Anenzephalia have been around for quite some time now, and Michel Keck of Genocide Organ fame has clearly brokered a strange project for me to engorge myself with. Kaltwelt is a highly diverse creation that manages to both evolve and devolve over the 50 minutes of time that it occupies. The album is steeped in a highly caustic atmosphere that reeks of death and dystopia. The use and abuse of distorted vocals over a myriad of different shapes and sounds gives this album a rather exquisite sound that is far from easily absorbed by the common industrial noise connoisseur. Over the entirety of the album, the rhythm and structure evolves continuously. In the opening chapter, we encounter the dystopian celebration of “Stahlmessias II”, whose intricate mix of hauntingly distant vocals, irregular chimes and pulsating beats summon a genuinely disturbing atmosphere. “Frostschrae” delivers a howling, agonising mechanical background over odd tape-recorded voices speaking of barbed wire and the void. “Nihilist’s Sermon” brings out the worst of the more serene with a slow vibrating lull and more of the heavily distorted voices that call for the listener to pay attention to their sinister message.
The second part of the album is more of a cavalcade of sounds and forms. In “Mind Kalvary”, the song is laced with heavy digital repetitions over a brooding mechanical drone and sepulchral whistles. The broken metallic vocals call out over the cacophony and almost drown out in the shapeless atmosphere. “Paradies” isn’t far from what its title suggests as an anagram; a disturbing celebration of some curious blood sport where we are informed that its human prey have been given a 15 minute head start. Its strange, metallic percussion and the sweeping melody of sorts bleeds together into a disturbing dream-like vision. The title track, “Kaltwelt”, ends the album with its bleak and barren atmosphere that ultimately defines what this album is really about: industrial decay and the celebration of the end of days.
It is hard to give a precise judgement on this album, and this is, at least in part, a direct effect of its inner diversity. Each track is a living, breathing thing that takes its own shape and is haphazardly stitched together with the rest of the tracks. This is far from a bad thing as I am a lover of diversity, and although everything is linked together by that core of industrial noise, the rest is a creation as diverse as it is strange. Old fans of Anenzephalia will probably get their fix instantly while those on the barricade will most likely be equally impressed and disturbed. In the end, I approve of Kaltwelt; it is a potent album that packs a punch both mentally and physically.
01) Stahlmessias II
03) Nihilist’s Sermon
04) Bodies of Gold
06) Mind Kalvary