Artist: Stalaggh

Year: 2003
Genrer: Dark Ambient, Electro, Industrial, Noise
Run time: 34 minutes
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

STALAGGH was established as a project at the beginning of the millennium. The band consisted of unknown members of the Dutch and Belgian black metal scene in which anonymous musicians joined forces with the express purpose to make music that would fill their listeners with despair and madness. One of the band members worked during the time in a mental hospital in the Netherlands and what would help achieve their critical goals was when they got permission to work with some of the patients in a form of anxiety loaded scream-therapy.

The bands main goal was to transform the pain and fear in the music. Each divided project had its own concept and atmosphere, and their first album which I shall now examine called :Projekt Nihil: represents the true meaning of Nihilism - Personalized total meaninglessness of existence.

:Project Nihil: is the bands debut, and in this project they worked with a patient who suffered from anorexia and borderline - the album was improvised during a studio session and was registered to a direct busy microphone. The reason he was forcibly admitted to psychiatric care was that during his youth he killed his mother with over thirty knife stab wounds because when he was between sex and eleven years old he was sexually abused by his uncle. His mother knew about this and let it happen. The patient who contributed to the project was later killed in a car accident at the age of twentynine.

It's understandable that the curious listeners dismisses Stalaggh as an urban legend - a so-called joke. When I first discovered the band I also struggled with this and I still haven't reached a definitive conclusion about what this process really means and what it's all about. For me it’s difficult to explain this kind of music, but imagine that every nightmare you had come true in excruciating detail.

This is a project you have to experience, for no words can capture the full suffering of the music. The cry is the core of these projects, and just as Nattramn's "Diagnosis: Lebensgefahr", it's all about the stigma and the general concern that associate themselves with the mental hospital and the patients. One must accept that these voices, and these people, are real. Scream-therapy offers neither of some synthetic effects, it contains only the rawness of open wounds.

The album cover is illustrated by the Dutch artist Jeroen van Valkenburg and reflects the musics true nature of emptiness and madness. The catatonic gaze and its overshadowed face forms a line of thought about the whole project and makes me obviously shiver of mixed emotions.

Stalaggh used mental patients on all their recordings but I'm not going to review all of them, it's more or less the same kind with some differences between its structured atmosphere. Some of the patients were allowed to leave the institution for a few days to record, while others had to be instructed. These patients are not mentally retarded, those suffering from diseases such as schizophrenia, psychosis, borderline, multiple personalities etc. Some of them are even more intelligent than you and I are.

I recommend this work to you who are easy to understand emotions and you who are really interested in this, to you who don't fear the true reality behind the closed doors of psychiatry and who like real terror noise.


Band members:

Label: New Era Production | Total Holocaust Records
Country: Netherland | Belgium

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stalaggh/