Endless darkness. Eternal hellfire. Smoke choking the lungs and lives of all humankind. A world endlessly at war, and a war which will never cease. Buildings explode into bits, debris showers down upon the dying masses who have nowhere left to go, their homes utterly destroyed, their families burned, beaten, crushed, left for dead... half rotten and decayed.
The above statement is the feeling which this legendary act have always given me. It is the imagery that permeates their music. Or should I say his. Because all of this chaos is the work of one man: Dominic van Reich.
Amgod was formed in 1994 in response to his leaving another famed German electro outfit, Yelworc. With the release of Yelworc's long-delayed "Trinity" album last year, it is only fitting that this year sees the re-release of Amgod's divine album "Half Rotten and Decayed".
Another resurrection to mention would be that of Celtic Circle Productions. A label which for the time it ran originally (1989-1997) released some of the finest dark electronic music ever, according to me. Forget Zoth Ommog, Celtic Circle were the ones to forge ahead with several acts which truly sounded different. What the future will bring from CCP is anyone's guess but this is a strong return for them.
Enough background. Not only has this work been re-released (and re-mastered, audiophiles), it comes in the form of a box set that features a live album and DVD of a performance from 1994 but also, prepare to drool Amgod devotees... an entirely unreleased album which was composed between 1997 and 1999 entitled "Crime!" I'll not take up any time describing "Half Rotten...", you know it, you love it. "Crime!" shows van Reich diversifying his style. It contains calm, instrumental interludes as well as the bruising approach he is known and appreciated for. There are a few tracks which have some bits and shredded pieces of techno in them and then again, there are many which are just flat out visceral. The morbid outlook of Amgod is abundantly clear, the apocalyptic vision well defined.
The live album is vicious like you would not believe. Dominic careens and curses his way though pretty much all of "Half Rotten and Decayed" as well as sneaking in some Yelworc songs. Clever fellow. I can only imagine what seeing this band live must have been like but the DVD will have to do. Flanked by two assistants (and in the finale, a guitarist) van Reich twitchs and spasms across the somewhat small stage. Giving life to the demons in his head, he looks thoroughly engaged on all levels. The smoke rises, the strobes pulsate, gnashing arms claw the air beneath him and somewhere through all of this Amgod commune with the faithful... angrily, forlornly, cruelly...a call to arms for all who believe.