IRM: Oedipus Dethroned
“Christian Power Electronics”. I must admit, I was skeptical myself. Although I have yet to find printed lyrics of their works (I doubt that they are included in their albums except for their newest, although I could be mistaken), I did manage to find an interview on an “unofficial” fan site, in which a doctor tells a strange story in which he saw the musical half of the duo, Martin Bladh. Throughout the interview, he analyzes the lyrics presented on “Oedipus Dethroned” from a Biblical standpoint. What makes the interview so bizarre is that the writer goes one step further, and proclaims Martin Bladh to be the resurrected Christ! While the music is obviously obsessed with various Christian principles (mainly regarding the crucifixion), it is perhaps safer to say that the music approaches the matter with a more ambiguous attitude, while outwardly projecting a zealous (almost fanatical) image. Proof of this can be found on the lyrics printed on the front of the “Four Studies…” EP IRM released in early 2000. The graphic lyrics, although presenting the listener with an immediate horror, are very symbolic in nature, and thus open to multiple interpretation.
But what about this album in particular? It basically consists of deep electric bass lines, muted kick drum rhythms, and various higher pitched squeals and beeps. Various kinds of static, distortion, and feedback also freely float throughout the songs. This is complimented by Erik Jarl’s highly distorted and watery shouting (ala Will’s John McRae, although in a much less irritating manner). Industrial elements also appear from time to time. Finally, a small amount of samples are scattered throughout the songs as well (mainly in the first song).
So, how does the album stack up? Well, it is best to ignore the pseudo-religious/spiritual overtones and enjoy the album through what you probably sought out in it in the first place: the noise. Also, it is always refreshing to find a power electronics outfit that manages to be effective and menacing without resorting to cartoonish violence, childish misanthropic stances, or highly charged political incorrectness. There is also a nice diversity to the sounds as well, ranging from alluring hums (some of which border on dark ambient) and the highly oscillated and distorted (one of the best songs is “Inside The Skull Of A Manniquin”, which strangely reminds me of Throbbing Gristle’s “Hamburger Lady” for some reason, mainly because of the vocals).
Power electronics is of course an acquired taste, but for those with a taste of the electronically unusual, “Oedipus Dethroned” is an excellent place to start. Cold Meat Industries should still be selling this album, otherwise you might have to search a little bit. If you can listen to their contributions to the “Nihil” compilation on that label, they are also quite excellent and rank up their with the best of their work.
EDIT: Removed the ‘unofficial IRM page’ link, per request of a member of the band.