Death In June & Boyd Rice – Scorpion Wind (NERUS)

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DIJ Scorpion Wind

Scorpion Wind was originally released in 1996 as Heaven Sent, credited to Scorpion Wind. It’s now reissued (with two bonus tracks) as a full-fledged DIJ release, in collaboration with industrial music pioneer Boyd Rice. It’s basically a spoken word album with musical accompaniment.

Scorpion Wind has a deceptively ‘easy listening’ sound – instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, vibes, strings, trumpet etc – which perhaps lulls the listener into a false sense of security. Boyd Rice has a resonant, compelling speaking voice. Put this record on at low volume and it can almost be background music. But play louder and listen to Rice’s words, and a different picture emerges. Rice has a very particular worldview, which will not appeal to everyone. Some of his texts are adapted from works by the Marquis de Sade, Jung, Ragnar Redbeard et al. However, if you’re prepared to have your preconceptions challenged, you may find much interesting food for thought here. ‘In Vino Veritas’ sees Rice listing a number of what are presumably his favourite drinks – ‘I’ve been drinking, and I’ve been thinking… oh won’t someone pour me another Martini, to sip while Rome is afire’ – sounds good to me… In ‘Roasted Cadaver’ Rice tells us that ‘I am the vulture, that feeds and feasts on the flesh of your bloody cadaver.’ Alright, maybe not easy listening, then.

‘The Cruelty of the Heavens’ is perhaps the centrepiece of the album – an intense meditation on Abraxas, with Rice intoning his hypnotic poetry (and quoting from Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead) over a backdrop of e-bow guitars, strings, bells and military percussion. ‘Funeral for 3’ is a lengthy instrumental track which reworks and restates some of the themes heard earlier in the album, and the album ends suitably with a final valedictory toast from Boyd Rice.

Ewan Burke

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