While initially unfamiliar with Mind & Flesh, I immediately took notice of the Force Majeure label imprint (division of the legendary Nuit et Brouillard). It has been about 10 years since I heard anything from them, the last of which was the self-titled Maison Close CD. The only other projects on Force Majeure included Grunt and Slogun, so Mind & Flesh would be in good company. I also noticed that one track, “Purgatorium”, credits Atrax Morgue (the late great Marco Corbelli). After obtaining some promotional info, I realized that the man behind Mind & Flesh is Anders B., formally of the project Babyflesh, which had their debut album released on Corbelli’s Slaughter Productions. All the while I’m listening to this album, piecing together the puzzle of who this guy is, and realizing I’ve stumbled upon one of the most overlooked releases of 2012. Martyr Generation is an amalgam of old school Industrial cadence and cold Nordic ambience, creating a unique flavor of Death Industrial.
“Walking Target” describes what I see all around me, natural-born victims playing along with the system. Arrhythmic beats dull the senses while monotonous voices remind you that you are safe, nothing will harm you, as long as you play the game. “From the Cradle to the Grave” is standard fare, repetitive vibrating rhythms with wobbly vocal effects (flanged sound as if through a fan) are well implemented, but bring nothing really new to the table. The obvious comparison to “Alone Against All” would be late 90’s Brighter Death Now. The lo-fi production leaves a warm, abrasive texture, while echoed vocals sit right in the middle of the mix. The bass fuzz and distorted metallic percussion loops bring to mind early Genocide Organ. “Blodskam” (translated to incest) is composed of atonal lines of synth feedback strung together like a noose. Muffled wails and moans fester in the background of the track, overlapped on top of each other, ultimately left isolated as a composition in and of itself. “How to Punish” is a short rhythmic old school Industrial interlude that brings to mind the better sounding moments of early Throbbing Gristle and Test Dept. “Destroyers” is an arrangement of looped electronic squeals, mechanical percussion and sparks, and oscillating synths; making this one of the more musically structured tracks on the album and one of my favorites. “Purgatorium” stood out during my initial scan of the tracks, prior to knowing the Atrax Morgue connection, so it came as no surprised to see one of the late masters of the Death Industrial genre being involved. Pulsating horror film drum machine loops, with sweeping electronics and reverberating vocals create a mortuary sound, the aural form of a creeping terror out of a haunted ossuary. “Learning to Hate you” shifts away from the standard Death Industrial sound into an almost minimalist No Wave territory, utilizing wet percussion and analog synth pads, and leaving out vocals entirely. The music box piece at the end sticks a tongue firmly in cheek, a hint of playful misanthropy. “Clashing Icons” then plunges into a dark ambient prologue. Lumbering rumbles are blanketed with agonizing delayed heavy synths, tweaks to the LFO loosen and tightens the noose around the neck, giving up to a couple final muscle spasms.
Themes of intense alienation, pessimism, and adversarial violence personally make this an excellent soundtrack to living in a society which simultaneously repulses and entertains me. I would interpret the album title as a fitting moniker for today’s youth, doe-eyed sheep bred to embrace their slaughter with open arms. The album manages to avoid the typical repetitive shortcomings of a purely Death Industrial album by making key changes to standard elements on each track (tempo, texture of rhythm, adding clean synths). While sullen genre purists might be turned off by a couple of the more lively tracks, I find them to be refreshing in their own right and demonstrate Anders B.’s ability to both master a genre and work outside of it. As for Force Majeure, I sure hope it won’t be another 10 years or so before another release. Maison Close was another project that both excelled at standard Power Electronics yet retained its own identity. It’s clear the label has an ear for projects worth bring to the surface, so I look forward to anything from both Force Majuere and Mind & Flesh in the near future.
01) Walking Target
02) From the Cradle to the Grave
03) Alone Against All
05) How to Punish
08) Learning to Hate you
09) Clashing Icons