely depends on if I’m wearing my armbands (water-wings) or not!

Fabsi: So no-one would think I am a witch I would turn myself into a duck!

When you look into the magic looking glass, what do you see for the future of Simon Carter & Fabsi?

Simon: a big black void of witchy goodness! I’ve really enjoyed this theme and project and would definitely like to continue with this sound in the future.

Fabsi: I see Simon and me doing a stream together on twitch, when I can visit the UK and hopefully a lot more magical tunes to create and release.

Thank you for joining our timey whimmey magical mystery tour and that enchanting things await you. Not cave fairies though as they little terrors.

The Bitches Potion | Simon Carter and Fabsi | Simon Carter (bandcamp.com)

Simon Carter / Humans Can’t Reboot / Narconic / SD-Krtr | Facebook

Fabsi | Facebook

MATT HART | Facebook Music | MATT HART (bandcamp.com)

Ruinizer | Facebook Music | RUINIZER (bandcamp.com)

MOAAN EXIS | Facebook Music | MOAAN EXIS (bandcamp.com)

Teknovore | Facebook The Theseus Paradox | Teknovore | Infacted Recordings (bandcamp.com)

нашим друзям (For Our Friends) based in Hamburg, Germany, have putting together compilations to raise awareness and funds for the people of Ukraine. So far three compilations have been put together by them and we would like to draw your attention to the latest which is For Our Friends Vol III, There are 42 artists in this edition who all fall under the electro/industrial theme.

Of course with 42 acts on one compilation, so I am not going to review every song but I am proud to say I know some of the people that have donated tracks. From my hometown of Brisbane, the wonderful Dirt Factory with their nihilistic cyber industrial track, “Violence” and Roger Menso’s Nyteshayde, whom I have known since I was about 19 with his slow burn, borne of war trauma number, “Whispers And Shouting“.

There is also Dogmachine, who I knew in the 90s, with their fantastic, angst ridden “Headwound” which was often heard at nightclubs, with Kraig Durden as the lead singer, who went onto create Replikant and his track “Anaesthetic” appears, full of wandering synths as if in an induced dream.

But there are bands from all over the world such as the German maestro of crunchy rhythmic power noise, Sebastian Sünkler’s STAHLSCHLAG, with “Shunde Null” along with another big, rhythmic noise act KiEw with “Mariupol, Ukraine“. In other words there are all sorts of goodies here. Transponder featuring Leæther Strip, Sven Phalanx with Miss Kitty and I could go on.

If this was put together as a regular compilation, it would be well worth buying, however what it stands for makes it much more valuable. Not only are you getting music you are going to enjoy and find new artists you never knew about but you are supporting a cause, helping those who, currently, are in dire straits, in the middle of a illogical and terrible war. Remember this is For Our Friends.

For Our Friends, Vol. III: Electro Edition | нашим друзям (bandcamp.com)

John R Mirland has become one of the staple masters of driving, power noise, rhythmic noise mixed with serious techno savvy. We are grateful he took time out to talk to us about the latest Mirland album and all his creative outlets.

Welcome to the weird of Onyx, John R Mirland.

Thank you so very much for showing an interest in my music

Congratulations on Compromise Is Defeat (CID). It is truly a very attention grabbing album. How naturally does it come to you to mix such genres as techno, power noise and harsh noise?

It does come pretty natural the moment I start working on the beat I can immediately hear if this is going in the Mirland-direction or if it’s the groundwork for another project or artist.

I try to be in the studio as much as I can and just work. I’m very focused so I sit down with the keyboard or guitar and just start composing and usually I almost immediately know what the track is suited for:

The hybrid of rhythmic noise and techno/dark trance is a reflection of my own tastes and I wanted to compose evolving yet pounding music. So I’m very conscious about the variations and small details in the mix. The process is very much my own and I’m not particularly dogmatic with regards to what goes where to satisfy genre specific demands.

John, you wrote the album over a period of time and even some of the tracks have been played live. Why did it take nearly four years for CID to come into fruition?

I started working on the album just after the release of the “Antagonist” ep where I felt I’d really hit a spot with my sound. But you know plans sometimes don’t work out.

The gigs I played both around that time and later gave me an opportunity for testing very early demos of some of the new tracks. But at the same time I was composing and producing for Am Tierpark, Emergency Sequence, M73, Negant, Eisenwolf, Bitter Distrust, Mirland/Larsen and later also Gusten and Udpint while producing and remixing other artists too.

I do like to keep busy and have composed around 200 tracks the last 10-15 years of which I believe around 150 or so have been released.

But time went on and I kept working on the side with the sound design for what was to be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I guess at some point I had 30 or 40 demo tracks.

I prefer getting stuff done so I really needed to get this album done. I felt the demo recordings had something but I’d been deep in the process for far too long. So in the late summer of 2021 I finally sat down and dug into the selection and production of what would be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I recorded and mixed the final album over two months and then my dear friend Claus Larsen (Leæther Strip) did the mastering as he’s done for a lot of my releases.

For many, creating music comes from their current situation/politics/beliefs. When you compose music, especially for Mirland, what inspires you to create?

I don’t consciously search for inspiration. My mind is always racing and thinking about new ideas so I keep a lot of notes and record a lot of ideas. When I watch a movie I often make a note of certain interesting quotes or phrases. I believe some of my titles might suggest what lies behind the track but Iike to keep things open for interpretation. I think that’s one of the great things about instrumental music. It’s very much like abstract painting in that regard.

But a small key to the different projects might be: Mirland is often related to space, transhumanism and futurism. In Am Tierpark, Mirland/Larsen and Gusten Claus Larsen writes the lyrics so he defines the content and we never interfere with each other’s ideas. But very often Am Tierpark is about love/the loss of love. In Udpint I write almost entirely about war and in M73 it’s a lot about cold futures and dark erotica. My own lyrics are often written with the intent to create images.

One of your other projects is Eisenwolf… a mix of blackmetal and industrial. Do you think your love of black metal feeds into this use of harsh noise?

Eisenwolf was a side project of the now defunct Negant which also spawned the electro punk band Bitter Distrust with Michael Hillerup of Birmingham 6. I left all three bands a year ago actually.

But yes, I believe my interest in extreme metal in general blends into a lot of my darker stuff. I actually recorded a black metal mini album last year as Udpint and Claus and I released a punk rock album as Gusten.

But my use of noise and experimental sounds also stems from a very early band I was part of called VHS which was a pretty noisy and weird construction. And I’m a sucker for brutal energy whether it’s industrial or metal. But even Eisenwolf had melodic themes as opposed to just a wall of noise.

Mirland is very much a solo thing for you but you do collaborate with many other artists, especially other Danes in the scene for other projects? How do you approach your solo work compared to your collabrotative with say Negant or Eisenwolf?

I try to uncover the potential in any proposed collaboration and then present a few demo recordings for the others involved with the project. When I can’t see any more potential I put the collaboration on hiatus or leave. I don’t like to waste my own or others’ time.

When I work on my own it’s somewhat the same and I’m a firm believer that nothing is supposed to last forever and some projects only last an ep or album. And that’s absolutely fine. I have no problem with leaving a dysfunctional project.

You released on Claus Larsen’s label, Læbel and you have worked with him as Mirland/Larsen as well as producing and mixing each others music. Leæther Strip/Larsen is spoken in near reverance by many in the industrial scene, though those that know him say he is the biggest sweetheart. Did you find it nerve wracking to work with Claus in the beginning and have you found that friendship has grown exponentially, forging something a bit special?

Claus is a very close and dear friend and I consider him family.

When we work together it’s like we have a direct brain-to-brain connection and we’ve never argued even if we may not agree on everything. I’ve learned a ton from Claus. And we’re equally productive and creatively restless.

Which aspect of music making do you think you enjoy the most? As the performer, the producer or the mix master? Or is it a bit of everything that keeps the flame alive?

I love composing and producing and I’m not particularly interested in being a face or a character. I enjoy the stage not for the sake of being the center of attention but for presenting and interpreting my music in a different, loud setting and watching people’s response.

Who were the early musical inspirations that set your pulse running and made you think ‘I want to do that!’?

A: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d like to say something cool and leftfield but actually I grew up with a very broad range of music from Pink Floyd to southern blues to classical, constantly playing at my parents apartment. So I’ve always been surrounded by music and I can’t remember a time not wanting to work with music but for many years my main focus was on painting and illustration.

What acts do you listen to now or find their innovation sucks you into their music?

Currently I’m working my way through a big stack of obscure metal releases on vinyl. But I’m also listening to a lot of newer electronic releases. I like the distanced coldness of Julia Bondar and Rue Oberkampf and the energetic techno of Anastacia Kristensen. I enjoy listening to my friend Kri Samadhi who’s a great psytrance producer. Italo Connection’s “Metropolis” album is an extremely well executed album and possibly one of the best synth pop albums in years. And the funky neo disco of Alexander Robotnick always put a smile on my face.

And then I keep coming back to an old release by a short lived doom/black outfit called Woods of Belial. It has this dark, gritty lo-fi sound that I’d never be able to do myself.

What is in store for John Mirland and all his many, many projects?

A: First of I’ll be playing in Copenhagen on March 5th as a double bill with Leæther Strip. It’s been so long! And then I’m currently working on the follow up to “Compromise Is Defeat” which I hope will be out this year. Working title is “Bastard”. There’s a new album from Am Tierpark out this spring which I believe to be the best we’ve done so far and an Italo disco single I wrote for a Danish singer. I’m also working on a new and so far secret space disco project. And maybe something from Gusten too.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Thank you!!

Danish musician, composer and producer, John Mirland has released in December of 2021, his newest album Compromise Is Defeat after a hiatus from his solo project of nearly four years, his last album being Mechanic from 2017. That’s not to say that Mirland has been cooling his heels the last few years, finding himself releasing with his bands Negant and Eisenwolf plus collaborating with Claus Larsen of Leæther Strip as Mirland/Larsen. If that wasn’t enough producing and mixing music for a myriad of acts but he was still writing tracks for this album between 2018 and 2021.

JOHN MIRLAND

The slow immersion of static and beats lure you in, then “Another Form” begins to speed up and enveloping you. Before you know it, the fabulous pounding techno rhythm and synths, mixed with power noise, invade your senses. So far, this is boding to be in the realms of other worldly. “Beg For It” is just mega crunchy, ear grating goodness and has a beat like a heart on adrenaline, until the angelic heavens open over a synth-scape dream. It ripples with light, while the static growls below. Electronic bees is the best way to describe the beginning of “Fuel” before the cracking beat. The sublime synths glide effortlessly across the jarring sea of sharp tempo. The wub wub is intense from the single “Defiant“, like a rubber ball bouncing incessantly in your head, compelling you to move and dance. There might be a slight reprieve before giving you a serving of techno goodness.

Rust” is abrasive rhythmic noise that wants to take your breath away with it’s relentlessness. The oscillations push you on… towards what? The oblivion that comes with time maybe as time is forever pushing forward. With it’s raft of a-rhythmic beat signature, this is “Headless” that goes in and out of syncopation, backed up by the less crazed, “Generator“. For a more sedate paced piece, it is brooding and insidious. The electronic vocals are the heralds for an oncoming doom of ancient wrathful gods that then descends into minimal techno torment.The glass like smoothness of “So Cold” is just magic, both ephemeral and distant. The track “Torn” is a perfect example of that techno/industrial mix that I find the Europeans do well. The last track is “Wolf Among Sheep” and it is oppressive and dark as it, trance like, invades your very being.

Wonderfully mastered by Claus Larsen and released on the label, Læbel, this is really an album that should appeal to true connoisseurs of techno, power and rhythmic noise, especially those who adore Xotox. For me, you feel those rhythms deep within you, anchoring your feet to the earth but your soul wants to fly with the synth lines. It really is a remarkable talent. Those that know Mirland are already the converted,,,so get thy self some Compromise Is Defeat.

https://mirland.bandcamp.com/album/compromise-is-defeat

https://www.facebook.com/mirlandofficial/

Mirland – composer producer artist

https://laebel-music.dk/

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To the ghouls that inhabit the dark, this Halloween is the release of Dirt Factory’s second single on Brisbane based music label, Viral Records, called “Violence”.

This release contains the title track plus three remixes by various artists, of the same title track.

DIRT FACTORY

Riots anyone? When people have no other avenue of having a voice against the forces of oppression, protest is the last choice. This punk attitude of ‘fuck the system…detonation‘ is all pervasive.

A litany of cause and effect is gravelled out by Allen with robotic style, that is still very angst ridden. As always, there is the hints of KMFDM and Skinny Puppy being a big influence on Allen and Gillman.

The 11 Grams remix is a bit more sleazy sounding as they seem to have made Daniel’s vocals almost lascivious. It has the very futuristic finger prints of 11 Grams all over this and it’s wonderful.

The next remix is by Z Cluster from Sydney. It’s like listening to crunchy trap with periods of creepy clarity due to the vocals being kept more sedate but with a disturbing, higher pitched electronic scream emitting over all.

Last remix is by Brisbane act, Dreams Of Machines (aka Zane Seymour). This is almost old school industrial sounding with the distorted vocals and oppressive drone that makes “Violence” spine tingling. Slower to take off, but when it does, it has a definite nod to Leæther Strip.

DIRT FACTORY – DANIEL ALLEN & MICHAEL GILLMAN

It’s hard to believe these are all the same song and yet at the heart is this one Dirt Factory number. From the original to each mix, are equally enjoyable and nothing feels staid.

This, almost, completely Australian effort does show the strength and talent of the industrial scene in the country with Rob Early of 11 Grams an honorary Aussie by default.

Another great track from Dirt Factory which has us asking, where is the album? If current standard is an indication, it’s going to be a cracker. An industrial single in this dystopian world climate, “Violence” from Dirt Factory.

https://dirtfactory.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/FactoryOfDirt/?ref=py_c

https://dirtfactory.wixsite.com/mysite

https://viralrecordsau.bandcamp.com/

https://viralrecords.com.au/

https://m.facebook.com/viralrecordsau/

Sebastian Sünkler is the man behind German, industrial, power noise act Stahlschlag and September has seen the release of his 6th studio album, Alive!.

Based in Hamburg, Stahlschlag have a reputation for experimental rhythmic and atmospheric noise and he does not disappoint on this album.

From the start of “Bitterness“, the production on this album is just beautiful. The synths are clear, the beats pound into your brain and there is that hint of static fizzling. The name for this track is almost an anomaly, as it is almost joyous.

The same cannot be said for “Hate“. Grating and metallic, mincing the powerful noise into one angry climaxing beast, broken with a soliloquy from young Arya of Game of Thrones fame, on the hate she feels.

Fabulous beats hail in the smooth synth sounds for “In Tension“. It is driven in its contrasts of heavy beats with delightful, lilting tunes hovering above it.

Addiction” with its female moans has you wondering what this addiction might be. Could be sexual, chemical or maybe to do with the music as it screeches along on its merry way.

And low, like Thor hamering on iron girders, “Rage Of Fury” is just as the name implies. A whirling cacophony of industrial noise held together with yet more noise.

There is a world of painful electronic distortion in “Wohlstandstrotz” repeatedly slamming into your brain, only broken by voice clips, as it gathers itself together for another onslaught.

STAHLSCHLAG- SEBASTIAN SÜNKLER

You can almost imagine yourself in a jungle with the crickets singing in the humid night air, as the natives beat their drums. This is “Madness” and it almost tastes different.

Pan” continues the tribal feel but this is far more Germanic and foreboding. This is forceful and moves at a terrifying speed, like a freight train that will not stop for anything.

After the last track, “Disbanded” is almost, positively light… almost. The the keyboards lure you into a state of near bliss before the beats drag you further in.

Shake ‘Em” is somewhat an interlude which isn’t fully noise but isn’t sitting still either. A rhythmic breather with psychedelic oddities.

Back to German efficiency with extreme power noise in “Whataboutism“. Again this is so god damn crunchy, that you can almost feel it grating your skin.

In “Sui generis“, there is a futuristic vibe as it is cleaner than any other number in the album and yet there is such a undertow of tension.

Any track called “Plague“, is going to be coming from a dark place and the ambience indeed feels grim. Again there are those wonderful static beats that stick out starkly to the ambient tune.

The concluding track is “Aufstand“, a crunchy rhythm piece. It feels tortured and wind swept, as it echoes into the metallic void. This is the uprising.

I am not the world authority on electronic/industrial noise but I know what I like and quite frankly this is a feast for the ears. Sünkler is quite the musician, sinking melodies into distortion and noisy rhythmic sound scapes.

Alive! is tribal in a way, as the music is very motivated by Sünkler’s high energy rhythmic input. You can hear two of the bands that heavily influenced Sebastian, in his musical endeavours, those being XOTOX and NOISUF-X.

Released on Crunch Pod, I can do nothing else but highly recommend that if you have any interest in industrial music, you must check out Alive! for an intelligent and superbly crafted album that might just make you see noise in a whole different way. For the converted, you are going to seriously enjoy this Stahlschlag gem plus he’s a seriously great guy. Get Alive!

https://crunchpod.bandcamp.com/album/alive-crunch-185

https://www.facebook.com/STAHLSCHLAG/

https://m.facebook.com/crunchpod