Saturday, 11 May 2019

REHEARSAL 1

 
Band: ALEXANDER WIESER 
Title: Rehearsal
Format: White CDr disc in bespoke paper sleeve housed in a plastic wallet. No label or catalogue reference details, but a home-made demo/rehearsal disc from the heart of W.A.R. Productions.  This release was recorded circa 2016/17.
Edition: Uncertain, but only a handful of copies one imagines
 
Track Listing:
01. Untitled  7.06
02. Untitled  6.30
03. Untitled  6.38
04. Untitled  6.38
05. Untitled  8.45
06. Untitled  6.14
07. Untitled  6.42
08. Untitled  6.18
09. Untitled  6.38
10. Untitled  7.06

I drove to the moon yesterday.

Well, more accurately, Nazgul’s car hit a total mileage figure that equates to having driven from earth to the moon (at the closest point to us in its orbit, admittedly)  at around 238,500 miles, give or take a bit.  That’s no mean feat, and puts me over 600,000 miles in various cars since 1987.  Interestingly, however, I completely failed to spot the moment this momentous event took place yesterday – despite having been primed to look out for it for some weeks now – and this omission was entirely due to being lost once again in the rehearsal CD that features in today’s post.

As ever, when Hugin goes off on one of his side-projects, there’s always an element of the unexpected in the musical content that follows.  You only need look at the vast array of styles and projects that he has released over the years to appreciate that the next venture could literally be anything, from a stab at an Ozric Tentacles-eque psych-jam to a reggae-ska mash-up.

So what does this demo hold in store?  Well, a lazy-man’s casual glance at the cover art might put you in mind of “Script For A Jester’s Tear” from erstwhile progressive/soft rockers Marillion, so would that vein of music be in the ballpark?  Happily, yes.  Sort of.

There’s a real mixture of stuff going on here that would comfortably be encompassed by the term ‘soft rock’ and which would, if prodded with a sharp stick, probably respond positively to the epithet ‘prog rock’ too in places.  So no soundtrack synths, no Viking vocals, and definitely no Sergiy shouting on this one.  No, we get acoustic guitars, some rather nice piano, the occasional bout of rather out of place aggressive guitar too, and some mixed-quality vocals to wrap up the whole.  It’s a demo, so you’ll not getting the final polished product here of course, so the odd dodgy vocal part is fine – if in doubt, bring someone else in to knock them out in the studio and make it a better product.

I’m rather partial to giving this a spin now, and wonder (since it’s been languishing in Uncle Nazgul’s collection for some time now whilst I had the recent hiatus) what ever happened to it in terms of formally turning rehearsals into a final product of some sort?

That early lazy man’s interpretation that this is a bit Marillion-y is probably not too far wide of the mark, though to be fair I’ve not kept pace with the more recent Marillion output.  The demo as a whole certainly opens up new directions of travel for yet more music variety from our favourite Austrian, and only time (and space) will tell whether anything more tangible will come of it…

Monday, 22 April 2019

SHADOWLORE COMPILATION TWO [V/A]

Band: DRACHENFEUER
Title: Shadowlore Compilation Two
Format: An online compendium of dark ambient and dungeon synth recordings on the Hollow Myths label (USA), cat ref HM042.  This was released on 21 December 2018 in an array of online formats (WAV, FLAC, MP3 etc) and it is suggested that a so-called ‘tape trader’ promo version might be doing the rounds somewhere out there too.  Cover photo by Jan Hartman, layout, photos & selections attributed to Canrith Knox.
Edition: Online download is unlimited.  The limitation on the promo tape is unknown.

Track Listing:
01. Knell Of Dawn  *  The Horse Clans Of Kaalar Vale 8:53
02. Master Scarecrow  *  All Around 3:15
03. Velvet Tears  *  Old World 3:51
04. Iagon  *  Long Rest 2:43
05. Torrmal  *  Reign Of Wraiths 4:51
06. Gargamel  *  Procession For A Fallen Knight 2:52
07. Kráśnôkladśo  *  Pred Bitkou 3:59
08. Niair de Nasqda  *  Enth 1:56
09. Seregost  *  The Shores Of Winterlorn 9:28
10. Drachenfeuer  *  Dagor Bragollach 7:48
11. Vampire Tower  *  Up to the Dungeon 10:03
12. Thyne Lyght Illusory  *  Devoured By Lyght 6:29
13. Vandalorum  *  Shrouded Remains 3:50
14. Malfet  *  Dim Arbours 5:32
15. Frohvahr  *  Wintry Quiescence At Night 2:59
16. Forgotten Land  *  Snegurochka 11:09
17. Messor Barbarus  *  Idea III. Of Protection 3:09
18. Woodland Crypt  *  The Green Man 6:52
19. Ancient Sword  *  Night Wanderer 6:43
20. Rêvoeil  *  Surrender To Slumber 2:55
21. Dryads  *  To Cross Ice Bridges With An Iron Horse 4:49
22. Death Adder  *  Clovenhoofed 3:56
23.  .rar  *  Oasis Of Reflective Wandering Spirits 3:36
24. Ordo Maleficarum  *  The Ancient Witchcraft Lives So Far 4:50
25. Black Blight  *  Alexandrea 5:56

Well it’s a rare treat to welcome back Drachenfeur into Honour and Darkness: as one of Hugin’s last but least productive projects (a joint band with UK ambient legend Jim Kirkwood, who has now all but ceased his musical endeavours) it’s a much missed enterprise. 

This is, of course, Volume Two in the ongoing Shadowlore series of online Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient compilations.  Except that there appears to be a promo tape doing the rounds too, so strictly speaking it’s not just an online project any more.  Anyway, it follows on from Nazgul’s review of the first volume back in November and is equally excellent in its scope and content. 

The great thing about this sort of release is that it signposts you directly to the band’s own pages, where you can find downloadable goodies and merchandise aplenty.  A sure fire way of emptying your wallet. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

ABSINTHE - update

Band: B-MACHINA
Title: Absinthe
Reason for update: Second copy with different book page!

Amazing as it seems, the last time we had a look at the split B-Machina/Kreuzer CD release "Absinthe" was almost exactly 9 years and 1 week ago.

Where on earth has that time gone?!

Anyway, as you may recall from the days when Nazgul posted little updates like this, occasionally duplicate copies of things find their way into the Castle and occasionally these have subtle differences from the original release covered on the blog.

Such is the case today, with this limited-to-50 copies release.  Each copy came wrapped in a page from "Das Dichterische Werk" by Georg Trakl, Nazgul's first version bearing the actual book cover as its wraparound.

This second copy, recently acquired, sports page 49/50, which presumably puts it about half way through the limited run of CD's (with two pages per sheet per CD, it would make this copy circa #26 if you allow for the cover not being a numbered page, so CD #2 had pages 1/2 etc.)

You can see some discolouration on the page from where sunlight has bleached the paper as it sits on the spine.

Strangely apposite that in a limited edition of 50 copies, this should bear page 50.

Only another 40-something copies to buy now, to put the book back together again....

Sunday, 14 April 2019

TAKE ME AWAY FROM ALL THIS LIFE [V/A] - update

Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Take Me Away From All This Life [Various Artists]
Reason for update: A physical copy of this release now in the collection

Yes, stand back in amazement, it's Nazgul again: twice in a month, and on successive days no less.  Wonders never cease.

Today's short post is to update you about this curiosity, which featured in Honour and Darkness just after Christmas.

At that time it was merely a strange compendium of Dungeon Synth and associated acts that was being advertised by Hungarian label, Translucent Black Capes.  With the wonders of the internet being as they are, Nazgul successfully contacted the label and lo and behold - a physical copy of the item has now been procured for the archives.

It's a nicely put together release too, with some quality artwork on the covers and disc, and a thick card front inlay.  Makes a nice change from some of the more shonky d-i-y releases that pop up around the world.

The plan is now to stick this in the car and give it a good listen, hopefully not repeating the disc-breaking exercise recorded in my last post.  There's some interesting artists on here, some Nazgul is familiar with from recent forays into the DS underground (Algiz Dawn and Bitter Old Wizard being two) but many yet to be discovered, so it promises to be an enjoyable exploration.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

DIE KRIEGE VON BELERIAND (TEIL 2)



Band: URUK HAI
Title: Die Kriege Von Beleriand (Teil 2)
Format: CDr in DVD-sized case, released on the Kriastallblut label in 2015 (no cat reference).  The CDr disc is deep red in colour.
Edition: Unknown, though presumed to be a limited edition

Track Listing:
01. Schlacht Des Jehen Fevers  14.54
02. Schlacht Der Ungezahlten Tranen  13.30
03. Krieg Des Zorns  19.16

It hasn't been a vintage year for Honour and Darkness so far into 2019, that much is painfully apparent.  A paucity of posts, and you'll all be thinking that Nazgul has fallen off his twig and that things have all but ended on the blog front.

Well, let's hope that this post will help to turn the ship around.

The past 4 or 5 months have been a difficult time, as regular readers will know.  I lost my father near to the end of 2018, and much has had to be done since to help my mum with legal and financial matters.  My day job has also exponentially increased in the amount of time I need to dedicate to it, and a growing family means other pressures of life have cut heavily into Honour and Darkness time.

Indeed, this is the first year since I started this blog that I've failed to honour Hugin's birthday on the day - and on his 50th anniversary on Planet Earth too: hang my head in shame - and I even miserably failed to mark the 10th anniversary of Honour and Darkness.  There's still time to join in with the celebratory 20th anniversary year of Uruk Hai though, thank goodness.

The reason for all of this preamble is to explain a little (I feel I owe you all that) why posts have been more than sporadic recently.  I've therefore decided to mix things up a little around here, and rather than try to replicate the lengthy and more detailed posts of yore (oh, for the days when I had time to do that) I'm getting on with things with a touch more brevity.

"Thank God for that," you all cry, and who can blame you?

The item you see before you today actually caused a certain amount of writer's block when it hit the death-deck, and it's been kicking around the Castle for a while being listened to in an attempt to summon the right words to describe it without sounding like a repeat of every other old-school Uruk Hai post I've put up here.

I figured that if I took it with me on a business trip that I needed to make (another 6 hour car journey) your old Uncle Nazgul would be able to give it the time and attention it needed on his journey to make some better sense of it.

Alas: early in the trip an entirely unforeseeable set of circumstances involving a spare tyre, a wheel jack and a poorly positioned bag led to the unfortunate result that you see below - physically breaking the disc!

Curses!  When Nazgul said this was a cracking records, he meant … oh well, never mind
So not only can I not play it at all now, I have an imperfect memory of it from past plays.  Hence the brevity plan (incidentally, that words reminds me that you can tell how long it has been since any meaningful posts have been put up as Nazgul has barely - if at all - referenced the Brexit shambles that is afflicting his country).

What I can tell you is that the original music was recorded back in November 2014 as part of the Beleriand trilogy, and it crosses the line regularly between Hrossharsgrani and Uruk Hai soundscapes.  It's definitely one for fans of the earlier, rawer period of this seminal band, and whilst not the easiest listen in the world is certainly a curio and artifact from the past.

Right - that's the hard bit done.  The muse is back upon me.  Now all Nazgul has to do is to capitalise on this new found momentum and get back to some regular posting.  Fingers crossed everybody, fingers crossed...

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A SANGRE Y FUEGO #02 [V/A]

Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: A Sangre Y Fuego #02 [V/A]
Format: Card sleeved CD compilation/sampler from the GOI Music label (Spain), cat ref ASYF002CD. There’s no date of release, though the label is now defunct and thus this sampler must date no later than 2016 and no earlier than this Hrossharsgrani song (2003).
Edition: Unknown

Tracklisting:
01.  Setherial  *  Crimson Manifestation  
02.  Enslaved  *  As Fire As Swept Clean The Earth  
03.  Melechesh  *  Apkallu Counsel  
04.  Riger  *  Des Blutes Stimme  
05.  Golden Dawn  *  Where Dragons Reign  
06.  Hrossharsgrani  *  Krieg Entbrannte  
07.  Battlelore  *  Buccaneers Inn  
08.  Thyrane  *  Firework  
09.  Norther  *  Unleash Hell  
10.  The Duskfall  *  Deliverance  
11.  Thou Art Lord  *  Society Of The Dilletant  
12.  Marduk  *  With Satan And Victorious Weapons  
13.  The Provenance  *  Tearful, Bitter, Broken  
14.  Cadaveria  *  Spell  
15.  Septic Flesh  *  Virtues Of The Beast  
16.  Ancient Rites  *  Victory Or Valhalla

Here’s an odd one to kick off the month of February and remind you that Nazgul is still alive and kicking.

It’s an entirely random compilation CD from the Spanish label GOI Music (no, I’ve no idea either) which manages to bring together some really well-known names – the likes of Marduk, Enslaved, Battlelore and Septic Flesh, to name but four – alongside some less obvious bands on this death-Viking-black-speed metal smorgasbord.

Let’s be honest, it’s not happened that often that Hrossharsgrani get to rub shoulders on a CD with the some of the big boys in metal so quite what this Spanish label were smoking at the time remains an intriguing mystery, now most likely lost to the mists of time.  It does make one wonder if this was an officially licenced released though, or one cobbled together without the artists knowing?

One might be inclined to imagine it was legitimate in this case (though how many have we seen in the past that have a very different background) as the GOI label do seem to have a history of official reissues of older material so presumably knew a few labels across the world, one of which presumably was CCP Records of Austria.

We may surmise this as Hrossharsgrani’s track comes from their 2003 release with CCP, “Schattenkrieger”. To give the song its full formal name it is usually known as ‘Krieg Entbrannte (Nacht Der Helden)’, literally translated to be ‘War Burned (Night of the Heroes)’.

This was the Hrossharagrani release – as you may remember – that rather divided opinion at the time as it roped in the owners of CCP Records and turned what had previously been Hugin’s one-man Viking-drum thumping band into a far more polished symphonic affair with choirs, orchestral bits, and all sorts of gubbins.

It’s this sort of random compilation that used to be the life blood of Honour and Darkness back in the day, so it’s rather nice to discover one completely out of the blue and be able to plonk it in front of you.

Not entirely sure about that cover, though: the title may suggest Blood and Fire, but the artwork’s definitely more Tits & Ass...

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

TAKE ME AWAY FROM ALL THIS LIFE [V/A]

Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Take Me Away From All This Life [V/A]
Format: Online compilation release from Translucent Black Capes (Hungary) released on 31 October 2018 on Bandcamp and as a physical release.
Edition: Online release unlimited, CD pressing unspecified

Track Listing:
01. Algiz Dawn  *  .​.​. And I Saw My Last Sunrise 02:49
02. Heinous Undying  *  Blood Madness  06:00
03. Makrokosm  *  She Draws The Water  07:12
04. Fledermaus  *  Dämonen und Schlangen der Nacht  05:32
05. Visions Of Ulnahar  *  A Vision​.​.​.  06:53
06. Plague Rat  *  Offerings For Sekhmet  04:56
07. Caligari  *  Lèvres De Sang  05:39
08. Bitter Old Wizard  *  Eternal Suffering  06:08
09. Homunculus  *  νοσοφόρος  09:04
10. La Morte Amoureuse  *  Lamrak Soms  04:03
11. Poetry Of Thorns  *  To Umbra In The Mirror  01:54
12. Frohvahr  *  Awaken From A Crypt  04:54
13. Rêvoeil  *  Vilaine Vieillesse  04:08
14. Mickey E. Vil  *  Stalking Theme  04:07
15. Elisabetha  *  Tanz Der Vampyre  04:16
16. Vlakolak  *  Within It's Gates I Heard The Sound  08:16
17. Withering Presence  *  The Thirst Which Flatters Not  04:05

Happy New Year to you all, loyal Honour and Darkness followers.  Not yet dead and buried, Nazgul is resurrected in 2019 for at least a short period of animation to bring you this quick update.

It pertains to the second compilation of "Vampiric Dungeon Synth" from Hungarian project Translucent Black Capes, which includes amongst it's assembled music an old classic from Elisabetha.  

Yes, it's 'Tanz Der Vampyre' from the band's 2001 release "Sterbegesange", which fulfils the brief of this particular compilation being linked to all things vampiric.

As the Bandcamp page explains:

"There is no life in this body.  I am nothing, lifeless, soulless, hated and feared.  I am dead to all the world - hear me!  I'm the monster that breathing men would kill.

I AM DRACULA"

Nazgul is not entirely sure how much all of the individual artists are aware of their material being used on this compilation, or what level of royalty payments are in place for the use of the songs, but let's hope that's all sorted out properly...

Nice to see Elisabetha back on the Blog again, and once Nazgul's copy of the CD arrives through the post we can have an update on this post and bring them back (from the dead) once again!