Release DetailsLABEL Autopsy Kitchen Records
RELEASED ON 2/1/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
I can picture it now:
Somewhere, a man feeds I WANT TO BELIEVE posters into a dieselharp-powered gimmick machine that pumps out ridiculous backstories for every new black metal-related project. After inputting the name Diagnose: Lebensgefahr, the machine sputters to life, howls “Hype ist krieg!” like Robby the Robot molesting a vocoder, and spits out the following:
“Nattramn was offered to write and record music as therapy and rehabilitation during one year. With no regards to his own health or personal integrity "Transformalin" is an insight into a mind lost many years ago - resulting in 11 disturbing and personal audio tracks…”
Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Not to be Mr. Skeptical, but the first solo release from the ex-Silencer shrieker sounds far too calculated. A damaged individual comes to grips with his own insanity? I think not. More like Transformalin is manufactured to meet expectations. It’s the exact album that you’d want a batshit insane artiste to put out: basically, “creepy” music meets an “unstable” view of reality. Add a bit of industrial, ambient, and drone together and you get an off-kilter, nightmarish listen that replicates the suffocating atmosphere of the most oppressive Hollywood insane asylum. In other words, it’s trying too hard to be disturbing, trying too hard to cover all the bases, and trying too hard to make sure that noise/ambient fans are fully satisfied, no matter what subgenre they favor. Plainly speaking, it isn’t genuine, which could’ve been a huge problem if the atmospheric soundscapes weren't executed this well. True, when measured against the concept, it's less than convincing, but Transformalin is able to tread water because it successfully acts like a decent sampler of what’s currently hot in the noise/ambient scene.
No kidding. Transformalin is tough to swallow as a therapeutic examination of the troubled mind, but it works as a catch-all mixtape of popular artists and styles. All of these tracks have a distinct parent, a recognizable outfit that has been bred with Nattramn’s supposedly damaged vision. Natty is able to isolate the basic elements of the source material, and that enables him to add his own meat to the bones. In a way, it’s almost like he clearly planned out his borrowing, letting the influences guide him while using them as the creative catalyst. So, you end up with a track like “Flaggan På Halv Stång I Drömmens Västergård,” which recreates the sinister emptiness of Lustmord, or “Tillsammans Men Ensam I Stillhetens Kapell” which is heavily indebted to the white noise-obscured beauty of Tim Hecker, just a little blacker, bleaker, and more bonkers. Predictably, these turns don’t quite measure up to the highs of the original artists’ work (although, the gorgeously chilling beginning to “The Last Breath Of Tellus” is like a tranced-out Fennesz and is the album’s undeniable highlight), but taken as a collection, as a one-stop-shop of various styles, it makes for a well-balanced intro to the world of noise.
Sadly, those expecting to hear the eccentric vocal style employed on Silencer’s Death – Pierce Me should prepare themselves to be thoroughly bummed. While there are a variety of styles used--from spokels, to groans, to J.K. Broadrick-styled yells--nothing is as wonderfully bizarre as Natty’s old strident screams. But, if you’re going to believe the original sales pitch, Transformalin is less about Nattramn the artist and more about his mental state. If that’s really why we’re here, the portrait painted is that of a man who can’t quite figure out who he is; a conflicted contradiction who is tragically trying to walk too many paths at once. How else could one explain the mechanical grinding of the Anenzephalia-influenced “Anoxi” following the marching, militaristic “Situazion: Lebensgefahr” that’s the audio equivalent of a wet dream collectively experienced by the members of Laibach? But, again, the supposed mental instability is misleading. Transformalin lacks the indulgent fat of your typical bare-all, “Help me!” project and is altogether too focused on the quality (and listenability) of the music to be true self-exploration. It's not the raving lunacy of an ill man (at least in this reviewer’s eyes) so don’t buy into the hype, but if you’re a fan of well-crafted noise/ambient or interested in seeing what a good chunk of the genre(s) is all about, this might be worth your time.
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