VARIOUS ARTISTS: FLOWERS MADE OF SNOW
2 x CD: Cold Meat Industry CMI130 [2004]

Coph Nia - The Oath
The Protagonist - The Sick Rose
In Slaughter Natives - The Vultures Revenge
Olen'k - Season of Tears
All My Faith Lost... - Sleep now
The Last Hour - Into Empty Depth
Apatheia - Safehouse
Ataraxia - Incabala
Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio - Yesterday brings but a Serpent of Ash
Hesperos - The Warm Whisper of the Wind
Sibelian - The Sin Eater
Sanctum - Lie low

Desiderii Marginis - Where I End and you Begin
Raison D'être - Mouldering the Forlorn II
Atrium Carceri - Impaled Butterfly
MZ.412 - In Hoc Signe Vinces
Brighter Death Now  - While you sleep
IRM - My Mother
Deutsch Nepal - Of Parasites and Disguises
Nacht - Death Posture
Beyond Sensory Experience - The Trade
Sephiroth - Therasia
Skin Area  - Choose Art... not Life

This is the much-anticipated follow up to 1997's "The Absolute Supper" on Cold Meat Industry. The title "Flowers Made Of Snow" is taken from Coph Nia's 'To Fix The Shadow'

The first track by Coph Nia is a weird one. I appreciate the well-known Coph Nia neoclassical backing track but
the lyrics are simplistic, in your face and well, a bit crass really. The Protagonist returns with a dark, sinister orchestration 'The Sick Rose' which is simply sublime; I really love the soundtrack nature, reminiscent of his earlier CMI appearances - still one of my very favourite CMI acts! In Slaughter Natives contribute a track with demonic vocals as well as female operatics. The music is slow, steadily beating and includes plucked strings and grating sounds - quite enthralling. Now begins my least favourite parts of this compilation. With Olen'k, All My Faith Lost, Ataraxia, Herperos and Apatheia especially, I must say I am thoroughly unimpressed by the light, romantic neofolk contained herein. I am not a fan of this type of music and prefer the rest of the album styles without a doubt. The Last Hour inbetween is more of a gothic track with light strings but Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio proves to be a saving grace on this first CD. This is one of the best tracks I have heard from them in a while. It's bombastic, sadistic and threatening with a hint of erotica: well worth this CD alone. Sibelian is more of a dark Irish folk lamentation than the previous neofolk mentioned before. This shows the darker side of folk I prefer and stands out from the rest of the album. The final track here by Sanctum is from their recent CMI album "Let's Eat" and has real aggression with an industrial backdrop wandering into lighter electronic territories.

Desiderii Marginis lead us into the second CD with a dark and spacious ambient track accompanied by clanks, grating and groans. Their recent work has really impressed me and this is a fantastic addition. Raison D'être's 'Moulding the Forlorn II' is an astoundingly beautiful, swirling, forlorn piece, hitting all the right places musically for me. Atrium Carceri's 'Impaled Butterfly' contains Japanese filmic samples and is very much like a soundtrack with nice percussion. MZ.412 is a surprise inclusion as I thought Nordvargr was moving in a more electronica direction these days. Nice to hear his nasty side make a comeback! Deep, dark distorted electrics leads into fucking excellent rhythmic noise stimulation. Now for some of Mr Karmanik himself! BDN's 'While You Sleep' is as perverse as the title suggests. Dark, dirty rhythms and distorted vocals reminding me of the days of Lille Roger. IRM's track is a slow, rhythmic, noisy piece with a shouting vocals over. Kind of has the same effect on me as the Coph Nia track. Next Deutsch Nepal slows us right down with a spaced out, reverberating ambient track and very, very distorted vocals. Guitars make an appearance and the vocals become prominent...this is pure sleaze from Lina Baby Doll. Nacht was an act I thought would never resurface but with a recent inclusion in another label compilation (which I haven't heard yet) I was curious as to what she'd been up to. This isn't a far cry from the days of Aghast's gothic whisperings. Reverb sets the background to this disturbing track and Nacht's echoed voice makes sudden appearances. This has to be the strangest track on the compilation and one which I thorougly enjoyed. BSE's first appearance on CMI (according to their site an album is in the pipeline) is a clanking, yet quiet piece. Whispered female vocals feature throughout as well as strings. Sephiroth add another quietly disturbing bow to FMOS's string. This really is a fantastic, melancholic, orchestral piece to lull you to sleep - beautiful stuff. Lastly we come to Skin Area. This breaks the silence with odd guitar distortion and electronic samples. Not keen on this track, especially the moans and screeching guitars near the end.

Overall I think this is less superior to "The Absolute Supper" which, to my mind, will always be the ultimate CMI compilation. I would have liked to have seen more inclusion of harsher acts that have appeared on CMI since "The Absolute Supper" but think this sampler really shows the lighter direction CMI is moving in, or, some may argue, returning to. The second CD is absolutely essential on its own, so search this out now!


JLM

[Cold Meat Industry]

Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/various/va_flowersmadeofsnow.html