CD: Steinklang SK36 [2006]

The Sleeping Rose
A Prison Poem
Catholic Youth
Sixty-Six Days
Requiem To Barry
The Cages Of Long Kesh
Weeping Winds
Lest We Remember The Truth
Modern Times
A Place To Rest
Torture Mill
The Rhythm Of Time

Controversy, like sex, sells. Be a bit controversial and your product will fly off the shelves. A great marketing tool but one not without its pitfalls. The risk of offending potential customers by the content has to be taken into account when going down this route. So it came to pass that after a 7 year hiatus , not including any compilation or split releases, Rasthof Dachau return with a conceptual piece of work dedicated to the Irish Civil Rights movement and to the political prisoners, some of whom died for the cause, held by the British government. A hot potato make no mistake.

"Prison Poems" comes in two flavours. The most collectable is the 333 digi-pack copies available only to Steinklang mail order customers and at certain Steinklang sponsored concerts. The bog standard CD version is more easily available from your local emporium dealer. Consisting of 12 tracks Rasthof Dachau have released a recording that comprises a mixture of power electronic noise and dark minimal ambient music which is, astonishingly, skilfully created. This approach took me slightly by surprise as I fully expected an overblown balls to the wall aural assault, going by their previous work, and not these intelligently paced changes in direction. The noise elements are everything you would expect to hear on such a recording. Wild untamed electronic surges over oppressive rhythms and obligatory assorted squeals and squalls. During the sparser darker passages Rasthof Dachau shine brightly by introducing mystifying frequencies and sublime passive rhythmic dynamics. The vocals comprise the heavily distorted shouting style and quietly clear spoken passages. The words of the songs being the main talking point∑ - and the most controversial - which expresses their viewpoint in an intelligent and eloquent manner.

Look past the subject matter (easy for some, not so for others) and "Prison Poems" is a magnificent tour-de-force of electronic music by this highly regarded act. But it is the subject matter that will inevitably condemn or sell this release. It pricks at the scabs that a nation has conveniently or forced themselves to forget about. If it's not on the news then it doesn't exist. "Prison Poems" attempts to remove the blinkers and show the, still ongoing, struggle of a divided country overrun by religious bigotry and discrimination. Whether you agree or disagree on the groups stance is a point only you yourself can decide. The backlash the artists face, from certain quarters, may have a long term detrimental effect. The artistic freedom to express a viewpoint becoming a possible sword of Damocles. Controversy sells - but at what price?



Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/r/rasthof_dachau_prisonpoems.html

Other Reviews:

Stahlwerk 9 / Rasthof Dachau: [The Final Resistance]

Our Steinklang Page