Dead Reptile Shrine

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Isth Narai Ja (2001), 6/10
A Journey Through The Darkest Of Forests (2005), 6/10
The Sun Of Circles And Wood (2011), 6/10

The Finnish one-man band Dead Reptile Shrine debuted with the amateurish cassette Isth Narai Ja (2001 - Antihumanism, 2008) of post-ambient electronic music. My Ancient Underworld Throne is 25 minutes of floating electronics and otherworldly chants. The 30-minute The Spirit Catcher (Aaveen Pyydystys Kellarissa) crafts an ecosystem of chirping, howling and pulsing sounds Best of all, Deathstar Antenna is a ten-minute concerto of dark cosmic drones.

After the triple-disc The Jewel Throne (Brutal Horde, 2002), containing a grand total of 58 compositions (most of them very brief), and NTK (2002), also fragmented in many pieces, he churned out A Journey Through The Darkest Of Forests (2005), a chaotic and dissonant mixture of folk and metal with a horror-industrial-psychedelic attitude. The more musical pieces lean on black metal but only in a supporting role. Bones in the Dungeon mixes shrieks, blastbeats and reckless strumming. A Cave Full of Corpse Lanterns indulges in demonic frenzy. Exekutioner of the Final Solution is a macabre dance covered under a fat distorted guitar that eventually intones a majestic melody. The zenith of pathos is achieved with the grinding doom riffs of Our Feast of Victory. Some of them hark back to the distant punk past. Reversion to An Ancient Form sounds like a Cramps-ian dance in slow motion. Best of all, Feuer und Stahl sounds like a cow-punk hoedown of the 1980s. The theatrical aspect of the project yields the slow, agonizing grand guignol of Diabolical Plague, and the electronic psychedelic kammerspiel of The Snakes of the Earth: Part II. There are also abstract pieces that don't belong to rock music. Best concept is probably the ambient exotic electronica of Above the Ziggurat They Dance. The album closes with the a-cappella choral chant of A Beastcults Procession. The quality of the recording is still amateurish, but the ideas are fleshed out like in more professional works.

Burning Black Infinity (2008) is a double-LP.

Jasse Tuukki (Cloama) and Die Blutleuchte released the collaborations Cloama & Blutleuchte (New Old Sentinel, 2005 - Anima Arctica, 2009), From Wasteland Mausoleums (New Old Sentinel, 2007), Convoluted In Peripheral Sacrifice (Freak Animal, 2008).

Cloama (the project of Jasse Tuukki) is devoted to psychedelic soundscapes such as Neuroscan Organization (Spatter, 2003), Revisionist Knowledge (Freak Animal, 2005), Cloama (New Old Sentinel, 2005), At The Mountains Of Paranoia (Turgid Animal, 2009).

The collective Die Blutleuchte promoted the fusion of folk and industrial music (of the primordial and the futuristic) on Rus (2002), a historical concept on Russia.

Dead Reptile Shrine's double album The Sun Of Circles And Wood (Weird Forest, 2011) summarized their multi-faceted aesthetic. They are best in the shamanic mode: Summoner Of Clarity (a lugubrious voiceover, radio interferences, Tibetan chanted prayers, pulsing robotic hearts and atonal riffs), the harrowing vocal harmonies of Nuclear Cult, and especially Summer Forest's Magic, an ugly two-voice chant over distorted guitar and spastic drumming like the Holy Modal Rounders' Bird Song to the square. Then there are the wordless vignettes, apocalyptic doom-tinged post-rock theorems: Walking Under The Winter Sun, built around snippets of a melodramatic symphonic overture, The Point, a simple prolonged electronic buzzing with little explosions built in, and especially the machine music of Jihad Priestess for wild hissing, howling and whistling by machines over free-jazz drumming. Then there is the least successful bunch, i.e. their own brand of black metal: Weapon Crucifixion And Drowning, almost a parody of the genre, Beholding The Necrocult Relic, that at least boasts cavernous bass lines, the funereal litany Blasphemous Coven and even the melodic Throne Of Stone. They rarely achieve more than amateurish status. The notable exception is Forcefield Across Odensland that shakes together orgiastic chaotic quasi-industrial drumming and distorted growling vocals like fans of Ministry rehearsing in a gas station's restroom. Finally, there are two songs that reveal more traditional roots: the garage rave-up of Possessed By Infinity (despite the drunk ending) and the Cramps-ian psychobilly Blood And Iron Eagle. The eclectic tour de force is certainly imposing, but, as usual, too many songs do not deserve to be included. Filler is filler, no matter how smart the ideas were.

Dead Reptile Shrine contributed four disorienting pieces to Winterforest (Bestial Burst, 2011), a split album dominated by Goatmoon's lengthy title-track.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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