KTL - V
Ever since their inception as a means to soundtrack Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper's surreal theatrical production of Kindertotenlieder (a cheery collection of 428 poems from the 19th century about the death of the author's children from scarlet fever), Stephen O'Malley and Peter Rehberg, aka KTL, have revelled in crafting disturbing soundscapes using a combination of black metal, power electronics and a backdrop of ambient drones. V has taken markedly longer than any previous release to pull together, but unfortunately that hasn't translated into much in the way of sonic revelations.
This time around, it all feels a bit stale and formulaic, merely following what has gone before with more of the same; and exactly because of that, the horrifying atmosphere of yore has been rather dulled. Thankfully, there are a few odd turns hidden away in the last two tracks, albeit with mixed results. 'Phill 2' sees the introduction of an orchestra to proceedings, and the low drones of the double basses and cellos act as a perfect accompaniment to the duo's blackened electronics. Easily the standout of V, it will go down as one of the finer pieces from the entire KTL catalogue.
The concluding 'Last Spring: A Prequel' is quite possibly the creepiest twenty minutes of music I have ever heard: minimal synth waves are lost behind the terrified French ravings of a madman, a difficult listen that I'm not certain I entirely relish. This is a suitably bizarre and unsettling concoction for KTL, but the length and monotony of it conspire to bend patience and tolerance well beyond breaking point. In the context of what has previously emerged from this deranged duo, V has to go down as a disappointing effort for its lack of innovation and surprise, an album that is merely passable after a succession of outstanding offerings.