Soph’s esoteric veil has passed over and influenced many musicians
since their germination in the 1980’s, Rome, and this collection
of acolytes pay service to the vicissitudes of the band who, even now,
still challenge its public with new experiments in musical styles and
expression. This tribute too takes stock of more than just one period
of the cult-like band’s works of art, drawing upon a wide palette
of inspired devotees to paint a fresco in their wake. These collected
artists are not so dissimilar from the counter-(popular) culture and alchemically
invoked magics of those they pay tribute to, albeit an altered reflection.
Mushroom’s Patience turn the page of hermetic homage in a somber
eidolon of the first track from "Kshatriya" – calling
forth a ritualized procession that elicits recognition of other artists’
music to have been inspirational to Ain Soph like Coil’s classic
"Scatology" – hushed chants metered over poignant solitary
notes of piano swirl in a susurration of chains limned with filtered drones.
Novy Svet’s thumbnail of 'Io e Te' is a succinct folk oration
peppered with minimal accompaniment which crescendos into bacchanalian
howls and screams. Just as you settle into the comfort of dark vicinage
a strident semi-hardcore pummeling from Zetazeroalfa erupts, reminding
one that the narrow confines of a strict adherence to genre do not apply.
Argine continue this divergence with a rousing neoclassical paean, recorded
live while Andrew King serves up a potent folk offering accompanied by
trademark drones festooned betwixt military samples. From Ain Soph’s
fairly recent album "October", Calle Della Morte placates the
listener with a sleepy acoustic guitar-heavy neofolk offering before Monumentum
strip sentiment into an electronic tunnel that thrums with umbrageous
activity. The brief respite from the bout of neofolk is short, however,
as Naevus lulls the listener with their organic cover. Der Blutharsch’s
'Baltikum' can be heard on their "Time Is Thee Enemy!"
album, a rather buoyant march track curlicued with their distinctive industrialism.
Reutoff completes the first CD with subtle soughing ambience intensifying
into excoriating rhythmic noise in honour of Ars Regia’s evocations.
Quattro Bravo Ebailleros launch into what appears a promising track but
warps to an electro-industrial anthem that could be expected from groups
like Funker Vogt. With Stalingrad, side project of Kirlian Camera, sweeping
synthesized drones bristle with military precision under the ghostly quavering
of Elena Fossi. The listener can be forgiven for the surprise of Circus
Joy’s noise-rock, dirty in the hiss one would expect of a vinyl
release. The punk track squeals in distorted guitar feedback and rapacious
use of cymbals. A return to the ritual of 'Kshatriya' follows
with Northgate’s sparse ambience, chants lost in endless halls and
chambers, the puncture of plodding percussion counting aeons and drifting
banks of sonorous organ, a worthy melancholic mélange. The ambient-noise
duet, Shining Vril, blend harmony and disharmony, from ancient rites whispering
passages of universal wisdom to ravening hordes of causal chaos. Lute
and dual-voice harmony deliver Furvus’ tribute, 'Datemi Pace',
the same track as on the first CD covered by Argine, a truly beautiful
neoclassical homage. Thunderous is Foresta di Ferro’s part in this
saga, rapid percussion and bass drill a spine to which choir and shout
adhere themselves to and lose each other among waves of surging noise.
Sinister experimental noise slithers through Ain Soph’s 'Theme
II' covered by MMM, oscillating noise and melody between past and
future. The military anthems of Dernière Volonté’s
contribution join SPQR’s last track with their fringe-pop atmosphere
to end the second CD.
Most of the cover tracks feature on Ain Soph’s defining albums,
"Aurora" and "Kshatriya". Not all of these tracks
are exclusives, somewhat sad to say, some having already seen release
in full length albums or posthumous collections by the respective musicians.
While this dims the novelty of an exclusive tribute album the highlights
here are so multi-varied and faceted that exclusivity becomes secondary
to listener’s enjoyment. Regardless if you like Ain Soph or not,
or the musicians herein for that matter there will no doubt be tracks
on this release that many would enjoy.
From SPQR, HauRuck!’s division in Rome, the double CD jewel-case
whose exterior artwork is monochromatic featuring bleak war images contains
a glossy sixteen page full colour booklet featuring one page per contributing
musician’s own space and personalized artwork.