26th March 2016
Pogrom – Father:Land
Pogrom is well-known among the ‘extreme’ sector of industrial fans for Levas Urlo‘s (the man behind the project) straightforward approach towards radical politics and other extreme themes, and more recently, his grimy, deep power-electronics sound. Urlo has not been shy about expressing himself over the years under the Pogrom banner, first focusing on misogyny and homophobia on Liberal Cunt, then evolving towards radical far-right political themes about the degradation of Western society through multiculturalism. Finally, the beast developed this secondary ideal further with Degančios Suros in 2013, as elaborated upon by our own David Tonkin:
‘On “Degančios Suros,” Pogrom takes steady aim at what he clearly sees as a weakening of Europe (though how he defines that is not clear) by both modern liberal thought and by Muslim immigration.’
Sound-wise, Urlo’s forthrightness was changed into more drone-influenced roaring with a lot of low-end frequencies. Even then, however, Pogrom clearly kept his radical thematic approach. Knowing all of this, it goes without saying that there were some strange feelings brewing within me while first listening to Father:Land on tape when it was first released in 2015. It is decidedly different from everything else that Pogrom has released in every way; here, Pogrom has shifted from the temporal to the end: death.
Ukrainian post-industrial label Old Captain, along with Urlo’s own Lithuanian Terror imprint, has now reissued the material of Father:Land on CD (Degančios Suros was also re-released on CD by the United Kingdom’s Unrest Productions and Terror) for those who are unfortunate enough to not own a tape player in 2016. One of the best things about this release is immediately apparent through its cover: as with the previous album, the reissue version of Father:Land‘s cover has been crafted by the talented illustrator Gintarė K. Narga. It fascinates me that more and more power electronics artists are starting to change their approach in cover artwork from the old-fashioned noise-influenced boring grey collages (there are some good ones, obviously, but most are just random visual noise) into something with more artistic substance. Unfortunately, when you open your digipak, you’ll immediately encounter two problems: the booklet is boring and it is difficult to clearly see the lyrics in it, which is unfortunate because Urlo definitely deserves better as he is well-known as a solid lyricist even if his words sometimes sound too primitive. I understand this primal style as being his approach and, ultimately, his goal, but it is different on Father:Land. The lyrics here come across as deeper—more meaningful. It reminds me of another project that Urlo partakes in as a lyricist and vocalist: Budrūs. These alcohol-inspired, sincere words, for example, are from the fourth track on the album, called ‘Prašymas’ (‘Request’):
‘Scatter my ashes to the sea,
Don’t leave my body decaying underground,
I will disappear like I never lived before,
And only photographs will remind about me’
As can be expected considering the theme at hand, Father:Land is gloomy, unearthly, and rich in its depth. Whereas Degančios Suros was more like a walk through Middle Eastern desert lands in the scorching summer heat, Father:Land is more akin to the psychological and physical agony experienced while lying in complete desolation, moments from death.
Interestingly enough, there are drums on this album that remind me of Bizarre Uproar. Urlo also uses radical effects on his voice in some tracks. For example, on the third track, ‘Long Odds’, the vocals sound more like another instrument and add some intensity to the atmosphere. There is also a surprising amount of melody on Father:Land, and a lot of rhythm as well. On Degančios Suros, these elements were more like a foreign quirk rather than an intrinsic part of the music. This time around, Pogrom’s melodic approach is the important anchor for the music, with its monotonous and gloomy yet minimalistic, primitive, and loud character.
The most memorable moment on the album is second track, ‘Tavo dovanota tyla pati brangiausia (In Memoriam VK)’ (‘The Silence You Gifted Me Is Most Precious’), which has an intense atmosphere and beautiful climax towards the end with its dreamy retro approach. Its background noise and distorted vocals make it sound comparatively strange yet unforgettable. The last track is a cover of an old Lithuanian gothic band, Anapilis. A guitar performance even makes an unexpected appearance on the track (thanks to ‘Gusmanas‘, who has worked with Urlo at other points) and creates even more strange feelings. Perhaps it overstays its welcome a bit, but considering that the whole duration of the album is only thirty-eight minutes, it is not an issue.
It is nice to see this big change in Pogrom. The theme is not political and is, in fact, much deeper this time around. The sound purposely (and presumably) reflects the atmosphere of dying, which itself reflects the theme at hand. Father:Land is assuredly an eerie, haunting record, yet it is absolutely not a typical power electronics release because of its mild use of melody and rhythm. Perhaps it is because of this middle-ground approach that Father:Land is the most interesting piece of Pogrom’s discography.
Written by: Suweln Dangvnhttps://heathenharvest.org/2016/03/26/pogrom-fatherland/