Sunday, June 1, 2014

REVIEW-SEBASTIAN MELMOTH-IN RUINS-CASSETTE

SEBASTIAN MELMOTH-IN RUINS-CASSETTE
BELATEN RECORDS
POST-PUNK/LO-FI/EXPERIMENTAL
COMES ON A CLEAR CASSETTE IN A 
PLASTIC CASE WITH INSERT AND DIGITAL 
DOWNLOAD CODE.
SEBASTIAN MELMOTH ARE:
"NOT A ONE-TRICK PONY, BUT A
REVOLVING GROUP OF FREEDOM FIGHTERS."



SIDE A.)

I.) THE ENGINEERING OF CONSENT:
Samples of a deep and thought provoking conversation with
William S. Burroughs are heard echoing through space and time.
And it is space and time that this discussion is concerned with.
Fragile synths and an almost militant waltz accompany and
enhance the words that drift into your mind and attach themselves
within.Taking root and growing into thoughts and questions.
This track could be considered an intro I suppose.Quiet electronics
expand like the vast drifting cosmos as a calming solo is played on
saxaphone.Xylophones and gentle chimes fill the air giving this a
dreamy and soothing effect.A few last words and we are sent futher
down the spiral that is the strange world of SEBASTIAN MELMOTH.

II.) MIET MITZVAH:
Slow percussions, deep bass rythms and gentle guitars open the track.
Synths join in as soft and clean vocals similar to BAUHAUS, ECHO &
THE BUNNYMEN, or maybe even DAVID BOWIE begin.This is a Lo-fi
downer jam with a strong Post-Punk vibe to it.This song is filled with
the feeling of a rainy day spent staring out your window into the gloom.
SEBASTIAN MELMOTH manages to capture that "Bedroom Rock" feeling
without sounding like your average Indie, Hipster bullshit.This has much
more in common with JOY DIVISION and the like than bands that fall
under the Post-Punk/Alternative label these days...So no this is not something
your gonna hear about from Spin Magazine or Pitchfork...This is actually good.
But what would you expect from Belaten Records? Which just so happens to
be run and operated by the man behind the occult Death Industrial Project
TREPANERINGSRITUALEN! So anyways clean guitar leads build up until suddenly
all takes a dark 60's/70's psyche turn.Distortion pedals are stomped into action and
a hazy smoke spills out into the room.This is heavy without being heavy.The guitars
are cranked up but not overpowering and the drums remain mid-placed and are played
carefully rather than punded...Now we are treated to dual vocals that just enhance and
solidify the hints at classic Goth Rock that you pick up on from the start.If you are into
stuff like THE CHAMELEONS UK, TONES ON TAIL, Etc then I think you'll really enjoy
and appreciate what SEBASTIAN MELMOTH are doing.Clean tremolo guitars and synths
close this number and lead us into white noise and bleak horizons.

III.) WHITE NOISE AND BLEAK HORIZONS:
A cloud of white static rythms and reversed guitar rushes through your ears 
as quiet drums set the tempo.Distant chanting,Whispered and almost spoken
vocals begin to weave their narrative.The tone is dark and almost sarcastic as
if SEBASTIAN MELMOTH are here to mock rather than to entertain.Layers of
electronic experimentation and dark ambience fill the spaces inbetween words.
Again there is a classic Gothic vibe to this and again I am reminded of bands like
TONES ON TAIL or THE DANSE SOCIETY...Metallic and tribal percussions begin
and quickly pick up the pace as that cloud of white static returns.Huge cymbals
and soothing synth leads and voices stir up a unique atmosphere.And honestly
the best way I can sum up the A side of In Ruins is with that one word.Unique.

SIDE B.)

IV.) CATCHING UP WITH MORRISON:
60's Garage Rock meets 90's Goth Rock with all kinds of neat little surprises
thrown in the mix...Sounding both original and classic at the same time.Think
BAUHAUS meets THE DOORS as a foundation and add electronic experimentation
and some really interesting vocal choices thrown in their as well.The best way I can
explain the vocals towards the middle is think THE BIRTHDAY PARTY meets FIELDS
OF THE NEPHILIM after a drunken night of listening to The Monster Mash on repeat
while trying to summon the ghost of Jim Morrison...Make sense? Probably not...How 
about you just buy a copy and figure it out for yourself.Spooky rythms, Catchy hand
claps, Strange electronics and a somewhat Surf Rock vibe.All this plus what was stated
above...You'll either get it or you won't.Why not take a chance and try something different.

V.) BLACK SEPTEMBER:
A dark and catchy little guitar rythm opens the gates for somber vocals
concerning bitter things.Again we have an ominous Surf Rock vibe going
on.Sorta like THE CRAMPS but much more depressing.Carnival-esque 
keyboards give way to sudden screams.Nothing too harsh, but still they
are effective and work well to enhance the creepy and sinister atmosphere.
The segment with the reverb laced screams reminds me of THE BIRTHDAY
PARTY era Nick Cave.Unexpected madness over sideshow music.Moaning
backing vocals bring to mind the glory days of early CHRISTIAN DEATH
and THE VIRGIN PRUNES.Cowbells and all sorts of neat little additions
to the drums shift things into a slow moving Gypsy caravan of gloom,
doom and despair and then fade into nothingness.

VI.) PROSOPAGNOSIA:
Mid-paced Goth guitar and slow drums filtered through phaser or
chorus effects.Musically this is sort of like Faith era THE CURE or
the first two JOY DIVISION albums but with more synth work adding
a backbone of dark ambience.The vocals have a very English Post-Punk
sound here.Shaky and desperate.Only controlled for short periods of time
before the angst and desperation bleed through and spill upon the floor.
Feedback is used like lead guitar as jangly rythms play beneath a catchy
but depressing chorus.Lyrics concerning loss, regret and heartache come
and go like fleeting specters.Soft gang vocals chant along as the drums 
take on a more tribal beat.Despondent guitar rythms and moaning synths
take their place as the chorus repeats sung by weary voices with pained
souls.This repeats as a mantra for some time and then fades into a segment
of obscure and mysterious guitar work that soon transforms into straight
electronic experimentation.

VII.) PRESLEY HONEY:
The final track has a total Folk Rock vibe to it.Not sure if these are
banjos or mandolins that accompany the acoustics here but whatever
they used it works...Then the drums and group vocals kick in along and
it's a Gypsy Rock fest.Traveling vagabond music...Like the stuff you'd 
expect to hear played live while huddled around a camp fire with some
good friends.You can almost smell the brandy on the singers breath.What
often seems to set SEBASTIAN MELMOTH apart from the countless bands
attempting similar things these days (Aside from the over all experimental
tendencies of the group.) Is the clever use of synths as a sort of bottom layer
to the seven tracks here.These guys know how to make great use of subtle
sounds that many would overlook or not even consider.The rambling drums
and catchy "sing-along" vocals make this the "happiest" song on the album...
But here this isn't a bad thing.All breaks down into delay soaked guitars and
echoing drums along with playful but eerie ambience and vocal effects.One
last stretch of tribal percussions and utter strangeness and the desire to flip
the tape and start over is in full effect.

NOT TYPICALLY THE TYPE OF STUFF WE REVIEW ON TRAUMATIC STATIC
BUT THEN AGAIN WE DO SPECIALIZE IN EXPERIMENTATION AND SYNTH
WORK.A UNIQUE AND HIGHLY ENJOYABLE RELEASE FROM A LABEL THAT
PUTS QUALITY FIRST AN ALWAYS OFFERS SOMETHING DIFFERENT:

Also: Be sure to redeem the download code with your purchase of "In Ruins"
for three really interesting remixes as well as digital versions of the album
tracks so you can shove them into that listening device of yours!

8.5/10
-ABATTOIR-

WWW.BELATEN.SE


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