The Haxan Cloak: Excavation – album review

The Haxan Cloak ‘Excavation’ (Tri Angle Records)
Release date: Out Now
Score: 9/10

Last year Louder Than War were totally, utterly & completely blown away by one of the most brilliant live sets we’ve ever seen, orchestrated by the man known as The Haxan Cloak. He’s know dropped his new album & boy has it got the critic’s slavering! Naturally Louder Than War had to get on the compliment train too.

It’s a landscape of oil drills, long since left to rot in flakes of rust, in bleak landscapes where solitary shadows flit like carrion birds amongst the lost industry of a forgotten generation. The landscape, bleak to the horizon, awaits the mirage like figure to approach; this is no beneficent visitation that approaches but something much more sinister.
The factories, broken glass and graffiti, piss-stained walls, idle of workers, idle of life. They stand on the edge of grey towns full of shadow life. Is that oil on the factory floor, or blood?

There are crackles from arc lights. Discordant sounds for a discordant generation.

This is The Haxan Cloak and it’s fucking brilliant.

The Haxan Cloak is the name under which Bobby Krlic works his instrumentalist magic, creating startling, nightmarish soundscapes that, once heard, aren’t forgotten. Excavation is his second album release after the much acclaimed eponymous release.

It would be too easy to talk of this as a soundtrack for a movie that doesn’t exist. But soundtracks are written specifically for an already existing image; Krlic’s work stands on its own. It creates images that will be, if not completely, unique to the listener. This is music that is both unsettling and an amphetamine rush to the imagination.
Listening to it with headphones the music becomes even more immersive, and, at times, I thought I heard noises beyond the headphones and turned, to see nothing but my own shadow. Maybe.
It is all off kilter. There are muted drums. A dead beat. The slow rise of a scream or the sudden fall into the abyss. There are sounds like a wheezing, asthmatic body, clinging desperately to life, or hoping for the mercy of death, cutting edgily across the beats.

The dark heart of the feral forest. The industrial heartland collapsed in on itself
Buildings collapsing from inertia.
The silence of tension.
Graffiti of insignificances.
The cities being reclaimed by nature. Rule defeated by unrule.
This is Industrial Horror.

It reminds you of how evocative music is. Music isn’t just for jumping around to, or for fucking to, it’s for touching the subconscious and evoking the sense of other. The Haxan Cloak touches that sub conscious with tendrils of half forgotten memories and reaches deep into our darkest recesses to wake our primordial horrors.
And all this from one man pressing buttons, banging things, and using whatever else he has to hand.
Impressive. Very fucking impressive. Just don’t play it on a first date.

All words by Mark ray. More writing by Mark on Louder Than War can be found in his author’s archive.

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