Review by: Epitome of Epic

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Controversial is definitely the right word to describe this solo industrial project by Belgian musician Bart Coninckx. Controversial draws from dark-cult underground sources of inspiration and is heavily influenced by blood-lust and trauma-inducing sound bites aimed to shock.

Second Genesis, the debut album released in 2018, contains 15 tracks including remixes by Die Krupps and Leaetherstrip. The endorsements of these two renowned industrial artists comes as no surprise after listening to the professional quality and creative stylings of Controversial’s aggressive beats, distorted-mechanistic heavy guitar riffs and seamless, uncensored audio sampling.

Bart Coninckx walks the left-hand path, a western esoteric pathway that many fear and most do not understand. Most accepted spiritual paths are singleminded in their ‘higher’ morality, always seeking the light, and leaving the dark behind whereas the mechanism for spiritual growth on the dark path is integration of, rather than escaping, the darkness.

The left-hand path seeks spiritual unity via descending into the darkest parts of the self and integrating the shadows. Yet the nature of the sampling at first listen does seem to glorify violence and trauma and it certainly draws attention to the reality of the experience whether you have been a perpetrator or a victim.

Coninckx births his acolytes of the dark path through the figurative birth canal of his opening track The Trauma of Birth, which starts with the omen of cawing crows, howling wolves and haunting melodic soprano vocals punctuated with distorted guitar riffs, and balanced with a guttural masculine oratory.  

After birth Coninckx contemplates death in his second track With a Vision Of Death, the first of several songs on the album with disturbing samples of violence. It is difficult to gage the messages in his songwriting, perhaps the only message is to create ambiguity and disagreement over their thematic content. 

Commercial Breakdown, an anti-elitism commentary of commercialism boasts driven body-beats and distorted, lyrical, spoken poetry: like a rabid Leonard Cohen against the machinations of heavy industrial obbligato.

As an album, Second Genesis speaks of the second creation, not of God creating the world in His image, but of humanity recreating God’s world in Our own image. The idea that we each have our own power, there is no God, and the only confines and limitations to our lives are those imposed by morally defunct humans in positions of power. A morality whose sole purpose is to maintain a society of order that serves an enemy elite, and yet the music and lyrical content glorifies ego centred will which misinterprets Nietzche’s works regarding will to power. Power of the will is rising above the ego altogether not succumbing to it.

“How did I endure it? How did I recover from such wounds, how did I overcome them? How did my soul arise again from these graves?

“Yes, something invulnerable, unburiable is within me, something that rends rocks: it is called my Will.”

Extract from The Funeral Song, Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Coninckx’s themes are heavily influenced by Nietzche’s hypothesis of the Uberman. That representation of the higher, greater human consciousness that resides as potential within all of us. That human who embraces all that they are, every part of themselves, the light and the dark and becomes free of all restriction from the thought and opinion of others. Who lives by their own inner guidance, their own inner morality rather than the morality of other ‘lesser’ humans.

Ego Army is an example of the misrepresentation of the uberman. Ego is merely the chain of the herd mentality that proponents of freedom seek to escape. The more we cling to our singular focused need the lesser a man becomes. Divine masculine power comes with the driven action derived from will not ego. Such as in the song Take Command.

Take Command speaks to Coninckx’s philosophical inclinations that ‘Man is his own God’. The dark-side of the notion that each of us has a connection to that universal source of existence and reality – that we are all gods rather than we are simply all faces of one god, unified by our deep connection. The original incites the will with its focus-driven beats and vocal samples: ‘I don’t give a fuck; Let’s stir things up a bit; You don’t have the power to stop me.” Alongside the imperative: ‘Take Command’.  

Where the original incites the will with its spoken word sampling, the remix disappoints by relinquishing the will with the added lyrics: ‘Please Take Command,’ in an S&M fantasy which I am sure will still appeal to many industrial music fans.

The artistic and philosophical expression in the music Controversial writes encompasses a deep exploration of the dark places within the human psyche. In the recognition of ugliness that directly opposes those following aestheticism, shadow-work is neither the ascent nor descent of the soul but it is the anchoring of the human soul firmly in the present, and physical reality. The balancing of duality, dichotomy and paradox of existence can only be achieved by the recognition of the things society, and each individual person refuses to acknowledge. Anger, Jealousy, Lust, and Greed have long been viewed as abhorrent and evil and yet all these emotions are essential to know oneself and therefore in the exercise of personal power, of Will

Controversial has been recently signed to Cleopatra Records who also produce for Ritual AestheticLeatherstripSYZYGYX, and Zentrifuge. This is testament that we can expect even greater things to come from them.