EE11: STRATVM TERROR – THIS IS MY OWN HELL CD
Welcoming the return of Peter Andersson (Raison D’etre, Necrophorous) and Tobias Larsson (Ocean Chief), Existence Establishment and Reverse Alignment present “This is My Own Hell” with over an hour’s worth of the darkest, bleakest industrial soundscapes these artists have delivered. Spanning minimalist dark ambience to doomed industrial passages Stratvm Terror portrays an absolutely hopeless atmosphere of pure desolation. With artwork featuring the paintings of Mia Mäkilä, “This is My Own Hell” may just be your own pleasure. Limited to 1000 copies in 4 panel full color digipak. Available in Europe from Reverse Alignment and Existence Establishment for the rest of the world.
- In Oblivion
- Unveiled Is My Skin [Full Track]
- In God We Do Not Trust
- Walk With Fire [Excerpt]
- No Redemption No Remorse
- My Hell [Excerpt]
- Now Ever Sleep
- Full color artwork on glossy stock
- Pro-pressed CD limited to 1000 copies.
- Beautifully rendered design by Mia Mäkilä.
From Musique Machine.
Holding the cover of Stratvm Terrors This Is My Own Hell one can feel a bit of apprehension. The long awaited release is bathed in the artwork of Mia Makila, in what seems to be an ode to Hieronymus Bosch, and quite a good one at that. Released in 2008 in limited copies; eight songs drown the listener in a world of hopeless, dark atmospheres. Peter Andersson (of Raison D’etre, Necrophous and Atomine Electrine) and Tobias Larrson (of Ocean Chief) deftly create sounds that plunge us into sound scapes found in our nightmares.
Harsh and aggressive, each song combines industrial and drone in ways that are cold and surgical in their precision. At times it almost feels as if This Is My Own Hell is the soundtrack to the apocalypse; with its metallic grating, mechanical pounding and agonizing screams. Yet within this, especially in the case of “Unveiled Is My Skin”, we are graced with small bits of melody that are intertwined with creeping, ominous noise. Or in the short track, “No Redemption No Remorse”, where the distorted sound of reverb is used like its own instrument.
Apart each song is its own chapter of helplessness and pain, together they unite to create an immense sound and define the beauty that noise and industrial can create. The Is My Own Hell is a riot of sounds that wash over the listener like tidal wave. The music and artwork are perfectly matched in this marriage made in the abyss.
From Terror Zine.
While listening to Stratvm Terror I’ve understood that lately I’ve been spinning less and less releases from Swedish legion of CMI in my player. It is difficult to say why. Stratvm Terror does not fully qualifies to this category, but one person from the duo, Peter Andersson (Raison d’Etre, Atomine Elektrine etc.) raised such thoughts.
“This is my own Hell” is the eighth work of the duo, released three years after their last CD. This album is a nightmare that lasts for more than an hour, a soundtrack for apocalypse when the faithful one apprehends that his saviour and messiah is nothing more than a piece of trickery and reality is the grotesque in front of his eyes. These visions are reflected in wonderful cover of the album, Boschish paintings of Mia Mäkilä that strengthens the mood of the album even more. The sound in the album – doom ambient, if such a term would be valid. Khanate, mixed with Swedish dark ambient in approximately equal proportions is the recipe for this album. Massive, trembling lines of bass guitar, abundance of metallic sounds, various noises and tearing everything apart vocal. Namely in the track with vocal, “My Hell”, this album uncovers its whole horror. The feeling is like the last day had really come – sounds are tumbling one over another, everything is squeaking so that it seems that audio equipment will explode and scatter in the room and on top of that – howling voice that now is lost in the chaos, now diving out.
Other tracks in the album are like gradual movement and small steps towards culmination while picturing the terror that happens in inner and outer world from various degrees. After that – logical finale. The last track – “Now Ever Sleep” is catharsis after living through your own hell. Yes, this album works if you concentrate and have a deep journey into the sounds of it. I managed to understand just a tiny bits of it after the tenth or fifteenth listening session. But I must say a few things more. First of all, there are differences between sound levels in every song and they are unbelievably huge. The minutes at the start and at the end of tracks are absolutely silent and the middles of songs are tearing the ears. Of course, such trick amplifies the overall impression. You feel bigger and bigger ammount of sound falling on you. But otherwise it’s irritating. You won’t be able to listen to this album silently. The second thing – despite everything this album seemed rather empty. Beyond the shell of the nightmarish visions and mass of sounds, you find nothing if you go deeper. Yes, bleak. But that suits the overall conception of the album so I abstain from any further comments. Anyhow, this album is worth attention. I think it got it already.
From Heathen Harvest.
Stratvm Terror is a collaboration between Peter Anderson (Raison d’Etre, Necrophorous) and Tobias Anderson (Ocean Chief). ‘This Is My Own Hell’ is their eight release, counting everything from tapes to cd’s.
From the very intro this is promising indeed. Slow and dirgey, just the way we like it. The truly cavernous reverb on the sparishly utilized drums accentuates the minimalist low key noise that fills in the gap between the sounds in a very moody way. Giving way to droney basses and scraping noises the sound is reminiscent of a subway tunnel in slow motion. Fantastic. As the soundscape progresses in complexity and mood I am left in admiration. The addition of vocals just adds to the impression. Stylistically the vocals remind me of the darkest of darkest of funeral doom, fitting very well with the overall tone of the music. It’s like an industrial version of Sunn O))) while not being derivative in any way. The tone is similar, but the method unique. They’re both very minimalist and sound destroyed, but Stratvm Terror is more tactile. If sounds can be tactile that is. If you can imagine a blend of MZ.412 ( and Sunn O))) I think you know what part of the city we’re in.
The eight tracks on the album are meditative in nature, and vary from the quite short to over ten minutes in length. This gives them time to slowly build to a climax without feeling forced. The general
impression is low key and soothing, if dark, and consistently subterranean. Often I have the feeling of standing on the verge of a vast underground precipice, whith several hundred feet of black rock above me. Behind me the abandoned gear and tracks of the miners who came here before me. The unpleasent question is, what made them leave? If they in fact left. The music is nearly cold and bleak enough to make me forget the roasting June sun outside my window. An impressive feat indeed. This is especially true for track five, walk with fire, with its unrelenting slow throb.
The only detraction is the somewhat over the top track titles. The music stands well enough alone and doesn’t need titles to explain its content. While the title of the album fits very well with the eschatological profundity of the music, the tracktitles can be somewhat misleading.
I had never heard Stratvm Terror before, and I admit I am generally a bit prejudiced to this genre because, in my experience, there is so much of it out there that’s really not very well made or thought through, but Stratvm Terror has certainly convinced me otherwise. It’s well produced, well arranged and well composed. I cannot find a single fault anywhere with the music on this album, and that is rare. I want more.
From Plague Haus.
If you’ve listened to any kind of Dark Ambient or a regular customer of Cold Meat Industries you’re bound to have run across the name of Peter Andersson in at least one of his guises: Panzar, the more recognizable Raison D’être or this one. There are a few others as well. Stratvm has always been one of Mr. Anderssons’ more ominous nom de’plumes and he’s been releasing this material for amazingly well over 14 years.
Panzar had always been my personal favorite as it leaned more towards a Death Industrial sound, but this disc is beginning to change my mind. ‘This Is My Own Hell’ is the ambient equivalent to Doom Metal. Slow, plodding passages of down-tuned notes and crashing industrial noise sometimes punctuated by tortured screams slipped way down in the mix. If I’m not mistaken there’s some actual guitar riffing on ‘No Redemption No Remorse’. At times it’s terrifyingly beautiful with mournful strains of stringed synth and at others so deathly quiet you strain to hear. Lots of great use of metallic clang, whether real or simulated it gets the job done. A few of the tracks remind me some of Anderssons’ recent work with Bocksholm.
My only real critique would be some of the rather clichéd sounding song titles: In God We Do Not Trust, My Hell, etc. Sounds a bit like a fifteen year old Black Metal fan penned them, but thankfully the tracks themselves pay off. As much a positive aspect of the release as the sounds inside is the amazing artwork of Swedish painter Mia Mäkilä . This glossy gatefold CD sleeve features four of her paintings, which remind of something between Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch. Limited to 1000.
From Idwal Fisher.
After tormenting myself for a whole week on these two discs I began to question my own sanity. Why do I write these reviews? Here I am trying to decide whether I like Stratvm Terror and their ‘atmosphere of pure desolation’ or not and not but two feet away from me lies a dozen other more palatable and entertaining platters. John Peel used to say that it was the records he wasn’t quite sure of that he liked best and this has always been something I can relate to but after sitting through This Is My Own Hell this last week I decided to get down off the fence and tell it as it is. It occurred to me that what we have here may be just about the most formulaic piece of crud to pass through these hands since the last Merzbow by numbers CD.
Press release mentions a certain Peter Andersson and my hackles are raised. Same Andersson who manages to find time to front several ‘dark ambient bleak industrial sit and listen in a dark room for full effect call them what you will outfits’ the most recognisable of which is Raison d’etre. I’ve listened to Raison d’etre and some of the stuff that leaks out of the Cold Meat Industry label and I find it too formulaic for my tastes. Trying to recreate the sound of everlasting hell seems to be their thing and once you’ve heard it, you’ve heard it and you don’t want to hear it again. Ever. It’s boring, repetitive, cold, uninvolving, shiny on the outside dull in the middle ambient pap for people who think that music getting louder is scary. I like to think that Andersson has some kind of ‘bleak industrial sound’ software running where you can drag and drop the elements that constitute such a record; say clanking steel, anguished vocals, church bells and layer them on top of droning machinery and ritualistic drums. Make sure that each track begins at a barely audible level before getting louder and more TERRIFYING before disappearing into oblivion and you get the general idea. You need the artwork to go with it too don’t forget, hence a pastiche on Hieronymus Bosch which is yet another box ticked off. Call me a miserable cynic but I’ve had more rewarding listening experiences in supermarkets.