Various Artists - Treatment of the Dead [Cold Spring Records - 2014]
Legendary industrial and experimental Cold Spring has put out another compilation of their current and forthcoming releases. Treatment of the Dead features tracks by high profile acts such as Merzbow, Skullflower, Iron Fist of the Sun, and Coil. While there's a little something for everyone on this disc, it's well put together and a pretty coherent compilation. Cold Spring has a nice price on it, and it's even being packaged with orders over £20! It's a good time to load up on Cold Spring titles and get a solid freebie in the process.
Cold Spring has garnered quite a collection of artists over the years, and Treatment of the Dead's showcase of the current line up is no exception. From dark, spoken ambient pieces like Sol to Japanese noise of Merzbow, this compilation follows a dark thread through Cold Spring's current catalog (three of which I personally reviewed, Tunnels of AH here , Troum here, and Shift here). The near theatrics of Sol and the dark, ritualistic ambience of Sutekh Hexen are fantastic bookends for this compilation. Penning in acts such as Merzbow and Skullflower seems like a daunting task, but they manage to handle it very well. Seamlessly shifting from harshness to the less abrasive, a soft, drifting piece like Mesektet's "Burial of the Sun" manages to sit comfortably between noisy bits like Shift's "Circling Raptor" and Skullflower's "Dazed Nymph In the N.O.X." One fun bonus on here is Coil's remix of NIN's "Gave Up." It's not the greatest by any stretch, but considering how anticipated this release was, and how quickly it sold out, it's nice of Cold Spring to give away a taste.
While all the tracks are solid in their own right, a few definitely stand out. Skullflower's track off of their latest, Draconis, sees Matthew Bower continue on in the noise realm while keeping based in his long, droned out origins. Textures, pitches, and tones shift and intertwine while somehow adding a regal flair. Trepaneringsritualen's crunchy, plodding industrial are a nice surprise from the almost beatless tracks on the album. It's a heavy, slow head-nodder and will most likely get my purchase. Having never heard Khost, I didn't know what to expect. The thick, heavy guitar drone and almost Middle Eastern flourishes are intriguing, and I would like to investigate this project further.
Samplers are very good ways to check out a label's product. When that label is Cold Spring, you know you're in for a solid compilation. Plus, with this being tossed in on orders over £20, it's a great way to grabbed missed releases and get a solid freebie in the process.Paul Casey