Friday, 13 February 2009

DURST NACH UNSTERBLICHKEIT


Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Durst Nach Unsterblichkeit ("Thirst For Everlasting Life")
Format: Cassette tape with full colour inlay and separate lyric sheet, self-produced in 2000
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of just 100

Track Listing:
01. Intro (Elisabetha) 5.35
02. Brief Dracula's An Jonathan Harker 5.16
03. Karpaten - Isten Szek! 13.13
04. Outro (Ankunft Harker's Auf Schloss Dracula) 7.21

Outstanding. This is simply an outstanding creation, but more of that anon. Let us first explore the band Elisabetha a little, and see what made it tick.

Firstly, this was a collaborative effort for Alex - credits are shown as Blutgraf Gha´agsheblah (song concept, bass, vocals, layout, and samples) & Graf Alexander Zu Sankt Magdalena (guitars, synthesizers, vocals, and samples). This self-produced demo saw the light of day in 2000 and rather than being music per se it was, according to the band's own web-site (the only one I've found) at http://www.brutalism.com/elisabetha.html "the first part of a series of Vampyre radio plays, recorded to [further] the bloody heritage of Lord Byron and Bram Stoker. The story tells about the bloody and weird adventures Jonathan Harker lived to see in Siebenb├╝rgen....."

The purpose of the band is described as "an attempt to adapt – taking into account Black-Metallic elements – the phantastic literature of the 19th century with [modern] musical theatre…" and up until the move away from the vampyristic BM to more neo-classical music later in the band's history this held true.

Much of this release is spoken word (in German) and is presented in the form of a radio play, exactly as described above. And let me tell you this: although I don't speak a word of German it's still a most gripping and enjoyable recording, made possible by the atmosphere created by the incidental music, the detailed samples used to further the plot (you effectively know most of what's going on, or at least seem to, from these) and the occasional snatches of music, which are performed in a loose BM style.

As a listening experience, it's wonderful. What could have become a very cheesy sub-school play production is elevated to a glossy, professional affair that is superbly paced and put together. For a self-produced demo, it is really well presented and the additional lyric sheet (think of it as your concert programme) is a nice touch - especially with Nosferatu lurking in the shadows in the background.

With only 100 of these having been made you get the feeling that the world has missed out on something rather special here. My copy - number 031 - is one of the more cherished items from the Elisabetha items in my collection.

Edit: Alex has also helpfully pointed me towards www.myspace.com/elisabethaband so check that out too!

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