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Blood Axis – Ultimacy

One mark of a strong nation state is the existence of a pleasing anthem. This rings true for empires like the United States, England, France, etc. While with fleeting nations, one always gets hymnal detritus, e.g., the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, Poland, Neue Slowenische Kunst, etc. This Blood Axis album is fortunately full of soaring anthems. Its songs make even the most alienated industrial youth find enough courage to get to work at a shitty job. It’s the power electronics of the debased.

The gems here primarily result from taking superior works from The Gospel of Inhumanity and Blót: Sacrifice in Sweden and placing them on a single compilation. There are other albums throughout the years featured on Ultimacy, but it’s really these two that count. Each of the superior pieces taken from them follow similar formulas. As if taking a nod from Boyd Rice, Moynihan steals folk melodies that other people hatched. “The Ride” was written by Brian Pearson while “The March of Brian Boru” is a traditional Irish tune as is “Follow Me up to Carlow.” “The Hangman and the Papist” is taken verbatim from English band The Strawbs. “Walked in Line” is a song by Joy Division – in case you didn’t know. Fortunately, like Boyd Rice, these forgotten classics become something far more powerful and dark when sung through new pipes.

There’s one notable exception to the formula. “Electricity” is an extremely bizarre, but effective industrial piece. It’s based on string and operatic loops as well as a stripped down drum machine. My personal interpretation of the lyrics is that it’s written in support of Third Position fascism. Hence, all the business about threes throughout and the nifty hail victory repeated at the end. I can forgive the cheeky radical right posturing because the song is so good. To perhaps strengthen my interpretation – which may of course be wrong – another song on Ultimacy, “The Storm Before the Calm,” features a sample of Codreanu, a Romanian nationalist who inspired the International Third Position.

There are also some notably awful tracks on the compilation. The rendition of “Lord of Ages” has midi reminiscent of a History Channel soundtrack – there is a far superior take on Blót: Sacrifice in Sweden, but another was chosen here for whatever reason. “Eternal Soul” sounds like something from a 60s surf film, but in the worst way possible. “Wir Rufen Deine Wolfe” makes me imagine a polka dance hall full of elderly people obsessed with Nazism. It also has a looped wolf howl. But, again, I am willing to forgive these anomalies. I used the word anthem before for a reason. The songs I lavished with praise above really do contain an extraordinary power that few other industrial albums possess. I have kept these songs with me for years and am glad that others can finally hear them next to each other.

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Pomo Brian
Label: Storm / Format: CD / Cat. #: STRM-13

1. The Ride
2. Wir Rufen Deine Wolfe
3. Alraune – Mandragora
4. The March of Brian Boru
5. Follow Me Up to Carlow
6. Der Gafallene Engel
7. Herjafather
8. The Hangman and the Papist
9. Bearer of 10,000 Eyes/Lord of Ages
10. Electricity
11. Life
12. Eternal Soul (Germania Mix)
13. The Storm Before the Calm
14. Walked in Line