V/A: Unio Solidarium
Release year: 2022
Label: Old Captain
This year it will be nine years since terrorist state Russia attacked Ukraine without any provocation or justification, and occupied parts of the Eastern European nation. Soon it will be a year since the latest escalation of the war, when Russia tried to invade all of Ukraine but the plans of their feeble dictator Vladimir Putin were thwarted by the bravery of the Ukrainian people.
But, as everyone knows, the war still rages, and every day Ukrainians die and suffer from Russian aggression even though by and large the incompetent Russians seem to be on the losing side. Naturally, the war affects all walks of life in Ukraine: even people within the post-industrial undeground. The label Old Captain is one of the Ukrainian proponents of this music, and in support of the label, an impressive 30 acts have contributed to this solidarity compilation, most with unreleased tracks or exclusive versions.
The line-up is impressive, to say the least: Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Of The Wand And The Moon, Mortiis, Grunt, Brighter Death Now, Sol Invictus main man Tony Wakeford’s Twa Corbies, Die Weisse Rose… and many more. In the context of industrial and post-industrial music, I believe the term “star-studded” is appropriate.
It’s pointless to pick apart the compilation track-by-track. Suffice to say, there’s almost two and a half hours of music on two discs here. And considering the amount of exclusive material, it’s well worth anyone’s money. But a few favourites can be singled out.
Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio’s You & I, Shall Never (Ever) Die (An Epitaph 4 Albin) is a fine, classic ORE track – and a fitting tribute to Albin Julius of Der Blutharsch, who passed away last year. Sticking to the neofolk side of things, Of The Wand And The Moon contribute a rather standard OTWATM-style neofolk track, but it’s a good one. Die Weisse Rose, on the other hand, offer a somewhat throwaway industrial track; I much prefer Sacral Wound’s Meditation On Death featured on the second disc – also a project by Thomas Bøjden, the minimalist track consisting mostly of church bells is wonderfully atmospheric. From projects I was hitherto not familiar with, Moineau take the cake with the beautiful Hab Aller Czweifel Aynen Nicht, prime neofolk in the German tradition.
Mortiis provide a surprisingly tranquil and serene track with Descending Into A Dream – I admit I’ve mostly listened to his older stuff, so my point of reference is off, but I didn’t expect this almost Enigma-style track from him! Sieben, a project I must admit I’ve never particularly cared for, also veer into weird territory with violin/fiddle over some kind of ethno-hop style beat. Joining in on the weird territory, Bain Wolfkind’s contribution reminds one of an electronic horror movie soundtrack – think John Carpenter or dark, cinematic synthwave; I quite like this one.
And so on. With 30 tracks on offer, ranging from neofolk to more martial themes, from dark ambient to death industrial to power electronics, there’s something for everyone here. If the names mentioned above don’t catch your fancy, maybe Wappenbund, Linekraft or Alfarmania will… well, I guess the point is made: Unio Solidarium has a wide scope, and an extremely vast and differentiated selection of artists.
The musical trappings are not the only thing in order here. The whole thing comes packaged in a nice CD-sized digibook with plenty of illustrations made by Neivanmade exclusively for the compilation. In other words, visually too a worthy addition to any collection.
So… you know… why don’t you do the right thing and support Old Captain and the Ukrainian post-industrial underground in their time of need? Buy the compilation. Not only will you get that good warm feeling of doing the right thing, you’ll also get a compilation crammed full of the good stuff.
Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.