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Reviews
Bain Wolfkind - The Swamp Angel
Wednesday, July 01 2009 @ 03:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Sage

The Swamp Angel

Artist: Bain Wolfkind Germany

Title: The Swamp Angel

Label: Hau Ruck Austria

Genre:  Folk Noir / Dark Folk / Sleaze Blues / Raw Ethereal

01 Corruption is the Currency
02 The Crossroads
03 Your Dogs and your Lynchin' Mob
04 Nailed to the Mast
05 The Eye of the Hurricane
06 The Palace of Pain
07 Down to the River
08 Blue Eyes and Codeine
09 A Scar Called Hate
10 Come a Ride with me
11 The Rooster and the Crow
12 Just a Drowning Man
13 Rainin' in my Heart
14 The Drugs in your Veins
15 Killer's Kiss

It would seem, rather undeniably, to me, that if Raymond Watts ever had a twin sibling musically, it would undoubtedly be Bain Wolfkind.  In his Pig project, Raymond Watts literally oozes an amount of sleaze and sexual fortitude that has been unmatched by any project before or since, until Bain Wolfkind drew a line in the sand with his 2004 7” 'Love Letters'.  I may also be the only one who finds it ironic that the last Pig, Pigmata, was released in 2005, the same year as Bain Wolfkind's debut “Music for Lovers & Gangsters”.  Obviously, Bain Wolfkind isn't wasting his time with aggro-tech like Mr. Watts had, and instead remains true to the roots of that beautiful sleazy sound, blues, with its reverb kicked up on the clean guitar and the visual prowess that the slide guitar brings along with it of smoke filled bar rooms and empty dark corners of the same institutions.  Even with that blues appeal though, tracks like Nailed to the Mast bring about an infinitely darker texture than traditional blues could ever hope to create.  A drug-induced trance, sending us to the depths of hell with a discordant, disharmonic composition that does more to drive the point home that this release isn't from your typical black-clothed, cowboy hat wearing gangster wannabe.  Bain Wolfkind is one evil motherfucker, and rarely will a blatant profane word be typed here to describe a musician, but nothing else really does the man justice.

Folk NOIR hasn't seen a character this dark in perhaps its' entire existence.  Certainly the genre is full of eccentric characters, but typically they aren't this blatantly evil, and the music is more reflected by the stories they tell, rather than the character themselves.  Bain Wolfkind is now in Der Blutharsch, but its unknown exactly when he joined the project.  He's been present as far back as “When did Wonderland End?” but past that it seems blurred.  Bain and Albin met in '99 so it could go back further than that.  This explains Bain's discography being exclusively released via Hau Ruck!.  And, chance is, if Bain wasn't already mentally corrupted enough. Albin did a big more to help him along towards insanity.  Regardless, its obvious he influences everything he touches, as his influence on Der Blutharsch can certainly be heard.

It is my belief that The Swamp Angel surpasses Bain's previous releases in a way that departs from his nearly strictly filthy outer shell that the eyes can't penetrate and goes far further down into a more personal level.  Much like his previous releases, the album can be taken on a track-by-track basis as each seems to tell a story apart from the man himself, but there is a good deal of melancholy in The Swamp Angel to fit in conjunction with the vein-abused sliding layers and surprisingly in-your-face warnings.  Tracks like Blue Eyes and Codeine, for example, feature an almost ritualistic pace that bears down on the heart after a few minutes.  Tortuous not only for him, but for the listener.  Ironically enough, this track could almost be seen as a tribute to Bain's personal ally Richard Mills of Grand Belials Key / Vinland Winds Records, “Blue Eyes” representing obvious parts of Richard Mills' Aryan beliefs (despite the fact we're not sure exactly what his eye color was), and “Codeine” via certain rumors of drug abuse surrounding his death. 

The following track, “A Scar Called Hate” pulls out of this onslaught of depressive layers though and throws us right back into the storm.  Its amazing how one's ancestry infects their being just through the blood they possess.  Many of Bain's ancestors were criminals, convicts, sailors.  This has, somewhat remarkably, led to this genuine fascination, as perhaps lifestyle, for him.  And I'm afraid to say that as such, music doesn't get much more authentic than this.  The man has lived his life in and out of bars, in relationships with hookers and strippers, and who knows what he's put in his body on a drug-level.  Even the title “The Swamp Angel” could have several meanings, either referring back to bands like Gun Club and The Birthday Party, or having a special meaning all of his own accord. 

To cut to the chase, what is represented in this release is what society in most countries would deem as the worst part of culture.  The scum that hides in alleyways, in dank bar halls at 3:00, the side of life that few ever experience, or better yet, even have the balls for.  This is the guy you pass on your way to take a piss at a bar venue at 1 in the morning, sitting on the floor in the hallway between the restroom and you.  Who you make eye contact with and quickly look away from.  To you, he's just a bum.  But the truth is, he's had an infinitely more interesting life than you could have ever hoped to have in your 9 – 5 life.  The Swamp Angel is fantastic, in the most brutal sense possible.  If “Ethereal” music had a “raw” side of it, this would quite possibly be its absolute artistic climax.

     


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