Genre: Neofolk / Psych Folk / Industrial / Post-punk
03) Render not Worship
04) A new Way
05) We are the Last
06) Der Geist der Frein Felder
07) Zeit eist ein Verraeter
08) Sins of our Parents
09) Ascension of Indignation
10) Ruins of Heldscalla
11) Wake Nancy
12) Entre las Cenizas
13) Black Rainbow
During the agitated and trembling days of the first decade of this century when Martial industrial was just a new “artistic” undercurrent vertiginously introducing into the musical subculture, quite often some bands appeared portraying shocking aesthetics and values in between the foggy rhetoric and thunderous blast of drums and trumpets. This wave came and then left and lately it’s experiencing, in my opinion, its death rattle, but while it does some things that are added as last words, they probably are truthful to the last act on humanity’s playground.
Perhaps, here is one of them exposing its final omen.
Ten years ago or so, with daring audacity, some of these newborn bands in the genre chose to baptize their selves with names that others would have preferred to keep aside in order to avoid finger-pointing. I remember one of them that quite impressed me back in the day (not much for its name, but rather for his music). It was Luftwaffe, it was one of those bands that had a little specialty, storming with some sort of violent audacity and rutilant simplicity, somehow displaying a menacing but mysterious aesthetic as an emblem. The music was quite driven by drums for the most part and minimal arrangements along with strong vocals for the rest of the musical endeavors. Leaving the bombast and the solemnity behind, they characterized a combative alignment to be noticed. After their second album, I lost all spiritual contact with them as it became nothing but short of inventive.
Nevertheless, I’m just speaking about Luftwaffe in specific to remit to the band from which this review derives, Gnomonclast, partially because both are mutually aligned and undoubtedly linked as twin souls, both in formation and aesthetics. Subsequent albums from both bands shared similar if not identical whereabouts. This wouldn’t be a problem if these characteristics wouldn’t be shared till the point both entities are practically unrecognizable from each other, making from each a copy, or perhaps an almost identical twin with barely identifiable differences. The fact is Gnomonclast’s second album “Gather Together” is perhaps an attempt to remark those little differences in an attempt to sound anew. There’s a bucolic tone on the album that subtly departs from the previous routine, partly mystic and spirited by psych folk. The flutes and guitars, the dulcimer and the solid piano notes present the same accustomed combative folk touch arch known by now and associated with both bands as a trademark.
It must be said that Gnomonclast is not far from being some kind of super group where many very well known artists in the territory of Neofolk and Martial music gather upon, sometimes hidden. This time their presences are named. For starters, there’s a Valence member, Art Abscons, Cult of youth, obviously Luftwaffe is present, Awen and some others that act as multiple apparitions as in a Hamlet play. Thing is, even though the pastoral feel associated with the album is evidently there, and perhaps the apparition from Cult of Youth member grants an explosive post-punk kind of sound, the anima from Gnomonclast/Luftwaffe reminds as some sort of inescapable determinism. The songs succeed one after another in some kind of somnambulant march, with minor details glowing. There’s a feeling of intoxication and surrealism permeating the album for the most part, but the bad thing is that there’s no real differentiation between the tracks and the listener floats in and out as in some sort of acidic limbo, but then some track breaks in pieces this monotone sortilege and shatters the tedious tempo in which all the tracks succeed one after another.
“Zeit ist ein Verraeter” is by far the heart of the album, to be frank one of the most powerful tracks I’ve heard from the twin ensemble and on a personal level a track that may be some kind of hymn in its own apocalyptic frenzied power. Rustic yet so fully rhythmic, it consolidates its fortune on a very basic constructive premise. It starts with an intro on some sweet kind of ritualistic guitar picking.
That remits to some psych folk kind of arrangement soon to get surrounded by a powerful bass line and then penetrated by a mettlesome drum set and furiously finished by a punky guitar chord encompassed by a tremendous chorus in German, granting this fashion on militant yet mystic and bizarre post punk blowing the mind of anyone who dares to get around. Curiously, for anyone with a curious ear and a bit of memory some reminiscence on Danny Elfman’s “Nightmare before Christmas” track “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” may be a mind puzzle in here, the rhythm, the chorus line and the sequence are all similar. All this “casualty” is not short from irony I must say.
In retrospect, the album is faceless, a dreamy psychedelic pastoral often disrupted by post punk reminiscences via bass and drums (Cult of Youth influence maybe?) but too repetitive to become memorable, yet strong as usual and with a high quote of surrealism. Remarkably, the aforementioned track lacks the variety and contrast to become memorable, yet we may say the intention was appealing.