Trepaneringsritualen is a band name that somehow makes me think of slightly arty Scandinavian harsh noise. Skinny guys, glasses, vaguely sociopolitical content. Anyone actually familiar with the work of Thomas Ekelund, however, knows very well that this is about as far from the truth as one could possibly get. The project moniker means nothing less than “Trepanning Ritual”, and when confronted by the blood drenched, bearded ogre responsible for the ritual in question, sociopolitical issues and hipster gear will most likely be rather far from your mind.
While the live performances of Trepaneringsritualen are, usually, quite brutal affairs – days old blood, and rabid screams being two prominent features – manifest as TEERAAL RÄUM PHEYNIX is a slightly more subdued experience. The constitutional elements and the atmosphere is roughly the same as in the live situation, though, with broken post-mortem industrial rumblings coming together with filthy dark ambient. The sound intensifies from slow attack drones to ever so slightly distorted semi-noise. Subtle feedback, jangle and creaks drift across the bleak ocean of minimalist darkness. Ritual chimes sound off in the distance, whether metal, synthetic, actual bells or plain imagination none can know.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that non-musical industrial music is in fact not extremely difficult to create. In fact, if you know how to package it conceptually, it is probably easier to create a half-way decent noise or ambient album than a record of equal length following formal musical rules, even of the popular variety. That being said, you only need to listen to manifest as TEERAAL RÄUM PHEYNIX to understand that within these genres there exists an awesome hierarchy, with talent, skill and experience playing an ever greater part the higher up this celestial ladder you climb. In brief: the distance between “half-way decent” and Trepaneringsritualen is vast. For all its minimalism, and whatever degree of improvisation may be at work in these blackened ceremonies, this is extremely efficient, threatening and convincing. There are a hundred nuances in the scaled back semi-melodies, drones and noises here – worlds to discover in every distortion.
The 10″ vinyl version has two sides and three tracks, all with a distinctly occult flavor in titles as well as music: “Ev To Παν”, “Χρυσοποιια” and the Norse “Åkallan: Jǫrmungandr”. At least a part of the album has been previously available as a limited split cassette with Celldöd, but unless you feel an inexorable need to provide for the families of Discogs scalpers, you’re probably better off with this album. It costs a pretty penny (slightly less pretty from Tesco Germany’s webshop), but to those of limited means, there is always the digital version upon which this review is based. If you fear the stench, violence and power of a Trepaneringsritualen live performance, you can still enjoy an excellent part of the project’s spiritual essence in the comfort of your own home by checking out manifest as TEERAAL RÄUM PHEYNIX.