19 September 2006
music review:: atrium carceri:: kapnobatai
you could probably make a fairly convincing argument that the world doesn't really need atrium carceri. after all, their label, sweden's cold meat industry, started off the "death industrial" thing almost twenty years ago by marrying the aesthetics of extreme metal with the sonic influence of early laibach. despite the label's subsequent shifts in focus, many of their seminal releases are still available, so it's questionable whether a sort of throwback to the classic cmi sound could be called a necessity.
but need is a strong word. after all, i don't need ice cream, nice wine, mac computers or john fluevog shoes, but i still enjoy them.
kapnobatai, the third album from atrium carceri, shows its influences loud and proud. above all, the one which stands out to me is the more atonal work by raison d'etre, with elements of sirkle zero-era sleep chamber and grand guignol-period schloss tegal also evident. the ease with which i can link this album to other bands is a sure marker that the sound is not entirely original, which it certainly isn't. but it is a very well-crafted example of this type of music. to dismiss this release, or any release, on the grounds that it is not original is to fall into a sort of hipster snobbery.
the churning electronics do create the claustrophbic atmosphere for which he is aiming. the sinuous rhythms and (mercifully) restrained samples enhance the murk. it has enough depth to be involving, mysterious, attractive. in fact, my only quibble is with the front cover art and the liner text- much too far towards the death metal end of the spectrum- which damage the release's credibility.
centuries from now, this won't be held up as a pinnacle of western civilisation, but for the time being, it's a fine release, worthy of enjoyment. it'll remind you at once of how enjoyable cmi releases were when they were at their prime and why you liked that sound so much in the first place.