Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Home – The Gathering [#589]

Gathering_homeDuring the Great Download Free For All of the mid-noughties when I was ripped from the comedy inflatable bosom of Nightwish and thrown grovelling at the awesome rock prowess of The Gathering, I was self-tasked with the necessity to obtain the band’s entire catalogue.

Fortunately, this was one of those times when such an action was worthwhile. Aside from the band’s first couple of albums, Always and Almost a Dance, which are both truly dreadful and were swiftly deleted from my collection, their other albums just kept on sending tingles.

The Gathering are another example of where the UKs coverage of quality Euro music is lacking. The downright snobbery of the UK music industry in regard to artists from beyond the North Sea frequently turns my stomach. There really are some excellent artists out there but because a minority have the monopoly on what is seen and heard in the UK, it is often the case that without the internet, nothing “non-British” would be available. Indeed, even with impending changes to the accessibility of internet this will only get worse and result in  further impedence of the spread of culture from east to west while the spread of culture from west to east will continue unhindered.

Home is The Gathering’s eighth album and the last to feature Anneke van Giersbergen who, in my opinion, made the band. It seems that 2006 was the time of departure for a few female led Eurometal bands (eg Nightwish and Tarja’s departure), but rather than disappear into obscurity, van Giersbergen went on to work with Ayreon and do her own stuff and quite successfully too. Like Mandylion, it has an almost progressive concept album feel to it but the concept album vibe might just be my overactive imagination.

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Herzelied – Rammstein [#583]

Rammstein_Herzeleid_coverDavid Lynch’s Lost Highway is an often disregarded cinematic masterpiece. Dark, brooding and just plain fucking weird. It also happens to be right at the top of my top ten favourite films list.  For me it’s not the twisted script and imagery that makes the film so enjoyable, nor is it the years of enjoyable debate I’ve had with others trying to interpret its meaning. For me, the cherry on the top of the enjoyability of the film is its soundtrack. Upon which a, then relatively,

For me, the cherry on the top of the enjoyability of the film is its soundtrack. Upon which a then relatively unknown German band featured with two songs, Heirate Mich and Rammstein. Both of those songs appear on this album. Sadly HMV and Virgin Megastore in Liverpool

Sadly, when I was looking for albums by the band in the mid90s, neither the HMV nor Virgin Megastore in Liverpool had anything by them. I did ask a young metal loving shop assistant I knew in Virgin if he had heard of them but he declared that he wasn’t “into any of that Euro shite mate”.

Of course, having poked about on the then fledgeling internet via dial-up, I was able to locate a European exporter of the band’s albums. So, brandishing my new credit card I bought copies of both Herzelied and Sehnsucht online. They were my first ever internet purchases and they took two weeks to reach me.

Herzelied is Rammstein’s first album. It is a little boisterous for those with an ear unaccustomed to mid-nineties Euro metal and, like the guy in Virgin, you might not be “into any of that Euro shite”. But if you’re looking to leaving those big-haired American rock ninnies behind and having your head shaved and your body oiled up as you enter a world of more diverse and interesting world of Euro quasi post-industrial metal, then you won’t go wrong with a bit of Rammstein.

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Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

This is an unusual compilation, and it is one that guided my ears in the direction I took when exploring the genre. It’s an unofficial compilation and, like all good music, not available in the shops. More of a mix tape someone put out onto the wibbly wobbly web back in the nineties.

The first track is Hoquetus I-VII by an unknown composer and by the third track, a Saltarello  also by an unknown composer, it starts to become clear that the compiler is trying to take the listener through their interpretation of goth music through the ages. Soon we hear Minstrel Hall by Blackmore’s Night. Not exactly goth but dabbling with medievalism, nicely leading us into track two, 18th Century Gypsy Music by Bubak and Hungaricus. Layers of folk influences building up. By the time we reach midway point, we are already being tricked into believing that Ataraxia’s Canzona is a faithful reproduction of a old classical piece.

Of course it’s not. But by this time you don’t care. Further tracks of the acoustic, goth, medieval theme float past including Eld’s interpretation of Death in June’s Death of the West, songs by Ordo Equitum Solis and Eden  also don’t seem out of place. The cherry on the top being Bauhaus‘ King Volcano. 

I’m still fond of this compilation, even though, in all honesty, I am missing a number of tracks from  the original compilation. Moreover, this album also saw me eager to discover more about bands like Ordo Equitum Solis, Blackmore’s Night  and Eden. Bands I would never have heard of if it had not been for illegal downloads of music from unregulated sources.

Of course, like home taping before it, downloading music illegally was the death of music and we know today how empty our lives have become because  music was killed.

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The Gospel of Inhumanity – Blood Axis [#539]

Gospel_of_Inhumanity_CoverBlood Axis’ first album noted for featuring an interview with crazy Charles Mansun and poetry by Ezra Pound (The Voyage (Canto)).

There are two “songs” on the album that really strike me as significant. The first is track 5, Herr nun lab in Frieden (Men now live in peace) in which an excerpt from Moynihan’s interview with Charles Manson features. Manson talks about his grandfather’s realisation of the futility of war in the trenches during World War I.

The second is Absinthe (track 7) which is a tantalising taste of Moynihan’s then future collaboration with Le Joyaux de la Princesse.

Despite the album’s perceived intellectual leanings toward far right fascism, mostly due to Pound’s presence and his political beliefs and poetry by Nietzsche,  Blood Axis’ Michael Moynihan has denied such a connection. During the nineties, this album, industrial, neofolk and other similar genres became synonymous with neo-nazism notably by those fearful of the rise of gothic movement following the shootings by the Trench Coat Mafia at Columbine (conservative Americans).

However, a little research will reveal that in fact Moynihan has denounced the far right stating:

” Whether they’re the Marxist/Communist/Socialist people who think that humans want to get along on a grand scale, or whether it’s the Nazis, who think that if everyone was just of the same race, they’d all get along perfectly, or the anarchists, who think everyone would love to live this way if you just took away the police. They’re all deluded. People should worry about what happens on their block. They should get along with their neighbours before they worry about the great ills of society and about telling someone who lives 200 miles away what to do.”

It helps, if, like me, you first approach the album without knowing the alleged political and philosophical subtexts within the music. Indeed, taking the supposed philosophies and politics away from the album and approaching it, like I did, as a work of art, is not a difficult thing to do. In doing so, you actually can appreciate a dark, intellectual and thought provoking selection of music combining poetry, samples from Wicker Man and aural sound paintings similar to that presented later by Blood Axis when working with Le Joyaux de la Princesse on their collaboration Absinthe.

 

 

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Ghosts of California – David Galas [#521]

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I love every second of this album and, as my wife will testify, I must have listened to something from it every day since I bought it in 2011. This is David Galas’ third solo outing, which, in my opinion, is probably his finest.

The dark brooding of Galas’ first solo album The Catacylsm has matured in the moody bath of The Happiest Days of My Life (his second) and emerged as a dark and haunting anthemic opus.

While The Happiest Days of My Life was initially a little hard to ingest I took well to Ghosts. From the opening gambit (a recording of air traffic controllers during 9/11 segueing into the atmospheric Sect VIII) to an acoustic version of The Last Days of War my favourite track from The Happiest Days of My Life, every second has been carefully thought out and produced to an excellent standard.

My only regret is that this album hasn’t had the recognition it deserves.  Few of my friends have heard it, even fewer care, and yet I do truly believe that despite all my attempts to encourage others to listen to it, if they really gave it a try, they too might get the same enjoyment as I did. I just hope that through this Music Project I might encourage a few others.

 

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Ghosts from the Darkside III – Various Artists [#520]

R-708447-1150309381.jpegCompilations, it seems, are like buses. You wait for ages then two come along at once.

Ghosts from the Darkside III (I’ve no idea what happened to Ghosts from the Darkside I) is pretty much the same as Ghosts from the Darkside II, darkwave/goth music somewhat difficult to ingest aurally driving to and from work.

This time Tristania, Clan of Xymox and L’Âme Immortelle join the dark pageant but again, the rest of the acts I’d never heard of, nor did I find any affinity with.

Unfortunately, this eagerness to embrace the dark resulted in me getting quite a few albums and fan compilations like this and, advanced warning here, very soon we will see examples of other Gothic compilations on the music project.

1-01 Flesh Field Animal 5:34
1-02 Funker Vogt The Journey 5:52
1-03 Terminal Choice The Saviour 6:46
1-04 In Strict Confidence The Truth Inside Me 5:05
1-05 Yendri Bodyless 5:49
1-06 Diary Of Dreams Winter Souls 5:45
1-07 Clan Of Xymox Crucified 6:00
1-08 Sanguis Et Cinis Phantom 4:57
1-09 Illuminate Energie 4:58
1-10 Umbra Et Imago Mea Culpa 4:47
1-11 Samsas Traum Für Immer 5:23
1-12 Mondsucht Verlies Der Ewigkeit 4:28
1-13 Mantus (2) Feuer 7:08
1-14 Exovedate Truly 2:30
1-15 Ophelia’s Dream Quando Corpus Morietur 3:09
2-01 L’Âme Immortelle The Immortal Part 4:53
2-02 Claire Voyant Love The Giver (Eskil Simonsson Of Covenant)

Remix – Eskil Simonsson

5:28
2-03 Love Like Blood Bleeding 6:02
2-04 The Garden Of Delight Chaos AD 5:09
2-05 Tristania Beyond The Veil 6:39
2-06 Grabesmond Totgeboren 3:45
2-07 Stillste Stund Drei Sind Eins 4:28
2-08 Cinema Strange Lindsay’s Trachea 5:17
2-09 S.P.O.C.K Klingon 2000 (Radio Mix) 3:49
2-10 Klirrfaktor Dekadenz 4:10
2-11 Cleaner Anti-Arctic (Hard Vox Version) 5:38
2-12 Absurd Minds Fairy Stories 5:12
2-13 Hocico Spit As An Offence (Suicide Commando Remix)

Remix – Suicide Commando

5:25
2-14 Siechtum Gesellschaft Mord 3:36
2-15 Dulce Liquido Illusión Hecha Mentira
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Funeral Music for Perez Prado – Nurse With Wound [#505]

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.35.31Avant Garde shite I downloaded in an effort to out weird hipsters.

Really, I never listen to this album in its entirety unless I’m trying to weird someone out or I’m trying to write an article about it. On it’s 6th listen it still hasn’t improved. Why do I keep this shit?

The way the percussive rhythm blends into each section seamlessly or the way the percussive rhythm lowers the active mind into a focused trance, rhythmically it is enjoyable. This alone is probably, on reflection, the main reason I keep the album. For those moments waiting to go into surgery or those moments when you’ve been given three months to live and a tab of LSD.

Yeah. Maybe that’s why.

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