This ultra-rare re-issue of Aluk Tolodo’s already ultra-rare Finsternis album begins with a metronome-simple martial pulse — the kind that Death in June used to excel in — building and building, while lonely shrieks, whistles of fell guitar feedback, and broken electronic pulses simmer in the background. A Foucaultian level of restraint and self-control prevents it from being just another noise record, instead making it more like a really fucked up Neu record, and the absolute tension makes it weirdly fucking enjoyable. Ten minutes in and you’re like, “What the fuck is this?” Thirteen minutes in and you’re admiring their absolute commitment to the gag/concept while gentle waves of electronics burble in and out. Sixteen minutes in and your eyes dart around your room wildly, while you look for a common household item to scratch the band’s name into your arm with. At 18 minutes, you’re almost sad that you have to flip the record. Side two fuses a steady tribal pulse with manipulated guitar sounds mimicking the rending of human flesh, a carpet of muffled black noise, and pulses that remind me of the last flourishes of noise that closed “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” so dramatically. Noise roar kicks in like a march to endless war, like Non’s “Total War” re-imagined as Chinese water torture. And from there it gets all freaked out and fucking Cubist — pounding bass seeps into walls of spindly, scratchy lo-fi black metal riffery, separating into particle clouds of manipulated feedback, electronics, and implied vocals. Then it all fades to nothing, and all that is left is that maddening thud of drums. Just like at the start.
Aluk Tolodo combine Neu and Can’s linear heartbeat, the thud of “White Light White Heat” Mo Tucker, and the off-kilter black metal freakouts of Lurker of Chalice, the inescapable Xasthur, prison Burzum, Skullflower, and maybe, maybe their own damn thing.
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