CD Review

V/A - "Totentanz Vol. II: The History of Zoth Ommog"

By Dan Century

Totentanz IISometime between 1988 and 1992 "industrial music" hit its peak. Bands like Front 242, Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, Liabach, Clock DVA and Ministry ruled the clubs and better college radio stations. I remember a show at the Ritz in New York — instead of a DJ they were playing a Wax Trax compilation video. Videos like Liabach's Life is Life and Clock DVA's Sound Mirror captivated your eyes while they pummeled your soul with raw, pounding beats. This was strong, dark, powerful and otherworldly music — the type of music that rattles right through you — best listened to in a dark club, with a great sound system, in the winter, wearing black leather, inebriated...

One by one the better bands dissolved, disappeared, became weak parodies of metal bands or kicked the habits that fueled the passion behind their music. By the end of 1992 it seemed all was lost...until a few of the better DJs, who hadn't given up hope, started playing bands from the Zoth Ommog record label — bands with strange names like Armageddon Dildos, X Marks the Pedwalk, Leather Strip and Klute. Totentanz Vol. II is a retrospective of that era.

The key to listening to Zoth Ommog music is listening to it loud as possible, in a dark room, while inebriated (I'm repeating myself). Listening to Zoth Ommog music through head phones is a crime...it's just wrong. You need to experience the deep synthesized bass and pulsing beats. You need to share the screaming vocals and piercing, bubbling synths with as many drunken dancing freaks as possible! It's 1992 and you're at the fucking Limelight, you've just had your 8th shot of Yagermeister, there are Go-Go dancers in cages hanging above your head and the floor is shaking, your bones are shaking and you're loving every minute of it.

Japanese Bodies and Torment Me by Leather Strip and Desert Storm by Klute are three of the best tracks on this two disc compilation. Klute and Leather Strip are essentially the same band masterminded by the always political Klaus Larsen. Listen for the George Bush samples. This music is dated, but it still sounds great, especially when you compare it to the weak crap that passes for music today.

Politically correct white rappers Consolidated are a cheese that definitely got better with age, but you can still check out their debut track, Consolidated, on disc one. Bigod 20, a Front 242 side project, also debuted on Zoth Ommog with The Bog, a gurgling sonic quagmire that threatens to drag you to the bottom. X Marks the Pedwalk, Psychpomps and the Armageddon Dildos (!) were all staple Zoth bands that filled the aggro-electro void as Skinny Puppy disintegrated and Ministry detoxed.

The standout track on the album is the 8 minute and 23 (!) second long Zoth Mega mix which, you guessed it, mixes all the songs on the comp into a massively radio unfriendly electro-aggro masterpiece. Damn, I wish it was '92 again, if just for a day.

I was disappointed with the liner notes. There are no pictures, band information or even a brief history of Zoth Ommog. If you decide to pick up the comp, and you like it, I suggest picking up any Leather Strip, Klute or Psychopomps album too. If you want to hear more of this kind of raw, soul crushing music check out the Emperor's radio show on Thursday nights on WRSU, 88.7, on your FM dial (that is if you live in New Jersey and close enough to New Brunswick to pick up the signal).

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