The Bleeding Peasant Orchestra - Sanctuary and TruceThe Bleeding Peasant Orchestra are a collective of disparate voices drawn from punk bands, post-industrial noise outfits and electronic, ambient musicians. Though the only names I recognised were from other acts from the Corrosive Growth stable. The resulting music pretty much covers the above as it switches from droning ambient to punk fuelled rhythms with some ethnic trance industrial too. What sets Sanctuary and Truce apart though is the politically fuelled agitation that appears. One track tackles religious fundamentalism while another carries a real sense of anger about the swingeing cuts that are taking place in the UK under the misnomer of austerity. At other points Sanctuary and Truce opts for a sense of pure tranquillity.
The haunting 'Cathedral of Wounds' is rich in ambience textures, with massed choirs, gentle guitar strings and the spoken vocals, as if swiped from an old CRASS or Flux punk record. The meshing of styles continues with 'Ignorance' which is carried by some frantic post-punk drum and bass rhythms, before Eastern rhythms and instruments kick in setting this somewhere between 23 Skidoo and Muslimgauze with an added dose of violin and brass, while the vocalist hollers about the religious divide in lyrics such as "blood on the soil" and "east and west forever apart" while the music thrusts with ethnic trance ritual beats.
With rolling snares and downbeat synths The Bleeding Peasant Orchestra present an updated version of the Initial Prayer track as 'We Serve (Austerity 2013)'. Although it starts like martial industrial, it doesn't last. Here The Bleeding Peasant Orchestra declare war on austerity and the capitalist system that lead us there. Amidst mammoth creeping throbs and synthetic orchestral strings, the punk-fuelled vocals offer a barbed indictment of the swingeing cuts of "austerity", that ongoing war cry of the UK's Tory led coalition. "Believe. Behave. And work fucking harder", taunts the vocalist, as those floor scraping throbs take on an industrial-lite On-U Sound form.
Elsewhere there are much more quiet moments such as the combination of pensive drones and location recordings of 'Echoes of Life in a Poisoned Forest' and the tranquil 'We Kept The Rules (and Look What Happened)' created from soft synths and gentle piano score, festooned with the sound of seagulls. It slips into the gentle, recurring warm synths of 'Sunburst' with its cheery swirling fairground melody.
The churning drones of 'Cracked Wheels 16' move onto 'Pandaemonium (CGSF 2012)' which swells from an interplay of bells and gongs into folk-violin playing, straddling a fine line between traditional folk and eastern motifs, before closing on drones, location recordings and the gentle piano notes of 'Never Saw It Coming, Never Heard You Leave'.
Sanctuary and Truce crosses so many genres it hard to figure out who their audience might be. Their concerns are certainly not misplaced, but hidden within drones, ambient textures it's possible their message may be lost. Drones and ambient textures are of course not the best vehicle for political messages. I've always found something worthwhile in the sounds of JAR and Initial Prayer from the Corrosive Growth Industries label and Sanctuary and Truce, as well as being beautifully performed, is one to get you thinking about the current issues affecting us all right now. For more information go to bleedingpeasantorchestra.bandcamp.com or corrosivegrowth.co.uk