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Wolfhetan - Entrückung (2006)

'We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature.'

Featuring members of Odal and previously known as Sterbend Besungen, Wolfhetan play Black Metal - fed by the fuel of Paganism, Nature and Great Fucking Metal. The list of comparisons is (inevitably) endless, conjuring fond memories of 'Bergtatt' era Ulver and early Bathory, even the austerity of early Drudkh ('Autumn Aurora'/'Forgotten Legends'). What drew my interest to Wolfhetan is the actual musicianship, not one part of the album feels contrived or out of place - the music feels as natural as their ideology. The grandeur in nature, the old Gods, the mysticism of moonlit ritual enclaves, the gnarled oak and the wisdom in the trees. Fast, vicious blasting sections of metal melt instinctively into acoustic meanderings and build layer on layer up to fully orchestrated sections of pure wonder and joy. Probably one of the more underrated gems of the decade - rectify your mistakes and add this to your collection.

Purchase Now

Teargas & Plateglass - Black Triage (2007)

'Let our crowds be fed on teargas and plateglass, 'cos the people united is a wonderful thing.'



Little is known about Teargas & Plateglass. Who are they? What drives them to create such bleak, depressive soundscapes? Apparently, the last interview they did was five years ago. What I can tell you however is that this is industrial music as it was intended to be played. Both a visual and aural project, the producer duo also creates bizarre and nauseating films to accompany the music, full with scenes of violence and warfare.

The suffocating darkness invoked here makes Trent Reznor's work sound more akin to the Black Eyed Peas than the style he is credited with popularizing. Taking cues from trip-hop beats and alligning them with dark ambient drones and sorrowful orchestral sounds, this is music for the end of the world.

Black Triage focuses single-mindedly on the themes of genocide and the apocalypse, using samples from political interviews and using depressive monologues to further drive home the feelings of hopelessness that is so prevalent in our technology-obsessed 21st century world. Here's the music video for One Day Across The Valley, so you know what you're getting yourself into. It seems that the spoken word is a direct translation of someone's real experience:

Brilliant dark ambient industrial. This is what I'd be spinning if the world was crumbling around me. If you thought Portishead's 3 was pretty bleak then you should hear this. Go get!

Dove - S/T (2004)

In a world where essential truths are hidden, obscured by our imperfect inferential machinery, and further obscured by those who wish to exploit them, the search for purity can be a long, frustrating one.

There is a pattern evident as an artist first takes their fledgling flights into the public eye.  First they are ignored, then shunned, then actively resisted, and finally, embraced: sucked into the media machine, stripped of all their originality, talent, voice and sound, hung out to dry whilst these attributes are commodified, categorised, compounded to form the mould called a 'genre'.  Until a fickle audience becomes bored by the stream of acts pressed ill-fittingly into the mould and passed of under the guise of variety, the artistic merits of the pioneer's vision are pillaged, left bare:  a figure-head martyr shamed by their ill-begotten legacy.

As an increasingly fickle audience becomes ever harder to please, and true talent treads a safe distance from the mainstream, a beleagured record-industry can be seen hopelessly mashing together old archived genre-moulds in a desperate attempt to convince the world that they are fostering original new talent.

Away from the cynicism of commercial co-opting of art, cross-fertilisation between different artists, bands, sounds or ideas can yield the most natural refreshing music around.
Dove's 2004 self-titled debut and only album has its moments reminiscent of hardcore, doom, sludge and stoner metal, effortlessly blended, and free of the radical posturing, faux-occultism, self-righteous bombast and creative drought too often a factor in the aforementioned scenes.

Hidden from the mainstream gravity-machine, a chance aggregation of musicians from commonly disparate ventures actually worked, and stayed hidden long enough not to be spoiled.

Zine: Northern Heritage II (2000)

In an attempt to provide something you won't find on any other of the trillion blogs online, try these scans of a Northern Heritage Zine (Issue II) circa 2000, featuring interviews with (a rather immature) Deathspell Omega, Blackdeath, Helwetti (featuring Warloghe drummer) and Musta Surma, some music/zine reviews and the occasional elitist rambling from this now infamous label. Click to enlarge. Expect more zines and scans in the future. Enjoy!

1- Front/Back Cover 2

3+4- Deathspell Omega Interview

5+6- Helwetti Interview

7+8- Blackdeath Interview

9+10- Musta Surma Interview

11-17 Reviews

18- Ramblings


William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops (2002)

1. D|P 1.1 (1:03:33)
2. D|P 2.1 (10:56)

It's an often overlooked fact that as soon as we come into existence, as soon as we take that first breath of air into our lungs, our body mechanics begin the inexorable march towards blissful oblivion. Every year we grow older is a celebration that our mortal coils are not as flawless nor efficient as they used to be. Until now, I have not come across a better musical metaphor for a subject that everyone should be accustomed with, yet also a subject that most people shun to the point of paralysing fear: Death.

The story behind William Basinski's Disintegration Loops is both interesting and compelling. The ambient and minimalist multi-instrumentalist was attempting to salvage some earlier recordings from 1982 that had been initially laid down on magnetic tape. As Basinski began the process to digitise the recordings it became clear that the physical quality of the tape had greatly detiorated over the twenty years of inactivity. As the reel passed the read/write head, pieces of tape would disintegrate and fall off. The result of this unexpected fault led to the track transforming over a long period of time to a point where eventually the track seems to be in death throws, sounding like a meek shadow of its former self until nothing more can be heard.

This is a popular album in the blog scene, but seeing as we have our own growing group of followers that may not have come across this work I thought I'd post it. Be warned though, if you have no interest in incredibly minimalist or ambient (in the correct usage of the term) music you probably won't enjoy this. But by all means, stick it on while you're reading, studying or working and it's pretty much perfect. I find it quite moving and I hope you do too :).

Get Now//William Basinski

EDIT: I'd also like to add that this is only the first volume out of four, so if you're interested in hearing more let us know.

Pohakka - Minä Kävelen Vetten Päällä... (1997)

Pohakka play truely depressive music. Funeral doom-like Black Metal without any tortured vocals, heavy distorted riffs or technical drumming. Why so sad then? Clean bass melodies and slow, plodding drums take center stage over mildly audible guitars before breaking clean for synth and acoustic guitar work. An 18 minute demo of pure depression, and I mean that - a true dimly lit gem from the abyss, seasons greetings!


Have a very merry winter solstice, from excellentsword, Bile and Slicedmind xxx

Paysage d'hiver - Nacht (2004)

"The ear, the organ of fear, could have evolved as greatly as it has only in the night and twilight of obscure caves and woods, in accordance with the mode of life in the age of timidity, that is to say the longest human age there has ever been: in bright daylight the ear is less necessary. That is how music acquired the character of an art of night and twilight."

Sitting down to any Paysage d'hiver demo can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The demo in point - Nacht, is representative of Wintherr's larger catalogue as a whole . Winter at night, swallowed by windswept pines, the biting chill of a monotonous, howling wind in the middle of an opaque snowstorm.
To remove almost all subjectivity and embodiment from a piece of art, to have such strong a vision as to provoke an atmosphere of complete and utter isolation within the kernel of nature and to deliver this vision with the conviction and honesty of a knowing artist, that is Paysage d'Hiver. 'Nacht' is the experiences of the hermit recluse, living, hunting, breathing, outliving the brutality of mother nature.
Opener 'Des Lichtes Sterben - Part I' obombrates a placid calm, despite sampling shrieking wind at twilight and fades slowly into the ambient gift of reverberations from caverns, valleys and dew-covered pine trees. A totally ambient introduction that does well to set the tone for the remaining sounds.
'Ein Getriebener Im Schneestreiben' brings greater instrumentation as guitars fuzz and flourish into gloriously epic riffs, drums cascade through snowfall and the moonlit travels of some half insane wanderer and vocals never quite break through the blizzard. As the track develops through some absolutely mind blowing tempo changes and chord alterations, the atmosphere and magnanimaty of the whole album begin to sink in. Repitition provokes the feeling of isolation, fuzzy production values put the bite into the shriek of the wind as snow and ice tear at the skin. Suddenly an epic vista opens up before you. A whole simulacrum of mountains and impenetrable foliage, snow storm and horizontal pines caught in the fray. Here, alone, the sublime immensity of insignificance strikes its most resolute arrow through the heart.
The latter half of the demo, beginning with 'Finsternis, Tod und Einsamkeit' is another excellent example of Wintherr's talent. Everything is present here, haunting arpeggio'd distortions over hermetic visions, the unpiercable veil of night and snow an unwelcome danger. Its hard to analyse individual parts to a piece so caught up on delivering the whole. Wintherr is an artist in the true sense of the word, his visions as brutal as his implementation. Everything perishes in winter. Your lungs are broken and sputtering icey spittle. The piece amalgamates to become transcendentally dreamlike before floating back into reality.
And then, the eternal return: 'Des Lichtes Sterben - Part II' brings another day, another storm and another fight to survive. The undivided certainty that nature will not assure your survival, the realisation that attempting to dwell and survive here is idiotic. Paysage d'hiver is great Black Metal because it doesn't preach about things you should be frightened of or indeed try to frighten you itself with lazily conceived shock tactics. Instead, it has a firm understanding of the sublime and the tragic, of human emotion, the need to overcome and survive and is delivered as some of the most boundlessly intuitively compelling music ever put to tape. Quite simply, if you are into Black Metal and you don't appreciate this recording - you have no idea what you're on about.

Purchase Soon! (A5 digi CD planned..)
Paysage d'hiver!

Lake of Blood - Heed the Primal Calling (2008)

Recently another bizarre black metal movement has managed to pique my interest. In an extreme ideological contrast to my last music related post which you can view here, this particular scene has adopted the title of 'Red and Anarchist Black Metal' or RABM as the usual coloquial formula dictates.

The name is an allusion to RASH (Red and Anarchist Skinheads), a left-wing skinhead group who formed in response to the murder of a homosexual man in New York by a gang of right-wing but
supposedly anti-rascist skinheads (Thanks Wikipedia). The transition of these values into modern black metal seems to be a direct protest against a genre which is apparently rife with 'racism, nationalism and worship of authoritarian rule' to quote Antoine of self-proclaimed communist black metal band Jarost Marksa.

THIS JUST IN: It's actually not, as all the most revered black metal luminaries will tell you in a heartbeat if only people would listen.

Now, I couldn't give two shits about politics in my music as long as I can hear sincere, rabid artistic passion behind it all. That is why I have no problem listening to NSBM and why I care equally as little about the addition of HURR DURR RED AND ANARCHIST on to my beloved black metal. My general apathy towards humanity prevents me from forming an opinion on how the scum of the earth should have their lives governed by other scum of the earth. However, enough of the rambling. My next post will be free of any of this bullshit, I promise.

On the subject of sincere and rabid artistic passion, SoCal's Lake of Blood have this in abundance. I came across the band after hearing them on a split release with fellow RABM crusader Panopticon (who is also worth your time) so I got hold of their 2008 debut EP, Heed the Primal Calling. On the first spin, it soon became apparent that this is nothing but brilliant, balls-to-the-wall melodic black metal. It's full to the brim with an epic atmosphere that will seize your head and send it nodding with vigour. Always welcome.

Musically, it sounds like the beautiful lovechild of the early Ulver releases, Bergtatt and Nattens Madrigal, albeit with a far more modern edge that conjures comparisons with Weakling and Wolves In The Throne Room in places. There is also the pleasant addition of a thrash metal/melodic death metal feeling to some of the riffs, most evident on the EP's title track and Lake of Blood. Acoustic folk passages make themselves known out of the cacophony with a fair frequency, again suggesting Ulver's older works. The lyrics are standard black metal territory as far as I'm concerned; a deep respect for nature, wilderness, isolation and the wholly detrimental effect the progress of humanity has had on our unfortunate planet.

On the surface level, Lake of Blood have nothing to do with the RABM jargon that they have been lumped in with, unless it's simply a political statement that they agree with, though not obviously referred to within their music. I do hope that this isn't limiting to their musical career because for a young band this is a strong debut release. They could certainly be one to keep your eyes and ears on in the near future.

'Out of the darkest night, playing the blackest of metal.'

1. Nameless I Arise
2. Heed The Primal Calling
3. The Darkest Path
4. Lake of Blood

Buy Now // Lake Of Blood

Hammemit - Nature Mystic (2009)

"To shed the boring accepted realities that suffocate the majority and embrace or confront what lies beyond... I always had the sense of seeing far and deep and had contempt for those who couldn't" - Ian Brady.

A quote from an older Unknown Ikon release under the Emit monicker, before they chilled out a bit and decided the whole 'anti-art' thing was a pretty piss poor effort to cover up disjointed noise recordings. Stemming from an attitude verging on solipsism, nihilism, and the inevitable Nietzschean system of Genealogy (revaluing values - nitimur in vetitum - always striving for the forbidden). A vast output of noise recordings and hellish, uncomfortable releases ensued. Since then, Unknown has begun to introduce more layers, more attention to detail, the occassional bit of interesting instrumentation, a Gregorian chant, peculiar drum arrangements, odd volume levels, interesting song structure, and of course - more atmosphere, blood thick.

For me Hammemit is a much maturer enterprise. Idea's less akin to the angsty youth, leaning instead towards the enlightened elder. Haunting synths flow in and out whilst ululating guitars gurgle beneath raspy, Gregorian chants. Between the vibrations lurk other instruments too, on 'Mysteries Of The Church' broken drums hide and creep at the very bottom of the mix, 'Churchyard Tree' exposes the remains of a piano piece, even the occasional woodwind instrument. This is very far removed from the early disjointed noise rehearsals - but undeniably of the same aesthetic, with a far greater understanding and musical capability to hand.

"A compendium of timeless musickal movements from the mist enshrined shores of ancient England. From towering cliffs, pitch dark forests and dreary moors whispers the black spell of Emit"

I really enjoy all of Unknown Ikon's releases, the ideology, outlook, the taint of the thing, its all very British. Like putting the actions of the Moors Murders to tape, Hammemit results.

If you like this, PLEASE support both the artist and the label, the CD is inexpensive and the link is below.

Purchase Now!
Support Now!

Gnaw - This Face (2009)

The product of misanthropic convergence, Gnaw hate you.  Crunching blackened doom spirals out of a stinking, noisy miasma: he's screaming at you.  Uncompromising dissonant malevolence to make winter just that extra bit colder.

Get now   //  Buy now  //  Gnaw

Yoga - Megafauna (2009)

Impending Doom.

Saint Vitus



I love me some Doom Metal. And on the subject of 'doom' I have to go to bed now; it's 4:05am and I've just finished tidying the house in preparation for my mother's return to England for Christmas. Tomorrow I have to wake up early and clear all the fallen leaves from the front of the house before I go to work which usually starts at 3pm but tomorrow happens to start at 1pm instead. Later on I have to drive to Bristol for 9:45pm to pick her up when her flight arrives. I will be living under tyranny until 2010.


BlazeBirth Hall: Forest - As a Song in the Harvest of Grief (1999) & Branikald - Rdjandalir (1996)


That's 'National Socialist Black Metal' for the uninitiated. I have no doubt that such a concept would have made a few of you squirm and I certainly did when it first became known to me. For Black Metal, an already intensely dark and controversial area of music in its own right to be mixed with such a brutal ideology may prove too much for some to stomach.

But come now, Varg has been subtly extoling his 'aryan virtues' since at least '93. And if mere controversy makes you feel uncomfortable then you should not be listening to Black Metal at all!

I have always approached NSBM from one stance: Ugly people with ugly ideologies making incredible music. Of course, this is not always the case but I think it would be enough to name-check Hate Forest, Drudkh, Astrofaes, Kataxu, Sunwheel and Grand Belial's Key off the top of my head to prove it. If you're not familiar with these bands I suggest you check them out.

There's a swarth of NSBM out there; some great, some fucking awful but this post intends to explore a particular niche of this often maligned genre. Based in Novomoskovsk, Russia, the BlazeBirth Hall circle was formed by Ulv Gegner Irminsson of Forest and Raven Dark. Elitist and staunch in its political beliefs, only close friends of Ulv were allowed to take part. In fact, the bands that became BlazeBirth Hall only ever seemed to include Ulv, Kaldrad (a particularly prolific musician within the collective) and a few various other comrades.

BlazeBirth Hall has become infamous within the international black metal scene for the string of violent crimes and revolving door jail sentences related to the group. In 2005, Ulv was brutally stabbed to death with the circumstances surrounding his murder left strangely unclear.

It's obvious how dubious these people are, yet my interest in BlazeBirth Hall lies solely in the music it created. To edit my initial statement, BlazeBirth Hall can be summarised thus: 'Ugly people with ugly ideologies making some of the most beautiful, reflective and mind-bending music that I have ever heard.' Don't believe me? The albums I've included with this post will hopefully change your mind.

Forest's As a Song in the Harvest of Grief opens with a notable ambient guitar piece, held together by a drunken folkish melody while two buzzsaw guitars climb bizarre scales in and out of its gnarled husk. A listen to this album is worth it just for this opening track. What follows is a suprisingly savage and melodic album with a deliciously raw guitar tone and desperate, anguished vocals. I suppose a fair comparison would be early Burzum although more hynoptic, grim and inaccessible than Varg could ever manage.

1. Into The Mouth of Breath
2. By The Flame in Our Veins
3. To The Spirits Fire
4. Where the Truth is One...
5. Spilt Be, The Scum of Blood
6. As a Song in the Harvest of Grief
7. Storm till the Ocean's Heart
8. Untitled Track

Branikald's Rdjandalir is not all that different from Forest, not through emulation but because they are both projects of Kaldrad and his brilliant style takes centre stage on both records. Rdjandalir features four long compositions of raw and ambient black metal that surges and stumbles across 45 minutes. I'm not sure what to say but I am sure that I failed to do Forest justice above, and I'm not about to do the same for Branikald. Just know that these are a couple of my favourite black metal releases.

1. Microcosm of the Spirit
2. Spirit Sense
3. By the Timeless Nightly Dusk
4. Rdyandalir

Oh and don't forget, National Socialism is for faggots.

Mgła - Presence (2006) ( diamonds in the shit of smugglers)

Black Metal is a genre long stigmatized for its quantity over quality approach, 'grim-to-the-point-of-stupidity' attempts at atmosphere and lo-fi production masking the oft proved incongruity of a boy playing a badly tuned guitar in the bedroom of his parents house trying desperately to convey misconceptions of Nietzschean values. Its usually pretty hard to sift through the crap to find something half worth your time, so much so that most people give up with Black Metal as something that begun and died with thee old Norweigans. Mgła is an exception to these (unfortunate) rules.

Presence is a monument. Delivery is honest and full of conviction. Simplicity fine tuned by variations in guitar composition and what I know I will regret calling catchy binary beats you hear all too rarely in MEHTUL. Total dedication not just to the blueprint of Black Metal but to the abnegation of Christian values and society. Not another fatuous band copying Darkthrone but a messenger. Alright, this is meat and potato Black Metal, but its done properly and for the right reasons, and hopefully, you will hear that. Enjoy and Support!

The Endless Blockade/Hatred Surge - Split (2007)

Genuinely one of my favourite records, this split LP on Schizophrenic Records features two of the best bands doing hard/fat/loud music right now, and manages to be blisteringly good whilst being pant-shittingly scary.
The vinyl is transparent with pink splatter, imagine how nice that looks spinning around and around, like a baby in a blender.  Sounds like it too.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - S/T (2006)

In the ongoing arms race which is 'punk' music, you'd be forgiven for feeling a little bit seasick as the music gets faster, louder, more incomprehensibly grunty, MOAR TECHNICAL!  Then there is the other side of punk which just seems to be an excuse to get drunk and play badly.  That makes it all the more rewarding to find a band like ECSR, playing skin-tight garage punk pop, free of pretension and cringeworthy lyrics you often have to try and ignore.  Last years Primary Colours was a perfectly crystalised triumph and as a result was loved by everyone and is pretty easy to find.  This, their debut, was released in 2006 and has more recently got a repressing in the US, and is harder to find on the internet, so get this, then go get Primary Colours and go on a bit of a journey with this fantastic band.

Buy Now  //  ECSR

Beak> - Beak> (2009)

Beak> are a band consisting of members of three separate bands all signed to Geoff Barrow's (out of Portishead) Invada record label, including Geoff himself.  Portishead are a band much revered by critics and the wider public, and their latest album Third was a genuine highlight of last year.  Portishead have a very distinct polished sound, meticulously created and produced which has lead to some albums having pretty long gestation periods.  Beak> by contrast wrote and recorded their album in twelve days and is noticeably more "jammy', taking cues from kraut, psychedelic and post-punk influences.  Whilst this sounds nothing like Portishead, knowing the connection between the band makes you appreciate the spontanaity audible in the music, though the inventiveness which drives the core of Portishead's songwriting is still conspicuously joyful .

Buy Now  //  Beak>

Extra Life - Secular Works (2008)... (And a fanboy's account of almost seeing Kayo Dot.)

Way back when in September of this year, myself and the gentlemen who also contribute to this blog went to see our (correct me if I am mistaken) joint all-time favourite band Kayo Dot on their very first European Tour. At least we hoped we were, as it became known to us that their bassist and drummer had been detained in France. Our Dark Lord Toby Driver (Peace be upon him) told us the customs officials were suspicious that the group weren't coming to the UK to work. So although it wasn't what we had waited for with baited breath for at least AN ENTIRE YEAR, we were treated to an exclusive set of Tartar Lamb; Toby and Mia's two piece contemporary classical side project. It proved to be exquisite.

Anyway, I digress before I've even started.

The point of this post is to introduce a completely different band: New York-based Extra Life. On my return from seeing the greatest band ever (this is not opinion, this is cold hard FACT), I wanted to see if I could find another 'avant-garde rock band' that could perhaps live up to the impossibly high standards set by Kayo Dot and its predecessor, maudlin of the Well.

Extra Life may just have achieved that with their first full-length, Secular Works. Hell, these guys sure know how to play. Of course, the instrumentation is a little more interesting than your standard rock 'n' roll fare with the addition of mournful violins that melt over jagged math rock guitars like warm Nutella on toast and this is likely to be more than a subtle nod to Kayo Dot's set up. The composition and technique is of a high calibre, lying somewhere between the intricate delicacy of Don Caballero and the weight of Isis... if Isis were at all 'weird'.

But what really shines here are the vocals. Guitarist/vocalist Charlie Looker seems to be an afficionado of medieval and Gregorian music, bringing something very new to a genre that thrives on originality and experimentation. These antique melodies grab and lead the music from piece to piece. It is without doubt the centre piece of the whole show. And, boy, can this guy sing. Looker's technique and ability can be seen particularly on See You At The Show where your mind will be boggled at how someone can enunciate and sing so clearly in such a complex and spastic rhythm. Album closer, Bled White, is an a'capella piece that exhibits Looker's perfect pitch and consistency even when unaccompanied by his band mates. All in all, a triumph for experimental music.

(But not quite as good as Kayo Dot :P)

1. Blackmail Blues
2. I Don't See It That Way
3. I'll Burn
4.The Refrain
5. This Time
6. See You At The Show
7. Bled White

Buy Now // Extra Life

Orrery - Nine Odes to Oblivion (2008)

What began as a chance discovery, swiftly became my favourite raw black metal release of all time. And it was only released last year! That's reason enough to make this record my first post on our shiney new blog. Orrery were an instrumental black metal project from Tasmania of all places, and this is possibly the reason that they are so criminally underrated. That, and because they dissolved the band as soon as Nine Odes to Oblivion was released. Although this is certainly disappointing, there have been a few bands in the history of black metal who have grouped together, kicked out some jams, released a marvelous record then promptly called it a day. Weakling of course comes to mind.

It is this striving to achieve perfection that makes albums like this so admirable and mysterious. As artists, they had the courage and foresight to realise they had achieved everything they had set out to do in one record.

And what a record it is. Recorded in a rustic shack high in the Tasmanian mountains, it's the perfect setting for an album that seems to revere the land around it. Although 'wind' sound effects were digitally added after recording, the attentive listener can actually hear low rumbles and pops of the gale force mountain winds in the microphone, threatening to rip their lair apart! This single microphone was hung from the rafters above the band who then simply unleashed their lo-fi beauty upon it.

However, don't let talk of beauty disarm you. This is black metal at its very limits of rawness. The first track opens with a droning blast of feedback and gives way into what can only be described as a fucking awesome riff. The drums, tinny and sharp, add a few accents and then it kicks in, with the second guitar rumbling underneath like a blunt buzzsaw. Though poorly recorded it helps the atmosphere of the album to no end as guitars dreamily cascade and blur between eachother over a drilling rhythm section. In between the black metal assault however, Orrery give us the respite of five acoustic interludes throughout the record.

Released on cassette and CD, all the tracks are untitled.