ULTRAPOLAR INTRUSION: This War Will Have No End…
Release year: 2021
Label: Steinklang Industries
According to the description of the label, Russian Ultrapolar Intrusion’s new album is, and I quote, “an oppressive and brutal chronicle of a war that never ceases to go on throughout the entire history of mankind.” Of course, in musical terms, e.g. how the album sounds, that means very little.
“Combative industrial” is the descriptor pegged on by the label. Again, depending on where you’re coming from, that might mean a lot of things. So let’s be clear what we’re talking about: This War Will Have No End… is a big slab of industrial noise. Not necessarily the noisiest or the extremest, but atmospherically potent.
Hostile? Nihilistic? Oppressive? Yes, yes and yes. This War Will Have No End… is all of those, and then some. But musically, this isn’t very harsh. Ultrapolar Intrusion relies on sheets of abrasive sound that wash into each other, slowly coming and going like a tide. Punctuated by the occasional metallic percussion and peppered with speech samples, the artist keeps the music from becoming too monotonous. However, ultimately, a certain form of monotony and understatedness is at the core of the album.
Within the realm of industrial noise, this isn’t by any stretch very extreme. Though the sounds used are noisy, abrasive and at times even grating, this isn’t cacophonous and chaotic as harsh noise is wont to be. Neither is it confrontational and assaulting like power electronics often is. Instead, Ultrapolar Intrusion’s take on industrial noise has a slowly evolving, growing and maturing element to it reminds me of dark ambient. Just as many dark ambient artists rely on allowing the understated layers grow in the listeners’ mind via repetition and compositional minimalism, This War Will Have No End… allows its lengthy tracks (most are over seven minutes long) to build up slowly. There is usually no explosive release, but an abation or retraction that sees the composition retreat back into the darkness.
The end result is an album that has the hypnotic element of dark ambient combined with the bleak nihilism of power electronics. The soundscape of the album has relatively little emphasis on the lower end, which gives it an even more hostile, cold and emotionally dead edge. This feels not like war, not like combat, but like the ruins left after the fight; the gray desolation of bombed-out cities and the numb apathy of soldiers trudging through streets littered with rubble and bones to another fight in a senseless war. Crumbled monuments of past glories and charred remnants of human hubris, gray skies and the tinny call to arms from a distant speaker. And all the while, the ash of burned humans falls from the sky like snow.
Sounding like distant machinery of war, the grinding of weakening metal beams in the ruins, and a background din of screaming humans, This War Will Have No End… is indeed the soundtrack to a war that has no end. Positioning itself somewhere between dark industrial ambience and atmospheric power electronics, the album should have some charm for friends of different types of post-industrial music.
And those of you into Discharge may also find a nice little surprise on the album…
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