Die Sonne Satans - Metaphora [Annapurna - 2018]The wider Italian experimental music scene has always given a strong impetus to the development of more edgy sonic forms in other countries- and still to this day it's one of the most varied and interesting representative of the genre.
Die Sonne Satans (also known as Die Sonne Satan) was launched in 1991 by the Italian artist Paolo Beltrame. In the period between 1993 to 1995, three albums were released, the first of which was a split with the project Runes Order and titled Metaphora. The next album Fac-Totum was released as C60 tape in the same year. Then in 1995, they released the third & final album of new material Omega. In the years 1996 and 1997, two compilations were released, then Die Sonne Satan suddenly disappeared from the field of view of experimental electronics. Despite the projects rather short period of creative activity, Die Sonne Satan gained the cult status. So it’s not surprising that in 2018 a re-release of the project’s very first releases appeared. But not in its original split form, but a full-fledged album, with several revised tracks and previously unpublished material.
Metaphora, is released by the Italian label Annapurna either as a digipack CD, LP , or digital download. You can order all this by clicking on the link on the label's Bandcamp page.
The cover is a photograph of an antique (or perhaps religious) statues hand. The hand is palm up, the gesture is open and peaceful. Perhaps this is the hand of Jesus since the gesture is very similar to some of his images. The shadow of this hand falls on the wall behind, and it no longer seems peaceful and open. It is a tense, stretching hand, ready to grab. The photo is made in monochrome style, but it is processed in such a way that we see muted blue and yellow colors. In the lower left the corner in plain yellow color coarsely written album title - Metaphora, a little lower and smaller written project name. I would like to note that the cover is ideally suited to the musical content of the album and carries a kind of suspense. The photo is static, but looking at the shadow of the hand, we almost expect it to move.
The album, which lasts just over fifty-two minutes, consists of nine tracks, seven of which were published in 1993 on a cassette split with Runes Order, released by the cult label Old Europa Cafe. The other two tracks are previously unreleased material. It is also worth noting that, compared to the original album, the order of the tracks has been altered slightly changed.
Going onto discuss the music side of this album, I would like to begin by saying that I am familiar with the original version of this album. I first heard it around 1997 or 1998, when I bought a pirate tape in one of the Moscow stores. For a while, this cassette lingered in my player. Unfortunately, this tape deteriorated. So with this personal history with the release, of course, I was very interested to hear the new version of this album.
Those familiar with the experimental scene at the time, knowing the intersection of Industrial, Ambient and Drone, will know what expect from this album. The tracks are rather hypnotic compositions, based around slow or medium tempo looped textures- that are either atmospheric & melodic, and they often pulsating or fragment. As the tracks develop, additional effects, sounds and samples are added. But, these additions never develop in a chaotic way, with the additional sounds support of the main looped monotonous line, so the listener never gets bored, and a meditative/ hypnotic atmosphere is created.
As for comparisons I’d say specify the early albums of such projects as Raison D'etre, Archon Satani, Ordo Equilibrio, Maeror Tri, and, of course, the Italian project Alio Die, which, I think, directly influenced Die Sonne Satans.
The previously unreleased tracks featured here fit well into the sound picture of the release, & rather harmoniously fitting into the album a whole. The release has been remastered, & to me, this seems to have lessened its charm. There’s a cleaner & more atmospheric feel to the album now- enhancing the softer and lighter tones, whereas in the original version of the album the sound was more raw, coarse and more mystical. I also noticed that many of the looped samples have been replaced by new ones. As well I noticed some diminished in the low frequencies. So the albums sound has now deviated more towards Ambient, while the original version was closer to Drone and Industrial. However, the structure and composition of the tracks remained almost the same as it was.
In conclusion, I would like to say that this reissue is still not the same 1993 album. This is a total rethinking of the debut work, which still remains within the bounds of it's original style. I don’t know how younger listeners will perceive this album, but I felt a slight attack of nostalgia. However, I do not want to seem biased, but I did like the original mix of the album more. I wonder with this new reissue there is hope that Die Sonne Satans will fully resurface- let's hope so!Sergey Pakhomov