Though it may be one of the more obscure titles on the ever-crushing Malignant label, the oddly titled brakeHEAD is also one of the imprint's heaviest releases, a brutal fusion of Scandinavian industrial and skull-crushing doom-noise that blew me away when I picked up a copy of this disc last year. It's not new, a 2007 release as a matter of fact, but when I started digging around the Malignant catalog recently to see what older titles that I've overlooked here at C-Blast, this one popped up immediately as a must-get.
Just the lineup should have a good many of you mechafreaks drooling...Kristoffer Nystroms Orkester is the duo of legendary death-industrialist Peter Nyström (of Megaptera fame) and Kristoffer Oustad of the experimental post-black metal band V:28, which should give you a vague idea of what direction this collaboration heads in. The Orkester delivers four tracks of lumbering, ultra-heavy black industrial with the nearly twenty minute long "ExtenDEAD Konnektion " as the centerpiece of the album. The rest of the tracks are shorter, five to eight minutes, with the opener "Biter" draping huge black curtains of ultra-distorted black drone and dark orchestral ambience over a foundation of throbbing industrial rhythms and pounding tribal oil-drum percussion, and " High_Level_Input - Slow_Speed_Output (Well Done)" blasting skull fragments apart with it's thunderous roar of white noise, screaming, heavy machine throb and massive tribal drumming exploding in a Merzbowian rush of distorted heaviness that gradually burns off into a trail of slimy, dank factory ambience. But it's with "ExtenDEAD" that the Orkester guys really drag the listener down into hell, starting the track off with muffled voices and smears of lush dark ambience and subterranean rumble, then slowly introducing the clatter and clang of various metal objects being smashed together and forming crude scrapyard rhythms as a syrupy wave of ultra-heavy metallic doomdrone slowly pours in from a rift torn across a midnight sky, unleashing massive black drones and crushing Sunn-esque amp-roar across a cacophony of broken machinery and swooping space FX. The first six minutes or so showcases some seriously heavy ambient doom, and then starts to being in pounding percussion and added layers of oscillating electronic noise and dubbed-out rhythmic elements before fading into a stretch of granular noise and strange voice samples. Eventually, the grinding ultra-heavy guitars and looping distorted noise seeps back in for a few more minutes, but then the final third of the track wanders into more abstract areas, the heavier metallic sounds dropping away and leaving just a bleak, barren wasteland of fragmented radio newscast recordings and ominous melodies buried beneath a blanket of ashen noise and eerie ambience. Then the album closes with "Asphalt Flowers", another relatively shorter piece that's completely crushing, opening with chiming metallic percussion and dread-inducing news reports as huge distorted drones slowly gather overhead, and then suddenly it all caves into a fucking MAJESTIC riff, the greatest epic doom metal riff you've never heard roaring over clanging pipes and swirling rusted-out space synths and more of those panic-stricken media broadcasts. An awesome final statement of total despair on this crushing album...it goes without saying that fans of Swedish death industrial will be all over this, but the Orkester are more than just another CMI style outfit. This is like a kind of blackened post-industrial doomdirge, part Archon Satani, part Megaptera, part Black Boned Angel, totally crushing and brimming with a bleak satanic menace. This is fucking great! Limited edition, digipack packaging.