Dead Man's Hill vs. Kenji Siratori
This album marks the 2nd collaboration between Dead Man's Hill (Belgium) and Kenji Siratori (Japan). It all sounds like the meeting between 2 different cultures, but music can often go above cultural differences. I think it's also interesting to mention that this album has been released on a Chinese label (Midnight Productions). The common efforts between both artists resulted in a quite cinematographic approach. This album could have been a soundtrack. Musical wise we're pretty close to dark ambient music like illustrated on the opening cut "Damaged Soul". A few Japanese spoken vocals inject an extra mysterious element in the composition, which is accentuated on a few more cuts. "Necrophiliac Virgin" is a very good outburst from this increasing mysterious mood. "Hypnogenesis Heart" sounds like the ultimate piece for a soundtrack while "Mystic Rebirth" coming next reveals a ritual influence for its rhythmic and a tiny epic touch on top. This is a remarkable composition. "Soul Alive" brings the album to an end with a new, more soundtrack-orientated cut.
Both artists sound like they feel very comfortable working together, which can only incite them to consider a 3rd release!
Side Line Magazine
Dead Man's Hill - Songs From The Forthcoming Apocalypse
Piette Yetayi aka Dead Man’s Hill can be seen and considered as one of the best hidden secrets from the Belgian ambient and industrial scene. This musician has been active in numerous bands and projects, but Dead Man’s Hill is for sure the most famous one. This project released an impressive number of albums on very different labels like War Office Propaganda, Bugs Crawling Out Of People, Old Europa Café and now Midnight Productions. On “Songs From The Forthcoming Apocalypse” P. Yetayi explores new realms of dark and mystical territories. Inspired by the Maya prediction of the apocalypse announced for 2012 Dead Man’s Hill shows us his darkest sonic thoughts. This project takes again some distance with the established ambient standards touching a few other grounds. One of the main characteristics is the vocal parts dealing with some real somber and obscure themes. A kind of oppressive ambient mood hangs over the entire composition while an indefinable metal-doom spirit appears on most of the tracks. That’s for sure what makes the main difference with established names from the dark ambient scene. Dead Man’s Hill goes further than the average ambient project by exploring and experimenting with a wider arsenal of influences. The tracklist from this album goes crescendo reaching a kind of apotheosis at the end by cuts like “And Back To What Happened in 2012” and especially “The Earth Falls, And Will Not Rise Again”. This last cut is a real masterpiece in cold ambient stuff with a vague tribal touch on top. You get the vision of tormented creatures lost in a horror-scape. The metal touch I was referring to appears on the more bombastic “Visions Of Volcanic Lakes”. We here get a kind of symphonic and epic flavor leading the listener in some stupefaction. This is dark ambient music from another dimension!
Side Line Magazine
Dead Man's Hill - Dog Burial
Dit album dateert al van 2007, maar bereikt ons nu pas. Dead Man’s Hill, opgericht in 1998, is het one man project van Bart Piette, oudgediende van de Belgische wave/gothic scene. Na releases op Beast Of Prey, War Office Propaganda en Bugs Crawling Out Of People, verschijnt dit album op het Old Europa Cafe label. Muzikaal tapt Piette vooral uit de vaatjes dark ambient, death industrial, martial industrial en neoclassical. Dead Man’s Hill doet soms denken aan acts als Laibach, MZ 412, Arditi, Puissance, Coph Nia of Karjalan Sissit, maar in de eerste plaats toch heel duidelijk aan In Slaughter Natives. Dead Man’s Hill zou in elk geval heel goed passen op Roger Karmaniks Cold Meat Industry label, dat is zeker. “Dog Burial” is een album (8 tracks, 42 minuten speelduur) vol sterke composities met een sound die druipt van de bombast. Het album opent heel sterk met “Dark Depths Of The Sea” waarin zowaar echt gezongen wordt. Een dark wave song als het ware, doch wel de enige op het album. De aanzwellende, bombastische, vrouwelijke ‘klassieke’ koorzangen op onder meer de titelsong en “Where No Man Can Survive” doen wel heel erg denken aan In Slaughter Natives. Op “World Of Dogs And Crows” duikt prachtig elektrische gitaarspel op tussen de martial industrial bombast. Meest creepy track is “Yetayi: Invocation Of The Father”, met demonisch gekreun en gelach. Het album sluit heel sterk met “Ghost Train In The Tunnel” dat net zo klinkt als de titel suggereert. Knap!
01 “Dark Depths of the Sea” hosts an opaque Dark-wave type synth string patch chromatically descending four notes in a definitely spooky fashion. Main voice track is a very charming baritone crooning style. Old B-movie horror movie sounding female-sounding back-up singer ‘sample’ [as this all just one guy, Piette, doing this musik] doing the same displaced four chromatik notes higher. A soft percussion with hi-hat. The backup ghosts enter into an operatik chorus in a solo duet together in the middle. Enter in very clean and crisp sampled brass sektions to highlight the aforementioned. The cadences end not too far from symphonik works of the modern classical period really which is Brilliant. A brief and sparse metal lick with bridges comes at the end winding it down.
02. “Dog Burial” blasts forth some note beats with synth as intro. Then the vox synths do a sort of dark groove riff ala neo-hippy-murderous-kultation with the aforementioned synth blast bursts and low bass processional beats. An upper treble synth does a chromatik riff with synth strings ala a death factory of lost souls. A big clamorous vokal sample which suggest “god is dead!” announces itself. The arrangement then enters into a mix of the above with a more driving tribal industrial beat part ala Der Blutharsch. A new harmony of oktave-ranged strings make it clear that metal symphonik areas of the orchestra are summoned forth! A fusional statement of sorts for this sub-genro-eclipse, where the chromatik motifs more akin to black metal, interplay their adamenacy that they here to stay! Riffage and motifs centering more inward towards their doomy centers, the arrangement grows once again exploiting the chromatik language metal uses to make its Heathen folk contingencies ever more prominent to its Youth members! The vokals throughout this mix are buried in their tribal utterances because the amount of atmosphere upwards, upwards of which the imagined arm-torch-fist is lifted above and higher, is too protected and brethren by comm-union to be uploaded atop the mix and decoded directly by exploiting producers or consumers;]
03 “World of Dogs and Crows” has a very Der Blutharsch-ish back up rhythm -guitar and sampler drone-militant vocal mix, although the vocals trans-mutate to become more like Albin Julius goes Black Metal ala black hoods and deep bestial growling;] There are some kute shredding noodly guitar solos thrown in for variety. These solos ride the black horsey over synth string chord progressions that are minimalist arpeggios ala a slowed-down darker Phillip Glass. This is good peppy musik to clean your house to I believe or to feel a lightning storm ride from foot to head if standing in awe below him when live on stage ;]
04 “...Of Friends And Believers” begins with a seemingly drunken speech-singing with mild echo effects which transforms in volume and mood to a horrifyingly menacing cackling scream! A two-note deep string patch makes itself known ala the mood created by imagining lunatic zombies taking over the asylum and the world whilst limping attached to ball and chain. Super quiet up above the mix is that _Liquid Sky_ type new-wave sound and up above that even more is that glistening synth string sound you might here in an old ice rink ala _Carnival of Souls_. The militaristik snarish drumset are light like hail drops on a tin roof and lower in the mix. Vocals for the song after the intro scream are pretty steady yet do warped glissandos here and there like a poltergeist, and are pushed way back in the mix under everything else which lends to a nice variety in the set. Ends with the ice rink sound winding down, screeching and strangely skidding out!
05 “Our Saviour” is the most sparse, experimental, and atmospherikally spooky track of the set. Begins below with an Eno _On Land_ type terrestrial yet sci-fi glowing sound ala the space-travel folks discovering alien pods on the evil planet at the beginning of _Alien_. A warbling voice enters in back middle hovering, and which sounds like an opera singer mutated into an imprisoned loop from a nightmare. A larger raspy whispery voice enters in speaking some diabolical type information. This voice interplays contrapuntally with what sounds like a higher version of the first sound although it could be a plug-in vocal processing effect as well. And this reminds me of some of the mysterious things Robert Ashley and co. do when they process their vocals. Two sinister different buzzy-rumbly analog synth lines ala _Doctor Butcher M.D._ meets _Future Kill_enter in then and intertwine with the mix. The vocals in the back are extremely mutated and flanged to the point where it becomes several people and their polysexualities. Then my favorite late 80’s synth sound ala my fave horror movie, Henenlotter’s_Brain Damage_ comes in with a kute riff makin me a very happy pup! The stimulation is relentless as it proceeds forth sparsely yet more intensively, accumulating overtone series air-duct cavelike atmosphere playing with all the aforementioned elements. Then the early der Blutharsch drums enter in way back in the mix as they grow in their march-on with a new sound which is like a simple lonely organ in mono. Drums become more crashingish. Piette’s more crooning confident vocal style then enters in in contrapunktal arrangement with all the above elements working out their vicissitudes till it ends justified in itself as Kompie!
06 “Where no Man Can Survive” has that late 80’s wax trax/play it again sam type orchestral grinding sample in sync with big drums ala Hunting Lodge, Controlled Bleeding, and again, Der Blutharsch. Structured vocal delivery are put into various registers/dyadic chorus with itself. Some other light hi-hat drumset is also back in the mix. There is a break in the sameness for an interlude of sorts, then all the previous comes back in stronger and more intensively bringing in the ice rink Poltergeist sound again. Then another break in the flow which is a complex polyrhythm, the riffs put through types of math-core neo-classical sensibilities almost goin over the top before it ends tight and clean.
07 “Yetayi: Invocation of the Father”. This is the track Josef was reminded of Black Metal artist, _Abruptum_ because of its invocational growly intro and sparse arrangement. And this is the one that reminded me of _Nekrophile records_ aesthetiks. This may be the most black occultish sounding track. The primordial depths of the abyss are clearly heard coming from below in this track. There are some chimes thrown in here and there throughout which is comforting compared to the scariness of the rest of the track’s sounds and vokal performance. Lustmord’s _Heresy_ album is brought to mind once again here. The vocals start laughing, cackling, and groaning in pain again at the ends, some of which is again ala _Lucisferrato_. Then a gregorian type voice through flangish effects. Very haunted sounds end the track with a cold chill.
08. “Ghost Train: In the Tunnel” sounds exactly like the title actually! A windy, pipe-like, traffic and tire skidding moment ala the fellini’s _ROMA_, the sounds of fury that ghosts have when they fly ala _Indiana Jones_ and _Poltergeist_, the propulsive, driving soundeffects and mood a train makes in a tunnel ala _Terror Train_ or _Silver Streak_, metal and wood tracks and wheels hit the percussion track thereby maybe ala Tarkovski’s _Stalker_. A vocal of Unkonsciousland is an interlude in the middle as things settle down but then pick up even more feverishly than before tying all the elements together! Discordant pitch and effects are somehow added to the percussion and things fall into a sparser, steady groove as the train is stuck in its tracks moving forward to an unknown indefinite point. This song and album’s ending is like turning the light out in the bedroom of the curious, imagining child with his pre-mature ego formations, or stopping/breaking a non-time-binded desiring-machine of the creative act, while the action of a cinematographik phantasmagoria is stuck in an eternal continuum or an incorporeal Universe! Brilliant musik, Piette! ;]
Dead Man's Hill - The Demons of Death
01 “Masks of Egypt” introduces the track with a keyboard drone which is ala air-pipe, yet glistening metal. A brief demonically-possessed percussion track comes in almost as if to make one spooked, and is put into ping-pong interplay with higher motivic versions of the same drone sound at the intro. The vocals are whispery and also demonically-charged. The drums are militaristic long rolls on the downbeat. There is an accompanying staccato keyboard riff which is in harmony with the drones and which suggest romanticism as form and expression. Another vocal takes over the song and dominates it then. This one is also very beautifully well-sung, masculine, somewhere between baritone and tenor. It is perhaps ala Patrick Leagas [Sixth Comm] singing on Death in June’s “the guilty have no pride” or maybe the band, Eden, I think and then its verses end ala Lucisferrato type vocals which is most welcomed amidst DMH’s fresh original spirit!. All these elements as tracks dramatically start and stop in the arrangement with supplemental ghost-like sounds as if carried away in the winds by a celestial headless horseman, the arrangement ascending into cathartic expressive bliss, the deep-laughing voice beckoning like an demonik ‘madman’, yet it is conversely quasi-adolescently endearing! ;]
02. “Echo Babylon”; a foreboding loud chime announces itself with ritual bass drum rolls. Then in sync with these propulsive drums and rhythmik organ are quasi-punko-doomy-shouting vocals which emulate a chorus of male and female doom punko-metal sensations! [Although these are of course, and surprisingly, all the creator, one guy, Piette]. These elements are brought in and out in the mean arrangement. Denoted is a feeling of ecstatik devastation. The motivic harmonies in the organ become neo-classically induced in their counterpoint as they move from register to register spawning a snake-like enter-twining.
03. “Interrogation” has Growling vocals and synth string announce a very deep cello-based string patch in a carny-like motivik rhythm. The voice is ala Albin Julius as snares supplant the mix. The growling voice then gets all alone with eerie horror movie vibes and trumpet fanfare! This interplay forms chorus and verse action back and forth. Organ, trumpets, cellos, drums get into sync as it progresses as a unified accompaniment for the vocals and an arrangement which hurtles the warped carny atmosphere forth suggesting the demons taking over the town in some type of rioting plague perhaps ala Cormon film, _Humanoids from the Deep_! Song ends with more laughing menace ala Lucisferatto!
04. This chivalrous track, “To Madame Brigitte”, somewhat covers a familiar orchestral and choral melodik festival motif ala “Carmina Burana” by Orff although very tastefully modified and made to subtly cater to Dead Man’s Hill exclusively. Trumpets of Doom and percussion proceed in a heroic marching sensation. Vocals are left alone again with drum and keyboard elements as it sings in that wailing Lucisferrato type falsetto once again.
05 “Carried away to Southern Africa”; a nice deep dark rumbling synth sound supplants more of that charming smooth romantik vocal delivery ala some early Patrick Leagas moments here marked by some synth strings that are short or long. The arrangement is sweeping like the grim reaper is coming upon the land at dusk shrouding a town with its black cape and swallowing it within its shadows. Burst of military drum roles and lots of upper harmonies with a synth that is sort of _Temple of Doom_ meets _Liquid Sky_ or something hybridly similar ala _Future Kill_.
06 “All Saints Day” is an uplifting majestic mix of horns, marching drums at a peppy pace, drones, harmonies, casio beat rhthym which is wonderfully kitsch ala bubbly woodblocks or what not faintly and briefly in the mix. The synth-vox patch has a gorgeous chord progression Phillip Glass and all the dark fantasy films of inner-hollyweird would kill for! The vocal delivery comes in spoken and confident about All Saints Day. Then there is a juxtaposed vocal chorus which sounds treated by effects plug-ins which is like some kind of cruel jury making some background commentary on the action! Lots of dramatic percussion tracks are layered making various solo entrances before it ends.
o7 “Dormi Pa’fume” opens with some sample of heavily processed and warbly female witch-sounding whispered chanting back in the mix. A dark synth tone drops in below for a while then a crashing lightning type metallic sound and it is a older man narrating in the style of the opening narrator of one of my all time Favorite Lucifer films _Fear No Evil_. ;] That bit ends then it’s a maelstrom of the sounds of hell ala Lustmord’s _Heresy_, the cave and primordial beast album. Lots of howling and spiraling, wailing, abysmal echoes, groaning under the percussion which then takes on a steady crashing very slow beat with lots of sumptuous reverb gravy. Then a terrifying demonik scream comes out of this gaping chasm again ala _Indiana Jones_ when they open that which one is forbidden not to! Then the beat starts to do its more steady death march! The demons screams its phantasmagorical head off again with even more effects saturating the mix. Then the synths do start to remind me of those Simon Silmonetti used in the _Demons 1 and 2_ soundtracks when the demons start to cause havok at the ends. Very nice job!
08 “Devil” has buzzing synth bursts, a very _Halloween/Boogeyman/Excorcist/ Phantasm_ whatever type bell riff, a brief cheeky sample from a movie of a man and woman talking about the devil, crashing in percussion, deep bass rumblings, some beast growling in a cave in the background moving through the wind, Roman times destrukto type samples, machinik down tempo type beat, alarming trombones of dread, the percussion then has some light bongo aktion which comes in and out, again the abyss of hell opens up to swallow the malicious skum as it ends.
What an ingenious monstrous treat this album is ;] !
Dead Man's Hill - Lakes of Sacrifice
Dead Man’s Hill is best introduced by the artists brief bibliographical statement on the Dead Man’s Hill website “Dead Man's Hill started in 1998 with the intension of making dark and cold music, especially influenced by The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, and early In Slaughter Natives, but with a more aggressive feel, by incorporating black/death metal influences. The Lyrics of Dead Man's Hill revolve around Haïtian voodoo cultists (Culte des morts) and the sickness/cancer that mankind is.”
At first glance the concept of a Belgian musician performing music in the vein of In Slaughter Native and The Moon Lay Hidden with black metal influences and Haitian voodoo lyrics may seem a bit eclectic but Dead Man’s Hill has proven that this new generation of industrial musicians is capable of bridging such diverse themes. Taking inspiration from defining acts of the past Dead Man’s Hill has helped to reinvigorate a sense of experimentalism within industrial and especially martial industrial music.
Lakes of Sacrifice is the 5th official album by Dead Man’s Hill released on Bugs Crawling Out Of people of Canada after four previous successful releases on such prominent labels as Slaughter Productions, WOP and Beast Of Prey. Lakes of Sacrifice features collaborations with spoken word artist It-Clings and a remix by Nick Gorman of Fractured.
The musical style will be familiar to Dead’s Man’s Hill fans who have come to enjoy the dense driving martial industrial dirges that have come to define the sound of the band. As on previous albums martial drumming mixes freely with swelling choirs, electric guitars, percussion, keyboards and samples. Unlike The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud the music is not medieval in tone but rather more industrial and apocalyptic. There is an emphasis on anger, despair and hopelessness akin to many of the older CMI bands like Coph Nia and In Slaughter Natives. The inclusion of electric guitar and drums in many songs is not only refreshing it is rather effective at contributing to the driving nature of many tracks. The use of ritualistic percussion is also worth mention. Though it is slight and seldom when Dead Man’s Hill does direct his attention towards ritualistic or tribal percussion scores it seemed as if he was touching upon something worth exploring further. Merging the martial tone of the music with ritualistic elements occurs in some passages but I was left wanting to here more of this mixture.
Though most of the songs follow a deep furrow that leads to ever darkening recesses the artists manages an amazingly narrative passage that holds the listeners attention. Though you never expect the sun to break the dark skies the music projects your imagination and attention are held completely throughout the album by keen use of sound and acoustic structure. The music is epic and diverse changing pace from song to song from dark oppressive soundscapes to engorged martial anthems while ever retaining a menacing industrial edge. Dead Man’s Hill stands alongside the next generation of industrial musicians leading the way into the future alongside acts like Cold Fusion, Rukkanor and the many other newer musicians who seem so talented at introducing new elements into otherwise rigid musical styles.
If you indulge in dark martial soundscapes written for a decaying age you will find solace and sanctuary if not new nightmares in the music of Dead Man’s Hill fifth release Lakes of Sacrifice.
reviewer: malahki thorn, july 2007
Starting off with a dark ambient track, punctuated by the oh-so-angry ramblings of It-clings creating an atmosphere of foreboding, as the vocals thrash through the agony of the world, angrily denouncing life, while grasping for some sort of meaning. The music continues from there into a martial neo-folk set up, angry dark ambient drones punctuating the roots of the tracks, while overture-like noises float in, leading to the marching beats and vocal samples floating in and out.
Operatic female vocals add a really nice sub-text to the whole thing, like a little emphasis to the desperate feelings. A sort of overall horror at facing the world. Leading to increasing darkness and despair, life feels as if it's slowly ebbing out of you as you progress further and further into the album.
I feel as if I'm at some medieval ritual, perhaps awaiting the sacrificial burnings. Or I suppose drowning would be more appropriate, but I guess any old killings would be just fine or maybe just sitting around and despairing also wouldn't be so bad place to be hearing this.
Definitely a very intense and frightening album, which I hope is the point, for it would make a terrible light pop hit. Really, I mean I hope the intention wasn't to make a sugary top 40 hit, as this would be a miserable failure. Great listening for a cold, miserable winter's day.
--Matthew Rich , march 2007
left hip e-zine
DMH is a dark ambient project from Belgium, which has already been active for a couple of years now. The new album has an amazing huge potential to conquer a wider audience and helping them in the search of a deal with a good label. The orchestral arrangements are clearly reminding to the living legends of In Slaughter Natives. This is more than a simple reference! “Lakes of sacrifice” is full of bombast and transposed feelings of drama and horror. A few vocal parts and some mysterious female chants only accentuate the state of mysticism this band created with real talent! The last song is a remix made by Fractured, which sounds definitely more electronic minded! This is maybe one of the best kept secrets of the Belgian ambient scene, but it’s now high time to bring this band a bit more into the spotlights! Great music!
-- DP (7/8)
DEAD MAN'S HILL send back out the surrender-site of the living body junk feeling replicant where turned on the ill-treatment of a chemical anthropoid to the insanity medium of the hyperreal HIV scanners DNA channel of the corpse city era respiration-byte. "lakes of sacrifice" plug-in the paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator to the abnormal living body of DEAD MAN'S HILL digital vamp cold-blooded disease animals abolition world-codemaniacs that was controlled the murder-gimmick of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM. DEAD MAN'S HILL accelerate the acidHUMANIX infectious disease archive of the biocapturism nerve cells trash sense of drug fetus to the reptilian HUB modem heart that hung up the nightmare-script of a clone boy virus. The terror fear cytoplasm of DEAD MAN'S HILL gene-dub of the drug fetus of the trash sense to the modem heart of the hybrid corpse mechanism that turned on technojunkies' ill-treatment to non-resettable reptilian HUB. The paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator DEAD MAN'S HILL corpse feti streaming of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM to the acidHUMANIX infectious disease archive of the biocapturism nerve cells nightmare-script of a clone boy mass of flesh-module. "lakes of sacrifice" install the brain universe of the hyperreal HIV scanner form murder game of the dogs of tera to the feeling replicant living body junk of DEAD MAN'S HILL digital vamp cold-blooded disease animals. DEAD MAN'S HILL exterminate to the paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator that compressed the brain universe of the hybrid corpse mechanism gene-dub of a chemical anthropoid acidHUMANIX infectious disease of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM. "lakes of sacrifice" turn on trash sense of drug fetus reptilian HUB modem heart that hung up to the genomics strategy circuit that was processed the data mutant of DEAD MAN'S HILL abolition world-codemaniacs feeling replicant ill-treatment. The mass of flesh-module of the hyperreal HIV scanner form that tera of dogs DEAD MAN'S HILL were debugged to the DNA channels of the biocapturism nerve cells corpse feti streaming of a clone boy guerrilla.
-- Kenji Siratori, 2006
Dead Man's Hill is a dark ambient industrial project based in Belgium that first appeared in 1998. Their music is based around epic militaristic orchestration to create a massive sound and an eerie sense of foreboding like the imminent bloodshed of a long battle.
Opening the album is "Sacrifice of Subscription" alongside the spoken wordcore artist It-Clings delivering his graphic lyrical musings. The huge military marching tempo of Dead Man's Hill's music can't help but remind you of the immense marching hoards of Orc armies in the Lord of the Rings or the fright-inducing intensity of the orchestral soundtrack to the Omen films. Their music is very soundtrack-like with an undeniable sense of epic stature. "Sacrifice" adds another aspect to the mix by including chanting/ritual speech which heightens the mood of the whole piece although it does sound unintentionally humorous at times. Elsewhere - on "Eyeball" for example - there are other sampled and often manipulated spoken samples accompanied by the steady deliberate throb of the rhythmic military beat. Often, this is joined by the sound of a choir that only adds to the vastness already created. At other times, the obscured spoken vocals give an air of ritual or spiritual intent but can be too obscured to identify. Around the halfway point however, the mood changes. Lakes of Sacrifice veers off into darker territory with "In the Flesh" which is less militaristic whilst retaining the choral elements, adding a demonic voice resulting in a feeling of deranged nightmarish anxiety. The theme and an entirely more melancholic atmosphere continue into "Death by Fire" and on into "Vous-Deux" which is again heavy with otherworldly groans, ritualistic vocals and choral chanting. "Gard Enz" is gentler still, maintaining its dark swirling ambience and an operatic quality until the album closes with the jittery clinical precision of Fractured's choral remix of "Legion of Coldness".
Lakes of Sacrifice is an album of two halves; just when you think you have the formula and 'sound' worked out, everything is turned on its head and Dead Man's Hill reinvent themselves and move into entire new realms of dark and disturbing ambience. The militaristic quality of the first half of the album is great but when the album starts to get darker and even more unsettling is when it really shines. If epic orchestration, militaristic beats and very dark ambience are your thing, this is a great album to immerse yourself in.
-- Paul Lloyd [7/10]
Dead Man's Hill presents us with his latest album Lakes of Sacrifice which is a harrowing journey of militaristic orchestral industrial that although stuck in a genre that's defined by having a pretty strict set of rules still manages to fit a little bit of originality into their arrangements. Arrangements are what I will call the music here because it sounds like many synth presets are used to create these tracks and that is probably what is holding this back the most.
If I could experience these compositions played back with an excellent orchestral sample library and some production techniques that aren't too rare these days (see The Protagonist, or Puissance for some great electronic orchestral music production) I think I would probably have a completely different opinion of this music. Of course I guess I have to talk about what is actually presented here and not what I wish this was.
The opening track “Sacrifice of Subscription (With it Clings)” kicks in with a harshly spoken monologue dealing with what sounds like everyday bitching. The dialog doesn't strike me as being pretentious but the way it is spoken does sound pretty rediculous. Dead Man's Hill kind of sounds like he's trying very hard to be angry but instead sounding quite silly. As with the music, I feel like the material could be presented in a different way and be totally acceptable, but I'm guessing my opinions on this type of music will be pretty far-out in left field as I don't listen to a ton of it.
“Sacrifice Before Harvest Moon” is a track that stands out on this album because it is composed well and includes some more electronic elements which make it unique. The choir sounds are produced pretty well and there are a lot of them in this track so it works. The drums might be the worst sounding part of the production and it's too bad because this could be improved a ton just by adding a good bit more reverb, and even more so if some better samples were used.
A lot of this has a very cinematic quality to it especially Yigael which features a galloping rhythm and soaring choir to form a track that reminds just a little of Star Wars. “Sacrifice” follows in line with Sacrifice Before Harvest Moon and features a more electronic texture with the thundering toms.
I'm really on the edge of almost liking this but the more cheesy elements prevent me from doing so and that sucks.
Overall Rating: C
Production Quality: C
Appearances can be deceiving. In case of the act Dead Man’s Hill it certainly is! When I first looked at the gruesome artwork, I thought that the album Lakes of Sacrifice would be another mediocre release. Luckily I was wrong. Dead Man's Hill, a Belgium project started in 1998 with the intension of making dark and ice cold music, is especially influenced by The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud and early In Slaughter Natives. There are also some traces of Puissance and Will in the music but apart from some slow peaces of music the sound is much more gloomy and aggressive than these bands. The themes of Dead Man's Hill revolve around Haitian voodoo cultists (Culte des Morts) and the sickness/cancer of mankind itself. This album is black, pitch black and the overall feeling that Dead Man’s Hill is one of utterly despair and damnation. The music isn’t very original but Dead Man’s Hill has done such a good job on this album that it doesn’t bother one bit. Just sit back and play this album a few times and it will suck you right in its dark/occult world and won’t let you go.
reviewer: erik [8.1/10] nov 2006
From the very depths of the Belgium underground Dead man’s hill has been active since 1998 and has released a hand full releases already. Lakes of sacrifice is a pretty powerful release containing dark bombastic neoclassical and martial music. It sweeps you from the Somme battlefields into gothic graveyards, driven by the overpowering feeling of death. Dead Man’s Hill’s music can be compared to such artists as In Slaughter Natives and Puissance but with a gloomier feel. This gloominess comes from the effects on some sounds and vocals. without these effects this record would have sound more powerful and would really have blown your head straight off.
Although Lakes of sacrifice sounds far from original this is a cool record anyway and will apeal to Cold Meat fans. There is a good balance between the tracks, after you have been pounded by a heavy bombastic track you will have a little time to take a breath before they will take you further down in to the depths of hell. Especially tracks like “Yigeal”, “In other flesh” and “Death by fire” are violent and oppressive. Towards the end there is the addition of heavy metal guitars into the mix like on In Slaughter Natives “Sacrosancts Bleed” and the atmosphere becomes spookier. This music is pitch black and that is exactly how we like it: reveal the beast!
One point of criticism is the art work which is of poor quality and does not fit with the music. I am sorry to say this. I was more impressed with the design of their “Esoterica orde de Dagon” release.
reviewer: remco, [7.5/10] nov 2006
Dead Man's Hill - Esoterica Orde De Dagon
Some of you out there may have heard of this Belgian act before. You might have heard of the "We will live for eternity" or "Legion" releases. Perhaps you even read the review for the split release with Pimentola currently on this site. Maybe the name means nothing to you but you’re intrigued enough to find out more. Where to start collecting is the question the uninitiated wants answering. Seek no further for "Escoterica Orde De Dagon" surpasses all his previous output and is without doubt his finest moment to date. The opus. The recording that will be forever his calling card. The gates have been finally opened . But first we must backtrack……….
Back to 1997 Bart Piette first formed The Klinik and the Mortuary. Due to a clash with groups with the same names Dead Man’s Hill rose phoenix like from the ashes. Moving within many different genres from Gothic sounds through to the Death Industrial and dark ambience he’s never been one to stand still musically or resist a challenge. "Escoterica Orde De Dagon" is eight tracks of said-mentioned Death Industrial and Neo Classical orchestrations, which when written down sounds like a recipe for disaster, but actually surprisingly works. The evocative use of classical instruments and choral / chanted / hymnal pieces being counteracted by the faintly distorted apocalyptic vocals and striding rampant ferocity of guitars and mad percussion all wrapped up in post Industrial rhythmic dark ambience and electronic noise. By rights it shouldn’t work. But I defy any of you not to be impressed when Bart lets rip with everything he has. The tracks ‘Ave Satani’, ‘Escoterica Orde De Dagon’, ‘Cambarro brought us gold’, ‘Dead babies as shelter’ and ‘Imboca’ are the standout highlights for this reviewer. More in the Neo-classical / dark ambience vein than Death Industrial they are five mighty epics fit to grace any stage. That’s not to take anything away from the remaining three tracks which are stunningly passionate desolate affairs.
Regular readers will know of my championing of the Polish Beast of Prey record label. Their releases, although mostly limited editions, have always been highly rated and no more so than this latest Dead Man’s Hill release. Coming in special packaging featuring sepia coloured old - as in Victorian / Edwardian - photographs of ladies in various forms of undress there’s a one off extra photograph in each of the available 260 copies. Buy it for the music first and foremost. The antiquated porn is a bonus piece of eye candy just for you. Like all Beast of Prey releases this comes highly recommended and acts as a perfect introduction to the music of Bart Piette.
Pimentola / Dead Man's Hill Split
This split recording by Pimentola /Dead Man’s Hill is a timely reminder of how adversity can be eventually overcome with the power of will and self belief. The story goes something like this. Lempo, or Mr Pimentola as he’s better known, has the great idea of releasing a split recording with his mate from Dead Man’s Hill. He approaches a record label. They like the idea. Lempo goes away and lays down his tracks. Same for Dead Man’s Hill. Record label pulls the plug. The reasons aren’t important. What’s Lempo to do? Sit and cry into his beer. Forget about the project. Try hawking it to other labels…which is not only time consuming but soul destroying if they say the dreaded ‘NO’. Lempo chose none of these options. Instead he set up his own label to self release it. The little guy sticks one in the eye of the bigger labels. David beating Goliath at his own game. Before getting carried away one has to be a neutral observer and wonder if the record label in question actually had the right idea in the first place. Having played this split recording I would suggest that their decision is the Industrial equivalent of Decca turning down the Beatles. A bit OTT but you get the drift.
Onto the recording then: Lempo is first up with three tracks. Those of you unfamiliar with his work as Pimentola should head straight to the excellent "MM-MMV" on the Twilight record label which acts as an suitable introductory career overview. On the first track he combines his love of the ethnic / ritual vibe combining them with dark ambient backgrounds and chants. Track two takes a diversion into some strident martial beats and freaked out electronics with samples of N Hagen…though you would be hard pushed to know that by listening to it as he’s totally scrunched them up to be unrecognisable. The final track sees a more slow and sombre mood of neo -classical ambience and spoken word piece taking centre stage as a fitting finale. You can’t find fault with any of his tracks and it makes you wonder how deaf those at the record label that rejected this work must be for these tracks emphasise the multi-talents of an artist at the top of his game.
Dead Man’s Hill also contribute three tracks and in typical Death Industrial style for which this act is renowned. The "Legion" release being a particular favourite of mine. Don’t let the words Death Industrial put you off. The tracks here are far more musical than you would expect with great samples, gruff growling distorted vocals, massive thumping rhythmic beats, angelic and demonic choirs, heavy black atmospheric electronics with every track building to a suitable crescendo of noise. A blood letting salvation of sorts and indicative of Dead Man’s Hill take of the genre.
It just leaves me to tell you that this split release comes housed in an elegantly designed digi-pak and is limited to only 300 copies. For the music alone from both acts this is a pretty much essential recording. Add in the circumstances and tribulations and it becomes so much more. The fight to be heard is one we can all sympathise with and by supporting this release it will surely encourage others to do likewise. Power to the little people everywhere.
Experiments in Darkness - New World Rising
À primeira vista, acredito que o nome dos Experiments In Darkness não será conhecido de uma grande parte dos leitores do Lurker's Realm. Mas se ao nome acrescentarmos que é o projecto paralelo de Bart Piette dos Dead Man's Hill, decerto que para muitos a associação será imediata.
Apesar de ter sido criado em 2001 para expurgar demónios pessoais do influente músico Belga, as suas criações sob a efígide Experiments In Darkness foram limitadas a algumas cassetes distribuídas no Underground Belga. Foi necessário esperar até agora para que a No Angels Productions lançasse finalmente o registo de estreia.
Entitulado "New World Rising", é um álbum que pretende representar a decadência particular do sentimento de perca ao mesmo tempo que abarca a noção colectiva de perca de realidade. Falta de auto-confiança choca com frontal arrogância para criar uma sonoridade muito emotiva, representativa de um estado de espírito muito particular de Bart Piette. Muito mais melodioso - mas também demente - que o seu trabalho regular com os Dead Man's Hill, no que será um lançamento recebido com bastante expectiva. Pelo menos deste lado...
Experiments In Darkness to solowy projekt Barta Piette'a z Dead Man's Hill. Bart zapoczątkowuje tu instrumentalny, symfoniczny darkwave skrzyżowany z neoklasyką. Płyta jest kompozycją apokaliptycznej wizji śmierci i końca ludzkości. Przygotowana jest dosyć przyzwoicie. Osiem neoklasycznych utworów wypełnia pianino i instrumenty smyczkowe. Czasem pojawia się chór a nad całością góruje wokal torturowanego Barta.
Gonocyd rozpoczyna "How Great We Are", który jest niczym uwertura do makabrycznego przedstawienia pozostawiając jednak na koniec iskierkę nadziei. Nadzieja jednak kończy się dość szybko. "Lakes Of Fire" przedstawia krajobraz rodem z horroru upewniając nas w przekonaniu, iż sami rozpoczęliśmy ten koszmar. "Heart Of The Lion" zapoczątkowują złowrogie dzwięki. Utwór o strachu i samotności będący jednocześnie ostrzeniem przed ludzką hipokryzją. "Desperate Search For Statues" jest spokojną abstrakcyjną kompozycją tworząca obraz absurdu. Opowiada o pustce, którą pozostawia brak nadziei, pustych ideach i potrzebie poszukiwań nawet wbrew zdrowemu rozsądkowi. "New Sand Rising" to kolejny apokaliptyczny utwór, ukazujący wizję wymarłego świata zamieniającego sie w pustynię. Początkowa spokojna recytacja przeradza się w dzikie wycie. Utwór mimo wszystko napawający nadzieja na wzejście nowego słońca. "Dead Tissue" to kompozycja mówiąca o bezsensie egzystencji, przechodzi ona spokojnie w "Cold November Day". Jest to zdecydowanie najlepsza kompozycja na tym CD opisująca indywidualne cierpienie. Całość kończy stonowany "Turned To Stone". Piękny epilog i epitafium zarazem. Utwór a jakże - o śmierci, bynajmniej nie napawający nadzieją.
Muzycznie płyta wykonana jest na przyzwoitym poziomie i zawiera wiele godnych uwagi utworów. Instrumentarium generalnie niezbyt rozbudowane zwykle ogranicza się do pianina i instrumentów smyczkowych. Gdzieniegdzie pojawiają się chóry zagłuszane inkantacjami Barta. Całość tworzy melancholijną i nostalgiczną aurę.
Wydanie charakterystyczne jest dla podobnych produkcji No Angel, nietypowe - CD znajduje się w foliowej kopercie umieszczonej w uzupełnionym przez label w poligrafię, tekturowym, zafoliowanym opakowaniu formatu A5. Dodatkowo widokówka przypominają do złudzenia starą fotografię. Całość limitowana do 120 ręcznie numerowanych kopii (moja 44).
Sama muzyka mogłaby być jednak lepsza a recytatorska forma nie pozwala nam skoncentrować się na słuchaniu. Z drugiej strony wymusza większe skupienie na przesłaniu płyty. Elegia, patos, wyniosłość przynosi na myl skrzyżowanie "Stoa" z "Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio". Jest to narkotyczna wizja, psychodeliczny trans pełen groteskowych, makabrycznych porównań stanowiący spójną całość.
Bart’owi Piette chyba podoba się nasz kraj gdyż jego płyty pod szyldem Dead Man's Hill ukazały się nakładem Beast Of Prey oraz War Office Propaganda. Teraz nadeszła pora na kolejny rodzimy label mianowicie No Angels Prod, choć tym razem pod nazwą Experiments in Darkness. Dla tej młodej oficyny musi być to nobilitacja że dosyć znany w światku antymuzycznym Piette zdecydował się oddać swoje dziecko w jego opiekę.
Wydanie prezentuje się bez zarzutu, ładna grafika, tekturowe zadrukowane opakowanie formatu A5, no i oczywiście profesjonalnie wykonany CDr z nadrukiem.
Część instrumentalna płyty przygotowana jest dosyć przyzwoicie. Osiem neoklasycznych utworów zbudowanych przez pianiono, smyki, czasem pojawia się chór a nad całością góruje wokal Barta. Całość tworzy głównie wzniosły, melancholijny nastrój. Ważnym elementem są tutaj wokale. Bart Piette niczym nawiedzony kaznodzieje wypluwa z siebie wiele gorzkich słów, czuć że ten facet ma niezły nerw w duszy. Inna strawa że te pokręcone wokale są dosyć słabo słyszalne, i trochę niedopracowane. Pewnie jest to wina również sprzętu na którym był nagrywany ”New World Rising”. Również mam zastrzeżenia do samych kompozycji, według mnie mogły być one również bardziej przemyślane i ”dopieszczone”.
W sumie trochę zwiodłem się na tej płycie. Sam pomysł na nią jest bardzo fajny i gdyby tylko trochę poczekać z wydaniem i popracować nad muzyką to mogło być bardzo dobrze. A tak jest średnio. Chyba zbyt dużo sobie obiecywałem… Choć wydaje mi się że dla tych którzy lubią dźwięki skąpane w teatralnym nastroju to ten album może się spodobać.
Nie ma takiej siły, która pogrzebałaby pamięć o minionym. Nawet jeśli nowy świat powstaje, nuty starego porządku wplatają się w chaos niepoznanego, nieopanowanego. Ta muzyka pamięta czasy zapomniane.
"NEW WORLD RISING". Nie powstanie na twoich oczach, nie będziesz świadkiem, jak rośnie w rękach. Nawet nie uda Ci się wyjść na drogę, żaden horyzont nie jest w stanie rozpościerać się, gdy pozostaje ci mieć jedynie zamknięte oczy. Jest przecież muzyka Drogi, to jest muzyka Pamięci. Tylko wtedy, gdy trzeba pamiętać o minionym. Tylko wtedy, gdy umiera to, co umiera, kryzys, myśl, łzy, zgliszcza, popiół. Tylko wtedy – ta muzyka. EXPERIMENTS IN DARKNESS stworzył album dla pogrzebanego twórcy, tego który jest w każdym z nas. Nostalgiczny nastrój, romantyczna aura skupia uwagę na tym, co przeminęło, ale też może się narodzić. Muzyka powrotów, cyklicznych narodzin i śmierci. Tylko się wsłuchać. Pogrzebane nadzieje, nawet w zimny, grudniowy dzień, mogą wciąż, one wciąż mogą rozkwitnąć. Przebić się przez ciężką zamarzniętą glebę – tego uczy ta nuta romantyczna.
Ta historia wydaje się taka spójna, nuty piękną melodią chwytają za serce. Od pierwszej chwili zamieram. "How Great We Are" to jeden z najpiękniejszych utworów na smyczki i instrumenty dęte, jaki został stworzony w ostatnim dziesięcioleciu. To w tym fragmencie albumu mieści się jego przytłaczająca esencja.
"Lakes Of Fire" przygasza emocje, które wzrastały wraz z rozwojem intro. Tytułowe słowa irytująco rozdzierają harmonię i spokój dźwięków. W tym momencie warto zaznaczyć, iż wokal Barta Piette’a psuje szyk i melancholię XIX-wiecznych poszukiwań wśród dźwięków.
Wszystko wspaniale, tylko wokal mnie dręczy. Jednak może dla pogrzebanych nadziei to idealne doznanie; zbyt wyrazisty wokal mężczyzny, recytującego zawzięcie.
"Heart Of The Lion" przypomina mi nastrojem filmy Kieślowskiego. Bezgraniczna tęsknota, przez łzy można się nawet spotkać z tchnieniem w ostateczności. To są przecież takie momenty... Nie ma co podchodzić do tego tak sceptycznie. Muzyka jak na tym albumie, jest po to, aby przeżyć katharsis. "Desperate Search For Statues”. O tym utworze także muszę wspomnieć. To są bardzo mocne, wybitne wręcz próby lawirowania na krawędzi świadomości i postradania zmysłów, rozpamiętywania i niepamięci.
Wspaniała muzyka, delikatne i agresywne zarazem dźwięki, inspirujące i przytłaczające opowieści. Pozwolę sobie na klasyfikację: dla niepoprawnych romantyków, ale nie tych naiwnych. Niezapomniana wyprawa w głębię intymnego świata tęsknoty i marzeń.
Podpisała pogrzebana nadzieja
Beast of Prey
A new world is rising, a world reflected in the visions of darkness, through the melancholy and sadness…Bart Piette known by his apocalyptic act DEAD MAN’s HILL is here showing us another facet. A neo-classical experimentation, having as principal highlights the way as the music is created. Funebre piano parts adorning each melody with a deep atmosphere based in sadness and melancholy, dark poetry unleashing an opus to desolation,death.synths arranged perfectly to compenetrate with each tune. The whole 8 tracks has a monumental touch of neoclassical atmosphere describing sounds capes which possess charisma due to emotional, bombastic structure behind each one of them. “Lakes Of Fire” a sublime opus, full of piano parts and a great work of vocals, emanating itself a self declaration of sorrow. “Heart Of The Lion” is another track arranged by piano sounds but this time arranged by synths,to increase the melancholy. “Cold November Day” is just incredible amazing, perhaps my fave. With some chorus vocals which reminds me ARCANA,but still more deep in structure. “Turn To Stone” is closing this album in the way it must be. you can feel the frustration of life, and abandonment through each rhythmic patterns and atmosphere generated by both vocals,synths and piano. Also you can hear some drum parts in “How Great We Are” creating a bombastic atmosphere full of a creative expressionism of high level, in the whole sense of the work. This album comes in a A5 package with a beautiful artwork. Professional Cdr limited to 120 handnumered copies. Ask for your copy now before is so late. Just feel the abandonment of your soul floating in darkness.
Experiments in Darkness - From The Heart
Het nieuw project van Bart Piette, de man achter Dead Man’s Hill. Experiments In Darkness staat voor een soort dramatisch neoklassiek met piano en synths. Penitent lijkt me een grote invloed te zijn, al moet ik een enkele keer ook wel eens aan Ataraxia denken. Het is al kommer, kwel en diepdroeve treurnis op “From The Heart” (7 tracks, 42 minuten speelduur). De promo voor het album verwoordt het als volgt: ‘On this album you can hear the soundtrack of a man who became more and more introvert against the entire world. A man which got buried under so many problems and sorrows,with no single place where he can loose his grief. And this entire expression of sorrow is accompagnied by a background of oppressive neoclassical music. A must have for people who can find (and cure) themselves into music which represents total sorrow and neo-romantisicm.’ We kunnen enkel hopen dat dit niet al te autobiografisch is… De inktzwarte treurnis bereikt zijn hoogtepunt op “The Inside Of Me”, dat naast dramatische, repetitieve koorsamples ook hartverscheurend geween en gesnik ten gehore brengt. Op sommige tracks wordt echt gezongen, op andere worden teksten voorgedragen. Op de myspace site noemt Piette als invloeden: ‘pijn, misantropie, romantische gevoelens, zelfmutilatie, schoonheid en de natuur’ en het klinkt – staat er – als ‘a complete mental breakdown’. Heel mooi, doch niet voor gevoelige zieltjes of mensen die worstelen met een latente depressie.
Piette, known as the soul behind Dead Man’s Hill, surprise us this time with another facet in its career as creative musician. Experiments In Darkness is a project in which he express through dramatic, opperetic deconstructions the most in deep elements such as pain, beauty, and nature, self mutilation, misanthrophy and romantic feelings. Piette has shown through 7 nostalgic compositions, the most uncontrollable feelings of abandonment and spiritual pain. Its interesting to hear how each piano sounds emerges from within to complements perfectly with the desperate vocal expressions arranged here.
The concept album in “From The Heart” is the soundtrack of a man who became more and more introvert against the entire world. A man which got buried under o many problems and sorrows, with no single place where he can loose his grief. And this entire expression of sorrow is accompanied by a background of depressive neo classical music. A must have for people who can find (and one) themselves into music which represents total sorrow and neo romantiscism.such concept is a clear exploration of senses in which Piette develops through experimental atmospheres surrounding each one of the tracks created in “from heart”
“Our happiness” or “The inside of me” are compositions with such dramatic feelings creating moody elements almost perfect, due how it’s canalized by mind when hearing deeply. “The inside of me” has such desperate vocals and atmospheres worth to feel in order to understand the concept behinds this track. Another track is “filled with frenzy”, with such amazing synth elements which are built which are built through majestic sounds and narrative oral expressions. Without a doubt one of the best tracks compositions included in this release. Other compositions included here are “the death of this world”,” all the happiness of this world”,” fireworks of inhumanity” and “the bottomless pit of sorrow”.
“From The Heart” comes in a nice colorful digipack limited to 500 copies. And the whole album written 2008 during the days of coldness, sadness and total desperation. A classical hallucinogen madness with piano and tortured deranged vocals always accompanied by beauty melodies and atmospheres, all the time bringing you deeply emotions and more to discover by yourself.