2 CD: Spectre S20 [2004]

Mimetic Fake: You Failed Me
Hypnoskull: Civilisation (Scape Mix)
Okk-Ulth: Fire Is The Devil
Empusae: Quantum Daimon
Kraken: ...On N'a Plus De Controle Et L'animal Grandit...
P•A•L•: Distress-Insomnia
5F_55: Roomcapsule-Fear
Iszoloscope: A Spectral Threat
This Morn' Omina: Tupilaq
Flint Glass: Brain Death
DEF: F.I.R.R. (Finally, I Run...Really)
Leiche Rustikal: L.E.K.
Feindbild.Geraeuschdichte: .:Anf.Angst.Est.In.Engem.Raum:.

Hysteresis: Noradrenaline
Hybryds: Her Greatest Fear
Templegarden's: Downstairs
m2: The Far Rim Of Consciousness
Codetripper: Deserted Cities

Ah Cama-Sotz: The War Against The Machines
Bad Sector: Manned/Unmanned
Salt: Dai Toshiki
Frames A Second: Synchronized Culture
Ms Gentur: Iraqi Freedom
Stupor: Rejecting
Project Arctic: In Lumine Tuu
The [Law-Rah] Collective: (Waiting For) Bang

Not sure how long Spectre have been going, but they've certainly got a great lineup of well-established artists on this mammoth 26-track double disc, including PAL, This Morn' Omina, Mimetic, MS Gentur and Bad Sector, as well as a lot of promising lesser-known names. But there's a bit of a surprise in store - they're not all pumping out the usual kind of banging noisebeat that you might expect. Take Hypnoskull for instance, consistent purveyors of dumb-ass industrial disco, whose contribution here is a twisted ambient collage of atrocities from WWII to the present day, reminiscent of Skinny Puppy or Download at their most experimental - some fantastic vocal effects going on, and not a squeaky-voiced lyric in earshot. Or PAL, who come up with something not far from Deutsch Nepal, or perhaps a Dario Argento movie screening at a metal-workers' Christmas party. More tribalistic sounds arrive courtesy of 5F_55, This Morn' Omina and Empusae, of which 5F_55's is by far the heaviest, scoring lines of incandescent sound across your auditory centres.

The first potential club fodder comes courtesy of Iszoloscope's 'A Spectral Threat', energetic and breakbeat-driven but not quite chaotic enough for breakcore; industrial DJs take note. They could also do worse than the Hysteresis track, after the long atmospheric intro that is; think HIV+ meets In Slaughter Natives. MS Gentur, meanwhile, provide about a minute of trademark rhythmic onslaught at the end of a much quieter track, as if to remind us who they are. Lovers of old-fashioned noise and power electronics will not be dissapointed either, dogmatic purists excepted (actually that's most of them I think). The Hybryds' offering sounds like Whitehouse might sound if they weren't a bunch of tired old farts, and Leiche Rustikal are satisfyingly searing and distorted. Many of the more downbeat tracks in fact, while not quite noise proper, are much too unsettling and overdriven to be ambient and not quiet or sparse enough to qualify as isolationist - there's a distinct lack of the stupid growly vocals that mar so much Japanese/American noise too.

It's not all fear and loathing though, far from it. Much of disc two is distinctly melodic or at least bleepy; Ah Cama-Sotz for example are totally psychedelic space-out music, albeit played over a jackhammer beat. It's touches like that which prevent these things from getting twee. One reservation: I'm not sure 'angst', with its associations of frustrated adolescence, is quite the appropriate emotion to tag this set of sounds with. Perhaps 'dread' (although it's not a dub compilation), 'trepidation' or 'nagging sensation of impending doom' would be better. File under ill-out: it would make a fantastic post-club soundtrack for a room full of like-minded freaks in various states of mental disarray. As long as you're not expecting anything too reassuring that is. It's probably quite good shag music too if you've got the stamina.



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