Streicher / Totenrune ‎: Global Gas Chamber / Bellum Internecinum

2016 : Fall Of Nature
Format : Cassette

If you’ve even a passing knowledge of Power Electronics, skip to the next paragraph as you won’t need the history lesson. Ulex Xane is the man behind Streicher, as well as about 30 other projects. He’s also a walking legend in PE/Noise/Industrial circles. Ulex has been creating and releasing Power Electronics in his native Australia since the mid eighties, long before “power electronics” was even the term to describe this aggressive new form of experimental electronic music. He founded the Extreme label in 1985, issuing release from the likes of Merzbow and Muslimgauze before stepping away to create the Zero Cabal label. Here he released several of his own projects such as the insanely underrated Goldenrod, Thule Society and Streicher, as well as working with the late, great John Murphy in Vhril. He also issued some of the earliest recordings of The Grey Wolves. So as you can see, his pedigree goes without saying. He’s also a connoisseur of everything from Grind to Classical music and in all likelihood, a genius.

Xane’s Streicher incarnation has long been one of my favorite Industrial projects, but output has been sparse the past 20 or so years. There were some compilation reissues a few years back on Mikko Aspa’s “Industrial Recollections” as well as split with :m: on Aspa’s Freak Animal label. That being said, anytime I do catch a glimpse of “Streicher” or “Ulex Xane” bouncing around my daily feeds, all I really need to know is “where do I send my money?”. So when I caught wind of this split, that I was thrilled puts it mildly.

The old master leads off the tape with “Global Gas Chamber”. A documentary sample leads into a heavy slap of junk metal, then a sonorous rumble erupts from the depths. A spoken “turn on the gas” in a Black Metalish croak heads into looped screams, grunted lyrics and vitriolic currents of static noise. As if things aren’t uncomfortable enough, a lone female begins to sob.  It’s an 11 minutes plus cattle car ride into oblivion.

Totenrune is more of an enigma. It doesn’t take much digging to figure out this obscure animal is the project of Fall Of Nature label head Karl Rogers. As far as I know, there’s only one other release under his belt, which is a shame given the caliber of the work. At the risk of sounding cliched, what is it with the Aussies that makes their music, or anti-music in this case, so damned aggressive? Is it the outlaw DNA, or just the “fuck all” abandon of life on one of the worlds final frontiers? I don’t know. “Bellum Internecinum” is a full-on junk metal assault. Any fool can bang on some iron with a set of contact mics and call it art, but the depth and construction here requires more than a few listens. Granted, this type of thing isn’t for everyone, but if you like feeling as if your in a runaway boxcar, hurling towards your death down some remote mountain pass while the floor beneath you bursts into flames, well, this just might be your jam.

Fall Of Nature is a label after my own heart and listening habits; eclectic and shameless. Releasing Black Metal, Ritual Ambient, Noise and Power Electronics under the same grim and angry flag. This split is limited to 100 copies and features five varying covers created by Luke Holland of Trapdoor Tapes. Each solid black tape shell includes a handwritten rune on both sides. As of this writing, the tape is sold out from the label. Given the limited number, that was fairly predictable. I usually don’t waste my time on releases that are no longer available from their respective labels, but I feel like this one that deserves the extra effort to track down.

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