My first encounter with Dutch experimentalists Radar Men From The Moon (named after the 1952 Sci-Fi series) has been through my current exploration of God Unknown Records catalogue and encountering the split single they did with Årabrot. I was impressed enough to consider taking on their latest album The Bestial Light (due for release May 8th via Fuzz Club) for review. The band are from Eindhoven in The Netherlands and consist of Glenn Peeters (guitar), Tony Lathouwers (drums), Titus Verkuijlen (bass) and Bram van Zuijlen (guitar/synth), with the addition of Joep Schmitz (drums) and Harm Neidig (vocals/saxophone).
Apart from Årabrot, the band have done many collaborations with the likes of Gnod, The Cosmic Dead and 10 000 Russos, and have through the course of their career, explored a wide range of genres, from expansive space-rock to avant-garde drone and industrial techno. Bearing in mind their willingness to experiment it will be intriguing to see what sounds they have to offer this time round. It’s also worth pointing out that the album’s cover is a handful of trinkets, and one hopes the tunes will prove more valuable and substantial than what the artwork suggests.
The album starts with Breeding, a slow grinding Industrial style number that has echoes of Swans, especially with the tribal style drumming. The track turns considerably harsher at about the halfway mark, taking you by surprise and resembling Godflesh at their filthy best. Quite an awesome way to open the record. Piss Christ, a title guaranteed to offend Christians everywhere, has a propulsive beat reminding one of early Killing Joke in their post-punk period before they embraced their current heavier Metallic sound. There is also a darker and anarchic Amebix feel to the track, I could see this fitting in well on that band’s Arise album.
The delightfully titled Sacred Cunt Of The Universe next and clearly this is not a band out for radio play any time soon. Reminding me of Earth, especially from around the time of Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method with its slightly Western sound and Ennio Morricone vibes. A nice break from the Industrial pummelling.
This record sees Radar Men From The Moon increase the heaviness and metallic factor but has enough twists, turns and experimentation to not completely alienate old school fans…
Eden In Reverse is a track that has been premiered on The Quietus, and it’s a rather tasty slice of post-punk/noise-rock that in places reminds me of Bushpilot and Henge, always a good thing and represents a return to the harshness of the opening couple of tracks. Title track, The Bestial Light, is the longest on the album and starts off slowly with some background noise and vocals, gradually building in the vein of Swans’ more recent post-rock releases such as To Be Kind as well as Einstürzende Neubauten’s Industrial chaos. Self, harks back to the early 80’s No Wave scene ala The Del-Byzanteens, with a funky propulsive groove mixed in nicely with some 90s industrial metal touches.
Penultimate track Pleasure, the shortest on the album, is a slice of decent, if rather non-descript, noise-rock. Nothing terrible but more filler than anything else, the least essential track on here. Finally, Levelling sounds akin to traffic cone era Kraftwerk ambient noise (circa 1971), maintaining a steady motorik beat and is a nice way to end, for what is for the most part, a rather punishing album.
This record sees Radar Men From The Moon increase the heaviness and metallic factor but has enough twists, turns and experimentation to not completely alienate old school fans, who may be keener on the more psych/drone influenced output. This is a well-crafted album that serves as a good starting point for anyone new to the band.
Scribed by: Reza Mills