Hands of Ash |Fifth Colvmn Records, 1996|
Hands Of Fire, Hands Of Ash, Hands Of Glory, Hands Of Malice, Hands Of Clay, Hands Of Iron, Larvatus
"Not a great commercial potential."
This is funny, because those words were said by the same person, who screamed, at the end of the 80's, with defiance against the monetary system "God money I'll do anything for you..." Instead, this person now seems more concerned with how many copies have sold, and how many people have downloaded his new work... counting only numbers these days, consumed alive, branded to be more enthralled as a business man, than an artist.
I personally find it difficult to associate the word "commercial" to an underground music style and especially to Art, because this is what we are talking about... Art; and John Bergin is an artist in the purest sense of the term.
Bergin is a graphic novel and comic artist (among which: From Inside, Golgothika, Ashes, Bone Saw). A musician, graphic designer, sculptor, photographer and a director; His pitch dark visions are bewitching and frightening at the same time, it's impossible not to be affected by his feeling-provoking art. His music and his comics have many points in common. In fact his songs are often real soundtracks to accompany the reading.
In 1994, thanks to the album "Fear and Bullets" which music is based on and inspired by James O'Barr's comic book 'The Crow', he draws the attention of Nothing Records. His next album "Hands Of Ash" should have been released by this label but the sentence that I quoted at the beginning has closed the door of its publication. "Hands of Ash" was published instead by Fifth Colvmn Records in 1996.
Now, after this short introduction, go to the following link: http://www.grindertool.com
. You can download from his music archive the free digital version of this masterpiece, and download also his entire discography ;)
Get ready to make a trip into terror, where there is no room for mercy and compassion. You'll find only hate, fear and ruin. Where the arrogance and brutality of the human race have taken the upper hand, taking to the Apocalypse our miserable civilization.
The dark music of Bergin and Brett Smith (his close collaborator), stirred up by desperate screams will guide you to the worst circle of the Dantesque Inferno, in the most sadistic perversions of Clive Barker. You will cross raped lands by the wickedness of humanity, where there is no escape, no matter how far you'll rush or where you'll hide away, you will be hunted down forever.
The six different variations of "Hands of Fire/Ash/Glory/Malice/Clay/Iron" succeed to transpose into music the phobias of writers such as Kafka and Albert Caraco. Combining the ferocity of guitars and drums into disturbing atmospheres, culminating in the seventh song "Larvatus", a spectral and funeral march that seems to wish to bury this Pandora's Box and forget it forever.
This album, in certain ways, could recall the severity of "Filth Pig" by Ministry, and the ferocity of Skrew and Godflesh corrupted with the remarkable ability of Bergin to dig in the depths of human madness.
An absolute masterpiece, certainly not an easy listening as the best part of his discography, but able to give deep emotions. (Marco Gariboldi)