7/28/15

Endzeit Bunkertracks VII | Top five Tuesday, 28 July, 2015

It’s been an EBM-industrial kind of week. Specifically, the EBM gothic industrial electro aggrotech (or whatever the kids call it these days) stompin’ dancin’ music released by the Belgian Alfa Matrix label on this year’s Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation.


The Endzeit Bunkertracks compilations are some of my favourite industrial music compilations. First released in 2005, teach of the Endzeit series releases is based on a four-CD set, packaged in a cardboard box with some nice artwork to boot. A graphic artist who knows what they’re doing is usually commissioned to do the cover art, layout, and separate artwork for each CD sleeve. The basis of each compilation is a mix of primarily rare and unreleased music (more on this later) by well-known artists alongside some new or incredibly obscure ones.
Earlier this year I acquired the Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation. Echoing the commercial state of CDs and other physical media, Alfa Matrix now offers the Endzeit compilations with a considerable amount of added value, which is of course awesome if, like me, you love physical media.

 Say what you like about physical media, I still love and buy CDs.
This is actually an older photo and I’ve added another shelf or two since.

Endzeit Bunkertracks VII

This year’s compilation is huge, comprising the four-CD set, plus the ‘generic’ label-wide Sounds From The Matrix 16 CD compilation (I believe they offer the Sounds From The Matrix compilations as bonuses to other paid for packages), plus the download-only Endzeit Bunkertracks VII: The Bonus Tracks compilation.
This last one is a free download compilation so one could argue that it’s not ‘true’ value. Personally, I choose to see it is a legitimate component of the official package – plus I got a plastic card with a download code.
All told, the complete Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation including Sounds From The Matrix 16 CD and the Bonus Tracks counted 136 tracks for a total duration of 10:18:50. Yes – 10+ hours!
That’s some package. It takes more than a few listens to properly digest that amount of music!
Now that I’ve finally gotten round to it, here are five of the best tracks from the Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation.

Aim & Execute: Phantom Energy

As mentioned, one of the best qualities of every Endzeit Bunkertracks releases since the 2005 debut lies in the fact that they offer a superb mix of well-known and obscure artists, with all track ostensibly rare and unreleased.
10 years later the ‘rareness’ of tracks is something of a moot point due to the instant gratification that everyone expects from streaming and downloading.


Nonetheless, as I said, I still love physical media and physical media packages that offer bonus download content. I also love the fact that this compilation has been curated — compiled, since it is an industrial music compilation after all — with the intention that it be enjoyed in a specific order, balancing the well-known with the obscure.
The track Phantom Energy by Aim & Execute is an example of how an obscure artist gets to be heard in the same breath as the likes of Combichrist, Noisuf-X and Alien Vampires, all of whom feature on Endzeit Bunkertracks VII.
I’ll preface this by saying that, in my view, so many of the best dancefloor-orientated EBM goth industrial Endzeit aggrotech whatever you want to call it anthems have what I call a gimmick — usually a sample (come on… Exterminate Annihilate Destroy) or something derived from a sample.
Don’t get me wrong, I love gimmicks with all my heart, but what grabbed me about this track was that it still kills, but without any obvious gimmick.
Phantom Energy features some superb Noisuf-X / Agonoize-style stomping, accompanied familiar distorted cookie monster vocals. What makes this track stand out — apart from being well-written and having just the right level of stomp and swagger — is the addition of non-distorted, actual human shouted metal-punk vocals, instead of those traditional distorted growls. It’s something you rarely hear with this style of music and it sounds absolutely demented, while still fitting in beautifully with what this music ‘ought’ to convey — whatever that is.


Listen to this track, especially the second half, and try and tell me that Phantom Energy isn’t a raging stormer of a track, superb for both listening and stomping. My only criticism? The recorded volume on those angry human vocals relative to the rest of the track is a tad conservative. They’re maybe on a 5 out of 10 and deserve to be on at least a 7.
Otherwise, this is angry, demented dancing music at its very best. I truly hope this becomes a club hit and Aim & Execute: Phantom Energy is my favourite track on the whole Endzeit Bunkertracks VII compilation.
Amazingly, for such a quality track, Phantom Energy by Aim & Execute appears on the free download set.


PreEmptive Strike 0.1: Epos Of The Argonauts

Hey, remember what I just said about gimmicks? Epos Of The Argonauts by Greek artist PreEmptive Strike 0.1: takes a gimmick — and amps it up to epic proportions.
I ain’t complaining that sooooo much industrial music sample science fiction / horror / war movie films, but nonetheless, it’s awesome to hear a track that so quirkily pulls off not just samples — but the entire vibe of a track — from a very different kind of movie.
Specifically, the fantastically camp, 1963, stop-motion special effects, sword and sandal epic that is Jason And The Argonatus.
Yes, this is an industrial track — seriously, the artist is called PreEmptive Strike 0.1 — and the track is about a bunch of ancient Greek heroes going on an adventure, fighting mythological monsters and giant bronze living statues, and taking that Golden Fleece. It works wonderfully. Great stuff.


Diabolic Art: Fortitude (and every other previous Diabolic Art track)

Google [Diabolic Art industrial] and see what you find. Not much, right? I’ve discovered precious little about this artist, which is a real shame considering how awesome he, she or they are.
“Mysterious” is definitely the right term for Diabolic Art. So far I’ve determined that Diabolic Art is most likely from Japan, goes under the alias of DJ Taiki or Taiki, and has put out a few tracks and remixes that I can only describe as transcendentally dark and creepy.
You really have to hear it for yourself (good luck finding much!) to really get it. I would describe it as kind of vaguely dark-psy, but stripped down to a more minimalist sound.
Everything I’ve heard from this artist has ranged from very good to excellent. If you want downright dark, maliciously hypnotic, eerie industrial music, this is it.
Now if only Taiki — whoever that is — would be a bit more open about their music, then I could get my hands on an album or release.


Amduscia: Una Esperanza Rota

So for some reason I always thought Amduscia had a very close association with Hocico, or were one half of Hocico, or something like that. They’re both from Mexico. They make terror banana aggrotech industrial. They’re practically the same group, right?
Well obviously not. But whatever it is about Mexico, there’s something about the place that gives these artists an uncanny ability to make amazing electronic music based on tunes and sounds that, on their own merit, should not reasonably be considered to stand out or be awesome. That is, these Mexicans have a superpower whereby they make music that is more than the sum of its parts.
Amduscia’s track Una Esperanza Rota is a case in point. It features what ought to be a generic as all hell bass-line, vaguely reminiscent of the famous 90s hard trance track by √úberdruck, Drugface. The main synth sound should also, on its own merits, be considered generic. The production is rough and there’s even some of that low-end electrical interference buzz sound (you know, the sound a power unit or amp makes when it’s just sitting there, plugged in).
There’s nothing mind-blowing going on in this track, yet the sum of its parts as a whole amounts to something much greater. It sounds powerful, compelling, angry, dark, and somehow just works.
How do they do it? I’m guessing if you want to make ostensibly simple music that sounds this good you obviously need to go to Mexico.


Lovelorn Dolls: Happy Valentine

Oh boy. It’s all good to sing about Armageddon, the machines taking over, war, famine, disease, the Occult, violence… but it’s unsettling when a goth-sounding group sings mordantly (I think… it’s hard to tell) about domestic violence.
Lovelorn Dolls do well-produced goth rock, leaning heavily on the polished electronic side with an excellent vocalist in Kristell Lowagie. This one came from the Sounds From The Matrix 16 CD and while I rarely pay much attention to EBM lyrics, here are the quite audible opening lines to the track Happy Valentine.

“Slap my face with your fists”
“Crush my head on the wall”
“And then come back again”
“With some flowers in your hands”

So this the goth track Happy Valentine is the odd one out from this group. It’s an undeniably catchy song, well-written, but subject matter makes it hard to ignore.
Some may feel that the unpleasant, shocking subject matter is what makes this track noticeable. Other may feel that a goth rock band, who play dress-ups and all that, can’t be taken seriously while attempting to deliver sharp social commentary. Either way, this track stays in your head.
When your objective in life is to get heard, then hasn’t your mission been achieved? At the moment it seems to be their second most popular track so they’re evidently doing something right.


Check it out here (the embedder ain't working for me for some reason)


Coming next week…
Endzeit Bunkertracks VII honourable mentions. There are 131 more tracks to choose from. Plenty of more good ones.

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