Album Title: 
The Edict Of The Elohim
Release Date: 
Friday, October 28, 2022
Review Type: 

We must suffer for all that we do …and for that which our forbearers bequeathed…

I did mention it tens of times before, and I do hope I can repeat it another 665 times, but what Mister Stu and his Aesthetic Death label stand for, well, it’s almost always a precise shot in the bull’s all-seeing eye. The combination of open-mindedness and sonic obscurity has no secrets to this mind-blowing family. It’s this label that takes care of a first album by a new project too, a collaboration of two exceptional musicians, gathered under the moniker of Hivemind. The duo consists of Stuart Harris at the one hand, whom you might know as one half of the Goth Wave Electro outfit Sect 37. To my modest opinion (and I know that this isn’t but a personal, and therefor subjective, addition, yet since this is my review, I can, and will, write whatever that comes to my [beautiful] mind), this project started quite doubtful, yet I experienced an important, and positive, growth throughout the years, with Ausländer being their highlight. Yet as said, this isn’t but an opinion of yours truly. The other human being involved with Hivemind is Gordon Bicknell, who you will surely know from his collaboration in Psycho-Doom act Esoteric (after a hiatus, he returned to this band’s line-up again, if I am not informed wrongly), or from his Drone / EBM / Ambient / Psybient / Electro / … project Lysergene.

Two experienced music(k)ians with a history in electronic Music, well, will their collab have a comparable approach? You know; indeed it has, and it selects the best elements out of these guys’ past projects into one majestic sonic highlight. I’ll come back to this immediately. First some (boring) objective information for the purists and nerds amongst us. The Edict Of The Elohim is divided into ten parts, yet it forms one coherent narrative. Like other material by these guys’ other projects, this one too gets released via UK’s finest Aesthetic Death, both digitally as physically. The latter is a three-folded digipack-CD, which includes a twenty-page booklet. That one includes the poetry of The Edict Of The Elohim, which was written and vocally performed by Stuart; Gordon wrote and performed the instrumental part. It comes with stunning dystopian cover artwork by Slovakian futuristic visual artist Gabriel Gajdoš, assisted (as compiler) by no one else but Funereal Ambient Doom wizard Stijn van Cauter.

This aural journey through dimensions of surreal and spiritual existence lasts for about seventy-eight (!) minutes. And of course one can expect electronic elements as main theme, with the influences of both members’ main outfit, Lysergene (Music-wise) and Sect 37 (vocal-wise). Yet then again, Hivemind is more than just a symbiosis of both these projects. I know that in mathematics the formula ‘1 + 1 = 2’ is the (only) right one; yet then again, ‘1 + 1’ can be much more than just ‘2’! It’s like a Chaos-theory or so, translated into artistic shape…

The Edict Of The Elohim is like the soundtrack, created as ‘an answer to all of Earth’s ills’; and that can be taken quite literally. It is a magisterial conceptual story, narrating about the wrath of the gods, if you want to – somehow referring to mythological matters, yet translated through a futuro-cosmic spectacle. The story might remind of the older works of Tolkien (like, you know, the fall of Beleriand after the revolt of the creatures of Arda), to Arthur Clark (with his Overlords ruling our mother-planet) or, if you want to, to Lovecraft (like ancient beings from Outer Space taking revenge on humanity), as well to some post-apocalyptic or sci-fi movies about Earth’s population’s demise. But The Edict Of The Elohim actually has its very own approach and stylistic execution lyric-wise. And besides being a fictive epistle, one must consider the concept as a message, a warning as well (at least, that’s my interpretation and tidings…).

I won’t ‘tell’ the narrative’s content; I will politely ask you to read this whole tale-of-doom yourself. Yet I will surely address to the point where the story goes, continues and evolves, within my upcoming review about the sonic side of this aural exhibition. Yet in short, purely introductive: The Hive are like astral godlike beings, watching over Gaia. After so many centuries of human stupidity - read: man’s destructive nature, both towards its own species, as well as towards Mother Nature and Earth’s natural sources; damn, this is, more than ever before, so topical nowadays, seen our useless wars, the climate change, fake news, inherent greed and unsatisfying egoism, the veneration of false idols (political, cultural, technological and social) and false ideologies (and their sickened will to separate, to segregate, to polarize), and I can go on for ever [but I promise you: I won’t]) - these ancient entities decide that, in order to protect this planet (considered as a beautiful astral ‘body’), they have to neutralize the destructive nature of the human population all over the world. Their intentions are peaceful, their goal inevitable and irreversible… We, the people, could have foreseen, and avoided, our doom, but we were to stupid, to ignorant, to selfish, to accept out fate. These Elohim finally started to ‘cure’ Gaia from the sickness called Homo Sapiens…

In general, this album is a mixture of spoken poetry at the one hand, and aspects from Ambient (seen from different angles), Drone, Electronics, Ambient Noise Wall, Kraut and Synthwave from the other hand (a very wide-minded approach, I have to admit), injected by some sampling, drum programming, additional strings and female chants. Yet above all, one cannot ignore the fabulous symbiosis of adventurous variety combined with a clear all-covering cohesive character.

The first part, called The Watchers, focuses on the Hive’s indictment. After millennia of tolerance, incomprehension and wonder, these gods decide to activate ‘The Plan’. The Watchers starts somewhat mechanical, with industrial sounds, an ominous narrating voice, and futuristic sequences at first. For some reason, it sort of reminds me, for what it’s worth, of the (way too underestimated) album Baphomet - The Tarot Of The Underworld by Swiss act Epilepsy when it comes to the oppression in sound and the claustrophobic sphere that covers the aural experience (and that typifying use of semi-artificial voices too, evidently). Futuristic visions in multiple colors seem to grow, then again to fade, while this inorganic trajectory of sound evolves. There’s a mysterious hint of ANW (Ambient Noise Wall), drenched in utter darkness. At about half of this opening chapter, things change into a more melodious manner, mingling a vast multiple-lined amount of Ambiental harmonies with astral-like elements and rhythmic percussion programming.

The Hive’s message continues, delving deeper into the self-destructive nature of our kin. Every beauty has an ugly side, every creation comes with destruction, all goodness turns into selfishness. There will be no forgiveness, no remorse, no pity, for the gods’ tolerance and acceptance is no more. The Denouncement opens quite horrific in a cinematic sense. Cosmic electronics are soon joined by the narrating voice of The Hive, focusing deeper on the sickness that the Human Kind brought upon Gaia. That combination of repetitive yet abundant synth-lines, psychotropic injections and that sort-of warm voice generates a huge, transcendental landscape, dark in essence, enlightening in solemnization. At about half of the track, things turn little more energetic, with Angstpop-alike melodies, IDM-like beats and esoteric atmospheres. Towards the end, things morph towards both expression and introversion, while ethereal spheres cover the whole experience.

Aurora Annihilaris (The Edict) starts in some minified manner: that voice and minimalistic sounds to introduce mankind to what they will face: the removal of people’s existence. This time, things are ‘seen’ from another angle: not a Hive-‘member’ yet an objective spectator. Anyway, quite soon the lead melody takes over the minimalistic introduction, being a warm (read: scorching) and enlightened (read: phosphorescent) melody, interspersed by shorter nihilistic intermezzi and spacy excerpts, and joined by semi-energetic drum-patterns. Mind the almost grooving or funky bass-lines, characterizing this mostly open-minded pièce d’art sonorique. Hints of ‘old-schooled’ Kosmische Musik and swirling Space-Drone are part of this audible experience. Mater Terra gets covered and not one single city will escape its fate…

And then the all-covering rain came… We, humanity, weren’t able to fight against the spaceships. All revolt was immediately destroyed. Then Came The Rain… Twisted sounds, spacelike noises, grim samples (stormwinds and pouring rain) and weird sonics, along with the narrative voice, do paint a hopeless landscape, ominous, oppressive, even asphyxiating. This piece adds purely desolate, eldritch synths (closely related to heavenly female voices, if you want to), mind-twisted strings (purest enchantment) and IDM-like percussions, then again the pulsating and up-tempo structures reveal a semi-elitist approach of electronic and ambient-laden Music; an aural slumber overwhelming the crowd, yet caressing all borders of energy and dynamism at the very same time; that’s what this Kraut / Electro / Ambient composition seems to stand for, with conviction, with pride, with a clear vision of an undeniable end to come…

And smoothly this floats over into The Big Sleep, the chapter where the sweet rain and nebula puts the whole population into an eternal slumber, slowly turning their bodies in some mummified condition. Long-stretched, somehow cinematic waves of keyboard-laden elegance, sinister and macabre in essence, purr forward, creating an atmosphere so dense, so intense, so claustrophobic. Long-woven drones, heavy-weighted and airless, float on with an eerie sound-palette (despite its minimalistic wall-of-noise).The tidings of ‘bad news’ get described and translated through a mostly icy, aberrant and pallid flow of minimalistic, bleak and dismal form of Black Ambient, filled with the most abyssal and obscure form of grey-colored and subtly-distorted Winter Drone Synth. It leaves not only the people involved within the story, yet also us, the listener, gasping for air…

Sleep Drone [one can consider this track as some ‘part two’ of The Big Sleep, at least when following the booklet and the list of titles within the physical edition] goes further on the impending path of the gods’ sentence; the musical effort is able to define the further setting of it, if you listen carefully. That’s the intoxicating effect of this scenic stuff. Almost divine in nature, gloomy synths generate a mesmerizing beauty-in-sound, combining semi-levitating introspection with a dire effect somehow (despite the fairylike fairness. Mesmeric female chants add a level of spectral horror somehow, while psychotropic sound-effects, subtle yet effective, drench the whole in even more abyssal dimensions of aural artistry.

Apparently, not all people were subdued to that all-encompassing slumber. Mitochondrial Assassins (the sole composition that lasts for less than five minutes) tells the story of those who escaped from that everlasting hibernation. It starts with a voice-recording (sample) from one of the ‘survivors’, with an anxious voice. This chapiter also focuses on the fact that the Hive were right: the human being is sick. The few survivors act like beasts: plundering, raping, murdering, or committing suicide. Sonic-wise, it’s like a very minimalistic dronework, with discrete, even considerate tunes, besides the samples and the permanent narrating voice. In a mostly organic way, Mitochondrial Assassins flows over into The Annihilating Angels, which is the chapter that introduces the second phase of the Hive’s aim to cancel humanity’s existence.

Music-wise, The Annihilating Angels stands for the most energetic composition on The Edict Of The Elohim. It’s a generous and abundant track, built around an hypnotic melody that comes with an expressive old-styled vibe with a Berlin School / Krautrock attitude, above a satisfying portion of Dark / Cinematic Ambient. Intriguing melody-lines go well with down-tuned basses and persistent drum-beats, procreating a futuristic yet hopeless visionary point-of-view, both sonically as conceptually. The Annihilating Angels is the diary of the final, ‘controlled, precise’ search for human DNA on our planet, with just one goal: the extinction of any last living human creature. Such fine Music with such devastating, horrific message; isn’t that the finest contrasting balance of Hivemind’s elegance?...

Hivemind Contemplates Human Artefacts is a next step, both lyrically as well as aurally, following the Hive’s acts in Gaia. Nostalgia and melancholia, even regret and tristesse, seem to appear. There was no choice but to finish man’s raison d’être to save this world, yet one might see some elements of creativity, beauty, intelligence and reverence towards the human kind. At first, semi-soporifically waves of droning hypnosis float by, assisted by transcendental and explorative tunes of astral might. Towards the end, things evolve into a noisier approach, nihilistic and minimalistic, yet still rich in essence.

At last, the Hive return to their death star, leaving Gaia behind. However, there are still some humans left, who will reconquer Earth. Have they learned from their mistakes? Will they not be that arrogant and destructive anymore? Only time will tell. Hivemind translate this new humanity’s opportunity via kinetic electronics with a very energetic, even danceable character. Faster keyboard-sequences, up-tempo drum-programming and convincing bass-lines push forward, confident and amplified. The sonorities grow and multiply, perfectly defining the thematical content. The synths are rich and fertile in execution, for a short moment fading back, yet slowly reappearing towards its ‘grande finale’ at the very end.

PS: the tracklist at the innersleeve of the digipack mentions nine track-titles, but there are ten chapters actually