The prolific Tasmanian black metal / ambient project Striborg was founded by its sole creator Sin Nanna in 1993 under the name Kathaaria, with the name Striborg chosen in 1997. Over the course of this long career, Striborg has released two-dozen albums and other shorter releases, but the 2004 full-length Spiritual Catharsis (originally recorded on an analogue 4-track) seems to have acquired a special place in the hearts of Striborg fans. Originally released by Finsternis Productions, it was re-issued in 2007 by Displeased Records, and on April 21st of this year it will be re-issued again by Satanath Records (Russia) and Death Portal Studio (U.S.).
For this new edition, the music was remastered by Digivision Records, and given new artwork by Ismaelta & Phaedra. Today we present the debut of the remastered version of the album’s title track, “Spiritual Catharsis“.
The sound of the song is unusual, to say the least. For the first three minutes it assaults the listener, presenting high-speed drumming that clatters and booms (with percussive eruptions that resemble the sound of air split by lightning strikes), a persistent high, buzzing riff that rises and falls, and Sin Nanna’s relentlessly ear-boiling shrieks.
When the shrieking ceases and the sound changes, so does the mood. The reverberating guitar notes and the hissing, vibrating, warbling ambient tones create an atmosphere of tension and otherworldly horror, which grows more dire and dreadful as the drumming becomes more destabilizing and as deep, groaning tones enter the mix. It has a chilling but hypnotic effect.
But that doesn’t exhaust the changes that occur over the course of the song’s 13+ minutes. A distant riff insinuates itself; spectral tones echo through the hissing mist; the drumming works through changing and unexpected patterns and eventually becomes blindingly fast; there may be the specter of a lost soul screaming in the distance, too, but it’s hard to know. It is a strange kind of unsettling psychedelia, and a strangely electrifying experience as well.
Striborg are a solo project from Australia that has been featured before in this zine and plays an ambient form of black metal and this is a review of his 2004 album "Spiritual Catharsis" which was re-issued in 2018 as a joint effort between Satanath Records and Death Portal Studio.
Dark yet melodic riffing starts off the album while the vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams along with the music also adding in elements of ambient and when the music speeds up a great amount of tremolo picking and blast beats can be heard which also gives the songs a more raw feeling.
A great portion of the tracks are very long and epic in length while the songs also bring in a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts along with the drum beats being programmed and all of the musical instruments have a very powerful sound to them as well as some of the tracks being ambient instrumentals and another instrumental is more in the black metal style and as the album progresses clean playing can also be heard in certain sections of the recording.
On this recording Striborg took a very raw and atmospheric style of black metal and mixed it with dark ambient to create a sound of his own, the production sounds very dark, raw and lo-fi while the lyrics cover night, misanthropy. forests, death and depression themes.
In my opinion this was a very great sounding recording from Striborg and if you are a fan of ambient black metal you should check out this re-issue.
Diz a regra dos mercados que quanto mais procura tem um artigo, mais valor terá ele e, proporcionalmente, quanto mais oferta tem um produto, menos valor terá ele. Podemos aplicar essa regra a Striborg, a mais famosa one-man band vinda da Austrália. Deitando mais álbuns cá para fora do que uma ninhada de ratos após uma intoxicação afrodisíaca, ficamos na dúvida se haveria realmente necessidade de reeditar um álbum desta entidade. Ok, é um dos que mais impacto positivo teve mas se formos a analisar este trabalho a sério, é capaz de ficar uns furos abaixo perante todas as outras propostas que temos actualmente dentro do black metal ambient/lo-fi. E felizmente são muitas. Ainda assim, para os coleccionadores, poderá haver algum interesse, embora, lá está, pegando nas leis de mercado... desconfiamos que não.
Aussie black ambient affair gets two earlier albums reissued.
Listenably strange, this one man band tends to lean heavier on the
keyboard and synth ambient than the black metal proper, a tendency
most pronounced on the earlier Spiritual Catharsis, where even the
“band” portions seem buried well beneath the droning, spacey keys and
The subsequent Mysterious Semblance tones that down quite a bit,
leaving that entirely ambient business to two tracks, leaving the still rather
buried deep in the background and compressed to a 1976 vintage
handheld transistor radio speaker’s worth of sound quality (though
thinking about it, those sounded better than this does!) band to hiss
(guitars and bass) and snarl (vox) “their” way through the rest of the
Piss poor sound quality aside, this definitely sets a sinister,
contemplative mood, and while I preferred the greater “band” presence
of Mysterious Semblance, I didn’t really mind either of these reissues.
Wasn’t excited by ’em, no. But didn’t mind ’em either.
STRIBORG is an Australian one-man raw atmospheric Black Metal project with uncountable releases since he began in 1997. I believe this project is well known to everyone who is more into raw, slightly depressive and atmospheric Black Metal. STRIBORG is best described with: immolating, cold, harsh, bitter and disintegrating. The sound and the lyrics reflect his interest in forests, death and misanthropy. He uses quite a lot different kind of soundscapes to let fractures of his surroundings take place in the music. Like a didgeridoo or different sound bodies. “Spiritual Catharsis” becomes a unique experience through the experimentation on the whole record. STRIBORG moves from simple and raw Black Metal to transcendental and noise Black Metal, but he does it so subtle and smooth you don’t feel like he just puts pattern onto pattern. His harsh voice always reminds you that this is all about the abyss of his feelings but the music builds the frame of how this abyss is created and in which environment. That’s good songwriting in my ears. I can’t say I heard all of his records but this one is a paradigm of how one can transform his or her inner evil into raw but still touching bitterness.
I can easily sum up tens of Black Metal bands and projects from Australia, but when talking about the Southern island Tasmania, there are only three names that immediately come to mind: Astral Winter and Atra Vetosus, both projects with Josh Young (Immortal Frost Productions) and Striborg. The latter is a very, very, extremely very much very productive outfit by one Sin Nanna (real name: Russell Menzies). This project was formed at the end of the first half of the Nineties under the moniker Kathaaria, and throughout just over two decades of existence, Kathaaria / Striborg did release tens of recordings (about thirty full lengths, several EPs, splits with e.g. Xasthur or Vardan, and diverse re-mastered re-issues and compilations). I do follow Striborg as from last century, and the best is yet to come: GrimmDistribution recently released a split with the magnificent project Abigorum, led by my dearest Obscure Music brother Aleksey from GrimmDistribution, Symbol Of Domination Productions or Satanath Records – and it is the latter, Satanath Records, that takes care of the re-release of Spiritual Catharsis too (what this review deals with). A review will follow, evidently!
Spiritual Catharsis was initially released in 2004 via Sin Nanna’s own label Finsternis Productions (back in activity, apparently), and re-issued for a first time in 2007 via Dutch Extreme Metal label Displeased Records (which re-released several older Striborg recordings, by the way). Now we have another re-issue, remastered in 2018 at Belarussian Digivision Records, available in a partnership of higher mentioned Satanath Records and Colorado-based Death Portal Studio. There are 500 copies in a jewel-case with a simple eight-page booklet. This one contains some of the lyrics in English or in the Russian (!) tongue, and with the same cover artwork as ‘back then’.
The album has a total running time of about seventy-three (!) minutes, and those trusted with at least some works of this artist / project, know what to expect. I can put it quite easily: this project’s material stands for simplistic yet highly atmospheric and ultimately grim (Underground) Black Metal with a couple of eerie ambient passages. This said…
Hey, of course that statement is somewhat narrow-minded, but actually it does represent the approach of Striborg’s aural art for sure. When it comes to the description ‘a couple of eerie ambient passages’, I am referring to the several different songs or intermezzos that are based on a chilly, gloomy synth melody, spooky and ominous. It’s not the so-called ‘Lovecraftian’ Dark Ambient stuff, yet rather a form of asphyxiating post-industrialism with a morbid minimalistic approach. But I assure you: this is at least as terrifying as any Lovecraftian Dark Ambient piece we’re trusted with lately. And what’s more, because of the minimal character, the discomfort is of the highest level. Abyssal horror it is!
The better part is based on a primal form of Black Metal, yet seen from quite a unique point of approach. There is a lot of variation in speed, with both doomy and blasting parts (and everything in between). As well, there is quite some variety when it comes to the structure of most compositions. The faster parts, for example, are fierce, energetic and violent, and at the same time quite darkening and overwhelming. In combination with the Arctic, sorry, Antarctic vocals, the result is simply freezing, besides breath-taking and frightening. The simplicity of the drum patterns – and hey, ‘simplicity’ is NOT a negative statement right here! – and the guitar sound à la early Burzum (don’t we love it all?), give the whole that ‘true’ attitude, adding melancholy and despair, oblivion and, also (!), hatred and disgust. Yet there is so much more. Excerpts of asphyxiation, integrity, depression, malignancy, it’s all part of the whole. Several tracks are injected with chapters based on (spooky / transcendental / mesmerizing) synth lines, ritual and occult passages, or even esoteric / ethereal tribalism. At the other hand, you have those moments of victorious battle-lust, winterly misanthropy and haunting oddness.
Hypnotic and buzz-sounding leads, reverbed rhythm string work, low-tuned bass lines, military drum patterns and tribal percussion, tortured noises, wretched voices, astral details (cf. a piece like Dicksonia Antartica, with these trembled voices), distorted sounds and so many other subtle, sometimes frenzy elements, all of them come with a lo-fi production that breathes purity, and that spits on ‘reaching a huge audience’. With Striborg, Sin Nanna does not follow trends, nor does he want to reach the status of a pop-idol. Yet a cult-status, to my opinion, he does deserve. And that under-produced sound is, in some way, both characteristic and totally fitting (even though some more detailed attention within the final mix would be fine, honestly). I like almost all of his works (except for the few ones I do not have in my possession), and Spiritual Catharsis represents the essence of Striborg, for it brings nothing but down-earthed, abyssal and basic Grim Sonic Majesty once more. After so many years, I do still appreciate this majestic piece of aural nebulae.
Recommended, even obliged, in case you do not have the original edition (or one of the former re-releases). Or in case you like everything in between, let’s say, Xasthur, Moloch, Vinterriket, Drowning The Light and the likes, and even Cryostasium, Sargeist or early Burzum!
FYI: besides a review on 2018’s split with Abigorum (as mentioned in the first paragraph), you can also expect one soon about Mysterious Semblance, the album that was originally released just a couple of minutes (okay, that might be an exaggeration, yet still) before Spiritual Catharsis. Pay attention, stay tuned!
Релиз из архива Satanath Records – в очередной n-ный раз переизданный альбом 2004 г. «Spiritual Catharsis» австралийского блэкаря-одиночки Striborg. В кругах некоторых любителей сырого блэка почитается чуть ли не за культовый. Действительно, некоторая чёрная магия в этой работе ощущается и вполне способна удержать любознательного слушателя на своём поводке.
За столь родным славянскому сердцу Стриборгом скрывается другой бог человек, живущий в Тасмании и предпочитающий называть себя Sin Nanna (бог Луны в шумеро-аккадской мифологии). Мы же его будем называть за особую злобность и ядовитость Тасманийским Дьяволом (сокращенно - ТД). Как и настоящий тасманийский дьявол, наш ТД необычайно плодовит и выдает в год до четырёх-пяти альбомов. Причём старые его работы постоянно переиздаются - у Satanath третье или четвёртое переиздание нетленки, но, наверное, самое лучшее – с обширным буклетом с текстами и их переводом на русский.
В общем-то в таком спросе нет ничего удивительного – музыка в «Spiritual Catharsis» необычайно злая и человеконенавистническая. ТД прямым текстом «поёт», что деревья и зверушки ему гораздо ближе людишек, и как бы он хотел, чтобы все эти сраные людишки сдохли. С этим трудно не согласиться. Но всё же, с музоковедческой точки зрения Striborg мало что изобрёл и многие музыкальные идеи почти в открытую заимствовал у старших товарищей типа того же Xasthur’а (ранние, особо сырые и жутко записанные работы). Правда, по сырости и грязи Striborg его в итоге обошёл. В общем-то звучание альбома под стать его концепции – это делается не для людей, а для деревьев и зверушек, и суждено понять терзания чёрной души лишь ночной туманной мгле, застрявшей в ветвях высоких деревьев. В общем, музыка по степени мизантропичности текстов и наплевательства на слушателя совершенно инопланетная, и оттого долженствующая вызывать интерес, помимо любителей необычной музыки, в определённых идеологически ангажированных кругах, лелеющих идеи антиантропоцентризма, или у особо отбитых эко-блэкарей. Есть разный по восприятию блэк – красивый, загадочный, мистический, заводной… «Spiritual Catharsis» - это блэк нечеловеческий, и, если вы любите всякую странную музыку, – этот альбом был создан специально для вас.
Hace escasos dos meses reseñábamos aquel “Mysterious Semblance” del tasmaniano Russell Menzies (Sin Nanna es su nombre artístico), y ahora nos toca dar cuenta de “Spiritual catharsis”, lanzado originalmente lanzado en 2004 y hoy remasterizado por el sello Satanath.
Y como era de esperarse, Striborg conserva su distintivo estilo de metal negro, trve y lo-fi, ambiental y casi gótico, claramente inspirado en los bosques húmedos y frescos de su estado natal.
El álbum es un compendio de repetitivos riffs de guitarra, voces alienígenas de sonido con mucha reverberación y distorsión, percusiones de trance y ritmos y pasajes de sintetizadores. Notablemente, las guitarras de fondo son poco más que un zumbido constante, y terminan llevando la música a niveles muy rítmicos e hipnóticos.
Un detalle que no podemos pasar por alto es la excesiva duración del álbum, lo cual en estos tiempos puede llegar a ser hasta molesto.
En síntesis, si lo tuyo es el black metal más ortodoxo y crudo, siniestro y oscuro, Striborg tiene tu próxima compra.