The solo-project Kristus Kut comes from the Netherlands, and has more than three years and over a dozen releases in his pocket. Whereas his previous releases have leaned towards more lo-fi and noisier ritualistic drone, this time the soundscape relies on more ambiently droning but still very heavy approach, with some tribal rhythms and other ritualistic elements; but worry not, the crudeness and noise is still present, they just sound a bit different now. The album is a live-recording, but still stands as the artist's most professional-sounding and -looking release I've encountered to this day (02/2011).
The album is a lenghty one, so it's no wonder it doesn't go for an explosive start. More on the contrary, the nine-minute minimalistic opener "Slow Kiss" could easily be seen as an intro with its really slow and heavy bass pulse. The bass sounds vast and soft, but still jagged and harsh enough to easily stay interesting through the track's contrast-based run. "Take Their Breath Away" sounds more familiar coming from KK with its slowly building and really vast, deep and violent wall of harsh droning noise. It carries a nice lo-fi touch that's sure to please the band's older fans, but the song relies more on its great depth. It has some soft wooden beats scattered around it without following a too tight formula, providing some extra contrast and rhythm. These beats sound very lo-fi and stick out, but, as they're not too loud, they eventually become a coherent element in the soundscape. You just might need a bit of getting used to them due to their crude sound, that's all.
After all the violence, the album takes a step back on "The Inside Is Coming Out," a song built from soft dark ambient-layers, until its occasional bursts of grainier drone and violent releases of distorted noise-screeches take over. The similar play on contrasts between soft and downright hostile sounds, as well as close to silent moment and overwhelming noise carries through the whole album; the short "Sadness..." goes back into the opening song's minimalistic dimensions, until "A Nurse's Daughter Will Die" brings back the noisiness in the form of a surprisingly balanced mixture of droning noise, with some bass pulse and loud metallic chimes breaking the track's continuity. The interlude "Come" and the nearly 20 minutes long closer introduce more prominent tribal-elements with some hypnotic percussions, working together with the grainy drone. "The Kiss of Death Means Eternal Life" is the boldest and most self-secure -sounding tune on the whole album, and carries the most zeal in its slowly but surely evolving wall of sound; the boldness comes from the percussions inducing a ritualistic trance as well as the samples of tribal singing backing the drone, and it all comes together as the album's highlight for me. This is raw power. The album is stylishly finished with a quiet piece of tribal percussions, and I can only say that the album left me satisfied.
The album might seem overwhelming at first due to it's lenght and versatile build, but in the end the album convinces its listener; all the elements are in place, and they all have their meaning, even if they might seem out of place at first (such as the various crude percussions). The end result is noisy but oddly warm and even cozy, and if you are ready to open up your shell for it, it will serve your ritual needs well.
The album would've benefited from a more powerful production at times, especially regarding the percussions which sound rather hollow at times, and the visual side should have more to provide for the senses; although I like the album's red-meets-black colourscape, the actual images the layout is disappointing. If you're not afraid of the parts with lo-fi and hostile noise, you should check this album out.