In Service Of The Wolf3:14
The Underneath4:03
Mirage, Mirage3:01
21 Grams4:04
We Don't Leave Our Dead Behind3:50


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    Cover of Simulacra, 2021-10-15, CDSimulacra
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    Metropolis – MET 1253US2021US2021
    Cover of Simulacra, 2021-10-15, VinylSimulacra
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    Metropolis – MET 1253VUS2021US2021



    • wormboy666's avatar
      Amazon has this vinyl on sale for $14.99 right now. Just a heads up!
      • Somnium_Obmutum's avatar
        Edited one year ago
        Nether wants a heart like burning stakes
        Those two people who adored the debut (myself included) may have different reactions to this one. It's even more experimental follow-up. Electronics on modular synthesizer by Nero Bellum isn't about industrial now, it trenches into opposite directions, akin to club-alike approach. The sound is less restrained by utilizing uber cool distortions in style of Glitch which adds noticeable infernal conditions to Tim Skold's vocals, at times his voice is digitally processed the way as if he is a paranormal entity, unnaturally stuttering, echoing during song bridges in various angles while being accompanied by creepy whispers and expressively desperate back vocals by Nero himself, so you can worship the Goth Gamer Nation cult. Atrum artifex also integrated sick hip-hop beats - tailor-made for vampire night club. At first that was very surprising to hear in a goth album, but they fit well. The previous LP was aimed at cold and raw industrial-shaped modular riffs - monotonous, but kinda aristocratic in comparison, they felt like surgical cuts on your ears. I'd say lots of these hip-hop techniques on SIMULACRA are common for modern rap sound, seems like Nero is still learning with the tech, thus songwriting is, yet again, nothing to write home about, but Nero manages to maintain some unique creative choices to make it work for me. I like the oppresive power electronics slaps on MIRAGE MIRAGE reinfrocing the sense of desperation bordering on anger, half-whispered anti-religious declamations on CRISIS on top of sort of screaming beat like all of this is coming from a crypt or hard bass techno-meets-darksynth on UNDERNEATH club anthem. SALT proves to be the most effective with this minimalism, it relies on metronome-like, cyberpunk'ish synths while Skold is instructing on an alchemy ritual; the further track plodes alone the more intensenly scary it gets, indicating that the final result is achieved, the nether realm portal is opened.

        No doubt that due to this style departure the thick atmosphere of the 1st album is now smothering you with 2 fingers instead of all 10, but this is still an interesting antology of interpretation-heavy symbolism, surprisingly, rare seen among goth electronics, that's why it clicks all the right buttons for me, i am deeply fascinated with NMG cinematic take on dark mythology. Half of the enjoyment from this side project is based on whether you are skin-deep into it's lyrical themes or not.

        Thematically this LP takes a peculiar turn. Alchemy coupled with spiritualism has almost replaced the occult and demonology, hence the SIMULACRA name - like a ghost breathing down your neck. Sadly, the release relies on pure club drive a bit too much at times, making some of the most intriguing concepts less lyrics-focused for the sake of captivating rhythms on rave party among volcanoes. Therefore - due to the LP being closer to a dance floor than semantics - it gave me a feeling that Not My God (2020) had more elaborate things to say. It definitely was much more layered at it's themes. But, strangely enough, i hardly mind that boldness, because this is a deliberately different approach. Most importantly, it brought enough dynamics to not make the whole thing a slog. I haven't been this obsessed with dark clubbing for quite a while. The stylish "IN SERVICE OF THE WOLF" works as an invitation to this club where "angel eyes don’t fall on nothing" once the speeding up synths savor the reverse bass drop on chorus unreveling the hyperbolically evil chant: "sin awaits in my heart". You feel like a marching villain already. Surely a guilty pleasure, though i am not a catholic, you know.

        Besides, it's not a dumb rave album at all. The texts are as symbolic as ever, requiring you to surround yourself with notes to dig all the possible meanings. "21 GRAMS" and "SALT" are among the highlights of this captivating narrative. The former explores a theory that a human soul weights 21 gram, it was concluded during one experiment with ultra sensitive scales. The song is constructed around powerful mind struggle where a one man's soul is arriving to his death. It tries to brake through something while heavy waterfall of electro-distortion subconsciously illustrate that fight, reinforcing the constraint endeavors via repetitive messages:

        "The 21 grams you suffer
        The 21 gun salute
        The 21 grams you suffer
        The 21 gun resolute."

        I appreciate the neat details in the lyrics indicating that the protagonist is a thug who is trying to kill himself with 3,57 caliber magnum, ultimately going to hell where something still feels creepily off.

        Like i mentioned previously, "SALT" serves as a build-up for a non-stop alchemic procedure in which each ounce has a spiritual symbol which as a result leads to... you don't have any idea, it fades you in fog of processed vocals placed over the same ominously echoing synths parts. It could have been more rich with metaphors, but i simply see no point in that. "REBIS" is probably the most sinister song since it's omnipresent bass intertwines with ritualistic mantras, mechanical like post-effect indicating some sort of victorian'esque equipment while Nero back vocals are occuping the virtual scene in the start. Considering that rebis is like an ubermensch form of a human in alchemy it feels real, compensating the overarching simplicity of the track. "ABYSSUS" circles around sonic "hook" too shamefully though, it's idea of famous meaning behind the number 144 000 loops the chorus at this point too often, but as a rave dance it's fine enough, it's just that hip-hop rhytms on this are too unoriginal. I can't say that the hook itself isn't powerful, because it contains the right idea for my vision of dance macabre:

        "Bow to Belial!
        Feel the flow of the candombe!"

        "WE DON'T LEAVE OUR DEAD BEHIND" is a soothing closure by design, as it stated in the promo description "slow as a somber march through an apocalyptic wasteland" which couldn't be described better. Laid on compressed chiptune with dramatically slowed down beat drop as if you are menacingly traversing at the end of a battle: "so the mountain finally crumbles, the mighty tyrant falls apart". Through i expected the track to be more a more industrial-focused hymn to all the "informals", however the head-banging "THE UNDERNEATH" totally makes up for it, burning to the ground each true cyber-goth out there with it's idea of Uroborus metaphore pointing at never ending suffering of martyrs in hell. The whispering killer chorus (pun intended) alongside with infectious glitch-laden sythwave leads to a crushing demise, very refresing after loads of by the numbers hellektro releases which hardly ever seem to be as goth as this:

        Takes time to die.
        Takes time to die.
        Takes time to die.

        Lyrical poverty is not the issue with all the songs, mind you. The one and only single "ASHES" - with a visually stunning video clip to back it up - is a cross between this album and the previous one. It's a hauntingly fatalistic tale of unexplainable evil which forced two of the fundamental god-creators (Ninhursag and Ra) to surrender, luring them into their own destruction. Similar to Sowing Discord form the previous album, Bellum once again sets the tone with low key piano notes, adding some drone ambient shades in the mix whilist martial industrial beats escalate the feeling of unavoidable overthrow:

        "Enter the Serpent, Fall on your sword,
        After this chapter i will promise you
        When all this is over, long lost and forgotten
        Ashes, ashes, ashes..."

        All the aforementioned makes up for more energetic, enthralling album, but too melody-focused while being not very profound at songwriting, because Nero Bellum is still conceiving his device as a hobby when Psyclon Nine bores him. The end result is more lyrically skinny sometimes, gritty with it's shameful use of by standard hip-hop/synthwave elements, in spite of it i am paradoxically satisfied, at least as a gothic scholar: many of the embedded themes coupled with this stupidly primitive EDM intrigues me. However, at the end of the day i prefer Not My God (2020), it's more complex theme-wise and as cold as my obsidian heart.


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