Stahlfrequenz â€“ Tectonic Structures
Release Date: December 9, 2011
Label: Dark Dimensions (ProNoize)
Review by: DeVico
By definition, a tectonic structure is â€œa regularly repeating form of occurrence of rocks in the earthâ€™s crust. â€œ (pulled from â€œThe Great Soviet Encyclopediaâ€ (1979)). With Stahlfrequenz’s third release so titled, their third album to date (with the last being back in 2005), we are given the â€œ… repeating form of occurrence…â€ within the turmoil mixture of Industrial/Rhythmic Noise/Dark Electro. Stahlfrequenz consist of Klaus Richter and Markus Houben. I was not very familiar with their other two albums but have seen them appear on various compilations including Endzeit Bunkertracks [Act III] and both Extreme SÃ¼ndenfall 3 and 6.
Most of the tracks fall in between the three to four minute mark with the longest track, â€œInanimate…â€ at a second over the five minute mark. The album kicks off with a slow intro called â€œA Deep Breathâ€ that has slow bass swells with reverb voice samples pushed far into the background as a slow-tempo hiss is the beat. â€œMaschinenfuehrerâ€ is their known dance floor hit that has appeared on compilations. While the mid frequency to some higher end frequencies would set this work back into the mid 80′s to early 90′s of Industrial instrumentals, the increased BPM with the thumping bass brings the work up to date. Stahlfrequenz sets out to create the image of factory/industrial landscapes in points of decay where the gray skies can be as stark as if the winter sun cut through the rust and lynched scraps of metal. â€œInanimate…â€ explores this, using an intro vocal sample of T.S. Eliot reading part of his work â€œThe Waste Landâ€. Looped string synths are meshed with a tribal rhythm as metal percussion is fed through delay and reverb. There is little change in the rhythm, but we are looking for an image of machines at work and not people dancing their Friday night away. Frozen and stark is the menu, and like revenge, it is best served cold. The ending of the song mixes samples of the original story with ballroom music and the chaos is kind of nice in my book.
â€œNothing but a Machineâ€ returns the dance stomping bass lines with a sequencer that recalls Suicide Commando. The intermingled samples rely on distortion to muddle them a bit. â€œTotal Destructionâ€ kicks it up a notch with a catchy layering of the vocal sample â€œtotal destructionâ€ throughout the very danceable music. The synth sequence is not as sharp as before, but that works well to give variation amongst the tracks. Swells of noise swamp over the various samples in â€œBlank Territoryâ€ until the rhythm explodes with a violent surge. Looking to mix something with the new kick ass W.A.S.T.E. album from earlier this year? Here ya’ go! The beats are broken apart and rearranged to give that extra spark. â€œAngeldust” hands over high end sequences that cut over the percussion for the first minute while the political samples sit on the back burner in reverb. Once the BPM intensifies though, be ready to move those boots. Best intro with a great bass sequence goes to â€œMindcontrolâ€, which still uses vocal samples but spares no time in getting the bodybeat going. The synths that spark overhead almost have a theremin feel which gives a nice texture to this high end BPM track. â€œBursting Natureâ€ swells into the formation at a slow pace while blasts of swirling noise create the initial rhythm. A slow keyboard synth tags in with a Remission era Skinny Puppy feel. The track stays in the lower end of the percussion pace and relies more on walls of manipulated noise. â€œThe Day Afterâ€ explodes back in with a good rhythmic noise work. The distorted mechanical rhythm dominates and just builds and builds, taking the distortion even further. A nice work of texture on various nastiness in the percussion sounds. More samples come into play at the beginning of â€œDream Destructorâ€, which sounds like a Kennedy speech from the 60′s, until the beat smacks right on in. The sequencers lay in various depths, and this just grabs you by the throat. Don’t worry, the bruise will fade. â€œBreak the Noiseâ€ ends the album with noise swells of various frequencies with a bass percussion that is minimal, as if to tease that it all explode in your face. Samples from NASA permeate throughout, and by the two minute mark you realize that you are truly being teased by that bass percussion and that this not for the dance floor, but for your head and those moments alone.
1. A Deep Breath
4. Nothing but a Machine
5. Total Destruction
6. Blank Territory
9. Bursting Nature
10. The Day After
11. Dream Destructor
12. Break the Noise
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