Article:Publico 1999

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Article in "Público" May 7, 1999

"Death in June and Boyd Rice in Paradise Garage, at 22h A concert from the demons

Fernando Magalhães


The world will end. But while it doesn’t Death in June entrust themselves to turn it upside down, by combining death to the solstice of June. Douglas P.'s group brings to Portugal their rituals and runes from the sepulchre, their skulls, magic songs and Aleister Crowleys schooling. With them comes Boyd Rice, who someone defined as “the cross-breeding of Bambi with a Satan official”. A concert from the demons. Novices only.

Feeble-minded should abstain from going tomorrow into the Paradise Garage surroundings, in Lisbon. It will take place in this disco-bar a ritual with the participation of Death in June, Boyd Rice and Der Blutharsch. At night. At the hour of the wolf.

Each one of this names has a special meaning for the restrict number, but militantly faithful, of fans. Integrated in a school which assimilated Joy Division’s nihilism, the industrial music violence and, in a last phase, a falsely acoustic folk tone, Death in June close the ranks beside Current 93, Sol Invictus, Sixth Comn and, much more at the ideology level than the aesthetics sonority, of Psychic TV, Organum and Coil. Each one of this groups share the interest on black magic, the occultism of shady colours and sinister sonority which can go from techno electronics to “innocent” ballads played on acoustic guitars. Aleister Crowley is one of appellant references. Current 93, par example, David Tibet’s project, former element and present collaborator of Death in June, has a share on the black-magus magic-symbolic numerology which, in the beginning of the century, travelled on purpose till Lisbon to meet Pessoa.

Death in June – designation who contains all one philosophy, in associating death to the Solstice of June, the acme of life – born in 1980 from the ashes of two groups wounded by Joy Division's tragedy and still drenched with the blood that dripped from punks wound: Crisis and The Runners from 1984. Douglas Pearce, or Douglas P., as he self entitles, and Tony Wakeford soon assumed the ideological leadership of the group, connoted from the outside of their magic circle with the right-wing politics. The systematic utilization as logotype (generally printed in relief on disc covers) of the skull (“Totenkopf”) used by Nazi SS doesn’t help to part with that idea of them. Three years passed, Wakeford desisted from the project and formed Sol Invictus, leaving the coast cleared for Douglas P. adjust the focusing to Death in June.

For Douglas P., Death in June represents a propaganda vehicle of a doctrine that lives of and for ambiguity. Each show is a ritual in that, words, runes manipulation (the “secret writing” of the North Europe ancient people, in particularly from Iceland, sorcerer ancestral homeland), and the suggestion (indispensable in magical practices), it worth as much as the sound, in the erection of a black church whose Europe branching doesn’t stop growing.


From chaos to discipline


The accompanying of Death in June’s musical evolution allow us to realise the worlds movement in a time in that the Apocalypse drops inward the heads of its inhabitants its own fire deluge. In the eighties the industrial music convulsions matches with the terrorism of fear. The planet Earth was a poor animal devoured by the metal mandibles of a triturating gigantic mechanism. The brains agonized. Some diluted in dance music trance and in a psychedelic state with an (apparent) opposite mark of the sixties, correspondent, in the inner spheres, to what they call “new primitives” and a new wave of paganism. Death in June’s music obeys to this weight billow, in the celebration of a conceptual universe which most fascinates the gothic appreciators, like those who doesn’t identify whit chaos and horror theories leading, at punk’s way out, by Throbbing Gristle, industrial music precursors. Death in June proposed, as an alternative, the order and discipline, being frequent routine the group elements appear in the shows with military uniforms.

“The Guilty Have no Pride”, “Nada!” and the double LP “The World That Summer” are some of the most significant Death in June’s work in that period. Elucidative of the underlying ideology is the title of one of theirs 12’’: “Come Before Christ and Murder Love”/ Chega antes de Cristo e Assassina o Amor”.

In “Brown Book”, from 1987, is already visible an inflection in Death in June’s sonority, they progressively disconnect their synths and the other machines from hell to displace their sorcery to a music full of bucolic poetry and a folk imaginary allusion. But now frozen by the demons hand.

David Tibet, from Current 93, republished a few years ago, with a new title, one of the first albums from the British folk diva, Shirley Collins. At one stroke the traditional music got luciferian connotations.

“The Wall of Sacrifice” broaches the new mask of suavity of Death in June, which Douglas P. fathoms in the later “But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?”. The “The Cathedral of Tears”, “Flowers of Autumn”, “93 Dead Sunwheels”, “Burial” and “Östenbräun” add new chapters to the saga, with the recurrence of themes that passes by successive metamorphosis, live versions or remixes.

Boyd Rice, alter ego from the NON project, is more obvious. An American journalist defined him as a “cross-breeding of Bambi with a Satan official”. Others called him a “Nazi”. In his work, available in Portugal in “Music, Martinis and Misanthropy” album, from 1989, the violence gains shape and acts as a weapon. Infected appendix of the industrial music – at the limit of the Jim Thirlwell madness, thus Clint Ruin, thus Scraping Foetus off the wheel, refined in a more “artistic” moulds – the metal revolution, viscera and totalitarianism cultivated by Rice it inscribes in the same global project that Death in June takes part, rightfully appointed as “The Demonic Revolution”. Boyd Rice, who recently participated as an actor in “Pearls before Swine” (a parody to James Bond’s films), will be in Paradise Garage to exhibit the trailer of this film, porno short films and “kitsch” advertisements from the sixties.

One night of darkness that completes with the medieval/ ambient sounds of Der Blutharsch, from the Austrian musician Albin Julius, founder of the “The Moon Lay Hidden beneath a Cloud” and collaborator in the most recent Death in June’s work “Take Care and Control”.

Coincidence or perversion: one of Death in June’s internet address has the signature of Brian Oblivion, a virtual character of “Videodrome”, as far as I’m concerned and till watching “eXistenZ”, this film of David Cronenberg is the one which better does the end of the century paranoia and hallucination autopsy.


Death in June are more poetic - they do roses wither."