The Spiritual Bat – Cruel Machine (2011)



The Spiritual Bat sind das Nachfolgeprojekt der in Deathrock Kreisen sehr beliebten The Spiritual Bats. Das zum Duett geschrumpfte italienische Ensemble vereint traditionell bassbetonte Hooks mit sphärischen Gitarrenwaveelementen. Sängerin Rosy erinnert an die großen Zeiten von the Siouxie and the Banshees, versteht es aber dem Deathrock neue Akzente zu verleien. Treibend minimalistische Batcavestomper wechseln sich mit atmosphärisch kontemplativer Klangästhetik ab.

— english version —

The last labor of The Spiritual Bat is a sequence of flash-backs and flash-forwards of the last few years, the story of how journeys came to be, the story of how songs were born, from the scream of an Artist caught into a mortal mechanism, a machine that would signify the death of Art, and therefore the end of Spirit. Cruel Machine, the album, is the synthesis of an emotional journey through micro and macro cosmos, in which each song itself is a ritual journey inwards and outwards. Cruel Machine, the song, is the scream of an Artist, a Realist, yet a Visionary craving to steal time from the Cruel Machine, craving to be Spirit through musical instruments, because in the Spiritual World would lie an evolution, the illusion of touching eternity while feeling as nothing but stardust. In this context, Thunderstorm is the ritual to build impetus. It was recorded and mixed, with Acquoreo, in 2008-2009, after the death of dear friend and sound engineer, Claudio Mura, who had recorded all the previous releases of The Spiritual Bat(S). Having always been reluctant to perform live, it was thanks to a promise made to Claudio if The Spiritual Bat began to share their intimate dimension live, in 2008. These two songs were therefore recorded in the transitional period between the loss of Claudio and the Initiation performance in September 2008, the very first live show of the duo, which then led to two US Tours which would have a great impact on the music of The Spiritual Bat. Sento is like capturing an instant from an Edgar Allan Poe story and setting it to a punkish soundtrack, a moment of much needed distraction, while back from the last tour and feeling homesick for the dimension of travel. Once Upon A Time is a very old song, it was probably even rehearsed with the Sacrament CD line-up, but never finished nor released; it then changed radically and picked up influences along the way, including some from the film Avatar, strangely enough, but especially from the Vendetta Festival in Denver, Colorado, where The Spiritual Bat performed during their 2009 US Tour (a festival dominated by EBM and which saw Hocico as headliner).

Tormented Body is a re-make from the 1995 Confession album. A way to continue that tradition, but also a song that Rosetta and Dario would especially love to perform live with a band.

Another song from that album, with Christian Death tendencies, Crucifixion, was included in the Cleopatra compilation The Unquiet Grave Volume 1. An attempt to re-capture that atmosphere was made here.

The Other Side is a surprise, an unexpected gift. The Synth and Rhythm parts being written and performed by German artist Tyves Oben a long time before, for his project Place4Tears, but never released. Being in contact with The Spiritual Bat since around 2006, these parts were sent to The Spiritual Bat at the beginning of February 2011. Rosetta and Dario had been working on the recording of the new songs for this album, but loved playing this song so much that they were sort of hypnotized by it and distracted from their own album. Within few days they had recorded vocals, bass and guitars on it. It is a sweet love song, but it is also about Eternity. This is the first time The Spiritual Bat has ever worked on another artist’s song, except for the live cover of Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control.

Chance was originally called Vendetta Song, though it never had anything to do with revenge or any similar concepts. It just came from the name of the Vendetta Festival in Denver, where it was developed in part. In the lyrics, however, there are flashbacks of a remote backpacking journey in New Mexico, and flashbacks of the death of a rat, too.

Empty Halls is about an un-definable feeling of Solitude and being caged up, that an Artist may feel after the rush of a tour, after the close encounters with many kindred spirits and taking in so much of the outside world.

Lament For The Poisoned Mother incarnates the deep Sorrow deriving from the self-destructiveness of human kind. Its original name was Pregnant With Evil. It gained momentum in the performance as The Spiritual Bat was travelling towards New Orleans in the 2010 Lowlands Tour with Sullen Serenade, and constant updates were reaching them regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is ultimately about the evil that is inherent to being human, represented through the metaphor of the mother generating a matricide. That, and other tragedies of this world, lie in the background of this song, become parts of the Great Mother, parts of the Cruel Machine, melting the natural with the mechanical, the mortal trap, from which you can only escape by travelling spiritually into another dimension, music. In one of such escapes, Deceiving was recently born. In a moment of joyful distraction, while listening to Weep, – new project by Eric Hammer (Requiem In White, Mors Syphilitica, a.k.a. Doc Hammer), he did the artwork on the TSB’s Sacrament CD with the Alchemisti Painters, – the duo was trying to cover the song Lay There And Drown, but it turned into something else: Deceiving, to remind themselves that not all that glitters is gold. One of Eric Hammer’s guitars is played by Dario on this album.

Finally, while Sacrament is another shot into the past (a re-make from the Sacrament CD, in whose line-up Rosetta was the drummer), Acquoreo is a deep reflection into muddy waters and into the origin and nature of life. Artwork by the great visionary Chatarrero Ciencuervos and Mastering by another precious collaborator, Marco 100, who has recently joined the Round Table. Alessio Santoni from The Through The Shadows album recorded the drums on Cruel Machine, Thunderstorm, Sacrament and Acquoreo.
To know more than this about it, you have to listen to it. Beautifully strange, tragically romantic, elegant and raw at the same time. It will steal your soul.


01.Cruel Machine
04.Once Upon A Time
05.Tormented Body
06.The Other Side (feat. Tyves Oben [Place4Tears])
08.Empty Halls
10.Lament For The Poisoned Mother