Veil the world in ritual rust

TREPANERINGSRITUALEN: Veil The World

Release year: 2011/2015/2021
Label: Cold Spring Records

Back in 2008-2013, when Swedish ritual industrial entity Trepaneringsritualen started out and almost immediately started to make a name for themselves, I was in the heaviest harsh noise/power electronics phase of my life. I just couldn’t get enough of the distorted sound of grinding metal, amplifier abuse, feedback torture and crackling synthesizers. As such, I became aware of Trepaneringsritualen very quickly, but at that time there really were no grounds for their music and my tastes to connect: Trepaneringsritualen felt – to be entirely frank – a bit too soft for my tastes.

Veil The World was one of Trepaneringsritualen’s earliest releases, first published on tape in 2011, then by long-running label Cold Spring on CD in 2015 and now, in 2021, again by Cold Spring on CD and, for the first time ever, on vinyl. Given that my preferences have slightly shifted over time, now is a good time to revisit the album and Trepaneringsritualen’s style of industrial music.

From the very first listening, it is easy to understand why Trepaneringsritualen have become a cult act capable of transcending the usually rather small confines of industrial noise. I mean, let’s face it: industrial of the noisy kind isn’t any kind of music for the masses. But Trepaneringsritualen have, akin to an act like MZ.412, managed to make headways into the extreme metal fanbase, for example. And it’s easy to understand when listening to Veil The World.

Jokingly, this could be called “easy listening noise”. I know, that sounds like a terrible insult, but let me elaborate a bit and maybe you’ll understand what I’m going for. You see, unlike a lot of harsh noise, power electronics and old school industrial noise, Trepaneringsritualen’s compositions heavily lean on rhythmical, percussive elements. Many of the tracks on the album have a dominating, driving rhythm to them which gives them both structure and something people coming from a more “conventionally musical” background can latch on to. This, coupled with powerful vocals that join the percussive elements at the center of the stage, help in making Veil The World quite accessible as far as industrial noise goes.

And, like alluded to above, Trepaneringsritualen certainly aren’t the most extreme industrial noise act out there. Whilst for your average music fan this might come across as extremely extreme – after all, there is an inherent extremeness to industrial noise – in comparison to harsh noise or the more abrasive spectrum of power electronics, this focuses more on atmosphere than on pushing audial boundaries. Ergo, in a realm of extreme music, not even close to the most extreme end of the spectrum.

That doesn’t mean that there’s anything “fake” or “poseur” about Trepaneringsritualen. This is authentic industrial noise through and through, accessible or not. The soundscapes of wailing noise, amplifier hum, junk metal abuse and effect-filtered sounds of machinery are the real thing, make no mistake. Draped in dirty, ugly, distorted production, Veil The World covers its ritualistic compositions in layers and layers of abrasive rust.

At its best, Veil The World can be terribly effective. The successive trio of title track Veil The World, Avgrunden and Lightbringer combine driving, ritualistic rhythmical elements with blackened, demonic vocals and cunningly structured layers of atmospheric industrial noise. Ritualistic pounding alternates with tortured moments of death industrial atmospherics. It almost approximates black noise at times.

Sadly, not the entire album manages to retain this level of quality. Though there are no absolute lows, Veil The World suffers from a few shortcomings which make it less than it could have been. The foremost flaw is the static nature of the compositions: it feels like each explores one single idea with almost no evolution or development of said idea; the title track is a good example: it starts with a strong rhythmic element, adds some vocals to it, and then keeps at it for almost four minutes with very little change or variation. Where the title track makes it work, most other tracks fare less well.

Perhaps Trepaneringsritualen were aiming for some kind of hypnotic, meditative element with the repetition, but for the most part, it sadly does not quite work. It’s a shame, because most of the tracks have a good atmosphere and a good idea at their foundation; they’d just need a bit more work to fly as independent pieces.

Then, a few of the tracks are too obviously a rung lower than the rest. Especially album closer C’est Un Reve – yes, a Death In June cover – feels entirely redundant. It completely pales in comparison both to the original, and to all the good moments on Veil The World. It feels pointless.

Still, these flaws and shortcomings considered, Veil The World is an album well above average. It has a strong atmosphere of rusted, distorted ritual darkness, sufficient amounts of tracks that work, and even a strong character of its own. This doesn’t drown in any gray mass of industrial noise, but manages to sound only like itself.

As such, it can easily be said that this re-release (and first vinyl edition) are justified. Veil The World is not perfect, but it is an album that deserves to be available.

Visit Trepaneringsritualen on their website, Bandcamp or Facebook

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