TREPANERINGSRITUALEN turns back towards primal urges with “ᛉᛦ — Algir; eller Algir i Merkstave”

Trepaneringsritualen, for anyone who’s been following the darkest corners of the post-industrial underground over the last fifteen years or so, needs no introduction. Building up a reputation for their punishing live performances, pounding rhythms, heavy-as-fuck bottom end noise, and lyric-driven orations of apocalypses, bringing back to mind some of the raw-as-decaying-meat moments of groups like SPK, NON, or even In Slaughter Natives. However, this time around Mr. Ekelund has decided to take a subdued route this time with a very minimal ritual ambient release.

Simplicity, desolation, and sparseness is the approach this time around, as a near-complete departure from the straightforward industrial assault previously developed over their last two records. ᛉᛦ — Algir; eller Algir i Merkstave is a collection of unsettling sounds, sparsely placed chimes, whispers, horns, something resembling a waterphone, and deep bassy drones carried out in two ordeals, each being exactly 19 minutes long. Whether or not that would turn off fans of their more vocal work, it really speaks more to the primal ritualistic elements of the band’s genesis. Throughout the record, the sense of tension and encroaching fear never leaves, as our instinctual sense of unease is triggered by our natural reactions toward high and low frequencies of sound, that same sense of inexplicable queasiness we feel when hearing certain unexplained sounds in nature or haunted areas, setting our teeth on edge.

The second half turns more toward elements of tranquility and gives off a general atmosphere of rebirth, after experiencing “death” in the first half. Towards a new plane of experience, yet having to go through pain and fear in order to emerge on the other side. After experiencing the overpowering darkness of Deathward to the Womb, the relentless hammering of Perfection & Permanence, or the slight nods to industrial accessibility in Kainskult, this really doesn’t resemble much of TxRxP’s other works, but feels like a new piece of the mosaic being filled. This is a multidimensional beast with so many sides to their mystic view of the world and the darkness lying just beneath the veil to explore and be expressed. It will be interesting to see what next turn their journey takes in their ever evolving excursions into the murky caverns of existence.

As we head into the autumn season after having the world set on fire the last few months, this release provides the perfect soundtrack for settling down into some place dark, letting the shadows overcome your thoughts, and peering anew at new possibilities for the future as one who rises from the ashes, and still hasn’t lost their lust for the fire.

Released into the wild by COLD SPRING RECORDS on CD in 6-panel digipak and Limited first edition LP of 500 copies on 180g black vinyl.



LLYN Y CWN leads excursions into the depths of night to confront “Twll Du”

Llyn y Cwn is an up and coming dark ambient unit from Wales, heavily influenced by the countryside from which the project spawned. The name “Twll Du” is in fact the name of a gorge in Wales known as the Devil’s Kitchen, where smoke from the depths is occasionally seen rising. It’s rare in the wide world of underground music that we’re exposed to the many treasures this nation holds.

From the outset, this is a rather minimal work focusing a lot on deep dark drones and what appear to be cavernous field recordings. You get a lot of that similar feeling as “deep ambient” artists like Amon occasionally generate, building layer upon layer of deep tones in order to generate a feeling of wide open spaces and deep chasms, but by the second track things take a much darker turn as the deep dirges and foreboding melodies kick in.

This isn’t just a nature walk or cavernous excursion, but the suggestion of something much more sinister and profound is lurking just out of sensory reach through the minimal melodies that act like a guide throughout this journey. Occasionally reminiscent of some of the darker moments of Dense Vision Shrine or even Vinterriket, though the ghostly atmosphere here is much more present and oppressive, like a thick tension in the air as one enters a haunted area.

On a whole, this is actually a very simple release. We never really get to see or hear what’s beyond the sinister door, but what we get instead is a very moody walk through the bowels of night, through foreboding landscapes, and a bit of a tour around the rim of the abyss without really falling in. Probably the best listening experience reading your favorite dark fantasy work by candlelight while this album throbs its magic through your headphones, or out for a walk through a mountainous landscape at night.

Presented by COLD SPRING RECORDS in a 6-panel digipak with breathtaking photography by the artist.


MZ.412 returns only to descend into the depths of Helheim with “Svartmyrkr”

Mz.412 are purveyors of sonic terror; a noise cult of devious intent. Most of their work is labeled as “blackened industrial”, and this release certainly could be described this way as well, although it occasionally ventures into other territory.
Having been at it since at least 1988, Mz.412 have honed their craft into something truly remarkable, and as such, their latest offering, Svartmyrkr, is a powerful, primal piece of music that manages to be both intimate and cosmic in scale. A work that feels immediate and current, but also timeless.

The production carries a pristine clarity and punch which lends all that much more aggression to the distorted sounds. This is beyond production, and into the realm of sound design. There is a cohesive, well-paced, narrative sort of structure within the mix itself. What opens with just a few tracks conveying an intimate setting unfolds and expands into a multi-tracked monstrosity, a veritable titan of tracking awash in swirling, gnawing waves of sound, pulverized and dragged along by its own sonic undertow. Somehow throughout all this, every nuance and detail is heard, every piece of the story loud and clear. Often with releases of this nature, there is a quality of mystery present in the mix, with so much subtle layering and so on, but Svartmyrkr feels like a bold statement, a fully realized vision laid before us in startling detail. The fact that this is a self produced release is impressive to say the least.

Svartmyrkr is a work of unrelenting and ever increasing dread. An album that manages to grab your attention and hold it for the space of forty-eight minutes, without a single riff or hook. Dynamic, and escalation of dread are the keys to this feat, and the resulting work feels cinematic in its scope.

The album opens with what amounts to a teaser track. An ominous, tribal rhythm that seems to approach out of the dark, drawing near our campfire to bludgeon us with one primal crash across the head. This is a portent of what is to come: a series of other grinding, pounding horrors that seem to approach from the burning horizon ahead of us, and disappear into the dark behind us.

This album is a vast collection of sounds that seem to encompass any and all cultures and esoteric traditions. In a time when every buffoon with a microphone and a modulator pedal is releasing albums of “occult ambient” and “ritual noise” material through bandcamp, daily, a work with real intent and focus behind it such as this one is a deft and commanding display of potency. This stuff makes you feel, and quite often not subtly so. This is real magick.

Sonically, Svartmyrkr feels like a truly timeless work.

Tribal drums, growling vocals, and the crackling of a fire…one is given the impression of impending doom, of an approaching threat beyond comprehension, a destructive force that is uncompromising and totalitarian in the scale of the ruin it implies.

Thunderous sounds of war, replete with booming horns, cryptic chanting and the screeching of hawks…here now is the sound of the end of the civilized world, an horrific and violent razing of the walls of our false safety. The end is not sightly, no. And as such, it is a blessing that Svartmyrkr is an album, and not a film (although your humble writer would certainly pay to see such an apocalyptic and hypnotic piece of cinema) …

Erosion…chopped and sliced samples, awash in icy, grim, synthesizer tones and echoing bells…like a cold and cavernous death knell for all of mankind, horrific and jarring …

An intimate and immediate feeling acoustic section that draws you in and gives you brief respite from the horror, like wandering away from a corpse-strewn and blasted battle ground and right up to a campfire with a friendly stranger and their guitar. There is peace here, and solace, but not for long …

The grinding sound of the end of absolutely everything is accompanied by tribal drums and coarse shouting, and an unmistakable reverence. This is the sound of a people meeting their end with strength, humility, and awe …

Your humble writer has not spent a single moment looking up any information on this release (purposefully), and as such, is left with only the music as reference point for the ideas behind the work. With that in mind, these are my ultimate impressions of the work and its focus:

The listener is placed on the wild, elemental fringes of the world, and made witness to the fall of Empire. There is fear, horror, revelry, triumph, and finality. The shiny, brittle world we have built around us is ground into dust by the gnawing of world eating machinery and all is made wild again. The final sound heard is a rattling croak, a death cry. It is a reverent sound. It is with reverence that those of us still standing meet the end.

Then again, the story is only over if we assume it was about us.

Svartmyrkr was released into the wild by COLD SPRING RECORDS on CD and LP formats. It is the first MZ.412 studio album in 13 years.