Various Artists
The Devil in Love
Malört Förlag

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Swedish publishing house Malört Förlag (Wormwood Publishing) is taking multi-media to a new level. Specializing in texts about the "fantastic, the numinous and the aberrant," the company plans to release a soundtrack for each of the treatises it publishes. The inaugural book is The Devil in Love, a 1772 occult novel by French author Jacques Cazotte, Jesuit-educated and self-proclaimed member of the Illuminati. The accompanying soundtrack qualifies as one of the most eclectic, interesting and downright weird releases of 2011.

From neo-folk to electronic ambient, from 20s tuba- and accordion-driven jazz to neo-psychedelic, the styles vary as much as the nationalities of the artists, each telling a piece of the novel’s story in their own way to form a thematically cohesive whole, whether done in a typically song structured fashion (Paul Roland’s "I Dared the Devil") or in an obtuse, instrumental form (John Zorn’s "Yeqon").

The one thing all of the artists have in common is a touch of the supernatural. Sometimes it borders on shtick like the Coffinshaker’s Country Goth image, complete with singer Rob Coffinshaker wearing Johnny Cash like a Godform. Sometimes it’s overt, such as Jarboe using a chorus reciting the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram during her entry, "Mistress of Deceit."

Overall the record is thoroughly enjoyable but definitely not for the close-minded. Some of the songs on here barely qualify as white noise, but the overall feel is one of enchantment. The book was undoubtedly written as an allegorical initiation for those who read it. I have a feeling the record may be, as well.

C’mon, take a ride down the rabbit hole. It’s got one Hell of a soundtrack.

This dazzling piece of audial ephemera is readily available for purchase at: http://malortforlag.se/english.php

- Albrecht Zimmerman


The Sword
Warp Riders

Kemando Records

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The Sword’s third release "Warp Riders" evokes a vision of the future that displays strength and wisdom by stripping down the Heavy Metal elements to a blueprint of serious Hard Rock. Warp Riders is bone solid and true to it’s soul while putting forth an ideal only hinted at on earlier records. The original Sword release was full-throttle and blew out speakers at such intensity that it caught the attention of fans and veteran musicians alike. The Sword’s second coming "Gods Of The Earth" felt like a sophomore exploration to work out themes and rhythms while desperately looking for a future direction. Warp Riders is not what was before, it is so much more with less and in such a way that it brilliantly exposes the core of Rock and Roll. This is the real deal burning deep into bass, drums and a guitar groove so invasive that you will play the tunes over and over. The lyrical content is a conceptual story and evokes the best of the 70’s Prog Rock flowing headlong to oblivion. Swiftly moving through space and time the thoroughly solid rhythmic songs rumble on seamlessly as melodic elements build and drill deep into the void. This album is amazingly polished start to finish and will standout as a landmark recording for the band.

Shawn Truitt


Clems Hot Diggity Dogs



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