> GENOCIDE ORGAN – Profile by Richard Stevenson (2003/4)
Genocide Organ have been in existence for close to 2 decades now, slowly but surely rising to a cult level within the heavy industrial/ power electronics scene. This status has been achieved through the production of an extremely physical sound approach in combination with delux packaging, to create a collectors fetishism of sorts. Yet for all their notoriety within the post-industrial scene, Genocide Organ remains relatively obscured and somewhat shrouded in mystery. This is in part to do with the group refraining from including member photos on releases, yet more specifically refusing to conduct interviews. Personally I am only aware of one interview published in 1999 in Descent Magazine Issue 5#, where the introductory blurb stated that the group had requested the interview to be removed (without success of course).
Despite the personalities behind of Genocide Organ remaining obscured for the above mentioned reasons, one fact remains certain that the group contains four key members: Wilhelm Herich, R. Freisler, D.A.X & Doc M Riot (presumably all assumed identities), with R.Freisler later leaving to be replaced by B.Moloch (of Anenzephalia infamy).
As a collective it is evident that each of the four members has specific roles within Genocide Organ, relating to studio composition, live mixing, video arts & stage performance. With reference to live actions, a direct physical approach of noisescapes with confrontational vocals is employed, along with the symbolic use of religious and political iconography via video projections and performance art. Selected examples of such visual installations have previously involved: the Mannheim/ Genocide Organ symbol being cut from a sheet of steel with a blow torch, the burning of a wooden/ chainmesh cross with a blow torch, and the display and later destruction of crosses plastered with images of political leaders. Although live performances are few and far between within Europe, or even in their native Germany, the collective have still garnered an international underground following, having been invited to give select live actions across the globe, with countries including England, Russia, America and Japan.
In order to analyze and critique Genocide Organ’s recorded output, it is evident from their lyrics, texts, images and dialogue samples that there is a clear focus on matters relating to war, the Ku Klux Klan, conspiracy theories, American imperialism, terrorism, the Third Reich, fetishism etc. Furthermore many of their releases come armed with titles such as ‘Klan Kountry’, ‘Mind Control’ and ‘The Truth Will Make You Free’. Packaging additionally utilises many images that have loaded connotations, or otherwise by virtue of their use seem to evoke an inherent symbolism (for an example refer to the face image on the cover of ‘The Truth Will Make You Free’). To put it in another context I quote Lina Baby Doll of Deutsch Nepal who has been a long standing fan and more recent comrade of the group:
“Genocide Organ, the heroes of German electronic chock-treatment are one of the most physical appearances within industrial culture. Every piece of sound they’ve released, and all live performances I ever experienced have been 100% “ultra” in all directions possible. Just to feel the weight of the heavy vinyl, study the sleeves and almost cut your hands open by the scalpels attached, among the dried bloodstains on the unpolished surface is an experience worth the long and hard search for the items. For me it’s not the extreme approach of the group that make them interesting, it’s the ability to withhold the possibility to go way to far out in the wasteland of cheap fetish commercialism, which for me is a sign of both intelligence and style. These are people who have got more to show than a poor tattoo and some piercings, this group shows you the truth whatever it might be. And the truth will make us free!”
Essentially the convergence of elements (visuals, titles, text, dialogue samples, set to extreme electronic sound and overlaid with shouted/ distorted vocal delivery), creates a sensory overload ensuring that ambivalence towards their releases is almost impossible. And within such a context Genocide Organ HAVE provoked reactions from listeners – be those extremists who perceive the group have certain sympathies that align with their own, or vocal detractors labeling the group racist, fascist, or more crudely – hate mongers. Likewise for those listeners intelligent enough (or otherwise uninterested) in making such simplistic and polarized views of Genocide Organ, merely the extremity of sound can likewise provoke reactions from revulsion through to pure pleasure (the pleasures received in pain is an amply reasonable adage here). Yet in creating a reaction and/or emotional response, can art legitimately use the interpretation of politics as the point of stimuli? I would argue that it is entirely legitimate. Granted that differing emotional responses may create a psychological barrier and therefore limiting the ability of many to fully appreciate certain kinds of musical and artistic expression. This however does in no way negate the validity of the interpretation of politics within art. Additionally if art is deemed to be the pinnacle of emotional expression, this still leaves scope for each individual to interpret each emotion intrinsically stimulated – be that positive or negative.
But what do Genocide Organ actually stand for and represent? Do they stand for something, or nothing at all? Are they a group simply taking a mirror to modern society, reflecting the squalled depths of hatred and violence that humanity is capable of sinking to? Or do they truly embrace a nihilistic worldview and only stand to accelerate the modern world’s decline? Alternately are they left wing, or right wing, religious or apolitical? Or are they simply purveyors of “ultra” dry humor and irony pushed to an absolute extreme? Put any of these assertions to the groups however, none will be forthcoming with affirming or denying such theories and/ or allegations. The virtues of silence perhaps?
Equally, are the questions raised in the listener’s mind significantly more important than any answer that the group could ever provide? Therefore with reference to modern society, are there any political or philosophical ideas that can be viewed in a simplistic black and white context? Consequently could it be said that Genocide Organ embrace the infinitesimal shades of interpretative grey in the way they choose to operate? Quoting from the aforementioned Descent interview it might just give some insight into the mindset of the group (or failing that, simply adding to the confusion): “We never say what we think, and we never believe what we say, and if we tell the truth by accident, we hide it under so many lies that it is difficult to find out” & ”Everything is as it is and nothing is as it should be”. (Descent Volume 5#: The Death Issue June 1999).
Yet with time marching incessantly on, the year is now 2004, marking the release of the new album ‘In-Konflikts’ and highlighting the 5 year gap between it and the prior ‘The Truth Will Make Your Free’ LP. In an apparent change of tactic it would seem that the group have now come the closest to revealing their core intent via the press statement accompanying the release: “Genocide Organ don’t reflect a concrete event of whatever nature, this is an abstract questioning of everything with anything, a call to action, which ends in a waste of energy …a call for a movement which is a waste of time…a nihilistic pessimistic worldview which leads somewhere…..we all fill just space and are part of IN-KONFLIKTS”. However, should this statement accepted merely on face value, or specifically questioned due to Genocide Organ’s subterfuge and deceptive double speak of years past? Particularly could this statement be just another ideological illusion, another psychological sleight of hand and yet another philosophical ‘house of smoke and mirrors’? To specifically justify such assertions a further statement included within the album’s sleeve provides ample vindication: “If you ask what this is all for, none can tell you. Never ask where this will end, you already know it anyway. What will be left behind is just a note in a history book. You might have the possibility to see but you will never know. As long as we not (sic) cross the final border all efforts will be meaningless. Don’t be amused, entertained or educated … that is not the intention”.
To conclude it is clear that that there is no single or for that matter simple interpretation that can be said to holistically represent Genocide Organ. Therefore it is useless for anyone but the group themselves to pontificate about knowing the exact answer. Thus without providing any sort of iron clad theory, could the question be posed: is confusion the real key to Genocide Organ’s intent? The final interpretation is up to you…..
(Originally written January, 2003 by Richard Stevenson and published in English in Degenerate Magazine Issue 3#, released 2003. Updated and partially rewritten in December 2004 by Richard Stevenson.)