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Rukkanor – Desireth



A number of artists in the post-industrial and darkwave genres have made journeys to the Middle East in their music over the years. Muslimgauze and Dead Can Dance were pioneers, Arcana have done so more recently, and now Rukkanor is exploring that territory from a martial industrial perspective. Rukkanor is Robert Marciniak from Poland, co-founder of the War Office Propaganda / Rage in Eden label, though his recent releases have been with SkullLine and his own Vox Impera imprint. While as Rukkanor he has made a few releases that explore European historical themes more typical of the martial genre, the Middle-Eastern sound has been his main interest, with Deora, Despartica, Deccarah and now Desireth all focused there.

Desireth is a double album. The first disc starts slowly; on the first two tracks, slow martial rhythms, choir, and staccato horn blasts create a foreboding atmosphere. With occasional sampled American voices and the mixture of orchestral with Middle-Eastern sounds, Desireth evokes the history of conflict between East and West. Despite this, the album always remains very abstract. Any sampled voices are buried so deep in the mix as to be unintelligible. The album then takes a turn into the more subdued ‘The Light of the Future’, with its melancholy strings, and ‘Down the Drain’ and ‘Crown for the King’, in which slow, hypnotic, tribal rhythms provide a bed for sampled Gregorian chants. The pace picks up a little with ‘Welcome Home’, which again uses tribal percussion, only this time with more aggressive growling horns and a proud melody driving it along. ‘Black Dream Brother of Death’ builds up with slow chords and martial snares. The final three tracks provide a bit more martial bombast, with ‘The Final Trace’ and ‘The Future Is Behind Us’ providing some orchestral bombast. ‘A Farewell No Happy Ending’ provides a fast-paced martial rhythm rounded out by orchestra and chants.



The second disc goes further into ambient territory, beginning with drones and slow Middle-Eastern percussion. The second track, ‘Tiveris’, breaks out into an exhilarating, high-speed rhythm, but then it’s back to ambience again with the beautiful ethnic melancholy of ‘United We Stand…’ and the dark foreboding of ‘Gates of Fire’. ‘Children of a Lesser God’ brings in a more muscular orchestral sound, and ‘Perihelion’ has a slow-building tribal rhythm, the intricacy of which rewards listening with headphones. The album ends with ambient drones and bells on ‘…Divided We Fall’.

While Desireth follows on from Deora and Deccarah in style, it’s rather more subdued and murky. It lacks Deccarah’s grandeur, relying more on hypnotic percussion and drones than sweeping melodies, which initially makes it feel somewhat less satisfying. On further listening, though, the hidden subtlety emerges. It may not be the same breath of fresh desert air that we’ve had from Rukkanor in the past, but it’s a worthy release nonetheless.


Track List:

Disc I: United We Stand:
01) The Awakening of the King
02) Desireth
03) The Light of the Future
04) Down the Drain
05) Crown for the King
06) Welcome Home
07) Black Dream Brother of Death
08) The Final Trace
09) The Future is Behind Us
10 A Farewell No Happy Ending

Disc II: Divided We Fall:
01) Anhedonia
02) Tiveris
03) United We Stand…
04) Gates of Fire
05) Children of a Lesser God
06) Perihelion
07) …Divided We Fall

Written by: Colin Z. Robertson
SkullLine (Germany) / SLCD030-15 / CD
Vox Impera (United Kingdom) / None / Digital
Martial Industrial / Dark Ambient