Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church O - Sucht & Ordnung [WKN - 2016]Der Blutharsch have been making records for over 20 years, releasing their self-titled debut album on Arthurs Round Table records in 1996. The band is the brainchild of Austrian musician Albin Julius.
Their early material had a heavy emphasis on dark ambient and post-industrial drones, however over the years they have grown and developed, they’ve become more experimental and drawn influence from a wide variety of musical styles from industrial to neo-classical. In 2003 the band released Time Is Thee Enemy! This took the band in yet another direction, heading into psychedelic and stoner rock territory. What started out as a one-man project has grown and developed into a full band. With the expansion of the lineup, the band name followed suit and Der Blutarsch became Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand!
Interestingly there are no song titles, so for the purpose of this review we shall refer to them as track 1,2, and 3. Track 1 kicks things under way, and at over 8 minutes represents the perfect introduction to the band’s style of heavy space rock. There is a wonderful hypnotic groove to the track, not unlike Ozric Tentacles at the peak of their powers. This opening track is heavy on synth and electronics, whilst incendiary guitar leads weave in and out throughout its 8 minutes, before finally returning to earth.
Track 2 opens with a steady heavy riff, with more of the trademark incendiary guitar leads layered over it, before the introduction of female vocals around 1:40 in. The song is sung in what appears, to my ear, to be German, although my knowledge of the language is sadly lacking. At around, the 2:45 mark something quite unusual happens, the tempo is upped to almost Black Metal proportions, at this point the vocals sounds almost mantra-like, a really unusual and interesting sound, but it works really well. Around 4 minutes in, it breaks down into something more spacey, but still heavily guitar led for the remainder of the track.
The final track is the longest on the album at over 14 minutes. Opening with electronic drones and cymbals it builds for 2 minutes before the introduction of a motorik beat. There is a distinct Kosmische flavour to this track evoking memories of both Can and Neu. This is perhaps my favourite track on the album. As the track grows and develops we hear more and more of the trappings of classic space rock and with the introduction of vocals just after the 6-minute mark one is reminded of space rock overlords Hawkwind with a female vocalist. Interestingly, this track unlike the previous one is sung in English, and one does wonder if there was a significance to this change of language?
Overall this is a great record, that wears its influences as a badge of honour. Obviously, it’s hard to get beyond their undeniable Can, Neu, Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles connections, but that shouldn’t be a problem. They do it with such love and respect for the sources that they make it their own. Darren Charles