Published on Saturday, 02 June 2012 21:47
Album title: The Ghost Machine
Release date: January 2012
Label: Cold Spring Records
"At first there was no sound, but after a while I heard a faint click, as if something were being switched on. A low hum followed, almost inaudible, but in the absolute stillness it might as well have been a roar. Then, the most exquisite terror seized hold of me, wave after wave of black dread, dragging me so far down that all I knew was despair." This is an extract from lyrics of the opening track of this album and reveals the exact feeling you'll witness when listening to this compositions. The Ghost Machine must be one of the darkest records that are yet well elaborated and listenable that I've heard since quite some time, although with some resemblance to legendary Brighter Death Now, Haus Arafna or even November Növelet, Heldentod stands on it's own ground with much more darker, dense and extreme atmospheres. Beware before proceeding into those soundscapes, because you could realize that you are nothing but a ghost, lost somewhere in a dimensions unknown.
Eight dreary, claustrophophic, psychedelic, dark somber compositions starts in an elegant manner with a title track where a delicate female monologue by guest vocalist Jill Lovinitnun takes a leading role. The sounds behind her penetrating spoken words are dense, almost like the told story is happening right here, right inside your head and when some electronic distorted noises come in, it beguns. It's like reawakening the lost dead ones hidden in the mist somewhere around us, unseen, incorruptible, but now taking a glimpse before us. Those sonic atmospheres could be described as a dark ambient death industrial music, but it doesn't really matter when power noise effects take place, almost breaking the flow in varied vocal atmospheres of "Encystment Process" with a shrieking distorsion, even more dense than some black metal vocalist can afford. Vocals are used in such a visualizing manner that it's like the inhuman inteligence it's talking to you. "We are the image of a dead man over water. We travel in the company of pure cold wind. We are the implacable. We are the inevitable. Our reach is vast, and our grasp holds all things. Time is our servant" mastermind Jeff Williams says in "In The Company Of Pure Cold Wind". Drone kind of instrumental "Revenant" needs no words, while in the same vein done "The Sentient Darkness" with only one spoken sentence over and over again "Let me see where I am at" shows the peculiar calmness before the final horror. And the horror comes with "Betrayal". Heavy industrial beats in the background are overrun again by unearthly destructive noises and voices from inhuman kind. There is no rhytm, but homogene and complex sonic structures that are always on the right position. Everything ends with post-apocalyptic beats, pipes and other strange sounds in "Kindermörderin" as the voice speaks: "He waits for you to wake/From this last dreamless sleep/On the eve of demise/The hopeless curse of life". The ghosts have awakened, they certainly have and Heldentod can speak with them, or we should even wonder if Heldentod is just a ghost and nothing of this happened here, but in some hidden dimensions where uncertain takes form.
I'm saying that you should proceeed with conscious into this extraordinary evil kind of music, because it can be addictive with the fear it creates. Don't blame anybody if you'll wake up trembling after this experience that this one-man band Heldentod offers. Amazing!
Review written by: T.V.