2 x CD: Hau Ruck! SPQR I [2003]
Ltd x 1000

Mushroom's Patience: Decimus Gradus
Novy Svet: lo e Te
Zetazeroalfa: Pistolet Automatiqué
Argine: Datemi Pace
Andrew King & The OLC: Legionnaire in Algiers
Calle della Morte: Nevi Eterne
Monumentum: Theme II
Naevus: Lost Men
Der Blutharsch: Baltikum
Reutoff: Honorii Ponteficis Evocatio

Quattro Bravo Ebailleros: White Guard
Stalingrad: Rytsari Vremeni
Circus Joy: Lacrime e Santi
Northgate: IAO
Shining Vril: Monsalvat
Furvus: Datemi Pace
Foresta di Ferro: Kshatriya
Macelleria Mobile di Mezzanotte: Theme II
Dernière Volonté: Coeur De Légionnaire
SPQR: Cuore Nero

Ain 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.


[Hau Ruck! SPQR]

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