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Brighter Death Now – Innerwar [Reissue]

I feel like Brighter Death Now should need little to no introduction whatsoever from us.  Often credited as a, if not the pioneer for death industrial music, Brighter Death Now influenced not only an entire generation of fans and dark electronic artists, but defined Cold Meat Industry in it’s early days and helped to shape not only one of the most successful labels to come out of Scandinavia, but one of the most important and celebrated ones.  With that said, if Cold Meat Industry is the entity to which these albums are attributed, then Brighter Death Now is no doubt the heart.  Since its inception, BDN was and has remained one of the most gut-wrenchingly painful projects on CMI’s roster, and with this re-issue of “InnerWar”, you’re about to be dropped into the dead center of it all both on a literal and a personal level for Karmanik.  It was only a few years ago that we reviewed the Re-issue of Brighter Death Now’s “Necrose Evangelicum” at the original ‘Harvest and whether you’re a newcomer to industrial music, a casual browser, or a hardened fan from the late 80’s, you should be taking advantage of these beautiful re-issues.

If the track titles, album title, and album cover aren’t enough of a not-so-subtle hint, “Innerwar” is about as visceral an effort as you’re going to find in any genre of music.  The album starts as a kind of ‘calm before the storm’ with a low-end drone that creates just enough space where there was none for the sample that repeats “I have got to keep myself together, I have got to stay calm, I have got to keep my presence of mind…”  This simple repetition however is quickly brutalized by a simple industrial rhythm and a chaotic array of Karmanik’s distorted screaming that comes from so many different levels and areas of the mix that it obviously represents incredible internal struggle — and when it’s all over, it boils down to a simple industrial heart-beat with “American Tale”.  “No Pain” has always represented quite the opposite for me — another low-end, static-laden drones exists with a consistent squeaking sound to create the only sound in this track outside of Karmanik’s desperate screams and inaudible samples.  A ghostly grey track, oscillating not in sound, but in the very presence of the artist himself, as if the only thing that can bring his words into existence is the agony in which they’re based.  “Little Baby” departs into a Peter Sotos-style world where the track opens with the spoken word of a girl recounting her experience of being molested by her father.  Unlike Sotos’ aural works, however, the track descends into one of the darkest industrial works on the album with a minimally bombastic percussive element and more unrelentingly strident power electronics-style vocals as well as harsh noise.  Two of the last three tracks on the album are inherently more percussive than the rest (with the exception of the closer) with “No tomorrow” perhaps being the bleakest of all the tracks on the album.  Even vocals here are short in nature and somehow less harsh than other tracks, perhaps representing a grim kind of acceptance.  “war” is, understandably, the most disturbingly harsh track on the album, representing the final inner conflict that the new front cover of the album seems to depict.

Curiously, the new artwork is quite different and departs from a Nicole12-style packaging to a less sexually-explicit and more violent territory.  There can be several ways of looking at this new front cover from the brutality of war and the innocence lost in war-time to just another shocking photo in a long line of artists who use that tactic.  However, I prefer to see it as a more psychological representation of the music on the album.  For me, it represents the shattering of the proverbial mask — or to put it in terms of Jungian philosophy, the triumph of the primitive, child-like shadow over the face that the world sees — the persona — that conceals the actual full entity behind the mask.  The subtle smile and finger-pointing of one of the children at the corpse, while disturbing, seems to represent the engulfing of the person by his shadow — one as represented by the music within as immeasurably black.

Tracklisting:

01. Innerwar
02. American Tale
03. No Pain
04. Happy Nation
05. Little Baby
06. Sex Or Violence
07. No Tommorrow
08. War

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Sage
Label: Cold Meat Industry (SWE) / CM1210 / Digi-CD
Power Electronics / Death Industrial