[reviewed by Iaha Crax]
A Lustmord record is always a subject to great interest. “The Word As Power” came out at Blackest Ever Black that released mostly bizarre projects or limited records from more renewed groups (Sol Invictus, Prurient, Lasse Marhaug, Ramleh). On this record Brian Williams collaborates with Jarboe and Maynard James (Tool), the use of human voice consequently being his novelty for this new disc.
“Babel” is a magically crafted drone-ambient track upon which a female voice chants an allegedly Semitic ancient folk song. The phantom-like beauty of the crying choral emerging from an almost statically tuned wave of electronics creates a sense of indifferent nostalgia, directed perhaps towards a forgotten world before the Babel moment as it has been related in the Old Testament. A moment that explains how nations were divided by the mixing of their languages, in an effort to prevent them from reaching God.
Words are used to call upon immaterial forces that should help the practitioner in his goals. This time, on “Goetia”, Brian combines rumbling sounds with low-tuned greyish drones that sustain a ceremonial, aphasic chant of invocation. This track sounds so minimalistic that, apart from its professional processing, it could have easily belonged to an amateur ambientalist.
“Chorazin” is a village mentioned in the Bible, that during the Middle Ages became a common mention for the Antichrist’s birthplace, and this because its inhabitants had refused to accept Jesus Christ’s miracles. Now the cursed city is a ruin and the track named after it creates this feeling one gets in deserted places known as cursed or haunted. The same minimalistic approach can be found here, that brings into mind the first Mortiis endeavors; even the voice, though feminine, sounds sometimes as a more refined cursing present in a Cintecele Diavolui release. The song is irritatingly long, but so was the curse upon Chorazin…
On “Grigori” a male voice replaces the feminine voice for the performance of necromantic or damnation spells. The theme of “Grigori” is also derived from biblical mythology, more specifically a race of angels that watched over mankind and finally mixed with men. The artist chooses in his depiction an almost absent death ambient that is rarely audible, and instead he uses as juxtaposition a deformed Buddhist psalmody, a fine musical adaptation of some of Endvra’s chants. Still, the track gains in interest on its final part when the sterile chants are accompanied by mystic, Sunn O))) type drones in a threatening crescendo.
An ongoing, almost undeveloped background white sound, decorated with regular cavernous sub-bass blasts is what “Andras Sodom” offers; the music is assisted by mumbling male-female yantras that could very well serve as a concentration aid in the deciphering of the record cover.
“Abaddon” is a collaborative track featuring the vocalist of the American rock band Tool. It is here that we may recognize that particular Lustmord style, meticulously arranged with parallel sound structures responding to one another’s echo. As a distinguishable mark of the record, human voices are present here too, in the form of a monk choir. “Y Gair”, which is a Scottish mountain lake, returns to the ultra-low bass sound, touched here and there by delicate organ notes and female/male folkish lamentations. It suggests a bucolic atmosphere pictured in a deep starless night.
Deprived of most his former ingredients and spiced with nice articulated voices, this Lustmord record seems to have little flavor; at least for me, a mere auditor.