I don’t think I ever heard any records by Gallhammer, a trio of Japanese women who played their unique brand of blackened doom metal and made a series of records between 2004 and 2011, many of them on the UK label Peaceville (a specialist in Metal of all sorts). Their bass player and vocalist Vivian Slaughter – real name Eri Isaka – is now calling herself Viviankrist and appears to be furthering her solo career in power electronics. On the other hand, there was the short-lived Sehnsucht project with her partner Maniac which appears to have only made one record (the horrifying 2010 release Wüste, noted here).
Viviankrist has just released Morgenrøde (CSR268CD) for Cold Spring, a superb record of electronic experimentation…Viviankrist runs through a wide variety of “styles” to produce wild and terrifying shrieks, gloomy explorations of dark abyssal landscapes, cold-wave rhythms and pulsations, crazed techno-beats crossed with unnatural sounds, and plenty more. Everything is at once bold and playful, making strong statements with attention-getting sounds and unsubtle swipes, yet it’s also highly accessible, and (for me) a very welcome antidote to much contemporary wallpaper-styled bland electronica. To Viviankrist, an analogue synth is not some toy to allow us all to wallow in amusing “retro” sounds or to dream of a phoney radiophonic future of kitsch and mechanical men in the kitchen…rather in her hands, these tools become weapons, fit for probing the darker inner recesses of the mind, and shining a light to illuminate things we would rather not see.
I think I should stress that Morgenrøde is very far from “conventional” power electronics, and those who fear having to contend with harsh feedback and sociopathic subject matter should find much to enjoy here. From 11th February 2019.