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SOLAR TEMPLE - A Gift That Should Have Been Reserved For The Great Lights / GALG - Teloorgang

It's double review time with a couple of new albums on Consouling Sounds! Not even two weeks ago the Belgian label released the long-awaited collaboration "Embers Beget The Divine" by Solar Temple and Dead Neanderthals.
If you don't own that potential live album of the year yet, you should seriously consider adding two more items to your cart, because this Friday two more - partly related - releases are going to see the light of day / darkness of night:

SOLAR TEMPLE - A Gift That Should Have Been Reserved For The Great Lights (CD) (2024)

Here the connection is obvious. Almost simultanously with their collaborative Roadburn Festival recording Solar Temple are also bringing us the successor of their other Roadburn (Redux) recording "The Great Star Above Provides".

Since this material actually predates both of those works and was laid down in the pandemic era 2020/2021 it's save to assume that this is a studio recording for a change, even though the credits on the digipak are very minimal. I guess the long album title just didn't leave enough space for other information. They managed to provide the full lyrics of the only track with vocals though.

Said track is the opener "Ejaculation", which - sorry to disappoint all you porn freaks out there - seems to rather refer to a metaphysical, philosophical, cosmic event that your profane noodle flipflapping. Or the Dutch duo just enjoys trolling. The words are spoken in a deliberately overacted way (reminiscent of Bong) to a dramatic horror movie organ, whooshing cymbals and Dark Ambient sounds, before suddenly a hard, appearantly slightly confused stop and go Electronic beat and Synthwave bass join the anti-party.

And if you thought this was just the sinister (twelve minute) intro, before the album takes off and delivers some of that open grandeur which both previous releases offered so much of in different ways - think again, because the "Celestial Kingdom" may test your nerves! No wide Post Rock gesture, no cool cowboy twang like on "Great Star", no stupendously layered Psychedelic Black Metal lead guitar ecstasis like on "Embers". Fuck melodies, fuck Rock'n'Roll, most of this one is merely a droning electro-industrial soundscape with a weird brutal pulse. It's the soundtrack to being stuck in the barbed wire around an abandoned weapons factory that has been sectretly taken over by the machines.

By now it should be clear that the two guitar players are not even playing guitars here. Instead this album explores a decidedly different route of Drone, Noise and dark atmospheres.
It's funny that Solar Temple are still often labeled a Black Metal band. Gotta add a big all caps "POST" to that!
The last track "A Life Before Life" confirms that yet again. It is a piece, which gets wider, bigger and richer on variety - there's even a part which conveys a sense of Black Metal-ish angst -, but the musical language is almost completely removed from Rock aesthetics and rather feels like a John Carpenter-inspired dystopian movie score.

And while all in all I still prefer the other mentioned albums for their larger scale alone, this shorter, condensed yet stylistically bolder version of Solar Temple actually provides quite an intriguing contrast. It's always great to see artists throwing themselves into experiments with so little fear.
No doubt, these dudes are on the mission of building an interesting unpredictbale body of work.  

GALG - Teloorgang (CD) (2024)

At least on first sight Galg's connection to "Embers Beget The Divine" is not as close, but it's there: This band comes from Nijmegen, which is also Dead Neanderthal City. And speaking of that duo Otto Kokke can actually be heard as a guest with a wild saxophone performance on "Hemeltergend", the opener of this album.

"Teloorgang", just like Galg, was inspired by trying to find beauty in the modern world,  and failing. ... says the official press promo. And they must have been searching for a long time, because the guitar/guitar/drums (plus lots of panicked screaming) trio recorded these fifty crushing minutes way back in 2015, but somehow it took until now for them to be unleashed upon the world. And it wasn't the simplistic cover artwork which took so long. Take a picture of a flying bird and invert the colours... I can give you a dozen variations of that from my archives before the album is over. Still good design I must admit.

My favorite band with the same kind of line-up is Big|Brave, another great one would be Slomatics. Or Boris - when they feel like it - of course. And when it comes to creating a super heavy sound with a deeply satisfying crunchy guitar texture, Galg can certainly apply for membership in this gang, even though the production of their Industrial/No Wave-influenced Sludge Rock often emphasizes the drums over the gnarly guitar drone.

But let me backpedal a bit! It actually feels wrong to assume specific influences, because you can't really tell from what kind (Hardcore, Metal, please-don't-call-us-Metal, etc.) of background these guys are coming.
Given that drummer M - the poor lads only have one-letter-names - also plays in Fluisteraars there's actually a good chance they've developed their sound on a Post Black Metal foundation. Oh, by the way, outside of Galg the man answers to the name of Mink Koops and is also one half of Solar Temple. So yeah, this is all incestuous as fuck. But thanks to George R.R. Martin everyone loves incest now, right? The album finale "Doorn In Het Oog" definitely shows musical parallels to the guitar-centric work of Solar Temple. But before that a lot of other comparisons could be made, ranging from the desolate bleakness of fellow Dutchmen Farer to the monolithic repetitiveness of overused go-to reference Swans.

For the same reason I don't have a rating system with numbers and abolished the favorite song category from my reviews long ago, I am also not giving you FFO ("for fans of") lists here. It's just a pain in the ass, which takes me ages to get my head around..
In case of "Teloorgang" however it might have actually saved me some time writing this, because I came up quite quickly with Caspar Brötzmann MassakerSumac, Sunn O))).

Without overthinking how adequate those names actually are, I think the message should be clear: This is some fine (almost) hopeless desolate dirt. Come wallow in it!

Both albums can be pre-ordered on CD or vinyl at Consouling Sounds and will be released very soon on Friday, June 28th.

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