Vidna Obmana - The Face That Must Die [Old Captain - 2017]Long time, dark ambient feature Vidna Obmana (Dirk Serries) made a number of albums in the 80's that were more industrial focused than the dark ambient for which he is known. These long out of print tape releases are hard to come by, so it's a treat for modern listeners when a label like Old Captain takes interest in re-releasing this hard to find material. Not only does Old Captain give Vidna Obmana's The Face That Must Die new life for a new audience, they've also included four bonus tracks to further one's Vidna Obmana knowledge.
While The Face That Must Die shares many aspects with VO's ambient side, there is a certain franticness that permeates through the album, and helps to separate Face from the pack. From the claustrophobic opener, "Prologue," to the final tightening of the noose on "Sweat Session Pt. 2," Face keeps the listener guessing as to what will come next, be it ambient, churning industrial, or, at times, something akin to death industrial. No matter the style offered up, VO keeps a constant, haunting tone that weaves between songs and out through the speakers. Whether long, bleak, soundscapes like "Doom Asylum," "Grave Upon Body," and "Second Praise For Little Hope," or industrial oddities like "Entombed," "Sweat Session Pt. 1," and "Sweat Session Pt. 2," The Face That Must Die exudes a grim, almost suffocating vibe that plays very well into this approaching fall season. For the most part, Face sounds fresh in 2017, so one can only imagine how this influenced audiences back in 1988.
Seeing a re-release after nearly 30 years after its original tape release, Vidna Obmana's The Face That Must Die is an interesting, sometimes industrial take on VO's traditional dark ambient repertoire. Packed with some bonus tracks, Old Captain's treatment is a must have for all fans of brooding, electronic soundscapes. Paul Casey