Saturday, 27 June 2009

DNA

Band: B-MACHINA
Title: DNA
Format: Officially, this was a tape-only release jointly issued through the Skullfucking Distro (Canada) and the Smell The Stench label (Australia) in 2007. However, there does exist a bootleg version of the album on CDr released by Kenji Siratori through HyperModern Records (Japan), catalogue reference HM#139. Both variants shown above.
Edition: Tape pressing unknown. The CDr is believed to be only 100 copies

Track Listing:

Genetic Code A
01. Anti Vital 9.24
02. Orbit 3.52
03. Corpse City II 3.30

Genetic Code B
04. Corpse City I 22.21
05. Transfiguration 20.12
06. Dark Side 16.04

It's a beautifully warm summer day outside, but Nazgul is manfully grappling with this B-Machina release for the edification of the legions of HonourAndDarkness readers out there. And grappling is probably the right word if I'm honest, as I've never quite 'got' this particular release and as a result it's always something of a strained relationship when I pop it on the death-deck.

You see, this is another collaboration between Kenji Siratori (the avant-garde Japanese writer) and B-Machina. You may recall I covered the "Acidhumanix" release in an earlier post. Once again, you have the combination of pretty discordant industrial noise interspersed with Kenji's rather monotonal, softly spoken word passages (in Japanese, of course).

It doesn't quite hit the buttons for me - it may be because the music is so stridently unmelodic and random for the most-part it's rather difficult to grab onto anything aurally as the tape is playing. It may be because Kenji's 'gabba' lyrics are totally impenetrable and, well, rather boringly delivered in truth. It may be that old Nazgul has his ears stuffed with cotton and wouldn't recognise genius if it bit him on the backside. Who can tell? At the end of the day, though, there's some pretty lengthy tracks to wade through on this release - and goodness knows, the effort put in to make it and release it does show - but it's just not my cup of tea. Well, it would be an odd man who liked everything after all.

Which isn't to say that there hasn't been some positive words written about this release. One entry from the Smell The Stench blog pages (or should they be bog pages? I digress...) opines the following, although of course it may not be entirely unrelated to the fact that they were the label in part behind this product:

"The image DNA places in my mind’s eye is of warped transmissions from a dying planet. Indiscernible voices apathetically preach of the end of times as the world around them slowly fails and fades into another chapter of infinite history. The first track, Anti Vital, while in the same theme as the rest of the album, stands very much alone. It’s theme is very militant and oppressive, but is comprised of off-kilter rhythmic samples. This track is a strange offset to the rest of this release, but is very likable and I will return to it often.

As a whole, this release rides the line between a passive sense of loss and hopelessness, a collection of uncaring eulogies for the dead and dying. Every track is filled with ongoing drones and voice samples. I am somewhat familiar with the works of both B-Machina and Kenji Siratori. I could not honestly say I can tell which artist performed which role on this release. This is a very strong example of the abilities of each artist, and speaks well for the collaborative effort between the artists and labels."

Fine words indeed.

As an intriguing aside, and something of a current issue in fact, the details under the 'Format' section allude to the fact that the HyperModern CDr release is an unofficial bootleg. Indeed, having picked up my copy online in 2008 I was unaware of that fact until in correspondence with Alex one evening, who happened to mention that he'd never come across a copy himself. In the past 6 months or so a vertiable slew of bootleg CDs - all paper bound with Kenji's lyrics, in limited editions of 30 - have been coming onto the market, using the Bonemachine and B-Machina names as collaborative partners.

Nazgul has picked up these as he's come across them, even though it's highly probable that musically they may have little to do with Alex's project (and thus are freeloading on the back of the recognition the project has) and most certain that Alex is not benefiting in any financial or other way from the releases.

I see a diatribe against HyperModern coming up as a future subject, dear readers.....

Thursday, 25 June 2009

THE END OF ALL DREAMS







Band: WACH
Title: The End Of All Dreams
Format: CD release through Klangfeld Seuchentrieb Tonproduktion (Germany) in 2007, catalogue reference SEUCHE002. Release came in a "hand-made leather package" with a sash bearing the WACH seal in blood-red wax. Photos show the intact bag and opened contents. The last photo is a special promotional-only variant of the album made by Reverend Kim.
Edition: Release limited to only 30 hand-numbered pieces

Track Listing:
01 Welcome to the... 1.52
02 ...Freakshow 3.01
03 Wie Kalter Stein 5.22
04 Domination Desire 4.50
05 The Long Goodbye 6.21
06 Strange Kind of Evilness 5.03
07 Vortex 4 11.05
08 Kyrill 9.12

This 2007 release from WACH is, let me tell you, quite the thing to track down. Only 30 of these beauties were ever made (with their hand-stitched covers and wax seals) and it has taken Nazgul a significant amount of time to track down this one, #27 of the set, which has in fact only arrived this morning direct from those good folk at The Eastern Front in Israel (hails to Igor and Tanya). Nazgul was rather lucky though, as prior to finding one of the original releases - and to be honest, I was quite surprised to have done so as with only 30 available and sold-out at the label you'd imagine none would be up for grabs - Reverend Kim kindly provided me with a special promotional edition with dedicated disc (tres cool) and unique inlay.

As a result of acquiring this particular item, the HonourAndDarkness camera has gone into unprecedented overtime to show you the exceptional quality of the workmanship behind what will surely become the most collectable of WACH releases...?

Were you to point your browser towards the WACH MySpace pages (http://www.myspace.com/wachsein) you will notice that there are a number of reviews of this release already posted online. I've chosen a few choice extracts from a few of those, as much of what has been said is excellent critique in its own right and worth consideration:

" 'The End of All Dreams' is Wach’s second release and the follow up album to the mini CD "The Fear". Featuring eight tracks and running around 45 minutes, this Austrian project presents dark ambient mixed with higher resonating frequencies that provide the album with a bleak futuristic feel.

I first heard Wach very recently when I reviewed the "Der Gegner ist die Zeit" compilation. The sole track Wach provided for that compilation was excellent so I was pretty excited to be able to review a full album by the artist. I find Wach to be very atmospheric. This is definitely an album that you can throw on and get completely lost in for 45 minutes.

Even though Wach’s music would fall into the category of dark ambient, there is a lot more going on than minimal drifting noises. Dark minimal passages are actually the minority on "The End of All Dreams" and are usually more of a backdrop to the other layers of sound or they are used as transition passages. Wach actually relies a lot on higher frequencies and futuristic sci-fi themed noises that help to build the tense and dark atmosphere. I really like when an artist melds all their songs together so the album comes across as one seamless experience, which is exactly what Wach does on "The End of All Dreams". Because all the songs on "The End of All Dreams" blend into one another to give the impression of one long song, it makes the listener’s experience so much more cohesive and concrete allowing the idea of a themed album about the end of dreams to really take effect.

"The End of All Dreams" is a suitable title as this music seems to capture the feeling of a hopeless future and the end of all things. This album would be the perfect accompaniment to a video portraying the destruction of modern civilization leaving behind a grim future. "The End of All Dreams" is dark and bleak but has more than enough going on to keep the listener interested. The songs are constantly changing and shifting and each one presents a little something new that the previous songs did not. I would recommend almost any fan of dark ambient or industrial to give Wach’s "The End of All Dreams" a listen. This is an excellent CD that should appeal to a wide variety of people into the underground music scene."

Heathen Harvest webzine

Worth reading too are the following words from the Chronicles of Chaos website:

"Wach are an Austrian duo that dwells in the left-field reaches of experimental ambient sounds. They do not specifically create -music- per se, but rather an assorted collection of moods, most of which are confined to the dark and space-y frequencies of the spectrum.

"The End of All Dreams" is like a journey in outer space: tranquil most of the time, aimless, random and mysterious. They enhance the big cemetery-like silence using sounds, sounds which in turn magnify silence itself, turn it into one vast all-encompassing blackness. The ambient brand Wach are delivering touches and flirts with heavy industrialization; not what most would suggest as -industrial- influences, but rather the real thing: machinery, metal grinding upon metal, factory sounds. These are "The End of All Dreams" ' two dichotomies. The spacious, almost celestial ethereal touch at nebulas on one hand; on the other, the very harsh reality of estrangement, mechanoids and dead emotions in a world which has turned into a deserted factory filled with rust and painful memories."

Clearly this is both an influential and highly regarded release in the eyes of those that know about these things, and rightly so. Given the limited release of only 30 pieces, however, the vast majority of the world will be needing to poach downloads or cajole those fortunate few to burn a copy of this wonderful release to get their quota of the music on offer!

Given all of the plaudits online what, you might reasonably ask, does Nazgul make of it all, especially given the efforts of Reverend Kim and The Eastern Front to make available the releases you see here?

Well, you may not be surprised to hear that I echo the comments made in these reviews, and would go on to add that the album is far more of an 'experience' than it is purely a 'listen' - it will emotionally grab you and refuse to release you until the energies created are spent. It's a complicated listen - there's plenty going on here that will take more than a few listens to aurally process - yet as a whole the album is a seamless work that is easy to digest and to be affected by. Not an easy thing to achieve, yet masterfully done here.

WACH have, by their own words, created dark and disturbing soundscapes and have not limited themselves purely to the 'dark ambient' genre but reached out to embrace elements of industrial, noise and orchestral music. This variety of sources shows in the final product, with sufficient edge to keep you attentive at all times and, occasionally, genuinely fearful of what might come next.

A well known English comedian once referred to a Magnum Opus as a "large, Irish cat" but that excellent definition aside, I suspect all future WACH releases will be measured against this outstanding benchmark.

And now, for no other reason than the fact that I can, I am proud to reveal to the world at large the answer to the burning question, "where does the sample at the beginning of the album come from"? Thanks to Alex, I can tell you all that it in fact originates from "Spacecenter Babylon 5"... so that's a weight of the minds off the other 29 of the owners of this disc who weren't sure...!

UND WIRKLICHKEIT ERFULLT DIE SEELE WIEDER


Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Und Wirklichkeit Erfüllt Die Seele Wieder
Format: CD release on the Black Attakk label (Germany), catalogue reference BA020, released on 7th June 2004. Top photo shows official release, second shows a monochromatic promo-only version which came with single sheet inlay and disc.
Edition: Unlimited

Track Listing:

1. Einleitung: Visionen & Fieberträume 02:34
2. Kinder der Nacht (Die Musik der Toten) 10:23
3. Unheilvolle Kreaturen im Mondlicht (Erster Blutzyklus) 04:19
4. Huren Dracula's (Zweiter Blutzyklus) 03:08
5. Fluss der Tränen - Elisabetha's Fluch (Eine Ode an die ewige Liebe) 09:52
6. Zurückgewonnene Jugend (Manifest des Blutes) 01:57
7. Kloster der Hoffnung (Bittersüss setzt ein das Leiden) 06:20
8. Verdorbene Erde (Furchtlose Krieger im Dienste des Meisters) 02:18
9. Das Totenschiff Demeter (Logbucheinträge aus dem Nebelmeer) 18:02
10. Der Wolf (Puls unendlicher Pein) 06:53

The literal translation of this title is "The soul fulfils and reality again" but I think that might be missing a few nuances somewhere on the way! Indeed the full title of this release is the rather monsterous "Und Wirklichkeit Erfullt Die Seele Wieder (Eine Vampyrische Lesung In Zehn Akten)" which is something to get your teeth around.

Incidentally, this was the first Elisabetha release Nazgul put his hands on - there are umpteen out there on eBay and Discogs as Black Attakk did a decent release for this album - so finding one is the least of your problems, for once!

Now, I must be honest with you - when Nazgul first clapped this CD on the death-deck many, many moons ago the first track put me off a bit. You see, it's a largely spoken word track (in German, with echo-effects) and being something of an Elisabetha 'virgin' at the time I'd not cottoned-on to their radio play approach to recording. I suspect I listened for a while, then switched off and listened to something else. Given the benefit of time - and an immersion in all things Elisabetha since then - I revisited this release again recently with a little trepidation and to my great surprise found it to be an absolute corker!! Lesson one for today, boys & girls - don't judge anything before giving it a fair trial.

Elements of this CD you may be familiar with - the last 3 tracks, for instance, are the 3 songs on the "Demeter" demo tape reviewed in March in this very Blog. Given the boost of digital sound they bolt out of your stereo like a tomcat with pepper-sauce on it's whatsits, and still remind Nazgul in places of old Status Quo (see past post for more!)....

Other parts are unique to this release, and are equally groovy and worth your time and effort. There's a riff at the beginning of track 2 (in fact, there's a lot of guitar on this album which gives the thing an unmistakable 'groove') that will tear your face off and lodge itself in your brain for the rest of the day, whilst the ambiance created through this release - be they melodious female choirs or the snarling sound of the 'Kinder der Nacht', solid-as-a-rock guitar and drum rhythms or quoted Bram Stoker narrative - will leave you impressed and craving more. Check out the beginning of 'Huren Dracula's' and tell me a more effective piece of ethereal music that you've come across recently?

Yes, there is a fair amount of spoken word pieces on this album in an echo-heavy style, but even given a total lack of the German language you can either soak up the atmosphere and let it wash over you or, if you prefer, hit the skip track button until you find a more musically driven moment to capture your imagination.

To do the latter, however, will dilute the experience and take away something of the Elisabetha experience, so I would suggest you play this through in its entirety and let it soak into your very soul....it won't let you down!

The promo version of this album was kindly sent to me by Alex, and fits very nicely in with the burgeoning collection Nazgul has accumulated...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

ENSLAVED IN EVIL DARKNESS


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Enslaved In Evil Darkness
Format: Split cassette tape-only release with Finnish band Valar (their side being "To Whatever End") on the A.M.F. Productions label (Bulgaria) from 2005, catalogue reference AMF024. Black and white professionally printed double-sided inlay (photo shows Uruk Hai side only) and stickered tape.
Edition: Unnumbered but limited to only 500 copies

Track Listing:

Side A: Uruk Hai 'Enslaved In Evil Darkness'
01. Out Of The Shire 02:24
02. Dark (Are The Fires Of Mordor) 13:42
03. Underneath The Stars 08:20
Side B: Valar 'To Whatever End'
01. Last Shore Falling 07:33
02. Deadwood Burning 02:46
03. The Wind From The Sea 05:45
04. At The Grey Havens 07:58

Well, Nazgul's followers have spoken. In the poll due to end today, the overwhelming majority of you have identified Uruk Hai as the band that you most enjoy reading about in this Blog. As such, here's an unscheduled bonus entry to celebrate the fact that (i) Uruk Hai are a popular project amongst my faithful readership, and (ii) some of you actually took the time to complete the poll. Nazgul thanks you.

This release on the After Man's Funeral label is a belter, and one of my favourites in truth. Part of the reason for this is the quality of the 3 Uruk Hai tracks on offer, part is because it also features on the other side of the split release Valar (a Tolkien ambient / black metal project of Tomi Kalliola of Azaghal), who I rate highly and would encourage casual symphonic BM listeners to seek out.

Indeed, in a break with tradition Nazgul will pass comment on the 4 Valar tracks offered here, and declare that they are very similar to the mighty Summoning in feel in as far as they are harmonic, layered fantasy black metal. Somewhat typical high pitched gurgling black metal vocals, with baritone spoken parts for theatrical effect (in the former, it sounds like he is trying to sound like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies) but the end result is a most pleasing blend of music that I will be investigating further.

Back to the main theme of this post, let us consider the 3 Uruk Hai tracks on offer. Opener 'Out Of The Shire' manages in its short time with us to convey the happy-go-lucky nature of the Shire itself (home of Tolkein's hobbits, of course) whilst providing an undercurrent of brooding atmosphere near to the end of the track that hints at the dark and troublesome journey ahead for some of the Shire's inhabitants. to do this in under two and a half minutes is some going, yet Alex has successfully given us a feel of the Shire at the very cusp of the great changes that rent Middle Earth.

'Dark (Are The Fires Of Mordor)' is to all intents and purposes a film-score without a film, augmented by a very catchy synthesizer refrain that repeats throughout the song - teasing many a false ending - and leaves you humming it for hours after the track has ended. Whoever said you couldn't hum one of Alex's releases....? Something of an epic in length, it passes by very quickly and would make a superb accompanying song to a fantasy themed film.

The final track on this short split release is 'Underneath The Stars', which is to Nazgul's ears the least accessible track on the tape. It's a solid piece of ambient atmospheric music though - absolutely nothing wrong with it - just not as 'immediate' as the preceding two songs. That said, it works wonders with the lights down low and immersed in a hot bath, so perhaps you just need to be listening to it at the right time. Come to think of it, a balmy night outside underneath the stars might be just the thing....

A review of this split is to be found at the Metal Archives website, courtesy of BloodIronBeer, and as so few independent reviews of Alex's material seems to be out there I thought you might like to read a little of what another listener made of this release:

"This stuff [Uruk Hai's tracks] is much more atmospheric than the stuff just before it [Valar's songs]. Relying heavily on sound effects, even to the point of them being as or more prevalent as chords and melodies. The first track is extremely atmospheric. Pure ambience. No drums, guitar, vocals or bass. Just mystical, dark, wondrous sounding keyboard. A great opener. The rest is more of the same, but with actual music weaving it’s way in and out. It sounds like that’s a derogatory remark, but it’s actually not. The ambience and music flow together back and forth. The music itself is the essence of darker sounding "fantasy" music - really it sounds to me like what you’d hear on a video game. A fantasy based role playing game, if you’re familiar. Sounds nerdy, but it is well executed, and dramatic. If only the volume would be brought up and the instruments could be brought to the front, it would sound like a true soundtrack to an epic movie. This, upon first listen, would seem not to be my style, but metal taste aside, I have been in the mood for something like this. Enchanting, dark, ambient music that takes you away to another world.
All together, I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. Both bands brought enormous atmosphere that I certainly wouldn't have expected having read the other review by these bands.I would have to think fans of this genre would like this a lot. For casual fans, I’d say if you’re in the mood, certainly give it a try."

The great thing is you can still find this tape fairly readily in distros out there on the Internet so there's no excuse not to pick this one up and give it a whirl. It's certainly not one of the rarer releases of Alex's many projects, but it's one of the good ones so find yourself a copy and immerse yourself in Middle Earth - and don't forget to give Valar a listen too!

DER ROTE GLANZ DER FLAMMENFEE


Band: CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE
Title: Der Rote Glanz Der Flammenfee (literally "The Red Brightness of the Fire-Fairy")
Format: CDr release on orange coloured disc (plain white non-playing side) by Beverina & W.A.R. (Latvia/Austria) in 2008, catalogue reference WAR045/BP051. Release came with a sticker advertising the band's MySpace address and email contact, plus an oversized postcard.
Edition: Limited edition of 150 unnumbered pieces

Track Listing:

01. Feuertraum I 1.58
02. Solaris 13.38
03. Geburt Eines Schwarzen Sternes 3.20
04. Zeit & Raum 5.11
05. In Jeder Glut Schlummert Ein Brand 5.17
06. Pulsar 3.25
07. Fackelschein In Einem Palast Aus Ewig Eis 4.12
08. Glut 6.06
09. Feuersbrunst Und Eiseskalte 7.19
10. Supernova 5.37
11. Feuertraum II 4.27
Bonus video
12. Zeit & Raum

It's been over a month (one month and three days in fact) since C.O.I. were last featured in Nazgul's ramblings so without more ado let us consider the debut full-length release from this neo-classical pop project, released in 2008 as a joint effort between Alex's own W.A.R. label and the Beverina label run by Juris Silders.

You'll recall from past posts the nature of the music that C.O.I. play, and it's demonstrated to a high standard on this particular release. You get the impression from the very limited pressing of only 150 copies that there was a thought in the back of their minds that this may not sell in great quantity but let Nazgul tell you this - if you see a copy you must grab it, and if you can't find one you must email Juris or Alex to demand a second pressing immediately!

It's simply a great CD to chill out with! It forms the first part of a four-album concept based around the elements - Fire, Water, Air and Earth - hence the coloured disc and the 'fire' themed tracks running throughout the album. One might reasonably assume the following albums to be colour-coded accordingly too, and as a collection they'll look pretty cool.

Some while ago Nazgul reviewed the "Horproben 2007" demo CDr from C.O.I. that featured a couple of tracks that found their way onto this debut release (tracks 5 and 6). Musically the quality of work is similar to that promo CDr, and is immensely uplifting when played as accompaniment to doing important things, such as typing this Blog for example. There is a mixture of moods and impressions created on the album, from poppy and catchy short songs to more ambient and 'deep' longer tracks, and you'll be genuinely astonished at the range of emotions you can encounter through the simple medium of synthesised music . To paraphrase the hype to a recent cinema blockbuster, "...you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll sit and listen and damn well enjoy this!"

Very little is available online about this album, and I suspect a great number of people reading this will not have heard it or even heard of it. This is a great shame, and I urge you to try and track a copy down as I'm not certain it's sold-out yet (try http://www.myspace.com/tonkunstschmiede as a starting point, as it's listed for sale at a mighty reasonable 8€ plus postage).

One review that I did find online at Kulturterrorismus talks up the release in equally high fashion, concluding:

"Those who especially [enjoy] noise and/or industry noise or gloomy sound-scapes on the ears should possibly give this release a miss, however should [your taste] be rooted in Ambient, Trip Hop, Chill Out, Drum And Bass, (future) trance and Goa, must this multi-layered gem is unconditionally excellent. Others who love avant-garde Neoklassik or ritual and/or occult Industrial should risk also giving it a listen"

All of which seems perfectly sensible to Nazgul -go forth and buy one today.

The second photo in this post shows a range of promotional material that I've collected for this release, including business-card sized flyers, postcards and posters (one of which you'll spot is signed if you click on the photo to expand it to a sensible size), plus magnets / calendar magnets and other cool stuff!

Friday, 19 June 2009

ENDZEIT


Band: BONEMACHINE
Title: Endzeit
Format: CDr released on the Hexenreich Records label (Estonia) in 2006, catalogue reference HXNRCH014. Came with sticker and with picture disc CDr.
Edition: Hand-numbered release of only 69 copies

Track Listing:

01. Heimatleid 13.00
02. Einst Im Mai 2.12
03. Babiy Jar 17.28
04. Blutgrund 4.33
05. Kriegerische Felder Aus Hass 2.39
06. Never Stop This War 12.58
07. Eisensturm 12.32
08. Heimkehrer 6.11
09. Soldat 3.50

This was Nazgul's first ever Bonemachine purchase, trivia fans, bought on eBay back in 2006 and the start of another dimension of my collection. It's also the basis of a rather complicated sequence of events in as far as tracks from this release reappear on a number of other Bonemachine releases in the same period, which makes the life of a collector so much more interesting....and expensive!

Around the same period Alex also issued:

  • the ultra-limited edition "Die Fleischmaschine" A4 release, in which 6 of the "Endzeit" tracks reappear together with 2 new cuts;
  • the "Soldat" CDr with 5 of the "Endzeit" tracks (including a different version of 'Heimatleid');
  • the "Veteran" two-track tape release, with one song from "Endzeit";
  • the "Audible War #1" split tape with Gruuthaggy, featuring 2 tracks from "Endzeit";
  • the "Audible War #2" split CDr (again with Gruuthaggy) with the 2 tracks from "Audible War #1" plus bonus from "Die Fleischmaschine"; and
  • the "Blutgrund" tape release, with 3 songs from the "Endzeit" album

Confused? You will be!

I'll cover all of the above releases separately in future Blog updates, but believe me....with war-based puns firmly intended....it's a collectors minefield out there.

"Endzeit" was described by the Hexenreich label as "War Industrial", which is the typical genre to which Bonemachine is pigeon-holed. The description is accurate though, but there is a mix of styles on this album which makes it a nicely varied listen without losing the thread of continuity. There are, in point of fact, two fairly 'commercial' melody-filled industrial dance tracks on this release ('Kriegerische Felder Aus Hass' and 'Eisensturm') whilst the majority of the remaining tracks fall into the 'almost impossible to define' category of industrial noise/martial rhythm. In that respect it makes atmospheric background music rather than instantly memorable 'classics' that you'll be humming in the bath. Mind you, it's not that sort of genre so if that's what you're looking for you're in the wrong Blog my friend!

Of interest is the fact that lyrics for third track 'Babiy Jar' were supplied by none other than Neon Asthet, who was of course a founder member of Elisabetha. It's a rather bizarre track, actually, with quite a lot going on and it took me the longest to get into of the whole album, but as they say good things come to those who wait. Whilst we're on the subject of interesting trivia, first track 'Heimatleid' was also the name of Alex's pre-Bonemachine band ("and not a lot of people know that") and with a bit of luck and some major help from underground guru Skogen of Chanteloup Records more of this project may be revealed in this Blog soon....

The release is now advertised as 'sold-out' on the Hexenreich website, but I noticed whilst researching this post that the odd one or two are advertised for sale here and there at various distros, so a quick Google search might well set you right. My copy (#11 of the 69) never came with the advertised sticker, mind you, so you better act quickly if you do intend to purchase one online as I might well be snapping at your heels for a complete version!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

QUENTA SILMARILLION


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Quenta Silmarillion
Format: CDr released on the A.M.F. Productions label (Bulgaria) in 2004. Originally recorded between 21st and 27th September 1999, re-mastered for this release in July 2004.
Edition: No edition number on CDr but believed to be a limited edition release.

Track Listing:

01. Quenta Silmarillion 78.39

A piece of history here - the first ever recorded Uruk Hai rehearsal session from 1999. Back in the annals of history you may recall Nazgul told the tale of when Hugin recorded a demo under the Hrossharsgrani project that proved to be so ambient and 'different' from that band's output that he decided not to release it formally as a Hross demo (under it's original title of 'Uruk Hai') but to create an entirely new project called Uruk Hai to showcase the sound.

Interestingly, therefore, that the first released Uruk Hai demo was in fact "In Durin's Halls" rather than this monstrous single track effort. 'Quenta Silmarillion' only received a full release some 5 years later courtesy of AMF Productions (hails Alexander!) but the inlays certainly do the item justice, with a nice quotation from Tolkien on the rear cover.

With such a sprawling piece of music it's a virtually senseless task to attempt to dissect it piece by piece here, as it's a massive work of much depth and substance. Suffice to say that it contains pretty much all of the elements you might imagine that a fledgling ambient piece might do (samples of wind and natural sound, plenty of long keyboard passages to build context and mood, spoken narrative, and plenty of variety) without sounding remotely cheesy or generic.

In one sense the problem with this demo is its sheer length - you'll need plenty of free time to be able to sit and digest the full 78 minutes plus in one sitting - and unlike cassettes which start again from where you stop them, you will need a CD player that will allow you to take this in chunks rather than perpetually kicking you back to the start of track one when you press the 'off' switch!

As a historical artifact of where the basic Uruk Hai sound came from it's a good addition to any fan, and as a stand-alone ambient experience it isn't too shabby for a first stab at an 'epic' track by any means. There are elements and passages within this demo that recur on later releases (as is to be expected - that's the point of demos and rehearsals really, to get the ideas down and use the better ones after more development) and it can be fun just to listen along and 'spot the music' - "hark, surely that's a melody from the 'Gondolin Falls' track?"

Availability is the issue once again, however, dear readers - there are precious few of these beauties around to buy now. I can't recall seeing one for sale for absolutely ages, and this one I bought directly from Alexander at A.M.F. when he was still operating his distro.

Just as well the HonourAndDarkness online 'museum' pounced when it did....

Thursday, 11 June 2009

NACHTMARFAHRTEN

Band: ELISABETHA
Design: 'Nachtmärfahrten' t-shirt
Edition: limited to only 20 copies, hand-numbered on the label

This is the first post on HonourAndDarkness of a piece of clothing, so we're breaking new ground here people!

Produced in a tiny edition of only 20 pieces (this is hand numbered #18 on the inner label) this stylish (!) Elisabetha t-shirt features the Prince of Darkness Vincent Price on the front (wash out your mouth if you said Ozzy Osbourne) underneath the band logo.

By a strange coincidence, the day that Nazgul emailed Alex to say that he'd managed to buy one of these (from the Eclipse of Live Promulgation label) it transpired that Alex was wearing his copy of the shirt too...mightily spooky......

I've a few other shirts and bits and bobs in the collection, so will pop them up on the Blog in due course!

A NORDIC POEM

Band: FOLKEARTH
Title: A Nordic Poem
Format: CD released on the Stygian Crypt Productions label (Russia) in 2004, catalogue reference SCP016. Folkearth are an international 'super-band' comprising many musicians from a variety of countries worldwide, amongst whom are founder member Ruslanas (ex-Ravenclaw) and Hugin, who played on the band's first two albums.
Edition: Unlimited edition (remastered and released again in 2006)

Track Listing:

1. (Intro) The Pipes are Calling 02:08
2. Wolfsong in Moonlight 04:41
3. Horned Trolls and Mystical Folk 05:28
4. Rhyming with Thunder 05:55
5. Eldritch Sorcery and Faery Runes 03:41

6. In Odin's Court 03:16
7. Storm Ravens Come 04:22
8. Gryningssång 02:30
9. Gaelic Valor 05:22

10. Outro 02:18 [Alex Wieser]

"The life of a collector becomes complicated - part 12"

Past Blog entries for Ravenclaw have made note of the fact that it was always one intention of Ruslanas to found an international band to pursue his musical interests in folk-metal. As a result in the winter of 2004 (after what I can only imagine involved endless emails, trips, conversations and cajoling) the debut album by Folkearth - comprising at that time 14 members - was unleashed upon the world, to generally positive reviews.

Our hero Hugin was also involved in this project in the early years and as such made his mark on their first couple of albums, the first of which was "A Nordic Poem." Happily enough me Nazgul, Alex's contribution turns out to be a distinct solo keyboard track at the back end of the album entitled "Outro", so at least I don't need to listen to every song to identify the odd nuance that might suggest a Hugin-ism had Alex played across the whole darn CD!

On the downside, such is the price to pay for maintaining a complete and accurate record of Alex's work (albeit non-chronologically). This particular CD I tracked down via the excellent Redstream record label in the US, and although the economics of importing a CD from the States for the purpose of retaining one short 2 minute track may seem odd, it's this sort of thing that keeps us maniax (copyright Keegan Irvine) alive and kicking and maintaining our reputation of being one sandwich short of a picnic.

The particular track in question is quite a sombre one, actually, which surprised me rather having listened to the folk-it-to-death upbeat goings-on that preceded it. I also has - to these ears at least - a distinct flavour of Uruk Hai's "Across The Misty Mountains (Far, Far Away)" to it, although recorded two years or so before that particular album. Echoing percussion and a wash of keyboards start us off, and indeed carry us through, and within the piece there's a hint of aboriginal didgeridoo that puts me in mind of the "...Mountains" release and its 'Asenheil' intro. And before you know it, the song's finished.

Would I recommend you - a far more balanced member of society - go forth and buy this album on the strength of Alex's one track alone? Well no, I couldn't in all honesty. Would I recommend you to investigate Folkearth further? Well yes, I probably would, as it's a thumping good listen and bound to get you tapping your toe at some point or other. So there we have it - see a cheap copy, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck (nurse, the screens...)

WOLF


Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Wolf
Format: CDr from W.A.R. Productions (Austria), catalogue reference WAR012, released in 2001. Full colour inlays and picture disc CDr.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of only 66 pieces

Track Listing:

1. Epilogue (Hrefnesholt Pt. 3) 00:39
2. Wolfsnacht 19:34
3. Metamophose 06:04
4. Das Tier 10:16
5. Prologue (Hrefnesholt Pt. 4) 00:47

Back on 27th February Nazgul reviewed the Smell The Stench cassette release of 'Wolfsnacht' in its limited run of 30 copies, and alluded to the fact that it originated on the Hrefnesholt release 'Wolf' from 2001. Truth be told, I had intended reviewing the 'Wolf' CDr in February but as chance would have it my original CDr just refused to play any longer, meaning a plea to Alex was required for an emergency back-up copy! A word of caution therefore, dear readers - always make sure you have at least one back-up copy of all of your favourite items, be they vinyl, tape or CD....

This release is a pretty rare one now - only 66 were made originally way back in 2001, and my copy is a later one from that run (#62). Great cover art on this demo, and a wolf/werewolf theme running throughout makes it a rather chilling yet compulsive listen.

In the style of Uruk Hai's short musical intros and outros, this demo is bookended by two short keyboard pieces named Hrefnesholt Pts. 3 and 4 (Epilogue & Prologue respectively), being fairly upbeat and bouncy little ditties in nature too. The 'meat and potatoes' of the album (or more likely the raw, bloody meat of unwary strangers sans vegetables) are the three tracks sandwiched between them, and that is where we shall place our attention for the moment.

Track 2 is the 'Wolfsnacht' track in full, and again as you may have read previously this is the story of the Red Riding Hood saga (in German) and a mighty fine piece of music it is too. Blending black metal vocals with classy violin moments and ambient keyboards is not the work of 5 minutes, and on this track it is done to perfection. If ever you wanted to learn how to make a memorable musical moment by segueing the howl of a wolf with a classically influenced string melody then this is your basis of learning! 19 minutes has never passed so quickly....

'Metamorphose' is - as you have guessed already - a grim tale of transformation into lupine form, framed within an almost baroque style stringed musical narrative, punctuated by the tortured howls, snarls and half-human cries of the unfortunate changeling. Pity the fool who interrupts his dinner!

Fourth track 'Das Tier' ('The Animal') begins with a very mellow pseudo-classical passage, lulling you into a false sense of security before the vocals being and bite your head clean off! Again, a well thought through amalgam of catchy yet subdued strings and keyboards, studded with harsh vocals and a chilling atmosphere.

One intrepid reviewer online at www.nocturnalhall.com noted that this release was a "fascinating heathen document of dark devoted passions of the powers of ill-fated darkness" and was akin to "a compulsive Ambient radio play." There is a certain element of that in this release for sure (perhaps not surprising given that this is the man behind the radio plays created by Elisabetha based on the Dracula legends) and it comes across as both a very thoughtful and creative piece of work.

It has Nazgul's seal of approval - all you need to do is find a copy......

LIEDER AUS MITTELERDE


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Lieder Aus Mittelerde (Songs From Middle Earth)
Format: Cassette-tape only release through Irrlichter Distro (Germany) in 1999, catalogue reference IRR001. Black and white photocopied inlay, recorded at W.A.R. studios between 4th and 21st September 1999.
Edition: Hand-numbered limited edition of only 200 copies

Track Listing:

Side A
1. Geschichten aus Mittelerde (Intro) 4.15 [Tales from Middle Earth]
2. Luthien Tinuviel 6.15
3. Thror`s Wiederkehr 3.48 [Thror's Return]
4. Über Die Nebelberge Weit 11.01 [The fog over the mountains far]
5. Vergeltung 5.42 [Retaliation]
6. Am Wassertor 8.18 [At The Water Gate]

Side B
7. Gollum's Rätsel 12.20 [Gollum's mystery]
8. Felagund 11.03
9. Feuersturm 7.14 [Firestorm]
10. Quenta Silmarillion (Outro) 4.26

Well, as Nazgul had squeezed in a Hrossharsgrani compilation track in his last post it seemed only right and proper to detail a full length Hross' release in the next, so here we have a blast from the past in the form of 1999's rehearsal tape "Lider Aus Mittelerde."

In 'classic' fashion this is a hand-numbered release (I have two copies, #120 and #84) with xeroxed inlays, and as the copies I have are not exactly excellent in terms of the quality of the photocopying I've also dug out a rather nice photo of the cover as originally produced for your edification (compare to the more grainy image in the second photo). It's a nicely detailed inlay in general, however, making full use of the fold-out paper with some atmospheric images and useful release information.

Musically this sits fair and square in that early period of Hrossharsgrani that polarises opinion so firmly - you either love it, or hate it! Plenty of snarling vocals, long and atmospheric synthesizer passages, pounding drums and unexpected odd snippets from what sound like a square-dance (!) in 'Felagund' and spoken word (in German) in the final track. As a rehearsal tape it is prone on some occasions to sounding primitive, both in terms of the sound quality and also in the construction of the songs - not always do the keyboards and other instruments stay in time with each other... :o)

Having said all of this, I really like this period of Hross' output so will happily bang this on for a listen whilst doing all of those other chores that prevent Nazgul keeping HonourAndDarkness as frequently updated as he would like. There is enough variety in the songs to keep one's interest throughout both sides of the tape, and I would commend this to anyone who has a passing interest in the Tolkien genre and a liking for synth-driven black metal-ish music.

This particular tape used to pop up all the time on eBay, which is where I bought both of these in years past. More recently, however, I really cannot recall when I last saw one for sale and as I have not yet managed to determine how many copies Irrlichter Distro actually produced (although you might imagine it to be in the 300-500 range, based on other of Alex's tape releases) it's rather hard to know how much of a rarity this particular release is.

Some good tunes lie within and, as is the nature of demos, you can detect themes and passages that made an appearance on later releases from the band over the years. It's also interesting for that design of the Hrossharsgrani logo, which was replaced by the 'sword through the name' logo that was used for some time thereafter.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

THE HOUR OF SCARE vol 1 [V/A]

Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: The Hour Of Scare volume 1 [various artists]
Format: 14 track compilation CD from the CCP Records label (Austria) from 2003, cat ref 100245-2, featuring 13 bands from the CCP stable. Interestingly, Hrossharsgrani are the only band to be represented twice on this release. Estatic Fear also appear on this compilation at track 7 with their contribution to the "Schattenkrieger" release.
Edition: Unnumbered and presumed unlimited

Track Listing:
Tracks of relevance being:
08. Flesh & Steel (from 'The Secret Fire')
14. Krieg Entbrannte (Nacht Der Helden) (from 'Schattenkrieger')

Really one for the completists amongst us, this one. CCP Records issued this particular compilation back in 2003 and in it included two previously released tracks from the Hrossharsgrani battle-machine.

Both have been previously covered within this Blog, so Nazgul has little new to add to the comments already committed to 'virtual paper'.

As Nazgul noted once before, the number of Alex's projects means that tracks are seemingly forever popping up on various compilation albums here and there. Some are new and exclusive, as contributed by Alex directly, others are previously released work and usually - as in this instance - contributed by the record label in question. I shall attempt to keep this Blog abreast of all the compilations I can, although it's a thankless task at times!!

Overall an entertaining CD of bands on the CCP roster, and should you find one at a fair price you could certainly do worse with your hard-earned than invest in this ear-candy.

NEU


Band: B-MACHINA
Title: Neu
Format: 2 track cassette tape-only format, released in 2007 through the Farbstoff Abstrakt Media Prod. label (Germany) with no catalogue reference number. Colour one-sided inlay, tape stickered with the 'new' B-Machina logo.
Edition: Limited to 45 hand-numbered copies only

Track Listing:

01. Eispalast

02. X-Ray-Specs

Firstly, a note of caution. This cassette-only release is still advertised in the online catalogue of Farbstoff Abstrakt Media so you might be inclined to try to purchase one from them. You might also have your eye caught by two other releases in the same catalogue by WACH and Elisabetha, both to my certain knowledge never actually released. Indeed, it's probably only a slight exaggeration to say that WACH's Reverend Kim would rather poke his own eyeball with a rusty needle than deal with Farbstoff again, for various reasons that we need not go into here. Let us just say the the principle of 'buyer-beware' has never been more aptly demonstrated.

Happily I obtained my copy directly from Alex, hence the dedication on the reverse side of the inlay (this is #22 of the limited run of 45) so at least all was well here.

The label describes this release as follows:

"B-Machina arise from the ashes of the well known Bonemachine project with two new and long tracks, with a playing time of about forty minutes!!! This is the first official release of this auspicious project! Expect nothing less than a very individual mix of War Industrial, Dark Ambient elements and noisy sounds full of negative power! Normal tape with a professionally printed cover artwork! Strictly limited to 45 hand numbered copies!"


and to be fair to them they have at least given this an honest write-up. "Neu" was the first release of the reborn B-Machina (following the introduction of Max on guitars) and as such it was a 'new' start for the band.

That said, the music involved is quite guitar-free in places and driven more through dissonant industrial rhythms than straightforward melodies as you might imagine. There is a very catchy synth melody running through 'Eispalast' (literally: Ice Palace) though, which makes for a much more memorable song (and Ill be damned if I can't recall where I've heard it before, but I have a suspicion that this song - or at least the melody from it - has appeared on another B-Machina release). I rather like this, and in edited form I could see it being a good one for a compilation album somewhere down the line. Second track 'X-Ray-Specs' is thankfully nothing to do with the 'germ-free adolescent' new-wave band but more of an immersion in a mechanised jungle of sound, complete with disturbing electronic 'animal' howls and wails and an atmosphere of unadulterated chaos and menace.

A good release, though as I normally end up concluding it's probably safe to say that all copies are now sold-out so where you'd find one is anyones guess.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed more Bonemachine/B-Machina coverage in recent postings that for any other project - this is simply because there is a disproportionate level of output from this most prolific of projects compared to that of, say, Manwe or Ravenclaw. However, when it's this good.....who cares!?

SONGS FROM THE WOODS

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Songs From The Woods
Format: 1 track demo cassette tape, released in 2005 through Eclipse Of Live Promulgation (Germany) with no catalogue reference. Colour single-sided inlay, with hand-numbered edition printed on the reverse plain side.
Edition: Limited to only 88 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Songs From The Woods 24.20

Nazgul has recently been in contact with a long-standing member of the Metal Archives web-site - hails to Uglur - who has helpfully been updating said web pages for release details in this humble Blog. In conversation he noted that there had been some resistance in recent times to continue to list some of Hugin's bands in the Archive, on the basis that they were insufficiently 'metal' to either warrant introduction (B-Machina, WACH) or to be maintained (Uruk Hai, Elisabetha). Clearly such a nonsense should be resisted at all costs, and my thanks go out to those who resist such draconian thinking.

Of course, matters do become more blurred when releases of this nature are brought to bear on the argument. There is no way that any right-minded person could consider "Songs From The Woods" to be 'metal' by any accepted definition: it's an ambient keyboard-driven experience underpinned by the sounds of nature (hark: are they Lovecraftian whippoorwills I hear in the background...?) and lush melodies that bring to mind swaying grassy meadows on sunny afternoons, the shady closed-in paths weaving through damp and mysterious forests, or the deep sapphire blue waters of a lake lapping against the shore. The cover illustration for this tape - a classically inspired visage of a young maiden sitting next to a waterfall being serenaded by a young man with a lute - could hardly be less metal if it tried.

But then - many of the keyboard-driven noodling of a certain Count Grishnackh are hardly more metal sounding than this, yet no one seems to query his place in the metal firmament.

Whatever you may wish to call it - and wouldn't the world be a better place without such pigeon-holing and need for precise definitions? Answers on a postcard please... - this is a most relaxing and enjoyable release from Uruk Hai, and one that is ideal for lazy days spent listening to music for the sheer pleasure of it. A handy 24-odd minutes in length means it's long enough to have some substance and depth but not so long that it outstays its welcome at the party.

It also demonstrates the sensible approach that Alex has taken in having a variety of projects to record under depending how the muse has grabbed him. All too many bands try to cram variety into their work under the one umbrella name, and confuse successive legions of fans by changing their musical style on each release. Here, Uruk Hai proudly stand for Middle-Earth ambiance, and long may that continue.

The EoLP tape release I think has now sold-out (of the 88 copies, mine is #28) but the odd one surfaces once in a while on Discogs or eBay, so all is not lost if you've not yet found a copy. As far as I know this is the only release to feature this lengthy track, so it's well worth hunting down for fans of the genre or the band.

Friday, 5 June 2009

BONEMACHINE > original album artwork





Nazgul was greatly honoured recently when he received a packet from Alex including some pieces of the original sketched artwork for Bonemachine albums, hand drawn on A4 sheets. The 6 copies that I am now the proud owner of are shown in the top picture, and below are the albums that 4 of the illustrations correspond to.

Starting at the top left we have the illustration that became the cover of both the "Endzeit" CDr release and also the limited edition A4 "Das Fleischmaschine" pressing. The top middle picture became the cover of "Soldat" on Smell the Stench, and also on that label the top right cover is showing the picture that became the "Monolog & Rhythmus" release (green cover), also on STS. The picture in the middle of the bottom row was the original art on the cassette tape release "Blutgrund", whilst the other 2 pictures that flank it were designs that appear on the inner cover of the "Endzeit" CD inlay

Keen readers of this Blog will note that Nazgul has yet to post a review on any of the 5 releases identified above. This 'sneak preview' has therefore identified some future posts that await you...!

All of the art has been pencil sketched by Alex in a very loose 'primitive' style, which rather suits the nature of the Bonemachine releases from this period. Nazul is both delighted and thrilled to be the new custodian of this original artwork in his collection.

MY FAVOURITE...




Band: URUK HAI
Title:
My Favourite...
Format: 4 track CDr with bonus video track in unique custom cover and hand-made sleeve. Includes hand-written track details, original photo of Hugin and personal dedication / issue number.
Edition: Ultra-limited personal edition of 1 copy only

Track Listing:

01. The Unknown (unreleased remaster version) 3.53
02. Bell Tower (unreleased Kitaro cover) 12:34
03. Beneath The Moon, Beneath The Sun (from the upcoming album 'Journey's End') 11:22
04. Lebenin (unreleased different track) 10:28
Bonus Video
05. Beneath The Moon, Beneath The Sun

Not strictly speaking an official Uruk Hai CDr release this one, but as it's Nazgul's birthday today I thought I'd share some one of the more interesting items in my collection.

Some while ago - and long before I became a regular correspondent with Alex - I asked him what were his particular favourites from the Uruk Hai catalogue of work. I had rather expected a simple email reply, but lo and behold this rather striking package appeared as a present for Nazgul, which I have treasured ever since. Hand designed and illustrated by Alex, this collates some of his favourite tracks - just look at that splendid dragon-cover for the CDr, and the effort that has been put into the design of the logo and the overall package. Marvellous, and bear in mind this wasn't for general production either, all of this effort was for one fan who happened to write to him way back when....

Of the four tracks on offer, Alex has offered the following details of why he picked them:

(1) The Unknown - "I like this track because it's from the first era of Uruk-Hai when all started back in 1999"
(2) Bell Tower - "Kitaro cover: I love the music of this Japanese artist a lot"
(3) Beneath The Moon, Beneath The Sun - "For me the best ever recorded Uruk Hai track + nice low budget video clip!"
(4) Lebenin - "New remix, great Middle Earth atmosphere"

I'm just off to give this unique piece another spin on the death-deck, and send barbaric hails of greeting to my Austrian friend Alex!


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

MORELLA


Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Morella (Unveroeffentlichte Vokal Version)
Format: 1 track promotional CDr release through the SkullFucking Metal label (Canada), catalogue reference SFM007, in 2008. This is an unique version of the track (including vocals) that originally appeared on the Elisabetha album "Über das Prinzip der Unschuld" released in 2007.
Edition: Limited to only 66 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Morella 28.57

You know, this is a startling release for so many reasons. If you were to go back into the annals of reviews and online critiques of Hugin's work on the Internet - notably his early keyboard work (particularly with the fledgling Uruk Hai project) - you would come across repeated instances of people commenting on the simplicity of material, the repetitiveness of the riffs and melodies, and the general lack of finesse and polish of the finished project.

One rather harsh comment of the early demo release "Elbenwald" on the www.metal-archives.com site reads thus:

"...while Elbentanz was so ridiculously simple and underdeveloped, it was easy to see it as pointless. But then, they were never really finished. I guess this [Elbenwald] is indicative of what it might've been like had they been fully finished, and I'm glad he never got around to it. The only difference is that the samples are looped until latter-day Burzum seems less repetitive, and the EXACT SAME keyboard progression is used on just about every song. Some gay little 5-second medieval flute jingle is repeated ad infinitum on top of the various loops in every other song, and that's really what makes this truly pointless."

Now, it gives me no pleasure to repeat comments of this nature in my Blog, but the point of the exercise is to illustrate just how far the work of Hugin has developed in the 7 or so years between that release, and this one from Elisabetha.

The Elisabetha project had moved from the triumvirate of Bram Stoker-worshipping fans per the original radio play demos into this, a neo-classical project producing some fabulous music that quite simply is far and away some of the best you could hope to hear. The depth and emotion in the music, the sheer class and refinement of the finished product, is light years beyond what I'm sure even Alex might have envisioned back in the early days, and it's a testament to the sheer effort and musical development that this style of release could be released by the same artist.

It's rather hard to describe in a meaningful way nearly half an hour of neo-classical music: it would be tantamount to poor old Nazgul trying to set down a cogent summary of Beethoven or Mozart really. However, that said, I'm game if you are so there are my impressions of this particular piece:

Following a sampled wind/tolling bell introduction we're into a period organ flourish backed with chanting choirs (versed in the "breathless" school of choristers), before segueing into a piano piece at 4:17 into the track which is chilling in the manner that the simple piano score of John Carprenter's 'Halloween' was hide-behind-the-sofa scary! And here's one of the great things about this track - there are some distinct moments and segments during its progress - all nicely woven together - that make it a compelling listen despite its length.

So at 6:17 the mood changes to an almost burlesque, circus style riff (quite unsettling in that way that clowns visually can be...see any Lacrimosa abum cover for reference!) before the vocal part commences at 8:40 in. Now, I have to confess (again) to not speaking German so whether this is an Edgar Allen Poe narrative or another script is unknown to me, but I shall endeavour to find out....

At 11:23 the track develops into a fine pseudo-ecclesiastical style, before turning on itself again at 14:46 to be almost film-noir in nature, with keyboards simulating the sounds of an accordion. We then move into a film score style moment of highly emotive music at 16:12 before the 'mad scientist' moment on the organ arrives at 19:37! More church-like music (very processional march in nature) kicks in on 21:41 before a magical part of swirling, trilling keyboards comes in at 22:26 which is as fine a piece of Baroque style modern neo-classical music as you're likely to hear. The piece fades out on 28:57 with the prevalent wind motif, which has been present throughout the composition.

My edition of this limited promo only release is #20 of the 66 (and as the cover is rather dark in the novel triangular inlay I've treated you to no less that 2 photos of this release!!) I've been trying to find out via Keegan at SFM (Canada) a little bit more about the origins of this release, which as it stands is the final official output of the Elisabetha project to date.

Keegan has just responded with the following:

"I remember he [Alex] mailed me the master artwork and the Morella track, and I believe there was around at least a year delay on this relase. maybe even two. I later contacted Alex too see if he still wanted me to release it and he said absllutley so that we did. Within a few weeks the release was already almost sold out! Alex decided to pick the # 66 for its run. Alex thought up the triangular inlay design. I used the actual art work he sent me and xeroxed them and then taped them all together, which was alot of work cutting them properly haha. I'm pretty sure this promo track was intended for SFM but not too sure, Alex would be able to answer this question. I'm really excited to do another release with Alex in the near future as hes defintally one of the most creative and rad dudes in the underground whom stays true to those whom support him"

Overall, a glorious slap in the face for all those who thought that Hugin would never progress beyond the early "bedroom days" of self-produced DIY demos.....this is a fabulous song from a fabulous album, and for all nay-sayers out there who thought it could never have come to pass I encourage you to seek this out and digest it with a healthy portion of humble pie.