Reviews of Apocalyptic Desert

Absolute Zero Media

This my friend is what Industrial is all about there is nothing musical about this !!!. Its one 28 minute track of scrapes, tones, hums, drones, screams and harsh noise all made into a perfect package of angst and reflection. 20.SV is from the Middle east Lebanon an area of the world filled with chaos, war, destruction and sorrow as a daily event and you can clearly hear all of this in this very unsettling release . Apocalyptic Desert is plain and simply a Digital audio nightmare come to life and put out for the world to witness and heed as if were not careful the world could look much like this release sounds I’m not sure which in the end is really all the more frightening. Another Excellent release on Autumn Wind Productions. Do not miss out on any 20.SV or his Seeker side project as they are all worthy or multiple listens…

Judas Kiss

20.SV, named after the level of radioactive contamination (20 sieverts) which will cause death in 100% of human subjects within seven days, is the solo noise project of Lebanese musician Xardas, who also records dark ambient under the name Seeker, and who recently released Burning Sigils under his real name, Osman Arabi. Apocalyptic Desert is the third in a projected series of eight 20.SV releases on Autumn Wind Productions, following last year’s Insects and 2006’s Acid Vomit.Human Genocide, which was a re-release of two early cassette demos. (Seeker, Burning Sigils and Insects have also been reviewed by Judas Kiss.)

As with Insects, Apocalyptic Desert is a monolithic, terrifying juggernaut of pulverisingly intense electronic noise. If you’re after a weapon of mass destruction in sonic form, then look no further than this – 20.SV gets the job done nicely, decimating all it touches, taking no prisoners and leaving nothing but radioactive rubble in its wake. Over its 28-minute duration, the track deploys blunt, ugly, low-end rumbles, bestially distorted vocals, ominous purring mid-frequencies and penetratingly shrill, stabbing bursts of high-frequency noise and feedback in a concerted attempt to inflict maximum damage on the listener. There’s a looped fragment of melody, possibly from a highly processed guitar, inserted into the toxic brew as well, but if you’re expecting a nice tune, forget it. You’ll have to whistle it to yourself while waiting for the all-clear to sound. Admirers of extreme projects like Messiah Complex, Grunt and Antracot will probably enjoy 20.SV’s work too – all others should approach with due caution.

Apocalyptic Desert is also monstrously loud. I can testify to this because I was listening to it on the bus yesterday – generally speaking, I need to turn the volume on my CD player up to around 20 on the bus to drown out the engine noise and the loathsome babble of my fellow humanoids, but 20.SV proved more than adequate at the default volume setting of 8. Turning this fucker up to 20 would probably result in haemorrhaging from every orifice and massive organ failure. Apocalyptic Desert comes in a card sleeve, and the first 75 copies include a poster of the cover artwork. There are plans afoot to produce a box to house the first three 20.SV CDs, including Apocalyptic Desert, and the box will include a booklet, poster and stickers. Xardas is calling for visual contributions for the booklet – check out the 20-SV website for more details.


Before me I have the ‘new’ work of a Lebanese project called 20.SV, which stands for 20 sieverts and means the level of radioactive contamination. It’s not a completely new release, since it was released on cassette some years ago. Considering the quality of this release it’s a good choice they decided to re-release it on cd. The album title and artwork fits the music very well; it’s all post apocalyptic noise. The album contains one track which lasts almost half an hour. Since the extreme intensity and frequencies, the playtime is perfect.

The noise here is of a very good quality and because of sudden changes in sound it stays interesting all the way though. As said before, because of its intense nature and high pitched sounds, it can be too much for some people; since it’s not just harsh noise, but a mental play with the noise palette.

Here and there is something that resembles a melody, as far as this kind of music can have a melody. But mostly this is pure industrial strength audio torture and I love it!

This cd would make a nice triple bill with Cosmos Entropy’s (a Propergol sideproject) ‘Unknown’ and Land:Fire’s ‘Physical:Mental:Psychological’, since it all deals with atomic bombs and post-apocalyptic sounds in various degrees.

If you don’t like your neighbours, play this one very loud. Recommended, though mostly for noise connoisseurs!

Heathen Harvest

Nuclear holocaust in music will probably grab more brain cells that are occupied with heavy metal and hard rock bands, mainly from the eighties and unfortunately from our decade as well, with tight leather band members singing about the impending doom that the cold war was threatening us little people with. Times have passed and empires fell and grew and we are now standing near another cold war. So in addition to the veteran bands, we might be facing a new wave of bands that grew on the laps of Megadeth and Gamma Ray and that will sing to us about the new atom bomb and get their money on the way. Nevertheless, how do you expect to grasp the disaster, the danger and the damage with electric guitars and high-pitched singing? This is a joke and it cannot be done. If you think you can describe such a disaster with mere words and guitar solos, you are in for a grim surprise.

Now some people know that, like Xardas from 20.SV, for instance. His third album, following the brilliant “Insects” album, Apocalyptic Desert clearly shows that in order to explain such unimaginable disaster, you have to bring the beast to the ears of the listener, as understanding this powerful being is not done with brains, but with experiencing it.

20. SV begins this apocalyptic torture with a distorted but low grunt, like a beast waking up. From that point onwards, there will be more and more pressure with each passing moment, as layer upon layer of over distorted waves of sound. This is a slow and painful process of post trauma and Xardas indeed paints a hostile desert with his weaponry. He tries to check the listener’s endurance by turning up the heat more and more, until it is too much, and then some more. Each distorted blow is like a dry wind hitting the eyes; each shriek feels like inhaling the toxic air and each bass boom makes it clear how hopeless this situation is. The tenth minute brings a piercing melody and with it, the surrounding sound becomes crunchy and almost static with harsh distortion. The game on this album is simple. You wanted a desert of death you got it.

There comes a certain point when this torture becomes meditative with its monotony (A good thing!) and this is the point when, as it was said earlier, this becomes a place not for the brain. Instead, it makes the body absorb everything, absorb the harsh assault with surrender and accept the fatality that Xardas had brought. A suitable follow up to his second album, lets see where he is going from here…

Chain D.L.K

The sound of this disc excites me from the start. Veiled behind walls of decimated audio signals, buried entities of voice, guitar, synthesizers, and unidentifiable noise generators gasp for air from an 8bit radioactive soundscape. Floating on this green ocean of sonic obliteration are passing waves of decayed melody and radioactive timbres that ignite your ear canals while foreshadowing the destruction yet to come.

Constantly shifting densities fluctuate between onslaught, feedback and sandblast, with the occasional relent of high frequencies making way for the earthmovers to pillage towards a desperately needed, yet always denied moment of pause. Never resting on a single texture for long, Apocalyptic Desert manifests itself through pulsations that undulate and loop under the hand of its creator. One thing that sets this release apart from others of similar ilk is how he maintains (for me) a sense of liveness that makes this interesting and worth repeated listening.

20.SV is a noise project of Lebanese musician Xardas, who also released Burning Sigils under his actual name, Osman Arabi. I recommend listening to his music, particularly this album, at a very high volume for the intended effect. The ascent from zero to about 14 minutes is worth the price of admission alone. Further, Xardas uses both right and left channels to disorient the listener and create a trance-like effect which often lands in a surprisingly ‘musical’ soundscape, that resonates more deeply with each listen. Its very effective, and I can only imagine what this would sound like in surround or live. Recommended to fans of extreme noise like Messiah Complex and Grunt.

Chronicles of Chaos

_Apocalyptic Desert_, 20.SV’s third(!) official release to date, opens with cacophonous feedback, seven minutes of it. Being a one track album (of less than half an hour in total, thank god), one is well advised to fast-forward the disc until the 7:00 mark emerges. Not that there’s a quantum leap in terms of musicianship or anything too significant, but anything is better than the dreadful incoherent noise of the first seven minutes, anything!

Then you get some guitar-like fuzzy and metallic riff which circles over and over in endless repetitions, in the background of which there’s a grainy, non-musical thunderous noise. Occasionally it manages to drown the riff within waves of utter nonsensical gibbering sounds, and at times it recedes to the background. You get about ten minutes of that aural pleasure.

Finally the harsh noise diminishes a tad, and gives way to more ambient-like sounds, mostly industrially-derived, loaded with feedback and zero musicianship or thought. Bits and pieces — as insignificant as they may be — of musical ideas and thematic visions start to emerge here and there, but most of the time and in general, this is nothing but electronic excrement of the worst kind.

Avoid at all costs!