[Reviewed by stark]
I have always been a fan of obscure, sleazy horror flicks. The ones featured on midnight shows in drive-in cinemas in the 70s or having “straight to VHS” status in the 80s. It’s not even about gore, but rather their oppresive and sulphurous atmosphere often intensified by low budget production, thus shooting the movie in real locations, not within the artificial studio decorations and this specific acting, bad yet somehow natural.
Also, I always affiliated Swedish death industrial project Megaptera with such forms of second-rate, yet charming art. It’s like the aural reflection – and simultaneously the tribute – for these movies and “Disease” is no exception here. The original material is already 22 years old. It was out via Art Konkret label from Germany in 1996, and sold out almost immediately. Now, in the time of exhuming corpses and raising them from the dead, this Megaptera cult release has not been left in peace, but after all, it’s with benefit to us all.
So this time it’s Grzegorz from Ur Muzik label who’ve followed against the “let sleeping corpses lie” rule and re-released “Disease” on CD with an additional few minutes of new music (the originally 4-part suite “The Squire Goes Insane” is now a 5-part suite). And, it’s still an impressive example of mid-90s death industrial meat, with this peculiar raw sound (though remastered, it continuously emanates this especial aura). The glorious times of early Cold Meat, Old Europa Cafe or Slaughter Productions. You can’t say it’s a very aggressive music, but the uneasiness germinating in your brain pierces like a hundred rusty needles. The crawling drones, slow pulsating rhythms and occasional outbursts of metallic violence recall the vision of some hellish factory, which purpose is beyond the comprehension of human mind. Or, maybe this is the music Leatherface could have in his headphones, while coming back home from the night shift in the abbatoir? The best example of how the suspense should be built is this last monolithic composition, “The Squire Goes Insane” – when in the middle of the track this rusty machine’s heavy creaking cogwheels begin to work, you’re twisted and turned, but still feel shivers on your spine.
The new artwork is based on an abandoned, yet haunted, mental institution theme. Very popular in the modern mockumentary/found footage horror subgenre, which many people say is eating its own tail. But me, I still have a certain affection towards it. But, what I want to say is that it’s symbolic that this music could easily fit as a soundtrack for, say, “The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue” as well as “Grave Encounters”. Megaptera is universal, it scares the shit out of you, no matter if you’re an oldtimer or a rookie in the world of horror-influenced music.