7/10 – Another nice little release collecting rare and unreleased material from one of the finest dark ambient/death industrial projects out there. As the title would suggest some of this work is quite old, and therefore definitely rawer and more rugged than what you’ll here from Gruntsplatter these days, ranging from three-minute atmospheres to nearly 10-minute epics of persistent, hypnotic textures. Five of these compositions (scattered throughout the disc) were originally to be released as a split with Armenia, which may or may not have ever seen the light in limited form, two are from the “Two Minds of Murder” compilation, “2 Rote Reihe” is from the “Madness Incarnate I” compilation, and everything else is entirely unreleased. Much of the material is fairly minimal and largely revolves around murky low-end rumblings with very faint distortion cascading in and out with minimal movement, where there’s evident layering, but nothing that feels too prominent or overtly involved. “With Sword, With Hunger, With Death” has more of a stripped down sort of bubbling flow, while “The Door Closed” is the first piece that truly gets much thicker and more resonant in its sound, also bringing in subtle wisps of feedback. “2 Rote Reihe” is one of the busier pieces, and among the few herein that use vocals, which are mixed deep in against the swirling sounds of crunchy bass – definitely creating a solid classic power electronics aesthetic on some level. “No. 8 Neue Strabe” is similar, though a bit more open with its distortion, also clashing against a very curious appearance of what sounds like a buried sort of melody. These more active pieces are a great change of pace from the fairly consistent sinister ambience otherwise, not overpowering or feeling out of place, just kicking up some dust and making a stir. The promo copies come in a standard plastic sleeve with color xeroxed artwork, and from what I understand the original release (limited to 100 copies) comes in a DVD case with the same package (only larger). Honestly I find the artwork to be a bit dull and muddy compared to the quality of most Gruntsplatter releases, which is unusual, but shit happens. The tracklist and some notes about the tracks are on the back, and that’s about it. I wish more artists would do releases such as this one, because all too often quality tracks go unheard when reserved for obscure compilations (“2 Rote Reihe” is a fine example of that). It’s a shame to see this running as such a small scale CD-R issue, but for those actively aware it’s certainly better than nothing at all!
Running time – 74:29, Tracks: 13
[Notable tracks: Stumbling Before Death, Formulating Intent, 2 Rote Reihe, No. 8 Neue Strabe]\
ABSOLUTE ZERO MEDIA
Well Well Well looks we have a collection of unreleased Gruntsplatter Tracks from 1994-1999 on a CDR release thru Jason Walton of Nothing and Agalloch fame. This is more inline with the material from ” The Death Fires” period . Harsher backdrops with more of a noise feeling to it all. As I said in the last review Gruntsplatter seems to me moving into more experimental and sound scape elements in 21st century. I really like the gritty vibe of this release again the production is top notch esp for a CDR release. I looks like this it very limited to 100 copies in DVD Case I just received it in a clear slipcover and a printed Booklet . None the less I can say with issue that Gruntsplatter are one of the Few artists that I have listened to for yrs that has always been consistent and quality releases. Yet another release under Scott’s belt well worth the price of admission.
If, somehow, the name Gruntsplatter firmly leads you to think of death metal, grindcore, grindgore or any other secluded variant I may not be able to recall at the time being, it would be advisable to consult the web-page supplied above and thoroughly read all the information therein provided. With that said, and having naturally narrowed down the number of potential readers to an interested minimum, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary release by this long-running experimental group. Consisting entirely of rarities, were-to-be-released tracks and alternative versions of published songs, The Organ Harvest showcases the artist’s exploration of different moods, techniques and processes throughout a period of five years of aural evolution. Obviously, and I feel free to say this from an unbiased point of view, these differences might seem irrelevant to the untrained listener, but if one takes the time to fully submerge oneself in the enveloping ambiences created by the thick walls of seething noise this group is so attached to, the necessary dissimilarities between songs become self-evident and, to a certain extent, predictable. Hence, it is possible to divide the songs into two groups, one that explores the grittier, noisiest and less comforting atmospheres and a second group that presents continuous streams of reverb-soaked complacence. Possibly to avoid a strict division of the album, these two groups are scattered about in an illogical way, albeit some tracks are grouped in small clusters that form a cohesive pattern and subtly engage in barely perceptible changes in atmosphere. Opening theme “Stumbling before Death” sits nicely as an introductory piece that is mostly tame and restrained but shows a latent, urging facet that will lead to the overtly ominous “Luciferous Eromania”, which is, nonetheless, still far from full-on aggression. The systematic build-up of this song in a slow, consuming crescendo declares its inability to explode, while being abruptly cut short in the exact moment it began urging for the catharsis that comes in the form of “Formulating Intent”, another piece filled to the brim with unuttered aggression and underlying viciousness. “Inhabit”, on the other hand, is a whole lot of nothing, and presents only momentary changes in the main speech, even though it spans for about 7 minutes and a half, pre-emptive in creating a base for the boiling alien discourse of “With Sword, With Hunger, With Death”, that is again cut short exactly where the climax reaches its highest point. Follower “Tantrum” and “Implements of Hell” hand out the weapons with which “The Door Closed” boorishly presents its own electric discharges of muted strings and, even though they’re not pleasant in form, they seem awkwardly sympathetic at the sight of the angry, inconsequent rants of “2 Rote Reihe”. With only four songs until its gruesome finale, it can be clearly asserted that the vast majority of the work presented throughout The Organ Harvest is fairly constrained and devoid of rampaging malignancy, a fact that provides a reasonable explanation for the noise/ambient epithet provided by the label. Consensually, with the exception of “Bloodmeal”, these final tracks adhere to the more discontent formulations of “2 Rote Reihe” or “Luciferous Eromania”, and add a disgusted touch to the ending of the album, which is officially concluded with a 9 minute-long opus ironically titled “Anesthetized”, since it is the only track with discernible percussive elements and possesses an overall livelihood far superior to most of the tracks on The Organ Harvest, even though the CD (literally) dies out before its announced conclusion. In general terms, this is an album destined to be consumed by completists and aficionados only, given its lack of any commercial value or intrinsic originality, but, if the usual wanderings of artists which dedicate themselves to stretching the boundaries of “music” are no strangers to your aural fancies, this is clearly an approved release.
ULTIMATE METAL FORUMS
Nosier than a drum-kit fed through a wood-chipper, The Organ Harvest is a retrospective of rare and unreleased material from dark ambient/noise project Gruntsplatter. I’d like to make it clear at the outset that due to a problem when burning the promo, I only have the first six tracks. Usually this would bug me, but with this retrospective, it does not, because what we have here is lots and lots of electronic noise. One staple of the songs on this release is a rumbling ominous low-end drone, giving the pieces a dirge-like, menacing atmosphere. Usually there is some higher pitched noise above this is, at times providing and gentle ebb and flow, and lulling ambience, at others only serving to enhance the eerie drones. Occasionally the noise takes on a more rhythmic character, yet the over-riding feel for all the tracks (well, those present on this promo) is like that of a brooding storm cloud (pretentious analogy chosen as the track I’m listening to sounds like thunder!). The tracks never quite seem to reach a crescendo as most storms do, however, remaining low key yet portentous. Hence this is all about atmosphere, and the minimalistic, stripped-down sounds is an acquired taste. If you like your noise, however, and you like it unadulterated and pitch-black, The Organ Harvest is a must. 7/10
I first came to know the name Gruntsplatter last summer after picking up the fantastic debut album from “Nothing” titled “The Grey Subaudible.” Gruntsplatter’s sole member Scott E. Candey had provided intro & outro tracks for the album. After playing the album for about the 50th time I decided I should finally see what Gruntsplatter’s main work is like. After picking up the bands debut album it was more than obvious that I had picked up something not quite like anything else I’d ever purchased before. The disc being reviewed here is of old tracks that were intended for splits and compilation releases, but for whatever reason never happened. Additionally some of these tracks are unreleased tracks from the vault. Gruntsplatter’s music could best be described as noisy ambient music. Now if you will indulge me and think back to when you were a child. Do you ever remember standing at the top of the stairs to your dark scary basement and hearing all kinds of strange disturbing noises? Even though you knew it wasn’t anything more than maybe a washing machine or dryer running, still something about it terrified the bejesus out of you. This in a way is what the music of this band reminds me of. Scott mixes strange mechanical sounds with the typical subtle dark ambient sound. A few of these other tracks sound like a air conditioner running at full speed during a hot summer day or track five for example sounds like vegetables cooking on the stove, while track six sounds like a UFO taking off into space. Taken as a whole a few of these tracks do sound interesting to me, but the bulk of the disc is not. Some of the songs are simply unlistenable, and rather than getting enjoyment from them all I get is a headache. This band is hardly the type of thing you put on when you need to relax, in fact I have no idea when would be a good time to listen to this band. Some of these pieces would certainly sound good as background ambiance for a movie, but alone they just don’t do much for me.