Akauzazte ‘Etazuaka’ (Co-released by Màgia Roja and Akauzazte)
Order Etern ‘Revolució Soterrada’ (Co-released by Màgia Roja and Tesla Tapes)
Not that we never welcome news of the Barcelona-based label coven Màgia Roja and their daemonic experimentalist howls and Sabbath ritual releases that beckon from the abyss, but still on a high from the recent New Year celebrations, I’m loathed to be pulled back into the pit of discord and damnation this soon after Christmas. Scorched and branded with mysticism and the occult, the duo of new releases from the label is both caustic and harrowing. The first of these, plucked from relative obscurity, is the abattoir blues imbued misadventures of the Akauzazte, who it seems are mounting their fiercest and creatively strong attack yet, as they threaten to launch themselves like a plague upon all our houses with their Etazuaka opus. Label stalwart Victor Hurtado and his Qa’a comrade Yarei Molina meanwhile, enact an apocalyptic séance of dread and resignation on their Revolució Soterrada album; mourning the bleak realties of our times under the banner of the Order Etern.
Emerging from the ether many moons ago, Màgia Roja first came to our attention in 2009 with the mystical Chi’en LP from the I:Ching and Egyptian inspired Qa’a – both stamped with approval by me and the Archdruid Julian Cope at the time. The witch ascetic adorned label has continued to push its mix of industrial, black metal, drone and Krautrock with various shades of esoteric glee and dread, following up that original behemoth megalithic with the Throbbing Gristle meets Boris wallowing Coágul and the nihilistic, minimalism of the Joachen Arbeit & Huan partnership. Bleak but often complex, unsettling but often interesting, you never quite know what they’ll release next.
Hailing from the autonomous Basque country, Akauzazte have more less been left to their own devices and tortures, recording umpteen albums of post rock noise in the abandoned Azkoitia slaughterhouse they call home. Guided by the dual discord and ritualistic force of the Missing Foundation and Swans, the group trudges through a dark, troubling landscape of Byzantine horror and Himalayan occult on their first ever-double album. This allows the group more time to create the miasma, as they delve deeper and further into the unknown unrushed. Incantation style vocals waft or fill the horizon in suffused spookiness, as every instrument and found object (the imagination shudders) from the factory is used to produce an unnerving black metal/industrial rural soundscape. Not always heavy and knocking on damnations door, odd references of straight laced Teutonic pop, the dead Skeletons, Amon Düül II, Psychic TV and the Velvets appear liberally throughout. Granted they are but fleeting in the often-draining musical experience that awaits the listener. Still, if you are brave enough, or you’re curious, Etazuaka is a complex and multilayered beast. You just have to put the work in to get something out.
No less troubling and disturbingly imaginative the latest Màgia Roja sanctioned team up of Qa’a band member’s Victor Hurtado and Yarei Molina is a caustic transmission from the center of a disintegrating Europe. Draped in the Order Etern flag of plaintive, howled resistance, the duo mourns the grumbling desolate landscapes of urban and moral desolation as they drum up a funeral pyre to Spain’s bastions of poetic horror, Goya and Lorca. Old ghosts appear alongside the new; beckoned back from beyond the ether: a TV set from The Poltergeist comes to life with a echoed augur of future dread, and possessed vocals emanate from hollowed out desperate visions.
A strange brew indeed, mixing electronics with buzz saws, soldering equipment and a cannonade percussion of metallic reverb the new but atavistic preoccupied Order sound like a pissed off The Normal, or a stripped backed and hostile Einstürzende Neubauten jamming with Sunn O))). A machine horror show, delivered from cursed instruments, Revolució Soterrada beats out a persistent bleat of pained resignation, the vocals becoming ever more unhinged and desperate; this is anything but an easy ride into the chasm. Not for the faint hearted, both releases belong to the dark recesses of resistance in a world that is creeping towards an ever uneasy and often dystopian epoch. With no easy answers let alone questions and confusion reigning, Spain’s underground attempt to create various distraught symphonies for the present malaise.
Words: Dominic Valvona