by Jeff Penczak
The benefits of doing a weekly radio show is that you get to advertise yourself to the music world and make some great contacts who are all too willing to grace your airwaves with their presence and share some of their newest material. About two years ago (on Terrastock III weekend as things would have it,) I had the honor of interviewing Erik Wivinus. As a member of three of the best psychedelic bands in Minneapolis (Salamander, Gentle Tasaday and Skye Klad), Erik’s been keeping my head spinning for years and it was during the recording of some of these Skye Klad sessions that he took time out to chat. It’s a pleasure to report that the results far exceeded the marvelous teaser that he sent me earlier, an advance copy of “Mind’s Eye” (a different version of which leads off the proceedings.) “Vespers,” for instance, calls to mind Ian Curtis leading Hawkwind through an amphetamine-fueled “Master of the Universe,” while “Killer Goodnight” finds Peter Murphy fronting Sabbath with Mr. Mojo Risin’ nodding gleefully in the wings. Gothic Death Metal, anyone?
“Sleep At the Bottom” applies the brakes somewhat, being more atmospheric, but still dark and foreboding. The catchy (!) chorus is straight outta Bongwater territory and the wind tunnel guitar FX hover in the air like frozen breath on a cold winter’s night in the local cemetery. “Debutante” marries Joy Division’s industrial clatter with Bauhausian histrionics, while the ensuing half hour trilogy of “Ionosphere,” “Taxaphene” and “Amber” sets the controls for the heart of the sun with a baggage compartment stocked to the gills with everything from Floyd and Hawkwind to Fields of the Nephalim and Love & Rockets blaring full blast on the stereo.
In sum, fans of Nordic Death Metal minus the axe-wielding, church burning murderers will find a lot to endorse. If your tastes run more towards dark, gothic, atmospheric, sonic assaults with the spectre of Ian Curtis presiding over the proceedings, by all means seek this out.
Note: Jeff is the host of the “No Soap, Radio” show every Monday evening rom 8-11PM (eastern US time) via the live RealAudio internet feed over WNTI-FM, 91.9 in Hackettstown, NJ, USA. Also check out his website.