Tag Archives: Der Blutharsch

Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – Sucht & Ordnung

(WKN, 2016)

At this point of his artistic career, Albin Julius probably is not that interested in answering questions about his musical past under the name Der Blutharsch. After the pretty much total audial transformation of the band (altho certain vibes and attitudes came along for the ride from the previous incarnation of course), the audiences of the group have now been accustomed to the Psychedelic Rock version of Albin’s musical visions, and there is no doubt he will continue to change and progress his musical identity in the future. But right now, we have this new album in our hands.

“Zucht und Ordnung” in German means “Discipline and Order”, a term associated with for example Christian or Fascist authority in society. “Sucht und Ordnung” however means “Addiction and Order”, and as an album stands for quite different mentalities, in its improvised and jamming ways. Recorded live at Pure Sound Studio (Vienna), this album features three songs and about 30 minutes of intense Psychedelic Rock the Der Blutharsch way we have become so familiar with in the recent years. Of course there is s certain discipline and order present in the song structures and performances of the recent material of the band, but nevertheless this is fucking psychedelia, which stands for total assimilation of control.

The album lifts off calmly with moody oriental melodies from the reverberated guitar, backed by ride-cymbals and the ever-expanding synth. But when the drums and basses kick off, I am surprised to hear a Surf Rock beat from the drums, together with an extremely heavy bass jamming sweet melodies with the already jamming distorted guitars. As the song progresses the synths change colour and texture like splashing various paints on a canvas, making me wanna be high as fuck on weed while listening to this song. After a break-like calm sequence the song ends in a sweet rocking beat and high guitar solos, which together with the organ-like synth makes me feel very classic seventies. This is the exact alchemical stuff the godlike albums of old were made from. This band gets it.

The second song starts off more heavy, not quite Doomy but nearly. Here were are introduced to the powerful majestic and almost preaching vocals of Marthynna. There has always been real dominance and sweetness at the same time in her voice, and this song is no different. However, if I was a bit surprised about the Surf Rock drumming in the first song, I am most definitely lifted off my chair when the song turns into a cool intense blast-beat and tremolo-riff driven Blackened kaleidoscope, before sinking again into slower currents. This was something I did quite not see coming from this band, not yet anyway.

The third song is a bit longer than the previous two, starting out really slow, before kicking off with a pretty minimalistic damping guitar riff and steady rocking drum-beat backed with a cool organ-sound and heavily phasing synths. Very classic Stoner (or just ancient Progressive) stuff here, staring at the night sky in the desert high on mushrooms. Marthynna’s chanting vocals fit the song again very well, as do the electrified howling effects taking the hypnotic riffing further into the mind’s eye. The song starts to fade towards the end only making an intense comeback, giving me spiralling chills down my spine. A very steady and well made song ending the album in extremely positive vibes.

In this age of music softwares one tends to forget the awesome power and magic of organic music. This album is a must for all fans of the previous albums of the band (especially after the musical “transformation”), and for all fans of hypnotic, psychedelic and hallucinatory jamming music in general. This album is my personal favourite among the band’s discography of the last five years.

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Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – The Wolvennest Sessions

(WKN, 2015)

Albin Julius, whose releases (and words) have appeared in this blog before, has during the years indeed marvelously managed to transform his Martial Industrial Ambient band Der Blutharsch into a full-on trippy Psychedelic Prog Rock experience, while still maintaining the unique and original personality of the band despite the change of style. This album contains three songs and about 40mins of studio material recorded in 2014, having (as was the case with the previous album “Joyride”) the improvised groove of live material.

The first song “Out Of Darkness Deep” starts off with very Dark Ambient-like sensations, with murky sounds of low frequencies and an ominous electronic synth loop, before the guitars and organs enter scene, also in a very trance-like and repeating kind of way, satisfyingly familiar and typical to the nature of the band. As the percussions and basses step forth almost in a marching manner, enlivening the guitars as well, the song turns into Martial and Tribal-sounding states, before the more Rock-oriented drums, distorted guitars and Marthynna’s vocals enter the scene, metamorphing yet further into a slow Psychedelic Rock song. The sounds are at this point so heavy, the word Doom could be added to describe the atmospheres, but the term Psychedelia still fits the music the best. Heavy Psychedelia that is.

The guitar-solos flow for an awesomely long time, like an ongoing hash and/or mushroom-enhanced love-making session, while the drums change little in performance, giving the truly trance-infusing effect to the song, while the only thing keeping us from totally sinking into forgetfulness is Marthynna’s voice and the always cool lyrics it performs. Weird spoken samples end the song in style, and the second song “Unreal” begins with again monotonous and Doomy distorted guitars and eerie vintage organs, again slowly growing into a Rock song with the addition of the simple yet effective drums. The quite melodic vocals paint a melancholic and etherial feeling, enhancing the riffs. The atmosphere of the song is not as Psychedelic as of the first song, being more Pop-like (if possible) in nature, while again being really captivating in nature and heavy in production.

The third song “Evil Love” starts with quite a fast played distorted tremolo riff, reminding of Punk or even Black Metal (certain woodsy Norwegian cassette-demos of the early nineties come to my mind), as the beat presents the quite cold skeleton of the song, and we can’t indeed but experience strong feeling of slow nineties Black Metal, with only Marthynna’s vocals and weird synth-leads taking the feeling to the Psychedelia of the rest of the album. A very cool song as well.

The general sound and mix of the songs are very 70’ies sounding, giving an authentic Krautrock feeling of being recorded totally with analogue equipment. Once again the band delivers trips of genuine Psychedelic proportions, a bit more heavy (or even Metal-oriented) than the previous releases, but still the guaranteed (controversial?) quality strangeness of Der Blutharsch only Albin Julius can deliver.

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Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – Joyride

(WKN, 2015)

If you need introductions to the music of Albin Julius and Der Blutharsch, you should check out my review of his previous EP “Sous l’Arbre De Science”, as well as my interview with the man, from the pages of this very emag/blog. I received this album as a physical promo from Albin, something that doesn’t happen very often when considering the underground nature of this publication, which was a huge honour. It is also quite cool to think I’m writing this review of this (quite transformed) band now after at least 15 years of hearing Albin’s music for the first time. After lighting some strong incense, I put the album on with a good amount of volume in my hazy apartment, and let the trip begin.

The Joyride starts off with “Drive Me Far”, with it’s quite eerie-sounding deep synthetic basses, squeling noises, and tingling chimes, creating a deep psychedelic atmosphere instantly. After awhile Marthynna’s familiar strong spoken vocals enter the scene with their narrative and poetic psychedelic lines. The ride is at the same time hypnotic in a monotonous way, and at the same vivid with different visions the lyrics produce, like sitting (usually) comfortably at the seat of the convertible of the cover art, taking us deeper into the psychedelic space which is this album.

The second song “Sea Of Love” continues with the synthetic bass-lines and spoken vocals, now introducing a very damp and musty sounding guitar, coming straight from some low-fi yet totally cult 60’ies record. The bass frequencies are at times so low, you can easily physically feel the music from the speakers. The term Krautrock comes again relevant when dwelling in the trancelike states this music produces, and the advice in the sleeve of the covers “For maximum listening pleasure only listen when chemically imbalanced!” makes a lot of sense.

The third song “Falling Out Of Time” continues with the drony psychedelic guitar-sensations, going a bit more groovy in the riffing, now backed up by very retro and authentic (of course) sounding drums, almost inaudible in the background but still very strongly present. This stuff, in all it’s (at a first glance) minimalism, makes your body move in a dreamy dance. The guitars swirl with such amount of phasing flange, they alone are guaranteed to keep you firmly seated on this trip.

The fourth song “Cold Freedom” chills us down a bit with it’s mellow cool percussions, and more easy guitar-sounds, staying highly psychedelic still, with it’s Eastern sitars, violins and almost wailing wah-wah guitars making visible patterns in the air. Marthynna’s vocals are still the same, yet fitting all of the music with ease. The fifth song “Mighty Might” (a song that I’d heard earlier) is more analogue-synthlike and playful in it’s nature than the previous songs, with it’s again Funky guitars and weird strings creating a feeling of a huge mushroom smile.

The sixth song “Resume!” is a transitional piece with looping basses, synths and guitars, preparing us for the seventh song “Innocent” which consists of extremely low basses and pulsing thudding synth-bass-lines hidden quite deep in the background, while the song moves in it’s ominous steady pace towards it’s mind-altering destiny. Marthynna’s vocals show all their potential in ways that give you deep insights. The eighth song “Reach The Stars” is again a bit more playful and groovy tune, showing well how the group functions as a more repeating and trancelike entity as well as as a band jamming away. The ninth song “Not Quite Evil” takes us again to Eastern lands with it’s percussions, sitars, backed up by a very cool organ and roaring stoner guitar.

The album ends with much style in the more martial sounding “Immolate My Dreams”, with it’s almost militaristic drum-beats, on top of the trademark soundscapes of this album, perhaps going a bit nostalgic considering the beginnings of this amazing band. As the album ends in a massive drony bassy wave of sound, you are left with a feeling of wanting the trip to go on and on..

It is hard to name a favourite track among the ten, since they all have their unique cool atmosphere, while creating the whole experience of the album with style. The amount of atmosphere and psychedelia (besides the numerous awesome musical ideas) this album contains and creates is immense. I highly recommend it to anyone into psychedelic music of any kind, and if the Krautrock-mentalities of the 60’ies appeal to you, this might be the album of your dreams. And yes, I heartily suggest to “only listen when chemically imbalanced!”.

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Josef Dvorak Feat. Fuckhead + Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – Sous l’Arbre De Science

(WKN, 2014)

It has been years since Albin Julius went totally Psychedelic with his previously more Martial-sounding band Der Blutharsch, but there are still aspects in the music reminiscent of the previous incarnations, namely the Ambient, cinematic and soundtrack-like elements and general unerring atmosphere. In other words, the latest recordings still sound like Der Blutharsch above all else.

This collaboration-release with the Viennese “Satanologist” (and co-founder of the art-movement  Wiener Aktionismus) Josef Dvorak, and Viennese Experimental Electronic Performance artists Fuckhead, offers partly Ritualistic Ambient sceneries of sound, partly slow-moving (or a bit faster) seventies- and eighties-sounding Rock with strong old-school Electronic elements. Some organic-sounding percussion-sounds and other effects spice up the mix of otherwise quite Psychedelic guitar, bass, and synth-oriented experience. All the sounds are nicely of very vintage nature. The speeches of Josef Dvorak fit the music very well, or vice versa.

For all fans of the previous work of Albin Julius, or lovers of vintage (or “retro”) Psychedelia of Rock and Electronic nature, this release is worthy of purchase in Mini-CD or 10” formats, while waiting for a possible next full-length album and other future adventures of Albin Julius (and comrades).

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Interview with Albin Julius (Der Blutharsch)

To anyone familiar with the Neofolk, Dark Ambient or Martial Industrial genres, the work of Albin Julius needs no introductions. Having released many highly influential and even pioneering albums with his projects The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud and Der Blutharsch, Albin has always been an artist full of controversy. Having (most likely) surprised many by steering his music towards more traditional Psychedelic realms a few years ago, this immensely talented man is full of interesting ideas. I’m am more than happy to have a chat with him.

Greetings Albin! How has this year of 2015 begun for you?

Phantastic! We for the first time ever spent New Year evening in the studio recording. Was amazing and gave us a good groove. I then already felt that 2015 will become a great year – much better than the last years – which all have been great as well. This year will be terribly busy, which is very good, as I need to be busy to feel alive. After a nice holiday in Laos and Cambodia with loads of new inspiration and recharging the batteries now I am working on various projects at the same time. The new Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand album named “Joyride“ is now recorded and I will start mixing it next week, besides I work on a very limited handmade 10inch but also on 2 collaboration albums, one with White Hills and one with Urfaust and 2 Jastreb albums. Life is Good!

I imagine you to be a passionate traveler. Where have you been traveling last, and did that change you in any way? There are always something new to discover even to the most experienced adventurer on this globe?

Yes. I consider traveling as a very important part of my life. Fortunately my wife Marthynna loves to travel a lot as well and we mostly manage to do at least 3 trips a year. In winter we have for the last 3 years went to Asia – this year Laos and Cambodia which was amazing. In summer we have been in east Poland which was great as well, visiting all the Templar castles and some nice lakes. This year we have planned to fly to Dublin for a few days to visit friends in May, in summer we want to travel south Poland and visit some weird places of interest there, in autumn Venice for our 5th wedding day – yes – we go romantic and in November our annual visit to Wroclaw for Wroclaw Industrial Festival. So, some plans for this year as well, and already thinking about where to fly next Jan/Feb. Let’s see… Traveling is very important to open your eyes towards other cultures and also for inspiration. Well, at least for me.

DB 05

One of your first musical projects was the magnificent The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, which you started in Austria in the early nineties. What can you tell me about the ideas behind forming this project, or the musical atmospheres surrounding Austria during those times? Do you still get a lot of question about the band, or requests to publish material etc.?

We had serious talks about rereleasing the whole material again, but this due to various reasons didn’t work out, and for me it’s OK. It’s somehow sad as loads of people seem to crave for it, but well. For me it’s the past and it remains the past. I do not really think about it nor do I listen to the music. I anyway never listen to my own music. Listening to own music is like swallowing your own sperm. And also, after having finished an album which means having listened to every song at least 500 times I can`t simply hear it anymore.

At the times we started TMLHBAC I was studying arts and politics and was very much interested in medieval times, so it was only logic to have recorded the kind of music we recorded. In Austria at that time there was no real scene – only very few good concerts and no other bands except maybe Allerseelen which then had already released some great stuff. But we had no contact then and were more or less isolated, which then seemed a bonus somehow and did allow us to do what we want without any restrictions. It was a good time then and very exciting, I mean recording, mixing and releasing your own music is always good, but the first album is the most exciting. And we did all ourselves.

After the Medieval audial aesthetics of The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, you took some of the more martial aspects of the music and formed Der Blutharsch. If Martial Industrial was (according to many I’m sure) perhaps started back in the day by Laibach, you certainly were one of the first to popularize this kind of music, as many artists followed you on this similar path (with many of them copying you ruthlessly). What can you tell me about the first years of Der Blutharsch in these times of Martial Industrial uprising?

I, when starting Der Blutharsch was also studying politics and was quit interested in Europe’s newer history, and at the time it just seamed a good concept. Mostly it was about provocation and it worked well. Also I have to say at the times I started Der Blutharsch it was really different. There were a lot of weird and interesting people in this scene – if you consider all the good bands on World Serpent Distribution. I got to know many funny and damn interesting people and it was really a weird and crazy time. I think I could write a book. Later it turned more into boring and more and more of the crazy people dissapeared and new boring and untalented bands showed up. Also I got really bored about provocation – I mean.. It was about music and I think it simply was time to move on and discover new territories. And I have to say.. It was for a better!

DB 03

During your years with the more militaristic version of Der Blutharsch, you collaborated and toured with many respectable artists from for example the Neofolk or Noise/Industrial -scenes, with people like Douglas Pearce and Boyd Rice. Considering the nature of these personas, you must have had a hell of a time?

Oh yes.. It was crazy then. We had a lot of fun and a weird time. But same… You move on and for me it was time to go.

The latest incarnation of Der Blutharsch is very Psychedelic Rock -oriented. Pictures of mushrooms and such have been present in for example pictures related to Der Blutharsch in the past, so I guess it’s safe to assume you have experience with psychedelics and the states of mind they produce? Would you say a certain mindset present in the Psychedelic-scene is closer to what you do today, more than for example the atmospheres surrounding the Neofolk-scene, or is there any need to make a distinction?

Well… Hard to say as I ever really analyse what I do. I do music for myself, I have to do music. I start to feel really bad if I didn`t go to the studio after a few days. For me it’s passion and I just have to work on music. But somehow I think even the old Der Blutharsch were somehow psychedelic, but not that much than these days. Of course.. If you experience some “opening up“ of your mind you see things different. Meanwhile loads of things which seemed important for me 15 years ago are not important at all. For me music is just a way to have good times with good people… More or less.

As your music today is called (among other terms) “Neu Kraut Music”, you can probably see yourselves as a continuation of the wonderful Krautrock tradition? What are the most important aspects of this culture in your opinion, compared to the other Psychedelic scenes of those times?

I think and always was thinking that the most important thing for doing music is to stay open and curious. I never gave myself any restrictions towards what I am doing, and somehow this worked out well. It was always a good ride. Also I am very open towards music.. For me there’s only bad music and good music, and I decide for myself what is good and what is bad. And I think what really was the main target of Kraut Music back then was to not follow any restrictions or rules. This is what I think is still important.  And these days it is REALLY important for me to find other bands who give a shit about all and do their own unique work. I have to say that i.e. Pharao Overlord is one of the bands I discovered via Niko a few years ago and which REALLY impressed me a lot and still does – and as long as I am able to discover new bands which impress me… Life is good as well. There is loads of good concerts going on in Vienna… And this makes it a good place for me!

DB 02

Your 2013 full-length was titled “Cosmic Trigger”, a title used also by the late great Robert Anton Wilson, featuring what appear to be wooden penises on the cover. What does this title and cover-picture represent to you? What can you tell me about the themes of your latest full-length “Today I Want To Catch Clouds”?

As I said. I do not analyze my music and honestly I do not really think a lot about it. For me creating music is a process. It’s like a journey. When you start you never know where you will end and if you finish I find myself really surprised where it did lead me to. For me the process of creating music is more important than the result – somehow. So… I have no clue what else Cosmic Trigger represents to me than a good time I had. I remember when I heard about this penis shrine in Bangkok and went there to take the cover picture… This is more important to me. Good memories about good times.  “Today I Want To Catch Clouds” is not a real album, it’s a collection of songs we recorded or remixed for or with other bands and it was a good thing to have all of them together on one album. But the songs date over 5 years.

What’s the story behind your latest release “Sous l’Arbre De Science”, and does the name Josef Dvorak mentioned as one of the artists of this release have something to do with the movement of Viennese Actionism?

Yes. Josef Dvorak is a satanist expert, philosopher and psychoanalyst and one of the founding members of Wiener Aktionismus. I got to know him via a friend and he did 2 vocal tracks on an album for us. Then we thought we should do a proper release with him and so we did. I talked about this idea to another friend – Didi – the singer of well known Austrian band Fuckhead and he liked the idea so we joined forces. Josef is a very funny guy and I really am very thankful that I could work with him. Also I have to say – Jörg B is a great fan of him and his books influenced him a lot when he was a teenager – so I think for him it was even more exciting. And thats also nice for me…

DB 04

Your releases have usually been printed in various versions and many different sizes of pressings. Do you see this kind of “collector”-mentality essential to releasing music in concrete formats these days? Does music even sell these days in the way it supports the people involved? Can you personally live on music?

I think not about music as a business. I am privileged that I can survive with what I am doing and more that I can work with other people I adore, that’s the best about doing music. I never think about it commercial. I had some offers of bigger labels to sign but then I always decided to stay with Tesco, as they always supported me and they do not really care as well about my weird ideas – au contraire. If I want to release something I just release it. I am working on a limited 10inch now which will be released in a very ridiculous edition of 16 copies. All will be made by hand – so I work with friends directly.. One will do the artwork, another the print – we will do all by hand together. That’s what interests me… The process – not the result. As soon as I have an album or release out I am not interested in it anymore. But luckily also some people like what we do.. So I can not complain about sales, although really – I do not care. Also with playing shows. I prefer small intimate shows rather than big ones. Better to have 200 people who really like your music than 600 who just come to see you.  Success is relative – and I think doing music since over 25 years now and still being around and having more passion for what you do than before… That’s success… At least for me.

Thank you very much for this interview! What can you tell me about the future of Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand? Does it involve a lot of playing live?

No, I am right now in the process of seriously thinking if we ever will play life again. I have many projects now and some more in my mind for 2016. And you know – Time is thee enemy!

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