Jun 2017 05

John Bergin - The Lords of Bone and MachineryJohn Bergin
Category: Experimental / Dark Ambient / Industrial
Album: The Lords of Bone and Machinery
Stars: 4
Blurb: A fine compilation that can do well to introduce those unfamiliar into Bergin’s nightmarish audio/visual world, while also serving as an excellent retrospective of some of his most haunted musical conjuring.


One could say that John Bergin has a preoccupation with the darker side of human nature as his work as an illustrator, graphic designer, and musician all explore nightmarish worlds of apocalyptic grandeur. Whether crafting artwork and album covers for numerous high profile bands and artists or carving out his own musical niche with the bleak soundscapes of C17H19No3 and the crushing magnitude of Trust Obey, Bergin’s significance in the echelon of modern music should not be underestimated. Newly edited and re-mastered by esteemed collaborator Robert Rich, the tracks on The Lords of Bone and Machinery span 16 years to showcase Bergin’s mastery of audio/visual stimuli, each track serving as a soundtrack to lurid visions of a decayed world where sanity and salvation are mere illusions. Featuring an assortment of tracks from 1692/2092 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Bergin’s soundtrack to the Warhammer Traitor General novel, and named for a track from the first C17H19No3 release, 1994’s Terra Damnata (although that track is dubiously absent from this collection), The Lords of Bone and Machinery is not so much a “best of” release as it is an exhibition of some of Bergin’s most haunted sonic conjuring. There is a deceptive simplicity to Bergin’s style that permeates through such tracks as “Breeding,” “Harvest of Souls,” and “Engines of Destruction,” loops of mechanical bass and steely percussion underscoring swells of horns and ghostly strings, marching feverishly across ashen wastelands in the aftermath of a great cataclysm, while other tracks like “Invasion” and “Penetration” dwell purely in the ambient haze of lost souls left on the periphery of life and death, unable to traverse from one state of being to the other. The opening tracks, “Excision” and “Leviathan Rising” juxtapose martial rhythms with insistent and ominous swells of atmospheric monstrosity, both intimating at the approach of a destructive menace beyond human reckoning, while the album’s penultimate track, “Broken Soul” offers no glimmer of hope but like a requiem at least hints at the memory of lost humanity, the stringy plucking repetitions and restrained, coldly melodic pads interrupted by faintly organic sounds of seaside waves and an almost guttural chattering. “Wage War” is almost an anomaly on the album with its scratchy synth and guitar riffs and dynamic percussion overlaid by Bergin’s distorted howls, much more reminiscent of Trust Obey than C17H19No3. Although its blistering energy is a welcome change of pace, its venomous aggression feels more like a bonus track that disrupts the harrowing flow that dominates The Lords of Bone and Machinery. Be that as it may, this is a fine compilation that can do well to introduce Bergin’s work to those unfamiliar with his unique musical oeuvre, while longtime fans can rejoice in the excellent remastering; just remember to avert your eyes lest the demonic entities the inhabit Bergin’s terrifying worlds catch you trespassing.
Track list:

  1. Excision
  2. Leviathan Rising
  3. Bloodsect
  4. Invasion
  5. Engines of Destruction
  6. My Bones Rise Above
  7. Harvest of Souls
  8. Penetration
  9. Breeding
  10. Broken Soul
  11. Wage War

John Bergin/Stompbox13
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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