Wednesday, 30 December 2015

a.n.g.e.l.


Band: ILL
Title: a.n.g.e.l.
Format: A professionally released CDr in DVD-size case by WinterWolf Records (Germany) in 2015, no catalogue reference.
Edition: 100 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Angel  7.46
02. Wings  6.30
03. Heart  5.47
04. Orb  14.51
05. Reality  4.44
06. Resurrection  10.00
07. Cloud  12.48

Well, it's still Christmas (just!) so something for the top of your tree at year end - yes, it's ILL's "A.n.g.e.l." for you...

Listed on Discogs under the categorisation of 'Rock/Electronic - Downtempo' by none other than Hugin himself (and also reviewed as a 5/5 rating by Hugin too, the cheeky scamp - Nazgul sees all!), this is another new ILL release and one that has a distinctly looser feel than some of the earlier output from the band.

According to the Discogs definition, "downtempo (or downbeat) music is associated with a variety of different genres including electronic, jazz, rock, and some world music. It is generally 50 to 90 BPM, and sometimes there is not even any overt percussion in the music. The Downtempo tag was originally intended to refer to 1990s–2000s chillout or lounge music that has a slow, rolling, hip-hop or dub-inspired groove with sampled beats, and which can be broadly categorized as primarily jazzy, primarily dubby, or both. However, as downtempo is loosely defined, it has become an umbrella term for a broad selection of music with moody tones, chilling to passionate vocals, crossover indie vibes, and mellow beats."

And it's fair to note that this is a chilled selection of tracks for the most part, whose single word titles somewhat mischievously puts Nazgul in mind of a word association test,  but that's by the by.  That said, there's still some crunchy guitar riff-ery going on here and the odd booming bit of percussion, so it's not all sweetness and light: opening track 'Angel' and closer 'Cloud' being two good representations of that side of life.

The rest of the album is a strange but enticing miscellany of styles, with 'Reality' in particular sounding for all the world like an demo outtake from Rush's 'Red Sector A', such is the similarity in guitar sound between the two songs.

With only 100 copies knocking around it's one of those releases that's almost certainly destined for obscurity, but you'd be missing out not to invest a little cash either via the WinterWolf website or through Hugin himself.  Perfect for noodling around the house to, and varied enough to offer something to (almost) everyone, it is ultimately a disposable collection of demos but - like many disposable items - great fun along the way!

Rock bands have used the word 'angel' in songs over the decades, with examples coming thick and fast from the likes of Aerosmith, Scorpions, Slaughter, Black Crowes, and Slayer but let's end today's post with a little off-piste tribute to the most recent (hells) angel to be taken up to the great rock star firmament in the sky - Lemmy.  God rest his soul.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Seasons Greetings from Uruk Hai


"So this is Christmas, and what have you done...?"  

A perennial question oft asked, but here at Castle Nazgul it's safe to say that it's been another busy year on a number of fronts, not least keeping Honour and Darkness up to date.  Of course, there's plenty of treats in store for you all in the weeks and months ahead, and possibly some new series to liven up your evenings as the cold, dark weather takes a hold of us all (unless you abide in sunnier climates, in which case - you lucky sods!)

Anyway, this seasonal image/message appeared on Hugin's Uruk Hai Facebook page a few years ago, and it seemed like a good one to share with you as Nazgul wishes you all the very best for the festive season, and a peaceful and prosperous 2016 to follow.

But this is not the last post of 2015, oh no.  Nazgul has some interesting things planned on that front in the remaining few days of the year, so keep your eyes peeled and I hope that you enjoy them.

Happy Christmas! 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

ACROSS THE MISTY MOUNTAINS - update


Band: URUK-HAI
Title: Across The Misty Mountains
Format: This was a proposed piece of artwork for the Uruk Hai release, ultimately never used.
Edition: Not applicable

#24 From the Vaults of W.A.R.

Yes, this is a short post and yes, this is the second brief Vaults Of W.A.R. update you've had this month.  Hell, it's been a busy month to say the least, so it's either this or you're getting nothing for Christmas and that's all there is to say on the matter!

What you see here is an early draft for the cover art of "Across The Misty Mountains...", which Nazgul reviewed in both CD and tape formats way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth (well, February 2009 certainly feels a long time ago to me).  Different labels released those two respective pieces, the CD coming out on the Estonian Stuka Sound label, whilst crazy Keegan Irvine's Skullfucking Records based in the US of A did the honours with the tape version, both in 2006. Which helps to date this design, of course.

Nazgul rather likes the rugged mood created by those angular mountain peaks and the somewhat psychedelic cloud patterns in the sky.  We don't know song details, but the likelihood is that the CD version of the track listing might well have been the one that would have graced this particular release (the tape having a slightly different selection of music on it, losing the intro and outro songs but adding an older demo).

Hugin had the following recollection about this artwork: "Hmmm ... not too much to say about that cover, it was just the first idea for the Misty Mountains album... at first the French label Music & Tradition had planed to release it but than they cancelled it, so Stuka Sound did it instead..."

And not a thing can I find to tell you about that French label, hence the brevity of this post!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities



Item: Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities
Which is what, Nazgul?  A paperback book, edited by Troy Southgate, and published on his own Black Front Press in 2012.
And I care because?  It features none other than Hugin, who has contributed a chapter.

Hi, I'm Troy McClure!  You might remember me from such self-help videos as "Smoke Yourself Thin", and "Get Confident, Stupid."

Hi, I'm Troy Southgate!  You might remember me from such books as "Runic Sex Postures of the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc", and "Jonathan Bowden: The Speeches - A Collection of Talks Given at the London New Right" 1

It's rather hard to tell which of those two sentences sounds the more improbable.  To be fair though, only the first sentence was actually intended by its author to be humorous....

Troy Southgate, the author of this work, is British, a musician (H.E.R.R. and Seelenlicht being two of his many bands/projects), and a 'leading National-Anarchist activist and theoretician'. Southgate is also reported as active in diverse British national organizations and is associated with the New Right and 'third positionism' (which itself sounds like a Runic Sex Posture but is in fact, I gather, a nationalist political strand that emphasises its opposition to both communism and capitalism).  

But this is neither a potted history of Mr Southgate, nor a discussion of his political philosophies.  He's a prolific author - the two volumes above being a mere tip of the iceberg - and the reason we touch upon his is that the book featured in today's post has a chapter within it written by our very own Alexander 'Hugin' Wieser.
 
Indeed, Hugin features amongst an extensive list of contributors, which includes Tony 'The Demolition Man' Dolan (Venom/Atomkraft/M-Pire of Evil); Jeff 'Mantas' Dunn (Venom/Mantas/M-Pire of Evil); Hendrik Möbus (Absurd); Alex Kurtagic (Supernal Records); Jarl von Hagall (Der Stürmer); William Vithólf (Fanisk); Gareth Giles (Hrafnblóð); Matt Kay (Wodfreca Records) and more besides.

Now it's my personal view, of course - and you're entirely at liberty to take an entirely different view - but I get nervous when I see contributions from people like Hendrik Möbus. His band Absurd, for those of you who don't know, achieved infamy because its original members (since 1999 no longer in the band) murdered 15-year-old Sandro Beyer in 1993. The canonical motive is that Beyer was privy to an illicit relationship of Schauseil's with a married woman, and had been spreading rumours about this and other activities of the band. On 29 April in Sondershausen, the then 17-year old band members Möbus, Schauseil, and Kirchner enticed Beyer to a meeting, and strangled him there with an electrical cord. 2

It's a fair bet that we're going to get some pretty extreme and partisan views expressed in this book, which will come as no surprise given that this is a genre that begets such opinions.  Let us, by way of this excellent segue, sample the promotional blurb for the book:

"From the snow-covered environs of Norway and secluded graveyards of England to the dark forests of Germany and remote woodlands of Poland and Ukraine, an unstoppable Black Metal beast has dominated the extreme end of the musical scale for more than two decades.

Black Metal is an aesthetic, an emotion, an attitude and, for many, a way of life. Exposing the inner workings of your delicate eardrums to unbridled screams of primeval fury, an unending torrent of galloping rhythms and indomitable wall of buzzing guitars is like being thrown head-first into the whirling eye of a chthonic vortex. Black Metal can be disturbing, invigorating, provoking and empowering. One persistent and enduring image that is often associated with Black Metal is that of semi-comedic corpse-paint, futile church-burnings and Satanic ritual; but the genre itself can often take on a decidedly political and cultural form and many of its exponents have controversial views and opinions that are frequently overlooked by the commentators of the underground music industry.

We aim to examine some of those tendencies in Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities. Ever since Varg Vikernes was courting media headlines for all the wrong reasons, Black Metal – like a fine wine, perhaps – has matured a great deal. The steady process of counter-cultural ripening has led to the formation of various sub-genres, among them Viking Metal, Progressive Black Metal, Blackened Death Metal, Symphonic Black Metal and National Socialist Black Metal.

So whether you like your Black Metal traditional and ground-breaking like Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer; raw and brutal like Mayhem, Emperor and Immortal; slick and polished like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Old Man's Child; or politically controversial like Graveland, Drudkh and Absurd; this book is for you."

 
Much more could be said about this book and its content, but this is neither the time nor the place for such a review.  If you want a lengthy review, then you could do worse than read the Amazon review that now seems to be the ubiquitous one for this book, being cited here, there and everywhere.  You could also, if you wish, read the short interview that was conducted by The Examiner with the author of this work.  However, the task at hand for Nazgul is solely to consider Hugin's offering, and to that end I have a treat for you: an independent critique, commissioned for you with no expense spared:

"Alex has a short, five page chapter in Black Metal: European Roots and Musical Extremities, that highlights the importance of Venom on his musical development. Alex traces this influence back to first being exposed to Venom via their music video for Bloodlust, and immediately after buying their alum Welcome to Hell. The music had a profound influence on Alex, who adapted a metal lifestyle at a young age and sought out similar acts, eventually discovering Bathory's Blood Fire Death album which also had a tremendous influence on him. Alex posits that the black metal scene would not have come about without the efforts from either bands, and highlights he too got into making music because of them, leading to the formation of Hrossharsgrani and Uruk-Hai.

It’s a sincere and earnest chapter, and Alex's enthusiasm for Venom comes out in spades. However the chapter needs serious working in the editing department. Almost every sentence ends in multiple exclamation points. Proper nouns (specifically band names) alternate between being all caps and only the first word capitalized (this style isn't consistent through the entire book actually). There’s some sentences that need revising due to English not being Alex’s first language, such as the first sentence of the second paragraph 'I can remember very well' should be either 'I can remember it very well' or 'I remember it well'.  I suspect the essay was accepted into the book as is without any editorial input from Troy Southgate to Alex. It's important to capture the voice of the author as best as possible, but it better editing on the chapter would have made it a stronger piece."

Copies of the book seem scarce now: in a quick trawl yesterday Nazgul found one on Amazon.com for a princely $50 (it was $20 new) but that was the sole copy being advertised at the time that this post was written.

Is it a good read generally?  Well, as our intrepid independent reviewer notes, the overall editing of the work does leave a bit to be desired and the content jumps around fairly sporadically as the chapters progress.  It's interesting rather than essential I would venture to say.


1 According to Wikipedia, Johnathan Bowden was a maverick English nationalist, orator, political philosopher and writer, and artist, who was involved with a variety of right-wing political parties and movements during his lifetime. In 2004, Bowden began working with Troy Southgate and became the chairman of the New Right. In an October 2010 interview alongside Southgate, Bowden stated that their work within various intellectual groups on the right of England's political counter-culture had succeeded to a degree in "the mixing together of ultra-Conservative and neo-fascist ideas.  Interestingly, also in 2010, Bowden was temporarily sectioned to a mental health hospital.  From these facts you may draw your own conclusions...


2 Möbus, to say the least, hardly distinguished himself after this episode.  In prison he was able to carry on with the band under the temporary name "In Ketten" (German for "In Chains"). After the murder, this became a cult band with Neo-Nazi groups. No releases were made as 'In Ketten' but some of the tracks recorded were used on the 'Facta Loquuntur' album. The tape Thuringian Pagan Madness shows on its cover the grave of the murdered Sandro Beyer, and inside says: "The cover shows the grave of Sandro B. murdered by horde ABSURD on 29.04.93". The band members were released on parole in 1998, because they had been under eighteen when they had committed their crime. Shortly after release, Möbus violated the terms of his parole when he performed the Hitler salute at a concert, which is illegal in Germany. His parole was consequently revoked.  He managed to flee to the United States, but during his stay got in a conflict about money with some of his contacts, one of them being the then Neo-Nazi pagan occultist Nathan Pett, who was beaten with a hammer.   Möbus was arrested by U.S. Marshals,  In 2001, after his request for asylum was denied, he was sent back to prison for the remaining three years for murder.  For mocking his victim and for the Hitler salute he was sentenced to a further twenty-six months. On 15 May 2003 he was again sentenced to four years in prison.  Möbus is currently a free man, and runs his own music label.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS MIST THEY CAME

 
Band: URUK HAI
Title: Through The Mountains Mist They Came
Format: This is a professionally released CD in digipak format from Aphelion Productions (UK) released in August 2015, cat ref AP092.  The release is a split between Uruk Hai and Skoll (Italy). Layout and digital treatments are credited to 'Huginngraphix'.
Edition: 500 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
Skoll
01. Wintry Plane  8.23         
02. In The Mist I Saw  5.44 
03. The Circle Of Trees  8.36         

Uruk Hai
04. A Blade Of Fire  4.42         
05. Reiter Theodens  4.24         
06. Upon White Shores  6.24         
07. Mirkwood  6.48         
08. Days Of Bliss  3.02         
09. Through The Mist Of Night  5.24         
10. Noldor  7.57

Playing a mixture of folk metal with ambient black metal twists and the odd Gothic inspired vocal, Skoll leap out of the blocks on this split release with three lengthy songs that set the scene nicely for some of the themes of this release: mist, trees, and the cold barren plains of Middle Earth.  Or possibly the cold barren plains of Novara, the Italian town in Piedmont from where Skoll originates. Evidently Novara is a foggy sort of a place, as the number of references Skoll make to mist in their discography is quite astonishing.  

A quick skim through it identifies the following releases:

  • " ...In The Mist I Saw..." (1996)
  • "Through The Mist We Come Back" (1999)
  • "Mists Of An Ancient Era" (2001)
  • "Through The Mists Of Time" (2001) with the song 'A Vision Of War Through The Mist' 
  • "Warriors Of The Misty Fields" (2002)
  • "11 Years Of Mist" (2005)
  • "Misty Woods" (2008) with the track 'Mist'
  • and even an album without mist in its title ("Girsera" from 2013) features 'Wolves In The Mist' in its playlist.
Perhaps it should come as no great surprise then that even this split album is not immune from the tendrils of ancient brume, and references the subject not only in the title but with yet another song: 'In The Mist I Saw' (which, as far as I can see, isn't a reworking of a song on the 1996 demo of the same name but a different beast entirely!)   Even Hugin gets in on the act with 'Through The Mist Of Night' in his selection of Uruk Hai songs.  

Well, as an old sea-faring colleague used to say, 'When this fog clears it won't be missed [mist, geddit?!  No?  Oh well, suit yourself....]

At times Skoll remind Nazgul of Tristania circa their 'Widow's Weed' period, principally because of the song structures and the powerful riffs.  This is most evident on opening track 'Wintery Plane' where the vocals are thundered out like Morten Veland in his prime and titanic riffs rend the very air around you.  This is a very good thing, and Nazgul would certainly give a thumbs up to the songs they offer here.  

Should you be wondering about the origin of the band's name I'd guess it is most likely derived from Norse mythology, in which Sköll (in Old Norse, "treachery") is a warg that chases the horses Árvakr and Alsviðr, that drag the chariot which contains the sun (Sól) through the sky every day, trying to eat her. Sköll has a brother, Hati, who chases Máni, the moon. At Ragnarök, both Sköll and Hati will succeed in their quests.  And, to be fair, Skoll does sound more a 'metal' name to take than Hati...!

Uruk Hai's contributions have the additional challenge of posing a puzzle for the listener to solve: that ages-old game of 'what other release(s) in the extensive band discography have these songs been featured on before'?!  A traditional pastime now, of course, but one in which much fun can be had by skilled and inexperienced players alike.  So with 2 x D4 in hand and a blow on the hand for luck, let's roll those dice and see what transpires ... we throw a 7, so clearly the Gods are favouring us and will expect an immediate response....

...So, let's tackle the easiest bits first. 'A Blade Of Fire' and 'Mirkwood' feature on the rather splendid album "The Fellowship" which has only recently been reviewed. That gives just one more familiar song to be accounted for,  which is 'Days Of Bliss' from the tape release "Songs Of Bliss".

Which leaves us four new tracks to consider.  'Reiter Theodens' as a title seems to be drawn from the German film version of Lord Of The Rings, and references Théoden, the King of Rohan in Tolkien's realm.  He led the Rohirrim to the aid of Gondor at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and in that battle he routed the Harad cavalry, personally killing their chieftain and banner-bearer in the process. He challenged the Witch-king of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgûl, and was mortally wounded when his horse Snowmane fell upon him.  This song would complement the action nicely as it is packed with snarling and hate-filled vocals. If based on the events of the book it strongly suggests we've joined at a point where the Witch-king is chewing Théoden's arm off and spitting it back in his face, chunk by bloody chunk!

'Upon The White Shores' is one of those lovely ambient tracks with an uplifting chorus based around a lilting female choir.  One of those songs that you imagine playing as some great act of heroism is played out, almost inevitably ending with the willing sacrifice of the hero to save his or her loved ones.  Not entirely sure that the guitar playing over parts of this chorus really adds to this mood that's been created though, as it's a little overwrought compared to the ethereal loveliness that the vocal elements create.

The final pair of new songs bring the album to a close; 'Through The Mist Of Night' is a jaunty piece that bounds along like a hoedown in Bag End, and is both delicate and robust at one and the same time.  'Noldor' has nothing to do with the band of the same name (though who does any more?) and thankfully neither contains nor encourages goose-stepping.  Instead, it's a lengthy ambient track of great dexterity, melding choral parts with instrumentation as it weaves its way in and out of your consciousness.  Today's trivia snippet for you concerns the Noldor: did you know that in the early versions of Tolkien's work, the Noldor were most often called Noldoli, or Gnome. They were still called Gnomes in early editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Strange but true.

Also strange is the fact that despite this album having being plenty to offer the listener, and that in the flesh (well, in the air) it plays well and has a variety of highlights,  it somehow doesn't seem that memorable.  Repeatedly during the course of playing the CD for this review Nazgul got to the end of it, only to think, when looking at the track listing, 'now what did that song sound like again?'  This is probably as much a factor of age and time - most releases take a while to sink in, after all - rather than being an observation on the material on offer though, and to be fair trying to absorb the nuances of songs whilst commuting to work isn't always the most productive process.  

This album would greatly benefit from some quality listening time, as it undoubtedly has hidden depths still to plunder, and Nazgul would recommend it to you unhesitatingly. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

UPON THE ELYSIAN FIELDS - update


Band: URUK HAI

Title: Upon The Elysian Fields
Format: A proposed tape release on the Lifeless Productions label (USA) that never came to pass....
Proposed Edition: 100 numbered copies

Proposed Track Listing:

Tape 1
01. Return To The Sea Of Flames
02. God Tears (Oh Rain, Rain, Rain)

Tape 2
03. On An Evening In Autumn
04. Under The Cold Stars Before The Rising Of The Moon

#23 From the Vaults of W.A.R.


Today's entry in the still expanding 'From the Vaults of W.A.R.' series is the formal recognition of this version of "In The Elysian Fields", due to be issued by Lifeless Productions but shelved when that label disappeared in a cloud of uncertainty.  I say formal recognition, as it's been seen and referenced in the past already: a picture of it popped up in the recent debut Nazgul's Horde post, whilst reference to its existence was made in the coverage of Lifeless Productions' other missing work, "...And In The Darkness Bind Them" where Nazgul reported, 'Hugin also mentioned that there had been plans for Lifeless to release a double-tape version of "Upon The Elysian Fields" too, but their demise put paid to that plan as well.'

We've seen a few variants of "In The Elysian Fields" over the years, as the original Honour and Darkness post will attest.  One interesting fact relating to this tape is that it retains the running order of Hugin's original demo CDr: subsequent releases have tended to move the tracks around a little.

Personally Nazgul thinks the artwork on this Lifeless version is probably the best of the lot. so it's a real shame that it never actually made it out into the real world.  You could really imagine yourself walking the paths of this forest, with fertile pathways bathed in diffused sunlight and high canopies stretching into the distance making for an enticing prospect.  As we know, however, it's possible to use the images to produce your own 'dummy' version of the release if you are sufficiently enthused, to which you could dub a tape or two and make the set complete.  And as long as you don't sell 'em then why not....?

The wording on the inlay for Tape 1 reads, "Upon The Elysian Fields" is an account of the elder days, or the first days of our pagan past.  Limited strictly to 100 hand-numbered copies".  A reference is given to an artist John Philip, though his website link no longer seems to work.  This is something of a pity, as other work of this nature would have been a treat to see.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

TERRA INCOGNITA



Band: Allerseelen
Title: Terra Incognita
Format: Digipak pressing released through two Austria labels, Aorta (cat ref AORCD016) and Ahnstern (cat ref Ahnstern 53), in 2015.  Features in Honour and Darkness due to the contribution on guitar at track 9,  'Grünes Licht', of the inestimable talents of one Alexander "Hugin" Wieser.
Edition: No limitation stated

Track Listing:
01. Steingeburt (2015)
02. Fliegerlied
03. Böses Blut
04. Ikarus
05. Flamme (2015)
06. Totenschiff
07. Thule (2015)
08. From the Emptiness
09. Grünes Licht
10. Neunmondmesser
11. Sturmlied (2015)
12. Wir Sind Schwäne (2015)
13. Panzergarten (2015)
14. Was Wissen Wir vom Licht
15. Schwarzes Vinyl

This is essentially a completist post, for Hugin plays a small (yet crucial) role to one song on this recent Allerseelen album.  Still - the modus operandi of Honour and Darkness is to catalogue all there is to catalogue about the musical adventures of Alexander "Hugin" Wieser, so once more into the breach we go with this little escapade.

The online promotional bumf about this release includes these words of wisdom from no less than Oscar Wilde: "All art is at one surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril", which is drawn from his acclaimed work Dorian Grey.  More meaty coverage of the release reveals to us the following details:

"While their highly acclaimed last release Rauhe Schale featured electric guitars by Dimo Dimov of Svarrogh and violins by the guest musicians Meri Tacid from Eluveitie and Annabel Lee from Blood Axis, this time they worked on the new release with a couple of high quality guest contributions by guitarists like John Haughm (Agalloch) and Jörg B (Der Blutharsch, Amestigon, Graumahd), Daniel P. Arnica (Arnica) and Alexander Wieser (Hrefnesholt) who add their very special musical charisma to several songs. 

The vocals for the songs are not only those by the frontman Gerhard Hallstatt but also by Robert Taylor (Changes). This release again is a manifest for the musical expression of Allerseelen that is difficult to be labelled as it is a unique combination of seemingly contradictory elements from industrial, metal and folklore.

So be adventurous enough to go beneath the surface of the music of Allerseelen"


So there you have it, it's official and not authored by me - Alexander Wieser is a high quality guest with special musical charisma!  Well, we knew that already of course, but no harm in repeating the fact...

Song 9 - Grünes Licht - may well delve into the legendary green fairy of absinthe via the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), although the lyrics are somewhat obtuse on that score:

'I sing a song for you
that does not know goodbye
an absinthe sky above me
I sing a song for you
are you seeking the winter sun
are you seeking the green light
i sing a song for you
a hymn to the night
a hymn to the green light
the green light
the green land
sometimes I am there
i sing a song for you
that does not know goodbye'


Nazgul bases his conclusion purely on a review of this album on the Heathen Harvest website that eloquently details the work and it's content.  Picking from the longer review, which you can read at your leisure, some pertinent details around this particular song and Hugin's contribution can be gleaned:

"Terra Incognita has been structured, placing emphasis once again on loops and danceable rhythms as the primary axis for creation and inspiration. Marcel P. (Miel Noir, Fahl, Sagittarius) is, as usual, responsible for most of the bass sections—his performance style having become, by now, a vital piece in forming the distinguished sound of Allerseelen (Marcel P. is also the percussionist and keyboardist behind a couple of songs).  Assisting on electric guitars are Jörg B. (Der Blutharsch, Graumahd), John Haughm (Agalloch), Daniel P. Àrnica (Àrnica), and Alexander Wieser (Hrefnesholt, Uruk-Hai)...

...As you can see, every guest musician appearing on Terra Incognita are members of already established bands. They give a personal yet discreet touch to the music of Allerseelen, as the project seldom allows for excessive experimentation outside of the borders that Hallstatt has defined for himself...

...The title, Terra Incognita, is suggestive of the concept that is prevalent throughout: the unknown territories of every aspect of life, the immense unexplored plains that emerge for every tiny piece of information we finally think we know upon much reflection—the magic that ensures that there is always more to seek and more to discover. The song titles and lyrics are an unmistakable guide, wherein a pilot reaches out to the sun and the stars, far above the surface of common perception (‘Fliegerlied’). There is a song inspired by the Belladonna fruit, whose psychotropic properties provide for new journeys (‘Böses Blut’), and another that is inspired by the beauty of the Aurora Borealis and the legendary green fairy of absinthe (‘Grünes Licht’) that leads elsewhere as well.  Hallstatt possesses a wide range of inspirations, from mountaineering, photography, and travelling to numerous authors, philosophers, and film directors, all of which assist him in expanding—a bit at a time—his horizons, indeed covering always a small new part of some terra incognita....

To provide details on each and every songs theme would be an intrusive obstacle in the way of allowing Allerseelen's audience to do some discovering of their own. I’d suffice it to say that the texts, images, and music are masterfully interwoven to create a unique playground that is at the disposal of your imagination. Choose a path, tread on it, and be not impatient with where it leads you."


Certainly an interesting listen, it's a nice recognition of his ever-growing status that Hugin appears on the album as a guest contributor. In so doing, let us hope it inspires a few intrepid listeners to tread a path towards Hugin's Hrefnesholt and his other associated projects...