2015 : Zaetraom
Format : Cassette
Some of my greatest introductions to Industrial, Power Electronics and Noise were through compilations: tapes or CDr’s with Xeroxed covers, sketchy project names and even sketchier song titles. Anonymous band members wearing ski masks, brandishing weapons, or better yet, choosing to opt for complete ambiguity, using some grainy black & white photo of a bygone war or murder scene.
Now legendary labels like Club Moral, Tesco Organization, Zero Cabal or any of the many banners raised by The Grey Wolves. Rather than turn this into some “back in the day” old man lament, I will choose instead to face forward. It’s not as if these types of Industrial comps are a thing of the past, but I’d be lying if I said they had the same boot heel to the head power of some of those mentioned above. I’ll admit I know little to nothing about the Zaetraom label. There are no Facebook or Bandcamp pages, and whether it’s intentional or not, I can definitely appreciate the decision to remain incognito. Obviously there are some heavy ties to one of the grandfathers of the genre, Germany’s Tesco Organization. They seem to be handling the distribution.
Each side of the tape begins and ends with an uncredited project, but sandwiched within are some names that anyone familiar with this particular vein of “music” will immediately recognize. Heavy-hitters from the likes of Herbst9, Operation Cleansweep and their alter-ego, Singular Cleansweep Operations, as well as my all-time favorite, Genocide fucking Organ. The newcomers include several names I’m unfamiliar with, but suspect may be some of the above mentioned artists in various disguises (although I’ve been known to be wrong): Misssixtysix, Stringere Gulam, Magadan, Müllér Of Death! and a personal stand out, J.E.W.E.D.
Quite honestly, like those tapes of old, the thing flows so effortlessly from one project to the other, there’s no need for the scramble to find out exactly who you’re listening to, to make a distinction. All are worthy of their place, a rare feat in these anthologies. Take it as a whole, a nameless/faceless act of audial rebellion, sites locked-in on the puppet masters.
I’ve picked up several Zaetraom releases in the past few years. They’ve reissued several Industrial classics from the likes of Anenzephalia and the above mentioned Genocide Organ on cassette, as well as originals from Dogpop, Ke/Hil and Prurient. The tape is beautiful presented in a bright blue shell with gold imprinting housed in a numbered O-card, as well as a huge fold-out A5 poster featuring art and lyrics from each project. This makes a welcomed addition to their discography. Limited to 250 copies, I’d suggest securing one as soon as possible.