Carrion’s Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition] and Interview with Hide Tepes

Norwegian gothic-industrial band Carrion has come out with a new album titled Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition]. 13 of its 15 tracks are currently available on Bandcamp for streaming and pre-order, with the full release dropping on January 18.

Carrion was formed in 2013. Its members are Hide Tepes as the vocals and main composer, Joe Crow on bass and guitar, and Sam Dusk with samples and sound texture.

Testament Ov The Exiled is an eerie, firm, album that had my mind switching between watching a cult horror movie, dancing at a goth club, and headbanging in the pit at a bar gig. On first listen, it is a masterful combination of creepy, sometimes glitchy sound samples, a steady beat, and menacingly breathy vocals. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find lyrical depth on the topics of end times and destruction interwoven with references to religion and alchemy.

When listening to these songs, I’d recommend turning off all the lights in your bedroom and putting on a single red lightbulb for complimentary ambiance. Think of it like a wine pairing.  

After going through the album several times, I interviewed Carrion member Hide Tepes regarding its creation and components.

1- Simple question here to get started. Approximately how long did the album take to create, from the moment you thought of it to publication?

It was a fairly fast process actually. I think all in all it was 2 or 3 weeks between the first thoughts of another album and having it completed with artwork and all.

Wow that’s actually way faster than I imagined. That’s impressive.

Yeah, I tend to work pretty fast and it seems I don`t know what a break is.

2. How did the process compare to previous Carrion albums?

Well, this is the first album I`ve done using modular synthesis so the workflow was definitely different, in a good way. It was more organic. But on a more personal side of things, when I wrote Iconoclasm I had recently more or less torn my life apart and was at the threshold of starting over again whereas with this one it`s more about what comes after such an extreme decision, the consequences and the positives and negatives of it all.

3- So, going off that, did this album mark any other technical artist progression for you in terms of style, production type/methods, or direction?

During the time between the two albums I`ve definitely learned more about the production side of things which I think shines through. I`m always looking to learn and progress as stagnation is any artists ultimate enemy, at least it should be. Working with modular synths opens up for a lot of experimentation and happy accidents as it were which definitely has coloured the final outcome.

4- Are there any instruments, techniques, or other artistic directions you’re looking forward to experimenting with going forward?

I`m open to anything really, whatever I stumble upon that I feel could benefit me in some way. I`m trying to get away from software and programming as much as I can and hope to be able to write the next album fully utilizing hardware equipment. Both as an experiment and due to the fact that I feel there are things you can do when physically playing an instrument that can`t really be completely replicated digitally. There`s a few songs on this album that highlights my rock and metal roots such as Untill The Reaper Comes and Dogs Ov Hell [The bonus track on the Revised Edition] and I`m sure that`s something I will be incorporating more going forwards.

5- This question’s for all the hardware nerds out there. What are your favorite pieces of equipment you used for this album?

I`d probably have to go with the Manis Iteritas module by Noise Engineering. While it may be designed to create really thick and harsh industrial type of sounds it`s definitely not a one trick pony and I used in heavily in various contexts throughout the album.

Hell yeah.

6- Also regarding the album creation process, how did the collaboration with other artists on the remix tracks go? How did you select them?

They`re all friends of mine. Ed Finkler [Dead Agent] I`ve known for a while and I really like what he does, I did some remix work for him for a charity compilation album a little while ago and we just kept in touch. Vanity Kills is Joe Crow`s band who recently joined Carrion as well, I like that there`s still someone out there carrying the torch of dirty, girtty rock n roll and he does that very well. Decent News is a band I originally discovered through being featured on a compilation album by them last year or maybe the year before that. I contacted them and we got on really well right away. I tend to be quite vocal about supporting smaller artists so while I could reach out to friends of mine in bigger bands I rather wanted to use the opportunity to highlight my friends and practice what I preach so to speak.

I love when artists help each other out like that. 7- More on the band itself, I’ve noticed a variety of place names on the Bandcamp. The album’s Bandcamp page describes Carrion as Norwegian. The album page also has the tag “Pennsylvania.” You’re working with Missfit Toys now, which is based (I believe) in Florida. What’s going on with Carrion’s members’ geography? Or, to put it simpler, where’s everyone located?

The label is located in Pennsylvania. I`m Norwegian, born and raised and it`s where I currently reside. Sam is in the U.S and Joe is in the UK.

Thanks! That clears things up a bit. 8- Back to the album- what’s the deal with the album art? Any story there?

The original version of the album has a much lighter tone to represent a clean slate, purity, rebirth and such themes. The Revised Edition has a darker tone to serve as a reminder of that in order for rebirth to take place one has to die which isn`t always a pretty thing. The death and rebirth in this case being me tearing apart my life and starting over and while it may have brought with it a lot of positives there`s also the negative sides of such a decision. There`s a lot of new age ideologies these days talking about these concepts and it seems for the most part they just gloss over the pain and sacrifice that`s required to be reborn.

9- Aside from death and rebirth, the album also features the lyrical themes of religion and alchemy. What’s the inspiration behind these aspects?

The death and rebirth thing ties directly into the alchemical ideas. As for the religious aspects that`s just how it comes to me. I don`t tend to sit down and think about what to write about, you could think of it more like dictating, someone or something tells you or shows you something and you write it down. The lyrics tend to contain more than one meaning and way of interpretation. There`s been times where I`ve finished a lyric and not known what it`s about until much later, it`s got a semi-spiritual aspect to it.

10- Bragging time. What’s some cool, subtle thing you did in this album that you’d want people to know about? Whether it’s wordplay, musical technique, or something else that someone might not catch at first.

There`s a lot of processed field recordings on there provided by Sam, I can`t possibly remember what they all were in their untouched state but I do know there`s everything from literally banging pots and pans to recordings from the various protests in the U.S. I might have put what`s known as infrasound into a few of the songs as an experiment as well but I can`t remember which ones really so if you find yourself feeling like someone’s watching you, you might just be listening to one such song,

I absolutely love that. 11- The other piece of visual art that accompanies this album is this music video for “Putting Tape Over Martyrs Mouths.” It plays with high contrast colors, symmetry, and a sort of glitchy theme. How was this done? Especially in terms of everyone living in different locations.

That whole video was filmed by me and Sam in our apartments. It`s very DIY and lo-fi as with most things we do. We live in a time where everyone has decent technology in their hands, you can get good quality footage without breaking the bank so we take advantage of our times I suppose. The effects was all done by me using various apps and video editing software.

As the last question, 12- Is there any planned Carrion material we can look forward to?

I`ve started writing the next album already actually. As I said I`m trying to do things very hardware based which is definitely interesting. From what I have so far it seems it will be yet another leap away as we tend to with each release. It might technically end up being the most electronic album to date [ignoring the very early demos] but don`t think it`ll be full on EBM style. Expect something very very dark.

Well, I’m certainly excited for it!

As am I. It`ll definitely be kicking things up a notch.

Sounds and Shadows Top Industrial/EBM/EDM of 2020

So many great Industrial/EDM/EBM albums this year. This is a genre that has been expanding and drawing fresh listeners all year. Again I can’t possibly include everything I loved, however these albums were the ones that fired a jolt of electricity into my spine and made my gears churn. These are all artists who had a full release in 2020.

20) Rabbit Junk – Xenospheres – Seattle based EBM/Metal dance explosion has been churning out explosive action movie soundtracks with razor sharp production. This album is swinging a sledge hammer around their heads on a leather cord. The cover of Iggy Pop’s “Kick It” with Peaches singing is worth the price of admission on it’s own.

19) eHpH – InfraredColorado band eHpH did this timely politically charged record that really captured the fear and division in the current climate. I think what I loved best were how wide the influences present were. Some melodic and post punk, some bright buzzing EBM. The whole record was full of intelligence and challenges the listener to face their own ideas about where the world is headed.

18) Seven FederationsHoly Orders – A wonderous sonic explosion from South Dakota. The vocals just crackle with electric ferocity from exploding transformers. Filthy basslines and wolf growl guitars. this album is the naughty demon on your shoulder whispering to you of sinful roads not taken. They might be the most underrated album on this list. People need to know about this record.

17) Carrion – Testament Ov The Exiled – This is always such a hard review to write. Carrion is so powerful, so fresh, but just doesn’t fit into any box that makes sense within the mind. This textural terror noise has a level of intensity that demands recognition. How to quantify it I have no idea. Other than to say it is music that leaves you changed, afraid, praying for the dawn. Hide [Adrian] is creating on a level that artists and critics in the next decade may have artful words for. This whole record just leaves me moved and unsure how to describe. Best to bare witness for yourself.

PS: Carrion is already reissuing the album via Brutal Resonance Records, the `Revised Edition ` includes 5 bonus tracks!

16) Corlyx – Together Apart World traveling EDM darkpop couple Caitlin and Brandon with their sophomore offering have captured the glory of pageantry in dark music. Caitlin has a beautiful voice that captivates and builds dreams in your mind. I love the dark LA gutter glamor this band always commands. They have added a level of clarity and refinement for this album and continue to evolve. Get in on the ground floor of these future stars.

15) Rottersand – How Do You Feel Today – The way this German band turns and twists on different axis within the same tracks is reality defying. The echoing chorus’s that have an intelligence and feel of Roger Waters bursting with electronic futurecore explosion. This album is a special journey with peaks and valleys that run the breadth of human experience. It is a modern album that has something for every kind of listener to enjoy.

14) Trevor Something Deep Wave Data Dark Web Deamons – Florida dance demon Trevor Something might be the sexiest thing I heard all year. The way they capture raw, grinding, sexual energy in sonic form is something of glory. It shakes your bone marrow awake and says you are an animal that hungers for flesh. Buy this record, shake a martini, and have a private dance party with your favorite partner.

13) 11 Grams – Humancide – The super combo of Rob and Simeon put out this long awaited album of everything you ever loved about old school industrial/electronica. It always has a toe over the line while sounding so familiar. Perfect execution and narrative intensity. This record is a rocket jocks sci-fi soundtrack to explore the speed of the stars.

12) SpankTheNun – The Bunker Tapes Volume I – Hard and metal to the floor industrial from Texas. How do you find that line between crystal clear beats and filthy growling vocals? It’s right here. We aren’t reinventing the wheel here, we are greasing the axle to make it spin harder and faster. A bunch of amazing remixes from Blue Ant, Assemblage 23 , Melodywhore, Sapphirra Vee, show the faith and influence that this band commands in the scene.

11) Caustic – A Succession Of Repetitive Beats – Our only double album winner in this genre is Matt Fanale. The return of Caustic and their DIY punk rock mentality with witty and humorous electronic slither is a breath of fresh air in the modern genre. The song Stale Semen, Shame, and Video Games is a poignant slam of the Incel culture. Make me dance and make me think. This is what Joe Strummer trained us for.

10) Sapphira Vee – The Mask – The smoky and subtitle voice of Sapphira Vee from Rochester NY has been tearing up the airwaves the last two months. A slow drink of whiskey in sonic form. It’s slow and grinding full of personal reflection and self realization. I had a small part guest vocal on this album and it’s a point of personal pride that I was involved with such a powerful release this year. I’ve bought multiple copies of this record to send to friends. This is a great example of why trip hop is the highest evolution of music.

9) Kanga – Eternal DaughterLA based artist wields this sonic saber like a charging cavalry officer charging by on a horse slashing on both sides. It’s that effortlessly cool beauty blended with icy dance beats. I’m not sure what category to put this in beyond excellent.

8) Grabyourface – Sea – Every once in a while some album comes along that is so fresh and honest you sit up in your chair and just feel something new. One of those artist that grabs hold of their own ribcage and rips themselves open to let you in on the guts and grime of everything inside them. This album forces you to feel things, to confront and absorb the empathetic tone within yourself.

7) Klack – Probably – The Wisconsin EDM sensation that brings together Matt Fanale (Caustic) and Eric Oehler (Null Device). I’ve watched this project grow and blossom and this album really hit the perfect stride and balance of their styles. It’s clever, it’s electric, and the single Faith In Me is a glorious jam that could have been on a Depeche Mode album in the late 80s. I love when you hear a collaboration and can hear how much the artists respect and care about each other. It can’t be faked and this album brims over with it.

6) The Joy Thieves – A Blue Girl – Chicago superband led by drummer extraordinaire Dan Milligan has been garnering much deserved respect in Industrial circles. The way he blends old school Industrial with organic hard rock is an energy which is contagious. The contributor list is impressive and so long I won’t add everyone but names like Chris Connelly, Jullian Beeston, and Ania Tarnoska are just a few highlights. The title track is a slamming cut for the ages. If you don’t know about the next Pigface you need to get on board this train.

5) Klute – Queer For SatanClaus Larson of Leatherstrip unleashed this gorgeous record of furious destruction and sensual magnetism. This year must have been one of the toughest things a person can go through for him and that unbridled emotion pours forth in a firehose of pain and fear. If you love Leatherstrip (and how could you not) this album is top of the game.

4) Stoneburner – Beauty Is Terror – Steven Archer has had multiple releases this year, all great. His ability as an artist and multimedia creator really is the top of the game for DIY synthesis of audio and visual. To me this record was the highest evolution of his style thus far. It’s hard, world view, narrative, intelligent music that conjures images like you are reading a novel. The single “Are you here the way I’m here” is a steampunk electrocore time travel head flip. This album truly pushes the boundary of what is possible in thought and feeling. You need it.

3) ESA: Electronic Substance Abuse – “Burial 10 – EBM music is not my cup of tea. However, anything done at the top of the game is easy to know when you hear it. This album is hard, filthy, and so full of nuclear radiation it is impossible to not stomp your feet and dance to. The concept, power, and delivery are peerless in their execution. Add to that guest performances by Jo Hysteria, Cainlin Corlyx, and Lecture and you have one of the breakout album experiences of the year. This is one of those records I could listen to 100 times and hone in on a different detail each one.

2) The Jean Marc Lederman Experience – Letters to Gods and Fallen Angels – For all those wondering where are the albums touching on a higher artistic ideal in the modern age. This is it. The Belgian artists who’s resume has touched some of the most prolific music to occur in the electronic era has compiled a group of guest singers both legendary and future stars and ask them to write a letter to God or a fallen angel. The responses follow the course of human mysticism and discovery. This album is a true journey of thought and expression that touches on a myriad of styles and ideas. It’s been a long time since a record made me think and feel so much. Do yourself a favor and take this adventure.

  1. Pig – Pain Is God – Some people had a punk rock phase in their angry youth. I had an industrial one. A big part of that was Raymond Watts. KMFDM and <PIG> was a remind that Industrial music could mean something else. That it was a music of synthesis between electronic dance beats and any other style you could imagine. Here he is reborn the swine lord persona with a heady blend of of gospel, hard rock, and neon gutter grime. This record was the open gate between my 2020 self and my 1993 self. A DeLorean that connected me to my ego and my wisdom. A glorious return for the master of swine.
See our interview with Raymond Watts here

I didn’t include singles in this list. However important mentions: Silverwalks, Melodywhore, and Der Prosector.

Hot new releases in October

It has admittedly been tough to get behind the keyboard in October. I have had a lot of focus on my band and lots of shows I needed to see. However I wanted to take a moment to call out a few important releases this month.

First and foremost is a new single from goth legend Caroline Blind of Sunshine Blind. Sunshine Blind was so important to many of us that fell in love with goth industrial music in the 90s. It really opened my mind to how something could be both delicate and beautiful at the same time as ferocious and intense. The album, ” Liquid,” was a CD I played until the scratches looked like grooves on a record. I just had the pleasure of seeing her open for Stoneburner in Detroit, and it was like being transported back in time. This first single in far too long is a cover of my favorite Swans song, “Godamn the Sun“. It is moving in it’s nihilistic humor and gloom. I feel like this version takes everything wonderful about the original and adds a level of stark contrast from the gorgeous soul of her voice. The ringing acoustic guitar and timed delivery has an almost Leonard Cohen feel in it’s poetry. This is a must hear for lovers of dark music.

The lovely lads from Texas Twin Tribes have done it again. Their first single from a sophomore album, Ceremony’s, shows another level in the electric progression of one of post punk musics fastest rising stars. There is a smooth synthesis to the flow and texture of these singles that is surpassing the already brilliant Shadows. Each song is a Ceremony that brings you inside it’s ritual and core. The personal connection created from these songs makes it a contender for album of the year.

Our dear friends in S Y Z Y G Y X have unleashed a Halloween single called, “Samhain”. They always have a spooky, atmospheric edge, spurned on by Luna’s truly unique vocals. For this cemetery dance jam, they turned the danger up to 11. Feast on the nightmares in sonic explosive form.

Ghost of Bela Lugosi, the man too intensely punk rock to ever hold between the lines, unleashed this searing napalm of a single. I am always surprised how much every song he releases is so different and so good. This one is an unapologetic throat punch of melodic fury. It’s hard to sit still just to write about it.

Carrion N.O released a new single, “Through the Eyes of Flys.” Another Halloween sinister noise assault in the vein of the Goblins. Full of atmospheric terror and slow building tension. I don’t want to run into this song in a dark alley.

And Screw it, a band named Amaranth I am pretty fond of, made a new single, and I think it is peachy keen 😉