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An intense, pitiless album of industrial noise BM - 80%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, December 26th, 2009

One of the longest intervals between an act's debut album and its second album - wow, it must have been "difficult" - came to an end this year when Havohej released "Kembatinan Premaster". In the meantime of course, Havohej has released several EPs and those of us who must have everything that Havohej has done since the debut album will know how much this one-man band's music has changed. A few things about Havohej haven't changed between albums - those pounding drumbeats and the spitting-bile vocal delivery that grates on the eardumes for a start have stayed the same - but the really dramatic change is in the rest of the music: completely industrial / ambient in a lo-fi way that makes me think for some weird reason of early scenes in US movie director David Lynch's early classic "Eraserhead" where the hero with the hair-raising hair-do goes about his normal life in an extremely bleak black-and-white landscape before his path crosses with that of a strange family that dumps a monstrous mewling embryo baby on him. The industrial element is muddy and mostly consists of repeating loops of rhythm so it's relentless in the manner of rickety rustbucket machines stuck on permanent "Go", grinding out incrreasingly inedible sausages ever more stuffed full of screws, bolts and steel springs until they all collapse some time in the future with furry red metal shrapnel flying up in the air. Apart from the rasping vocals, the only aspects that might be called "black metal" about this album include Havohej's attitude to religion, the minimalist songwriting approach and the suffocating evil atmosphere. Nothing here sounds remotely like guitars being played in a way that might be recognised as guitar-like though for all I know, guitars probably feature on just about every track here.

Nearly all songs feature one or two basic drumbeat rhythms and those looping industrial rhythms combined with a constant stream of noise that might be kindly described as a dark version of the "white noise" that you hear at the end of a CD when all the music's just finished, the volume level is at maximum still and there's that steaming pause just before the shut-off mechanism comes on. Occasionally there are repetitive twitchy glitch effects convulsing in tracks like "Melancholike" that provide relief from the machine noise fog and metal throbbing. As if to mock the idea of "songs" as self-contained music packets, some tracks share the same industrial rhythms and drumbeat patterns and other tracks "bleed" straight into the next tracks (tracks 5 and 6 being an example of this). The impression I have is of a linked series of musical episodes detailing a kind of unending oppression that stunts your mental, moral and spiritual development through sheer repetition and a hellish ambience. Song titles like "Bloud and Souls" and "Hatefull unto God" suggest a regression to a medieval mind-set that never questions what is force-fed into it and denies all other possibilities, and will even cut down anything and everything that threatens the dominant and dominating ideology. "Homerica Medicatio" perhaps reveals the end result of this oppression: a bleak mental desert, shrouded in a perpetual chemical fog darkness, where everything is so sterile that even the very air there is unbreathable.

For a short album (about 35 minutes long), this is very intense with crushing machine pitilessness. Admittedly I haven't seen the lyrics and I might be reading a lot into this album but I get the feeling that what this album suggests is that believing in a stale ideology or belief system is much the same as being doped up to the eyeballs on addictive tranquillisers and other strong pharmaceuticals ... well, religion is one of many addictive drugs after all ...