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TERROR ORGAN. THE STALAG SYMPHONY

Image of TERROR ORGAN. THE STALAG SYMPHONY

$5.00 - On Sale

As most are probably aware by now, Terror Organ is the chief focus of former Angelcorpse frontman Pete Helmkamp, who's also currently sharing time with Revenge. Six tracks is all it takes for the duo's second full-length to unleash more than 40 minutes of superb experimental noise that continues to take death industrial and power electronics into a new realm. "Salvations Succumb to Rust" starts things off with sinister low rumbles and manipulated vocals along with some more straightforward male/female vocal work, eventually leading up to a droning, semi-melodic dirge of distorted bass notes. There are even a few "verses" present, with faster vocal arrangements and concrete bass runs amidst various rugged layers of texture. "Mindlock (Septic Utopia)" uses looped samples and churning distorted textures with subtle ambient hums and feedback twisting around in the distance for its duration, but I really like the fact that you can make out most of the samples, as it creates a consistent and curious mood. An unlikely sample from an old Little Red Riding Hood record (or perhaps a cartoon) kicks off "Frontal Lobe Castration" prior to eerie feedback and drones laying the foundation for spoken female vocals - delivered as a narrative of sorts. "Nihil Transmission" is similar to "Mindlock..." in its repetition of samples and textures, though in this case the droning repetition has more of a hypnotic quality that I really appreciate - even though the content of the samples is a bit harder to discern. Then nine-minute "Strength is Beauty" begins with some distant sirens and shuffling, fluttering harsh noise with a few carefully placed melodic layers sweeping across the midrange from time to time. Garbled and indecipherable vocals break in for a brief section prior to an overloaded and somewhat thrashy set of bass runs (one in each speaker) and Helmkamp's token vocal snarls, later giving way to more of the spoken female vocals. More thick drones and a sample that I believe is in Russian begin the final track, "Mourning Tsar". After a great deal of repetition, some industrial sounds (clanging metal and such) and smooth ambient hums come in with a very unique melody (somehow performed on the bass). In fact, this is the most "melodic" track herein, though you wouldn't expect it at first. Very interesting work... The recording is right on the line: It's not quite lo-fi, but it's not pristine either. If it were me, I'd try to push it just a bit more towards the brighter, crisper direction so that the textures and details would really have room to show through, without shedding the atmosphere and warmth that the rawness adds. The sound remains uniform throughout, which is a positive, and I'm not at all bothered by the perceptible absence of acute clarity to some degree, so in the end it works out as is... though certain improvements could heighten the impact of the material. The layout consists primarily of (now former) Terror Organ member Lea Helmkamp posing nude in various positions and wielding a sledgehammer. The band logo and tracklist appear on the front cover, while the back cover shows a full color photo of some filthy children near some polluted black water next to an industrial site. There are also some nice vibrantly colored live photos inside, and the center spread shows an old image of some sort of odd medical procedure (it looks almost like it could be from a film or something). This is a great disc, and a definite progression for the group. The material is more cohesive and focused than their first full-length, and still original without straying too far from the tenets of its associated genres. I certainly look forward to hearing future efforts, as in my opinion Terror Organ is one of the remote few American acts that can match what has always best been delivered from European shores. Highly recommended. (8/10) (Review from AversiOnline)