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Welcome to the first Local Live & Underground list of 2022! For the uninitiated, the LL&U list features a range of underground and live releases from the spectrums of industrial, noise, post-punk, doom, drone, goth and beyond. The kinds of releases that struggle for surface air amidst the fog of social media and music discourse more broadly. The LL&U list cuts through the noise, giving life to those which may have evaded detection.
This iteration also happens to be the first since launching the new website. Whether you’re a new recruit or you’ve been here since the sketchy first website (Discipline Mag 1.0), an eternal thanks for being with us 🙏🏼.
This round has a focus on releases discovered in the first quarter of 2022. Moving forward, the LL&U will be a quarterly affair, so if you have new music or a live album coming out in Q2, don’t be afraid to get in touch.
Read on for new releases from the likes of Striborg, Nadja, Pterygium and much much more.
LUGOLA – YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL
First on the list is Lugola from Poland. This album of noise driven electronics comes from Michal (Neithan) Kielbasa, who performs in a number of projects including the sludgy industrial band Whalesong, neofolk project Grave of Love, and range of other industrial inspired outfits.
On You Are Not Special, the album is about as oppressive as the title insinuates. Lo-fi static haze consumes the tracks, while repeated lyrics consistently reiterate your diminished self-worth.
The track, “Better Cancel Yourself”, is a looped spiral of static dread that carries an assaulting one liner. “Choke” washes processed vocals over a noisy dark ambient background, utilising a formula that has been well-tested by the likes of Genocide Organ. Sirens of dread overwhelm “Deform”. While the title track and album closer stretches these elements out for almost 10 minutes, providing a soundtrack of noisy death industrialism with a sonic assault in the spirit of late Whitehouse.
Nihilistic, depraved, and oppressive.
BACCHUS HARSH – CAVEAT TUMULTUM
Bacchus Harsh is the current musical alias of Melbourne based multi-disciplinary artist Christian Bishop. The man was previously known for his work as Xian, a project most suited to dance-floors with its aggressive mashups of jungle, noise, and breakcore. Bacchus Harsh draws from these experiences (especially in terms of production), but fuses them with an occult and psychedelic industrial edge.
On Caveat Tumultum, many tracks juxtapose haunting film references with balls to the wall industrial techno. Second track, “Ascensus Christi ad Inferos”, never strays more than arm’s reach from its local monastery. Opening with sweeping cinematic organ, the track progresses and deconstructs into beats and bass, with an omnipresent hum. Track 5, “The Impossibility of Transcendence in the Eyes of an Operating Thetan LVIII”, samples the Romanian chant that taunts Tom Cruise in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, further exploiting the film through its breakout of blast beats and club noise.
60 minutes of noisy industrial club bangers and thoughtfully ominous themes of cinematic occultism from one of Melbourne’s long-standing professionals in the field of electronic production.
STRIBORG – THE UNCANNY VALLEY
Tasmania’s Striborg has been a regular feature on Discipline Mag as of late. The solo project of Russell Menzies, he provided Discipline Mag with an interview (featured below) in the lead-up to his performance at Miscellania in March. The event being an out of this world experience for all those involved.
Previously a one-man black metal outfit with a long back catalogue of raw and depressive music, the project has evolved into a new genre, blackwave. At the performance, Striborg put his interpretation of the genre on full display, incorporating mime-like dance moves and even breakdancing into his performance.
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On this latest EP The Uncanny Valley, Striborg both straddles a familiar path of established blackwave sounds, and introduces a new element or two.
Opening track, “The Decrepit Mansion in the Haunted Marshland” (which also opened the aforementioned show) is a pretty good blackwave primer with its dark synths and blackened shrieks. The title track is similarly instructive with its wave-y synths and inclusion of blast beats – an occasional treat in late-era Striborg.
The Uncanny Valley also ventures into dark ambient territory with the tracks “The Hovering Eerie Mist in the Gardens Moonlight” and “The Emptiness Within”. This sound he has experimented with on dungeon synth inspired tracks from his black metal days, but has been mostly absent from his blackwave era.
Striborg‘s latest work as a blackwave artist has definitely raised many eyebrows. Such a dramatic shift in musical direction is not something that goes unnoticed in the notoriously elitist corners of the black metal. As jarring and confusing as this work has left some audiences, it’s also incredibly pure. With around three decades of blackened experience to its name, Striborg‘s unadulterated creative exploration exhibits an under-utilised key to musical fulfilment – not giving a fuck.
Check out Striborg’s interview with Discipline Mag below
From Black Metal to Blackwave – An Interview with Striborg
From deep within the Tasmanian wilderness, Striborg is the black metal-cum-blackwave project of solo artist Russell Menzies.
SON OF SETH – DE DOR A ODIO
Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Son Of Seth is a one-man death industrial project that brings a big dose of ritualism to the table. Discipline mag recently reviewed De Dor A Odio in full. Our conclusion:
“Blackened earth, desolate environments, and struggling life. A space where ambience meets impact.
For fans of Trepaneringsritualen, Brighter Death Now, Kollaps, Pharmakon, and Godflesh.“
NADJA – BSP LIVE SERIES: 2021-09-04 LF CLUB, KHARKIV
UPDATE (7 July, 2022): We recently discussed the importance of these causes, and connection to Ukraine & Russia, with Aidan Baker himself which can be found in this recent interview with Nadja.
Celebrating a small bit of philanthropy on the Local Live & Underground list, Nadja‘s Live in Kharkiv release is a benefit album in support of Ukraine during its invasion by Russia. Round one of proceeds supported media freedom at Ukrainian English language media The Kyiv Independent, and round two is going to Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin who provide medical and humanitarian aid to victims of the war. Both commendable initiatives, to say the least!
The album itself boasts 3 tracks and around 40 minutes of music that further cements Nadja‘s comparisons to the more adventurous and experimental ends of metal alongside the likes of Sunn O))) and The Body.
It’s shoegaze-y and atmospheric, but simultaneously deep and heavy. The three tracks blend seamlessly, maintaining their connection with an ever-present background drone. Though tracks do have their own flavour. Nadja‘s characteristically low guitar tones make themselves known in “You Write Your Name In My Skin”. While “The Sun” introduces a concerted effort at rhythm for the only time in the release.
Immersive and psychedelic, this droning live album is an interesting insight into a typical live show for Nadja. And importantly – buy this album to support our sisters and brothers in Ukraine ✊🏼
Check the article below for Discipline Mag’s (quietly successful) campaign to support Ukrainian artists during this time of need
How You Can Support Ukraine During The Russian Invasion
How can we support Ukraine during the Russian invasion? By supporting these Ukrainian artists.
BLACK LEATHER JESUS – SEX IS A DARK FRIEND
From the word go, this two track album does not let up. Black Leather Jesus, the long-standing harsh noise wall project that consists of Richard Ramirez and his partner, Sean E. Matzus, have released this newest cassette on esteemed Hospital Productions.
Sex Is A Dark Friend is harsh noise in all its perverted glory. However, there’s an almost soothing quality to it, like the boiling point of an anxiety attack that’s tolerable due to the complete breakdown of your senses.
Track one charges full-steam ahead. The harsh sounds of pedal noise and screeching guide this wall of sound its climax of high frequencies and gay sex noises. The processed sample at the rear of the track sounding like brutal gay sex, but stays buried in static and feedback.
Verifiable gay porn samples then appear at the beginning of track two, the samples given centre-stage without the distraction of noise and feedback. The height of violent thrusts then signal another wall of sound. Waves of static and high pitched ringing abound until its exceptionally harsh conclusion.
Sex Is A Dark Friend creates a sense of normalised sexual danger with its confronting samples and harsh but manageable sounds. There’s plenty afoot for Black Leather Jesus, including an American tour and upcoming releases for Flesh Prison.
BRIGHTER DEATH NOW – ALL TOO BAD – BAD TO ALL
Roger Karmanik’s legendary Brighter Death Now project lives on, presenting an album that’s wonderfully strong for three decades in the game.
One of Discipline Mag’s newest writers, Thomas Koenig, had the following to say about All Too Bad – Bad to All:
“The imminent feeling of death and decay is ripe on most of Brighter Death Now’s work and this is cemented on All Too Bad – Bad to All in particular. Many of the album’s tracks follow a similar sound and feeling, creating one of the more cohesive albums the project has released…
At a time where death feels less exploratory and more plausible, Brighter Death Now’s work is not only essential, but at the height of its power. The Cult of Brighter Death Now is as strong as ever.“
PTERYGIUM – DIGGING A DITCH OF MERCY
No stranger to the publication, Melbourne’s Pterygium presents album #3 on Cloister Recordings. Pterygium excels at its ability to navigate the cross section where dark ambient and power electronics meet. With each release, the project has moved more and more toward a sonic landscape that’s closer in line with the likes of Lustmord, but while refusing to entirely let go of its harsh edges. The mix of meditative electronics and abrasion working in conjunction with an increased embrace of religious themes.
This direction is notable on “Go To God”. Droning ambience and quiet static cushion the oncoming surge of power, finding fluidity between these disparate sounds. Moments of accessibility also grace this record, such as the in/out waves of high intensity noise of the opening track.
Digging A Ditch Of Mercy is like meditating during a lightning storm, channelling different sounds for similar outcomes.
Check out Discipline Mag’s 2020 interview with Pterygium below
Navigating Power Electronics With Pterygium
A conversation with Henry (Hank) Gillet about finding Pterygium’s place within the power electronics spectrum.
LIKE WEEDS x BASTARD NOISE – HUMAN FREE EDEN
Kenny Sanderson of Like Weeds and Eric Wood of Bastard Noise collude for their first split on Orb Tapes. With an hour runtime on a single cassette, the two occupy a near even 30 minutes a side, Like Weeds across four tracks, and Bastard Noise with one half hour long song.
Discipline Mag reviewed the album in full, and about the professionally made noise and desolate themes, we said the following:
“Wood and Sanderson overlap in more ways than just their friendship. Both of whom are intent on pushing noise forward, whether professionally or conceptually. And both look to noise, music’s most anti-social genre, as a vehicle to explore the more desolate ends of human existence. Recommended.“
KLEISTWAHR – IN THE GUTS OF A YEAR
Kleistwahr is the solo project of Gary Mundy, a name many readers of Discipline Mag may recognise as one half of pioneering power electronics-turned-noise rock band, Ramleh (and as top spot holder in Discipline Mag’s 2019 end of year album list). Where Ramleh moved to resemble a “rock band” format (don’t worry, the sounds didn’t), Mundy’s Kleistwahr upholds a spirit that feels more like a natural continuation of early Ramleh.
In the Guts of a Year draws on the more tonal aspects of Mundy’s sonic repertoire. Less power electronics, and more droning in intent. The Ramleh classic, A Hole In The Heart, being a great piece to orientate the listener ahead of Kleistwahr.
The album opens with a tense but operatic mix of sounds that lead into stray guitar chords. It’s sonically sporadic, but sustains a cohesive build and forward momentum in the vein of what you would expect from a Swans show in the 2010s.
The album then strays from its opener as it moves through droning, textured pieces and washed processed vocals (again, consult Ramleh‘s “Bite The Bolster” for a reference point on the vocals). Tonality mixes with the persistent generation of drone and stray guitar chords. “The Death Shall Remain Secret” and “Fatigue States” adhering to this formula, differentiated by their use of rising and falling guitar noise.
“To the Relentless Waves” is a standout track and deserves a spotlight both as an album highlight, and some of Mundy’s strongest recent music. Memorable for its psychedelic haziness, the track floats along with a slow hypnotic beat. It’s a track that demands head-nodding in the way that truly effective psychedelic drone compels sonic immersion in zoned-out audiences.
DUSK – IMAGINARY DEAD
Dusk is a death/doom metal band from Karachi Pakistan. Their front man, Babar Sheikh, is credited as a pioneer of not only Pakistani extreme music, but also across the Subcontinent and Asia moreover. Discipline Mag had the following to say about Imaginary Dead:
“Led by Babar Sheikh, Dusk has been an ongoing force in heavy music since 1995. Exploring all corners of death and doom metal’s convergences since that time (and a brief detour to 80s goth inspired synth music), Dusk’s latest offering is the band’s most complete album yet. Blending doom metal, death metal, and fragments of black metal with elements of folk inspiration, Imaginary Dead also serves a surprisingly large side-serve of synth-derived experimentalism.“
Check out the informative interview I did with Babar about growing up metal in Pakistan below:
DEATH AND THE CITY: A conversation about extreme music in Pakistan
Pakistan’s original extreme metal musician, Babar Sheikh, speaks to Discipline Mag about making music in one of Asia’s most dangerous cities.
AKHERNAR – LABYRINTHS OF DARKNESS
Ordinarily performing under the one-woman black metal project, Ieschure, Akhernar branches out into occult inspired dungeon synth territory.
Coming from Ukraine, this release was first brought to my attention when researching Ukrainian artists in late February as Russia took the fateful path of invading and attempting to occupy their country. This was a solid find to stumble across.
With only five tracks, this record does a lot with a mere 25 minute runtime. Dark drones with eerie female vocals that cut through it all. Occasional abrasion and a well-executed black metal inspired dark ambience. For people who prefer not to conduct their rituals in silence.
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