Various Artists, The Abominari (ES3 Recordings, 1999)
[originally posted 20Apr2000]
I started with the Subklinik disc because… well, if it ain’t Chad, it ain’t breakfast. I was a big fan of Arise, and this was my first exposure to the new project. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Subklinik is everything that Arise was not—quiet, ominous, subtle. Two long tracks separated by a shorter, “meditative” (heh) piece. The whole disc is exceedingly minimal, nice and quiet, and while it’s not what I was expecting from the guy who blew my eardrums two years ago, this third of the Abominari set is simply excellent all the way around. Might even be enjoyable for those who aren’t fans of noise.
Nothing of the like can be said for the Deison contribution to the comp. I had wondered, offhand, if CD mastering and production would turn the patented cassette no-fi sludge into something crisper and cleaner. Of course not. Deison sounds like something that came to life in a sewer’s sludge pit and is now roaming the earth devouring random passersby. This is my third experience with the band (after two splits, one with Grunt and the other with Dead Body Love), and while Deison doesn’t dominate this comp the way it did the split cassettes, that’s only because the quality of both the bands and the recordings offered by them in this set is a lot higher than the others. This is good shtuff. Somewhat thicker and nastier than Subklinik. Usable only on those who have become hardened to the obscenity of Britney Spears, but will make a good piece of brainwashing technology once you’ve got ’em strapped down. Oh, yeah, and the cover art is the most appealing of the three, for reasons I can’t quite figure out (it does hearken back to the good old days of the great story art in Twilight Zone magazine, so maybe it’s a nostalgia thing).
And then there’s Baal’s disc, the longest release I’ve heard from him to date. Eleven tracks with such uplifting titles as “Die Smiling,” “Bringer of Pestilence,” and my favorite (both for title and for sonics), “The Truth Is Never Forgetting the Lie.” If you’re familiar with later-era Baal, the almost-crossing-over-into-noise dark ambient, then you should have no problems assimilating what this disc sounds like. It’s quiet, though not as quiet as the Subklinik disc; where Subklinik seemed to be going for the atmosphere, Baal is going to at least bring the drill close to your head. But he never crosses the line into overt aggressiveness.
Overall, it’s a mad good comp. Priced a little stiff, but then it’s three hours of music, so perhaps the cost is justified. One way or the other, it’s nifty stuff to be playing at your next haunted house. *** ½