THEOLOGIAN Some Things Have To Be Endured (Crucial Blast)
"Some things have to be endured, and that makes the pleasures so much sweeter!" So spoke the villainous Frank Cotton in Clive Barker’s first Hellraiser movie. It is interesting to think back, and realize that Coil had their proposed soundtrack to that same movie rejected with some citing that Coil’s themes were ‘too frightening’ or (more likely) ‘not commercial enough’ for a major studio motion picture. Anyone with ears who has listened to Coil’s unreleased themes to Hellraiser will not find anything frightening or scary at all. In fact, Coil was quite reverential to somebody like David Shire, especially with his minimalist and maudlin score for The Conversation, with Coil composing everything on the Fairlight synthesizer, which itself had a distinct sound but one that didn’t fall in line with the Goblin / Carpenter axis. Had Coil turned in to the film studio something like what they produced on their grand statement to the apocalypse in Horse Rotovator, it might have sounded close to where Theologian ended up on this death-synth industrial opus.
Here, Theologian - the project of a cold-hearted character simply given the name Leech - has employed the talents of a host of female vocalists from the darkwave and noise underground. The conceit has a similar feel to Lustmord’s recent album The Word As Power; and thankfully, both albums transcend any notion of female tokenism. Furthermore, both albums do not suck. Far from it for Theologian; as this album triumphantly extends the M83-produces-Swans analogy that we posited regarding the 2012 epic The Chasms Of My Heart album. After a garbled, witchy cackle that introduces the album’s first track “Black Cavern Myopia,” Leech uncorks a dark-minded, power techno rhythm, crunched through distortion, echo and sinister atmospheres featuring the deep-in-the-catacomb vocalizations of Hecate’s Rachael Kozak. A more familiar militantly bashed rhythm keeps with a Swans-styled corporal beatdown on “The Conjoined Deviant Procession” with the monotone chanting delivered by Kristen from [Sewer Goddess]. The vocals never really come to the foreground throughout the album, instead they swirl and commingle amidst the metalgaze hiss, powerdrone murk, and audio sickness from Leech’s decomposing productions. Even when he employs the talents of opera singer Melissa Kelly (the only vocalist not hailing from noise culture), her voice is cacooned in billowing reverb as it flutters throughout the ghastly synth melodies and blackened industrially crushed doom plod on “Ectothermism.” Aside from [Sewer Goddess] and Hecate, we’ve not encountered any of the other vocalists, but their legion is Rachel Maloney (Tonikom), Nikki Telladictorian (Prometheus Burning), Patricia Benitez (Fetish Drone), Gillian Leigh Bowling (Teloahqaal), Christiana Key (Delphic Oracle), Joan Hacker (Factoria), and Shari Vari (Void Vision). Leech has crafted monstrous, ghastly album of lurching rhythms and totally downer melodies - think the Cure’s Pornography remixed by Vatican Shadow. So good!