Brennendes Gehirn, Epidemics of the Modern Age

This is one of those albums that has been staring me in the face for months, but I've been somehow intimidated by it. Perhaps it was the 5 songs in 60 minutes, perhaps it was the fact that Brennendes Gehirn is composed, in part, by one of the fellows (Gaendaal) that gave us the otherworldly sonic catalog of Wraiths; whatever it was, it is a bastard, because this is clearly something I should have gotten around to long ago.

EDIT: Gaendaal did not actually play a part in composing this. That album is just released on his label.

Given the title of the album, the songs seem to follow a certain narrative. At least, I can say I have extracted a certain narrative out of the songs - a narrative that may have little to do with the actual intent of the sounds on the record itself.  The first two tracks introduce us to a world that is very, very sick. Through harsh noise, reverberating drones, and dark, twisted ambient textures, we get to know a world that has been raped, torn asunder, and left virtually in ashes. By the third track, though, there seems to be some sort of awakening. The idea that there may be some tiny sliver of hope for what is left of life in the world to cling to is brought into the fold. Some subtle but beautiful washes of electronics alongside some spiritually and tribally suggestive samples over the first half of the track insinuate that there is a chance, albeit a small one, that what is left of the world can recover and perhaps even thrive. Across the second half of the track, though, that idea is confronted by the same fools that brought about the downfall in the first place, and the two ideas struggle against one another. Loose rhythms and alternating hypnotic noise patterns provides the soundtrack as the two sides dance, in search of a victor. The low-end beats that pervade the fourth track show a world that has cast hope aside in favor of grand decadence, and the descent is all but certain as the track progresses. As the fifth and final track, the 21-minute "Chorea Sancta Viti" begins, the descent into depravity is in full swing. The bands of survivors fall into disarray, and the world is swallowed by involuntary convulsions of chaos. Madness and death sweep the land until nothing is left but a random, rhythm-less wind blowing across a barren landscape. That, and a disturbingly sad piano to usher in the final demise. The wind dies out, the piano stops, and the world is cold, dead and for all intents and purposes, destroyed, gone.

I could be full of shit, but that's what I took away from this album. It's quite a journey, and quite a story to sit through. Make of it what you will. It is available on CD in hand-stamped card packaging from Ordo Pestilentia, and is also available from the label's Bandcamp as a high quality digital download.

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