The Brvtalist is proud to present an essay and mixtape on the the history and aesthetics of Italian Death Industrial. Written and composed by Denmark's Per Najbjerg Odderskov, this is an incredible introduction to an often overlooked sub-genre. We were familiar with Per's excellent project Lidane Livering, and when we discovered his side project, Destruktionsanstalt, we were inspired to learn more about the Italian Death Industrial sound. Per graciously provided us with text and music. Read and listen more below:
The Aesthetics of Italian Death Industrial
by Per Najbjerg Odderskov
Industrial is a genre which nearly everyone has talked about at one time or another. However, Death-industrial still lies dormant, but is a vibrant, obscure subgenre with a strong cult following. Nearly every fan and sicko who´s into death-industrial knows that if it is made-in-Italy, its good quality is almost certain. If you take a peek on discogs and notice the price of early Atrax Morgue tapes, or if you look around on Facebook in every forum/group dedicated to boring harsh noise and lame power electronics, you´ll always be sure to find people worshiping the Italian sound (almost!). There is no question, the sound of Italian death-industrial is as immortal as a classic horror flick by Argento or Fulci. Like it or not, the genre manages to keep showing its ugly face. Let´s discuss what this is all about:
Death-industrial as a genre, was born out of the mind of a Swedish guy named Roger Karmanic in 1985. His first releases as Lille Roger, are more or less considered to be the first death-industrial releases ever (do get the Golden Shower collection!). Later on he would turn the project into Brighter Death Now in 1989, and the sound of death-industrial was spread out into our world.
Marco Corbelli was getting into Brighter Death Now in 1993 and was inspired. He was also into the works of Maurizio Bianchi (MB) and Mauthausen Orchestra (borh early Italian experimental industrial/Power-Electronics acts). He would then go on (as a rather isolated teenager), to create the solid masterpiece titled "In Search Of Death" - a very naaive, simplistic, efficient and atmospheric piece of dark electronics. He called this project Atrax Morgue. Atrax (a very poisenious and highly aggressive funnelweb spider from Australian) and then just Morgue. He then laid the first foundations for his label, Slaughter Productions, which still stands out to be one of coolest cult labels in the genre today. Sadly, it was unable to continue after Marco Corbelli commited suicide but the sound and atmosphere still haunts us.
So how does one explain how the sound of Italian death-industrial, and how does it differ from the sound of Swedish acts like Brighter Death Now and Megaptera, or U.S Gruntsplatter and Steel Hook Prosthesis? The Italian sound is always incredibly minimalistic, dirty, hypnotic and highly atmospheric at the same time. Never having multilayered samples piled untop of each other like a big cake, or having that glossy hightech sound. You almost have that vintage synth sound from kraut-rock and early progressive rock bands (think early Tangerine Dream, Cluster and Goblin), which is then combined with elements of soundtrack-ish ambience and minimal elements of harsh industrial-noise. That is all well documented on Slaughter Production's EXCELLENT and ESSENTIAL compilation, Death Odours 1. Further, what type of imagery is used in the aesthetics of the genre? Well, anything rotten, death-ish, sexually disturbed, pedophile, suicide, necrophilia, sadism, torture, bondage, serial killer fetish, hospitals, morgues, ancient funeral rites, occultism, danse macabre, Italian horror movies and/or churchyards (skulls, skulls and skulls). That goes for the cover-art as well as the themes working within the genre. So, if Black Doom Death metal doesn't give you that extra edge, give this a try!
What is the foundation of Italian death-industrial? What bands are essential to the genre? Well, Brighter Death Now is of course the beginning of it all but I will now name 2 of the most essentiel bands to have inspired this sound.
Italy has Mauruzio Bianchi, which have grinded microscopic and depressive industrial harshness since 1980! His work has been on such notorious cult labels like Come Organisation, Broken Flag and Sterile Records. A good beginners album, with him in his early years, would be his grand masterpiece of misery, "Symphony For A Genocide". This classic has luckily been reissued many times, so it should be easy to get. An extra piece of info about this album - even Genesis P. Orridge found this album too despressive that s/he called it uterly pointless!! Anyways, Maurzio Bianchi is very dark and challenging, but yet still soothing with an incredible depth to it. His work is an absolute must. Beside such acts like Esplendor Geometrico, he is surely one of the grand pioneers and godfathers of industrial and noise.
Another Italian act of note is Mauthausen Orchestra, who released their first material in 1982. In a sense, they/he were there before the brutality of Grey Wolves, Con-Dom and Genocide Organ. Some artists and critics even claimed back then, that Italian Power Electronics was alot more brutal and sadistic than even U.K noisebaters Whitehouse! Mauthausen Orchestra was one of the first Italian acts to implement the power-electronics style. Urashima have luckily reissued the classic works of this project on LP.
I have always been in love with death-industrial (Both the Swedish and the Italian), and therefore started my own death-industrial project, Destruktionsanstalt, back in 2002. I made one album, which was supposed to be released on Legion Sudan. Sadly, this never happened as the label closed down. Now 12 years later, I've decided to resurrect this project of morbidness. Many thanks to Sébastien Biquet Bach, who got this project onto his own French label Requiem Rate of Return. The idea will be to release a new Destruktionsanstalt album and the older, still un-released debut album. The older album contains a more harsh and primitive sound like early Lille Roger and Brighter Death Now. The new album has a clean focus on Italian death-Industrial while having a psychedelic touch. I hope people (with a weird morbid taste) will enjoy it as much as I did creating it!
1 - MB - Treblinka - 09:10
2 - Mauthaursen Orchestra - Necrofallatio - 09:11 to 12:12
3 - Atrax Morgue - Vaginal Spectrum - 12-13 to 16:10
4 - Progretto Morte - Dissekt Mind - 16:13 to 20:19
5 - T.S C. Manson - Un Fraterno Messaggio 20:20 to 31.20
6 - Nigredo - Aurora Niger - 31:21 to 39:17
7 - RRR - Ed Killer - 39:21 to 47:05