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Joyless / Urfaust > Urfaust / Joyless > Reviews
Joyless / Urfaust - Urfaust / Joyless

Impressive contributions from Joyless and Urfaust - 95%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 28th, 2014

Seems odd to me that this split single hasn't had much attention here at MA Archives. There has been a fair bit (though not a lot) written about this recording on the Internet. Both bands' contributions are very good and are recommended listening for those who don't know much about either Urfaust or Joyless. Given that each band contributes just one song, you'll have to dig through their respective back catalogues to suss out whether Urfaust and Joyless are worth more of your time or if the split single must occupy a lonely space all its own in your collection.

Urfaust's "Unter Tochter der Wuste", which literally translates into English as "Under Daughters of Waste" - an odd sort of title if you take it at face value seriously - is an undulating piece of continuous harsh and scratchy tremolo guitar flow, thumping percussion at leisurely pace and a desolate vocal that floats over the music. The instrumental parts can be sublime in the way guitars rise in pitch and tone like waves while drums sometimes break up the rhythm with bass drum thumps. The song tends to be minimalist in its construction with brief changes in key and variations in the melody the singer follows and his tone of voice. The lead guitar solo is a blisteringly fiery climax to the song.

"The Adorn Japetus" from Joyless is a highly atmospheric song suggesting ghostliness, an insular dream world, a mental fragility bordering on derangement and the kind of happiness that results from being completely adrift from the world of reality in equal parts. The lyrics themselves hint at a mind gradually falling apart and desperate to hold onto whatever shards of identity still remain and keep them together. Cute baby-ish feminine voices that don't synchronise well, a long drawn-out guitar tone that seems to twist and groan in its very being and soft lazy percussion that barely holds together, all muted by a soft ambience that can be cold and alienating, add to the impression of life as bleak, depressing and a drain / strain on a person's sanity until that person can no longer endure the pain of living without breaking. The song has an enervated, exhausted and sickly feel and lethargy dogs nearly its every beat like an invisible millstone.

I wish that the Urfaust piece could have been longer with that lead guitar solo break allowed to continue and its burgeoning crumbling texture drawn to more extreme levels. There's just too little development in the song and for much of its length it can be monotonous in its repetitive structure. The Joyless track is repetitive as well and is so drained of energy - though this is the intention - that it collapses rather than come to a resolution and definite closure. The logic of the song as set up by the Joyless musicians though demands that it should fall to pieces.

I rate the Joyless contribution just a bit more highly than the Urfaust song for its unusual style with the odd yet effective combination of beauty, depression, lack of energy and emotion, and frail mental state.