Review: 12 months on from his last outing on Ron Morelli's celebrated L.I.E.S. label, former Napalm Death noisenik Mick Harris once again dons the Fret alias for another exploration of techno's farthest, darkest corners. He hits the ground running with "Slowly Moving In", a polyrhthmic industrial techno workout full of ricocheting, end-of-days electronics and distortion-soaked drums. "The Hill" is, if anything, even more panicked and bone-rattling, as if Harris had re-imagined the soundtrack from notorious Sheffield-based nuclear winter drama "Threads". Over on side B, "Pirates" is a formidably fuzzy and mind-altering attack on the senses, while "Walking With Cameras" adds creepy refrains to one of Harris's weightiest rhythm tracks yet.
Review: Last year Cardinal & Nun successfully set their stall out via a decidedly lo-fi cassette of wayward techno, EBM, industrial and new wave fusions. Here the Marseilles-based outfit steps it up a notch via a debut 12" for Ron Morelli's L.I.E.S. label. The four tracks are suitably loose, dark and otherworldly, with title track "I Met The Devil" - a pitch-black fusion of early Joy Division, throbbing new wave and late '70s Cabaret Voltaire - leading the way. "Go Away" sees them apply the same DIY fuzziness to EBM, while "Empoisonne" wraps discordant guitar solos and gravelly vocal snippets around another arpeggio-driven groove. They round things off via "Disintegration", a slower and druggier trip into thrusting, arpeggio-driven territory.
Review: Shape-shifting post-punk quasi-legends Bourbonese Qualk are finally getting a bit of the shine they so richly deserve after years in obscurity, not least thanks to the retrospective compilation on Mannequin back in 2015. Now Platform 23 are reissuing their classic album "Laughing Afternoon", originally released back in 1983 and having lost none of its impact. It's a slippery, shape-shifting creation that veers between uneasy soundscapes and gutter-dwelling funk, with some truly visionary signal processing, electronic textures and more besides in the mix. It's a crime this crew aren't held in the same regard as their other early 80s post-industrial peers, but at least the wrongs are being righted now.
Review: Music On Vinyl continues to serve up essential reissues of classic Ministry albums, with 1989's "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste" becoming the latest set to get the audiophile-friendly heavy vinyl treatment. The record is a little heavier and fuzzier than some of its predecessors, with greater use of rambunctious, mind-altering heavy metal guitar riffs and less reliance on the Fairlight CMI-driven arpeggio style basslines, oddball samples and bustling EBM rhythms. Of course, Al Jourgensen and company's trusty drum machines are still present and correct, with riff-laden songs being joined by occasional blasts of bass heavy post-punk style weightiness ("Cannibal Song"), rubbery mutant disco (the sample-laden stomp of "So What") and suitably dystopian industrial funk workouts ("Faith Collapsing").
Review: Italian "hard noise" specialists Urashima has unearthed something rather significant here: a previously "lost" early recording from Japanese maverick Masonna that was initially slated for release before what became his 1989 debut album, whose explicit title cannot be repeated here. Comprising two lengthy experimental soundscapes created using feedback, white noise and a legion of effects units, both parts of "Bursting Absolute Moods" are abstract in the extreme, offering a cacophonous journey through the artist's intense imagination that will frighten most listeners but delight noise enthusiasts. Of the two parts, it's the second that surprises and intrigues more, with sporadic bursts of activity being joined by screamed vocal textures and short periods of quiet reflection.
Review: Earlier this year, Gallhammer member Vivian Slaughter delivered her first solo album, the noisy and intense "Morgenrode". Here the NYC artist dons the Viviankrist alias again for a debut outing on Diagonal. It's a decidedly dystopian affair all told, with Slaughter offering up a mixture of distorted post-apocalyptic soundscapes (see the audio air strikes of "Eleventh"), hard-wired rhythmic pieces (the mind-altering industrial throb of "Blue Iron"), mutilated IDM workouts (the fizzing electronics and tipsy lo-fi beats of "72hours"), surprisingly melodious ambient cuts ("Midnight Sun", "Out of Body", "Behind Mirror") and amphetamine-fuelled dancefloor smashers (the bombastic and eccentric "Tear").