Since 1999, Sven Bussler‘s Wappenbund project has been making harsh martial industrial fused with power electronics. This split release puts four tracks by Wappenbund alongside a single long track by Erdschleife, for whom this appears to be their debut release.
Erdschleife’s Ein flammendes Schwert zur Rechten Hand is a twenty-minute slab of ambient industrial. Bursts of noise, slow drumming, rattling sounds, and more delicate percussion are looped together. Towards the end of the track a voice appears, slowed down to the point of unintelligibility. Drawing influences from power electronics but always remaining subdued, comparisons could be drawn to early Stratvm Terror, while the layers of loops that form odd rhythms are somewhat reminiscent of :Zoviet*France:. Despite those comparisons, the overall result lacks the refinement and originality that makes those bands so appealing. While it’s not a bad track, it doesn’t contribute anything new to the genre.
Wappenbund’s four tracks follow a lot of the conventions that they’ve established on previous releases: pounding martial drums, piercing organ-like synth lines that are now a part of their signature, and waves of harsh electronic noise. Their first track is fast-paced, building up from a dirty synth sound and a growl of noise to a bombastic rhythm, with Sven Bussler’s shouted vocals echoed and distorted over the top. The second track goes at a slower pace with ponderous, multi-layered synths, mechanical clacking, and a female voice buried deep in the mix. With its slowly developing layers of melody, this is the strongest track on the release. On the third track the sound is stripped down with an almost bouncy, military-pop rhythm, a simple synth line, and Bussler’s vocals again. By Wappenbund’s standards, this is a notably restrained track. The release ends with a funereal-paced track that builds slowly, starting with a gentle, chiming synth before ending with some hammering, electronic percussion.
With their primitive electronic sounds and power electronics influences, Wappenbund have their own unique approach to martial industrial. At their best, they make some of the most powerful music in the genre. Unfortunately, this release is not their best. It lacks the immense force of Licht ist Leben or the dense layering of Zeitenwende. While it’s still perfectly enjoyable, there’s little here that they haven’t done better on previous releases, and the contribution from Erdschleife doesn’t compensate for that.
01) Erdschleife – Ein flammendes Schwert zur rechten Hand
02) Wappenbund – Der flammende Ritt zum rechten Pfad I
03) Wappenbund – Der flammende Ritt zum rechten Pfad II
04) Wappenbund – Der flammende Ritt zum rechten Pfad III
05) Wappenbund – Der flammende Ritt zum rechten Pfad IV