Tentatively scheduled for release around June 25th, I believe The Portrait of Mortality will be the seventh annual outing in the cooperative series of digital compilations from Kalpamantra and Malignant Records—generally putting forth 30 - 40 tracks and around four hours of high-level material from the darkest corners of the industrial noise spectrum. Scanning this year's list of contributors, Abjection Ritual and Steel Hook Prostheses joining forces for "No Place in Paradise" topped the list in terms of piquing my interest, so I was quite excited to be asked to debut the piece!
Without further ado, enter said masterfully grim death industrial wasteland below, followed by a brief discussion with the artists to get their takes on officially working together for the first time…
To the degree that you're willing, tell me a bit about your "No Place in Paradise" composition.
Steel Hook Prostheses: Abjection Ritual came up with the title and lyrics, I simply delivered the vocals. Our sound ideas are pretty similar in our own respective projects. I expected it would be a good combination and be heavy yet atmospheric.
Abjection Ritual: I already had the spoken-word sample set aside before the track was started and took the title directly from it. Thematically, I was inspired by some conversations that I had overheard and also read regarding world peace, coexistence, etc. To me, as the world continues to go to shit, these kinds of discussions are absurd. One of the lyrics mentions "utopian pipe dreams," and that about sums it up. I'm sure I will come off as a negative, cynical asshole here, but it's the way I feel. The downward spiral cannot be stopped.
You've each collaborated with several other artists for past installments of this compilation series, but I believe this is your first time paired together. What did that process look like in terms of the back-and-forth, who brought what to the table, etc.?
Steel Hook Prostheses: Yes, it is the first time we have formally worked together on a composition. A few years ago, I was contacted by Abjection Ritual to master an album of theirs. I had not previously heard their work. Once I opened the files and started working through it, I was completely blown away. Upon finishing the job, I immediately forwarded it on to Jason Mantis at Malignant Records. Jason got in touch with Abjection Ritual pretty quickly, and the rest is history.
As for this pairing, I knew I wanted to work with this guy because his sound is so badass and heavy—not to mention the excellent sound construction and arrangement. I wanted to do it on last year's comp, but time got away from me and I missed the deadline. I initially sent Abjection Ritual a batch of sound constructions to arrange and add to. He sent that back with some written lyrics and asked if I would do the vocal track. I laid down the vocals along with a subtle synth bed in the beginning of the track. Mixed. Mastered. Done deal.
Abjection Ritual: We have wanted to work together in the past, but there are always deadlines that can be hard to meet. Steel Hook Prostheses sent over several soundscapes and I used them as the main body of the song—looping some of them, while only using others one time. I tried to complement their sounds by adding in my own material and used a synth that I haven't used in a long time for most of it. It's actually the first synth that I ever bought—an Ensoniq Transwave from the late-'90s.
Similarly, how did the creation of "No Place in Paradise" compare or contrast to your past experiences working with other musicians?
Steel Hook Prostheses: It's usually the same formula of sending sounds back and forth. This one was quite enjoyable, as it was an honor to work with such an elite talent. Each collaboration has been enjoyable at each particular place in time.
Abjection Ritual: Similar sharing methods as other collaborations, but this one is extra special because Steel Hook Prostheses are masters of death industrial and I really love John's vocals. I'm a big fan of their work, so it was an honor—and also somewhat intimidating.
Each year, these Kalpamantra/Malignant excursions are such massive collections of top-shelf material. Perusing the tentative roster for The Portrait of Mortality, are there any contributions that you're particularly looking forward to hearing?
Steel Hook Prostheses: You know, I really look forward to the complete body of work as a whole. It never fails to impress, and I enjoy every bit of it. I'm sure The Portrait of Mortality will be the same.
Abjection Ritual: I didn't even see the tracklist yet! It's always an awesome compilation, and I look forward to it every year.
Check out two more selections from The Portrait of Mortality at Bandcamp, where you can pre-order the compilation for a mere £5.