Album of the Day: Red Harvest – Internal Punishment Programs

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Label: Nocturnal Art Productions / Candlelight Records

Within the realms of industrial black metal – a niche genre within a niche genre to begin with – it’s hard not to feel that Red Harvest are somewhat overlooked. Part of this is down to their eclectic nature – with influences including avant-garde thrash early on, and Neurosis later in their career – but perhaps their most accessible record is Internal Punishment Programs. The 2004 album was less intense than the blistering Sick Transit Gloria Mundi, but in some ways that works to the advantage of Internal Punishment Programs, with subtle hints of melody woven in with the industrial stomp.

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Review: Hadewych – Welving

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Label: Malignant Records

Welving is like little else I have ever heard. The music of Hadewych is impossible to pigeon-hole, refusing to conform to any single genre or style – the only tag that fits is that of avant-garde, in its original, forward-thinking form. Heavy with dark mysticism and creative bravery, Welving constructs an intricate web of industrial, dark jazz, black metal, and more besides – as if Coil, Bohren And Der Club Of Gore, and 666 International-era Dodheimsgard wrote a record together. Welving is one of the most captivating, refreshingly unique records I have encountered in some time; and also one of the most rewarding. This is the kind of record that, if you let it, could take over your life.

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Review: Woest – La Fin De L’ère Sauvage

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Label: Self-released

La Fin De L’ère Sauvage, the first demo from French band Woest, is an ugly piece of music. The industrial black metal contained within the record is harsh, aggressive, and possessed of a nihilistic, corrosive atmosphere, as if playing it will somehow cause your speakers to decay. Steeped deeply in a ritualistic aura, this record is an uncomfortable experience, that revels in the dark shadows it conjures as it combines black metal mysticism with dystopian industrial sounds.

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Five of the Best: Nine Inch Nails Deep Cuts

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Whilst the focus of The Sound Not The Word might be on the underground, let’s be real for a moment: Nine Inch Nails are one of the best bands around. There’s good reason that they’re so popular, with a catalogue of accessible singles and well-crafted albums. Yet there’s also a wealth of B-sides, remixes, and soundtrack contributions worth taking note of too, that most fans might not check out. To keep things accessible to all, I’ve intentionally limited the songs on this list to ones that can be streamed via Spotify, and excluded those that appear on standard CD versions of albums. Sure, that vinyl-only version of The Fragile: Deviations 1 contains some excellent versions of songs, but at about £65 a copy, it’s hardly something most people will buy. So, with that in mind – and because they’re one of my favourite ever bands, and why run a blog if you can’t write about what you love? – here’s what I feel are five of the best NIN deep cuts, presented in chronological order of release.

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Rabitrup – SWVMPS II

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Label: Self-released

The first release from RabitrupSWVMPSwas a nightmarish journey of industrial noise and damaged melody, as addictive as it was difficult to listen to, with emotional gut-punches to go along with the musical ones. The follow-up, SWVMPS II, is a slightly more accessible listen, but it’s still a difficult twenty minutes. Ineligible screams emerge from beneath hyper-speed drum’n’bass rhythms, along with waves of piercing noise and brutalised guitars, all emerging from some ruined, yet still human, psyche. But as overwhelming and challenging as it can be, SWVMPS II is a rewarding EP, offering a kind of catharsis that is as physical as it is emotional.

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khost – Governance

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Label: Cold Spring Records

Of all the records to have come my way recently, Governance by Birmingham band khost is probably the most punishing. Combining harsh noise with an industrial stomp and muscularity, Governance is far from an easy listen; but at the same time, it’s one that’s relatively easy to sink in to. Whilst khost may excel at creating an atmosphere of utter darkness, filled with horrific malevolence, they do so in a way that includes just enough shades of light to make the darkness all the more effective, whilst also stopping it becoming overwhelming. This sense of contrast is vitally important, and helps make Governance be such a success.

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american – Violate And Control

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Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories / Fragile Branch Recordings / Shove Records

In the increasingly populated world of extreme music, it gets harder and harder to stand out. There’s only so many novel ideas out there, and there’s no guarantee that musicians have the requisite talent to properly convey what they have to express. It’s this context which helps make american seem an all the more startling prospect. Their mix of black metal, industrial, and harsh noise already sounds exciting on paper, but what Violate And Control demonstrates is that the duo have both the ideas and talent to take this combination in to strange new places. This results in an album that feels remarkably fresh, even as it indulges in some of the most horrific music committed to tape whilst still remaining listenable.

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