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Raubbau’s Reissue of Sanctum’s “Lupus in Fabula” Drags Us Back to the Chaotic Mid-Nineties Era of Post-Industrial

When talking about the important labels in industrial music history, one would be remiss to not mention the underground cornerstone that is Sweden’s Cold Meat Industry:  the label which released countless great records throughout its golden age (1995-2000) and introduced fans to projects like Mz.412, Ordo Equilibrio, Deutsch Nepal, and more. In 1996, the imprint released the debut from a band called Sanctum, Lupus in Fabula—a release that turned out to be quite eclectic. Lupus in Fabula is a mixture of genres ranging from metal and ambient to industrial and darkwave. Naturally, this formula attracted the attention of many industrial fans at the time and brought a bit of notoriety to the then-obscure project.

Now, in 2017, German imprint Raubbau have reissued the album digitally for new fans who are interested in old-school recordings. Lupus in Fabula really has a surprisingly vast variety of different elements in sound and atmosphere; it seems that the band wanted to add as many different sounds as possible. Even within one song, there is a mix of different genres. For example, the album’s opening track, ‘Dragonfly’, begins in a neoclassical vein but transforms into metal before falling back into a more gothic style.  The track the comes immediately after, ‘In Two Minds’, is a dark ambient/industrial piece. A personal favorite of mine is ‘Crescens’,  a dreary ambient piece with slow melodic lines. It creates some great atmosphere but turns towards more of an industrial foundation before taking on a neoclassical vibe. Throughout, industrial noise remains an intricate part of the track regardless of how it evolves.

‘Envy’ fades in like an industrial piece but soon turns cacophonous while the strange talking of vocalist Lena Robert appears in the background, eventually transforming it into a gothic song with piano, flutes, and ambient sounds. Similarly, ‘Too Real’ is really worthy of attention because Lena Robert’s vocals here are particularly strange in a dark and gloomy sense.

Sanctum Live at Maschinenfest 2015

While listening to Lupus in Fabula, you’re bound to experience at least one different genre in every song, and each genre and element that has been mixed into it seems fulfilling and memorable. The industrial parts are especially tasty. Loops, samples, and ambient passages are well-crafted. Though it sounds quite primitive, the album’s atmosphere alone is enough to attract attention.

This new version has different cover artwork than the original. It is more simplistic and more closely aligned with the main theme of the album:  nature.

Taken as a whole, I think that Sanctum wanted this album to attract the attention of fans of all manner of different underground genres, though I have to question whether or not they succeeded. Every part of the album is a good listen on its own, but in the end, it‘s too eclectic for my personal taste even though they built an eight-year career off of their unique approach that launched with this album and culminated with Let’s Eat. Ultimately, one needs to be a fan of all the different genres that were utilized or the mixture just won‘t come together properly. It‘s an interesting record for those who are either interested in a history of Cold Meat Industry, or those who are fans of old-school industrial or very eclectic music.

Track List:

01) Dragonfly
02) In Two Minds
03) Little Scamp With Horns
04) Juniper Dream
05) Inner Sanctum
06) Decay
07) Crescens
08) The Door
09) Envy
10) Too Real
11) Too Close
12) Nightmare
13) Salvation
14) Remorse
15) Closing Remark

Written by: Suweln Dangvn
Label: Raubbau (Germany) / DIGITALRAUB-002 / Digital
Industrial / Dark Ambient / Darkwave