Sunday, October 31, 2021

Psychosis - Death in Utero (1992)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Last Halloween-ish, on my post about Forever Is Forgotten, I wistfully mentioned that it would probably be the last time I posted something by Oneiroid Psychosis, "barring the remote possibility of my finally tracking down a rip of Death in Utero [...] or the even more remote possibility of a new album." Within 24 hours, I had tracked down a copy of Death in Utero, and they had released a new album. Apparently they'd been crowdfunding for it and I missed the whole damn thing. So what I'm trying to say is: I am God.

Oh, the music? It's very much in line with their first two records -- driving, synth-y, and grim -- but the horror theatrics are less over-the-top, and, as one might expect from a demo cassette, it has that fuzzy, lo-fi distortion that we all love. Released before they added the “Oneiroid” part.

Track listing:
1. Dejected Recollection
2. Taint of Blood
3. Impressions
4. Assuage
5. Lies Within
6. Pleasant Dreams
7. For One to Go Insane
8. One Very Young
9. Existence

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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Diary of Dreams - Bird Without Wings (1997)

Synth-heavy German darkwave/goth rock. A fatalistic baritone over punchy horror synths, chorus-drenched guitars, and a mixture of programmed and live drums. 72+ minutes of a pretty consistent, morose sound might mean that Bird Without Wings overstays its welcome a bit, but the quality doesn't lag so I'm not complaining.

Track listing:
1. Stimulation
2. Bird Without Wings II
3. Dissolution
4. June
5. Aphelion
6. But the Wind Was Stronger
7. A Sinner's Instincts
8. Ex-île
9. Legends
10. Flood of Tears

For more like this, try:

Friday, October 29, 2021

Monte Cazazza - Power Versus Wisdom, Live (1996)

Horror-themed experimental industrial from Monte Cazazza, who's been involved with a bunch of seminal industrial groups (most notably, Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, and Factrix.) Murky synths, industrial rhythms, movie samples, and ritualistic vocal intonations. Chris & Cosey make an appearance on "The Womb Is a Happening Thing". My apologies for not having posted this years ago, it's a bonafide Halloween classic around OPIUM HUM headquarters.

Track listing:
1. Introduction / Witches Curse (Macbeth Mix)
2. Mark of the Devil
3. Six Eyes from Hell
4. What Is Death
5. Eros and Death
6. Heavy Metal (Power vs. Wisdom Mix)
7. The Womb Is a Happening Thing (Pro Choice Mix)
8. Climax (Virgin Witch Mix)
9. Outro
10. Leeds Ripper Song
11. First / Last

Similar vibes:

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Maskull - Maskull (1997)

A total gem of low-budget, synth-driven, outsider darkwave with a croaking ghoul of a vocalist who sounds like he's constantly on the verge of either tears or death; think a more fully goth Xiu Xiu. There's very little information to be found on this project -- this article for Dangerous Minds is as rich a source as I've found, and it's pretty much just a glowing retrospective review that mentions that Maskull is a one-man LA-based project by some dude named Troy Maskull who may or may not be dead now -- but maybe bizarro projects like this are better without context.

Track listing:
1. Hollywood Gypsy
2. 2000 AD
3. Passenger in Time
4. In a Paradise
5. Sacred
6. Working Hard for Your Love
7. Dream City
8. Fantasy
9. Potion of Love
10. To Be or Not to Be

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Alessandro Alessandroni - Original Soundtrack Music for the Movies: Suor Omicidi · Lo Strangolatore di Vienna · Lady Frankenstein (1999)

Three horror soundtracks from Italian composer Alessandro Alessandroni. The comp was released in 1999, but Lo Strangolatore di Vienna and Lady Frankenstein both came out in '71, and Suor Omicidi in '79; as far as I can tell, none of them have ever been issued on their own. Ghostly choral arrangements, grainy synths, cinematic string pieces, creepy jazz-inflected psychedelia, and more that will definitely scratch your hallucinatory, gore-loving, 70s-Italo-horror itch. I've never seen Lo Strangolatore di Vienna (and the soundtrack's easily the weakest of the three) but the other two I can wholeheartedly recommend.

The track listing's pretty perfunctory and boring, so find it here if you like.

Also listen to:

Monday, October 25, 2021

Psychotica - Psychotica (1996)

[Editor's note: I think a demon possessed my body and mind while I was writing this. Or I blacked out. Why, of all the albums in the world, over 3,000 of which I have posted here, is this the album to which I would devote a legitimate write-up? Upon completing this post a little over a month ago, I immediately decided to shelve it out of sheer embarrassment. But shit, it's Halloween season, and I don't have anything else to post today. Enjoy.]

Psychotica were an NYC band whose brush with success can largely be attributed to scoring a spot in Lollapalooza '96, at which vocalist Pat Briggs presented himself as a glammed-up Marilyn Manson in silver spandex and poached a bunch of their mall-dwelling fans, myself included. (It's worth noting that Marilyn Manson had yet to go glam at this point, and I've always wondered if Psychotica had something to do with that eventuality. It's also worth noting that Marilyn Manson is a piece of shit.)

Musically, it's a fusion of alt, glam, goth, and hard rock that's bolstered by some pretty fucking weird choices. In addition to including a cellist, there's a second vocalist named Reeka who, despite being Swedish, delivers her demonic, hyper-rhythmic verses in a vaguely Jamaican accent. Meanwhile, Briggs spends most of the record delivering an actually pretty powerful, Bowie-aping performance; and a series of brief interludes gesture towards chamber music and 90s electronica.

It's weird, messy, and memorable, but make no mistake: it is not "good." My enjoyment of this record probably represents a lapse in taste on my part, and my posting of it doesn't mean that I think you're gonna like it. There are some very unfortunate moments. Like when he starts off "Stop" by snarling "Sex and drugs and rock and roll are not enough to feed my soul" over a bargain-bin rawk riff -- in fact, "Stop" flat-out sucks an entire ass -- or when Reeka appears to rap on "What Is God". The lyrics aren't great. "The Future" is a baffling vignette built around a generic techno beat and the sound of an old-school dial-up modem. And generally, they seem overly eager to say "fuck" a lot, like a bunch of edgy 13-year-olds.

But none of this has stopped me from coming back again and again over the years. The DEVO cover? Love it. A dejected power ballad based on The Little Prince? Love it more. That deranged reggae breakdown in "Starfucker Love"? Fucking love it even more. And "Ice Planet Hell" fully slaps. It's hard to imagine anyone discovering and enjoying this record in the year of our lord 2021, but I've been listening to a bunch of early adolescent favorites, I have spare time, and I have a music blog, so this is what you get. What's next, Hagfish? Trip 66? I listened to a lot of questionable shit back in the day! 

Postscript: In working on this post, I discovered this ancient, Psychotica fan page, last updated in August 1998, preserved on the web like a mosquito full of dino-DNA in amber. Too bad the guestbook isn't viewable, I bet there was some real gold in there.

Track listing:
1. Ice Planet Hell
2. The Worship
3. Starfucker Love
4. Little Prince
5. Stop
6. The Call
7. Freedom of Choice
8. 180°
9. The Sleep
10. Flesh & Bone
11. Blue Fear
12. What Is God
13. La Chocha
14. Barcelona
15. The Future
16. Cybernation
17. New Man
18. The Awakening

More 9th-grade favorites:

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Der Nebel nur in klarer Luft - Gezeiten des Lebens (1993)

German ethereal gothic rock. Ghostly, minor-key guitars that sound like they're lifted directly from an atmospheric black metal record, but instead of shrieks and blastbeats, it's sedate male-and-female singing and simple, sporadic drumming.

Track listing:
1. Erledigung
2. Leid von Ewigkeit
3. Risse im Konstrukt
4. Monument
5. Nichts gewesen
6. Realitätsschock
7. Entstehung
8. Ausgesucht
9. Uniatavismus

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

And Also the Trees - From Under the Hill (1982)

English post-punk. This mini-LP's six sparse, haunting songs all were re-recorded for the band's 'proper' debut LP, but I've always loved the more lo-fi incarnations found here.

Track listing:
1. So This Is Silence
2. Tease the Tear
3. Out of the Moving Life of Circles
4. Impulse of Man
5. Midnight Garden
6. Talk Without Words

If you like this, you should hear:

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Siebenbürgen - Delictum (2000)


Epic, melodic, vampyric Swedish black metal. Three albums in, Siebenbürgen were clearly ready to polish things up a bit. However, despite sporting an album cover that practically screams Euro-metal cheese, Delictum doesn't exactly find them abandoning their true black metal roots -- it's just tighter, more thoughtfully composed, and overall more produced-sounding than their previous records. It's also pretty much inarguably their best.

Track listing:
1. Delictum
2. Majesties Infernal
3. Storms
4. Thou Blessed Be by Night
5. As of Sin
6. Levande Begravd
7. Thy Sister Thee Crimson Wed
8. Opacitas (Queen of the Dark)
9. A Dream of Scarlet Nights
10. Oculus Malus / Animal (Fuck Like a Beast) [secret song]

If you like this, try:

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Axis of Perdition - Physical Illucinations in the Sewer of Xuchilbara... (2005)

Terrifying English industrial black metal. A pitch-black cacophony of razor-sharp guitars, frenetic drumming, and distorted screams, punctuated by extended passages of dark ambient and harsh noise. Apparently this band's whole aesthetic is wrapped up in the Silent Hill video game franchise, which is something I know nothing about because I don't really play video games, but it's probably pretty fucking rad if it inspired music this intense.

Track listing:
1. Interference from the Other Side (Pendulums Prey)
2. Where the World Becomes Flesh
3. Pendulum Prey (Reciprocating Horror)
4. Reopening Wounds of the Transition Hospital

Friday, October 15, 2021

Nmesh - Absolut Hell (2004)

Dark electronic abstractions from American musician Alex Koenig. A 1-hour-19-minute, acid-addled bad trip through ghostly clouds of synth, anxious rhythms, sputtering glitch, blasts of harsh noise, dark voids of drone, disembodied voices, car alarms, and other aural panic-inducers. Apparently Koenig used to play in metal bands, and although there's nothing specifically metal about this, it shows.

Track listing:
1. Remember the Old Farm, the Treehouse
2. Monk Blotter
3. Car Bomb (Up-Down)
4. Winston Eats Zab Zoober
5. Trilogy of Acid (Part I)
6. Trilogy of Acid (Part II)
7. Trilogy of Acid (Part III)
8. The Red Barn
9. Moonsick (Version 3)
10. La Romana Dectara Ingergio
11. What Lurks in the Catacombs
12. Ancient Blotter
13. The Feast
14. Float Nighttime Garage
15. A Rainbow Descending into Hell
16. Dysorea
17. Mad Cow Disease
18. Black Ocean
19. Fallen
20. Morphine Can't Ease the Pain You're Feeling
21. The Void
22. The Great Depression

If you're for some reason trying to continue feeling like this, try:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Pressurehed - Sudden Vertigo (1993)


A killer, industrial/punk/darkwave-informed take on Hawkwind-style space rock. Jittery, Suicide-esque drum machines, analogue synths, thick guitars, and FX-drenched vocals. There's also a sampled, incoherent racist rant on "Dead Air" that the band clearly isn't endorsing -- just thought I'd mention it.

Track listing:
1. Sudden Vertigo
2. Red Delta
3. Dead Air
4. God's House
5. Shockneck
6. The Right Stuff
7. Majestic 12
8. Man in Static
9. Time Slip
10. Conscious Controll
11. Wet Engines
12. Slo Blo

Also listen to:

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

David Galas - The Happiest Days of My Life (2009)


By request, here's more from David Galas; specifically, his second and possibly best record, The Happiest Days of My Life. He leans hard into the doom influences that colored his first record, then midway through, acoustic guitar becomes central, and the underlying mid-era Swans influences come to the fore.

Track listing:
1. 1970
2. Glory
3. Last Days of the War / Sect IV
4. Arizona
5. Dead Days / Sect V
6. The Happiest Days of My Life
7. Monsoons Over South Mountain
8. The Significance of Failure
9. Crossroads
10. When the Thread Breaks
11. The Happiest Days of My Life 2 / Sect VI
12. The Happiest Days of My Life 3 / Sect VII
13. Everyone Eventually Dies

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Celticmoon - My Illusion of an Eternal Winter (1996)

Lo-fi German black metal. The only music this project ever produced. A cold, hissing, 17-minute mass of nocturnal bloodletting.

Track listing:
1. My Illusion of an Eternal Winter
2. Ancient Times
3. Misty Forest
4. The Moon Darkens the Sun

More German lo-fi:

Friday, October 8, 2021

Melek-Tha - Astrum Argentinum (1996)

French occult industrial/dark ambient. The first of approximately 1,000,0000 albums by this project. Dense clouds of droning synths, hellish choirs, distant drums, cursed incantations, Lovecraftian horrors, and Satanic black magick. Doesn't really sound like a horror soundtrack so much as it sounds like you're actually listening to a horror movie.

Track listing:
1. Evil Conjuration
2. Hymn for the Dead
3. Black Wizard
4. Midian Graveyard
5. Slava Tchortu
6. Kabbalistic Flames
7. Tabernacle of the Hatred
8. Supreme Evil
9. Templis Infernalium

If you like this, listen to:

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Arms of Someone New - Susan Sleepwalking (1985)

Enveloping, lo-fi sounds that land somewhere between a minimal, narcotized take on jangle rock, dream pop, early Cure, and ethereal darkwave. Metronome-like beats, chiming guitars, simple keyboard lines, and reverb-drenched vocals. Quiet appropriately, Susan Sleepwalking was eventually reissued by Projekt. This one's pretty new to me and I seriously can't recommend it highly enough.

Track listing:
1. St. Catherine
2. The Fisherman
3. Song for Krista
4. With Louise
5. The Turning
6. Seven Days from Now
7. Karen Said
8. Rainbows
9. Susan Slept Here
10. A Turner Sky

You should also hear:

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Witches - 3.4.1 (1994)

Ripping, fantastical, progressive French thrash. The band's ambitious songwriting is balanced by decidedly unadorned production and frontwoman Sibylle Colin-Tocquaine's hoarse howls, which give the whole thing a raw, almost crusty veneer.

Track listing:
1. Horror Museum
2. Crystal
3. Mirror of Memories
4. Black Sorcerer
5. And Then Came the White Lords
6. High History
7. Three Heroes...
8. ...For One Goal
9. The Eye
10. Lords of the Precious
11. Wind of Time
12. Eternal Heroes
13. Cod Name Experiments

If you like this, try:

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Present - Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (1985)

Discordant Belgian RIO led by Univers Zero cofounder Roger Trigaux. Anxious, driving, pointedly scattered pieces fueled by queasy, jazz-informed guitar-piano interplay. Wouldn't sound at all out of place soundtracking a semi-coherent giallo flick.

Track listing:
1. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 1: Ram Ram Ram Va Faire "Pif Paf"
2. Ersatz
3. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 2: Didi, Dans Ta Chambre!

Also listen to:

Monday, October 4, 2021

Morpheusz - Days of Delirium & Nocturnal Nightmares (2010)


The Berlin school synths of Ron Boots and Eric van der Heijden, colored by the soaring, Floyd-ian guitars of Frank Dorittke; Eric's brother Harold's drumming; and some cinematic, symphonic elements.

Track listing:
1. Between the Barriers of Reality
2. Daylight in a Nocturnal Scarescape
3. Prophecies of a Pagan
4. Sandman's Journey Through Sanity
5. Drowse at Dawn
6. Fearful Awakening

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Sunday, October 3, 2021

Spire - Spire (2010

An excellent EP of drugged-out Australian atmospheric black metal. Somewhat in the realm of fellow countrymen Midnight Odyssey, with whom they have a split, and a touch of the ghostly sounds of other fellow countrymen Moon. And maybe it's the guitar tone, or the vocal effects, or I don't know what, but there's just a hint of something synthetic/industrial in there. Ultimately, though, it's really not that deep; it's just really great ambient black metal. From here, they'd flesh out their sound considerably, and it's all great, but this EP feels special to me.

Track listing:
1. Gum Twelve
2. Unknown
3. Ci Zerozero Twentyfour
4. M Thirty One
5. NGC Five Four Two Six and NGC Five Four Two Seven
6. Star Trails
7. Cassini

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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Nate Young - Blinding Confusion (2013)

Creepy-ass sounds from Michigan artist Nate Young. Somewhere adjacent to synthwave or dungeon synth, but too dissonant/experimental/singular to fall in with either one. If synthwave is the Winkie’s, Nate Young is the evil hobo behind the dumpster.

Track listing:
1. Forever Day
2. Beneath the Mist
3. When Nothing Works
4. Worlds Behind
5. Escape with Nothing
6. Only Fallen Heads
7. Between
8. The Bastard Gums

Also listen to:

Friday, October 1, 2021

Easy Going - Fear (1979)

10/1. It's been pretty spooky around here anyway, but I'm officially kicking off OPIUM HUM's annual celebration of all things spooky with this absolute masterpiece of queer-horror-fueled Italo-disco featuring horror soundtrack luminary/former Goblin keyboardist Claudio Simonetti. Why are you still reading this? Get the damn album.

Track listing:
1. I Strip You
2. Fear
3. To Simonetti
4. Put Me in the Deal

Similar vibes: