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THEOLOGIAN
FINDING COMFORT IN OVERWHELMING NEGATIVITY”
EDITION: 500 CD
CATALOG NUMBER: HB-047
RELEASE DATE: SEP 2012
AVAILABILITY: BUY NOW

“During the past few years, the intersection of the Venn diagram linking noise, electronica, and heavy metal has been improbably rewarding: From Ben Frost's irascible compositions to Author & Punisher's turbocharged industrial menace, from Tri Angle Records' cadre of crawlers to Vatican Shadow's damaged tumbles, from witch house's pop-bound menace to Demdike Stare's intricate pattern corruption, musicians working as magpies between those sometimes distant forms have made some of the most intriguing records of the still-new decade. The concept of such a mix isn't necessarily new, but it does seem particularly rewarding right now, due in large part to the finesse and subtlety that many such acts are affording the work.

For the last two decades, Lee M. Bartow has hovered near that nexus, making aggressive and often misanthropic noise-cum-industrial as Leech and Navicon Torture Technologies. During the last three years, though, he's worked under the name Theologian, inching closer toward that aforementioned common ground. This year, he's firmly made his claim by releasing the EP Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity and the LP The Chasms of My Heart, records that make his alliances and interests abundantly clear: Beneath a sculpted surface of static and sustained tones, Bartow has added massive beats and, at some turns, veritable (if rarely decipherable) singing. During the EP's ‘All I See Is You’, streams of noise wrap around each other in amoeboid motion as the concussive electronics of a drum machine hammer a cacophony into the sounds from below. In the background, Bartow slows and shifts his intonations, suggesting Jónsi Birgisson fracturing a Nitzer Ebb song into pieces only to sing behind the bedlam... Simple, stentorian percussion pounds beneath it all.”– Pitchfork

“I'd been waiting for this album, titled Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity, to come out for what seemed liked an eternity. Sir Loren had mentioned in passing many months ago how good it was, and since I'm a big fan of Leech's (aka Lee Bartow) work (also of Love is Nothing, formerly of Navicon Torture Technologies, and founder and operator of the Annihilvs Power Electronix label ), this has been album I'd been anxiously anticipating since I first heard word of it. And needless to say, my expectations were high.

I've been listening to the album on repeat for a couple hours now, and it's fair to say that my expectations have been greatly exceeded. This album is everything I was expecting and more. Much more. It can be difficult to do anything in the field of dark ambient that sounds particularly new or groundbreaking, but Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity is like nothing I've ever heard before. It is as bleak and dark as anything I've heard, but what separates it from the pack is the emotion that Leech has obviously put into this record. One can only manipulate and warp synths and electronics in so many ways, but Theologian has managed to put so much of himself into this record that I have a hard time listening to it without being physically and emotionally moved in various ways. The hard-edged synths on the first track, ‘Fighting For Nothing’ provide that almost monolithic death industrial vibe that fans of Navicon Torture Technologies will recognize, and as you're dragged through the dense, repetitive power electronics of this record, you get the feeling on numerous occasions that perhaps the record is not as much of a downer as the title would indicate. But time and again that suspicion is proven wrong, as you are inevitably dragged through the depths of resentment, hatred, despair, and finally, hopelessness.

As far as I'm concerned, Finding Comfort in Overwhelming Negativity may be unrivaled in the genre, and will certainly stand up as one of the best records of 2012.” – Hammer Smashed Sound

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