Friday, 27 February 2009

WOLFSNACHT


Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Wolfsnacht
Format: Cassette Tape only release on Smell The Stench (Australia), re-mastered from 2002 original release in 2006, no catalogue number
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of only 30 copies

Track Listing:

01. Wolfsnacht 20.27

Much like buses, you don't get a Blog from Nazgul for a few days then two turn up at the same time!

This is Hrefnesholt: yet another side-project from that prolific Austrian musician A.W. and something of an ambient/BM mixture seems to be the order of the day here. As far as I can ascertain the band name derives not from the works of Tolkien, but from another bastion of the literary canon, Beowulf:

"Hrefnesholt is a location in Beowulf where the Geatish King Hæþcyn had taken the Swedish queen. The Swedish king Ongenþeow arrived to save her and killed Hæþcyn. The Geatish force was, however, reinforced by Hygelac, whereupon the Swedes sought refuge in a hillfort, but were stormed by the Geats. Ongenþeow was killed and Hygelac became their new king."

Once again it's proving to be an educational blog entry!

I spoke briefly with both Alex and Leigh at 'Stench about this release, and it appears that this very limited edition tape was requested to be released by Smell The Stench in re-mastered format, to which Alex agreed as long as there were only a few made. And a few there are - only 30 to be exact, of which I have 2 (#16 and #26). Yes, having one-fifteenth of total production is somewhat greedy but hey, I'm a collector!

The track originally came from the 2001 self-released demo "Wolf" and as such is not a new Hrefnesholt track. That said, the remastered version runs to 20.27 from the original running time of 19.34 so you are looking at a slightly amended version here. The tape has a simple black & white cover with wolfen image, and is now pretty well sold out everywhere.

There hasn't been much Hrefnesholt material over the years (Metal Archive lists just 5 items and I've got more than that, so a full discography seems to be a requirement) so it's always a treat to have an item to review.

I like this track - always have from the 'Wolf' demo - and although my spoken German is non-existent I'm assured by Alex that the song concept is "the horror version of Little Red Riding Hood." This makes perfect sense - the song is constructed around a beginning and ending of spoken child's vocals, and some chilling effects in the middle!

Musically we kick off after the spoken piece with a simple acoustic guitar riff over a background of thunder, before a more ominous atmosphere is developed, mellowing to a keyboard/wind effect construct. As a long song - 20 minutes needs to hold one's attention after all - there is plenty going on in there to entertain: there's some violin (sometimes catchy a la Skyclad, sometimes more melancholic a la 1940s Basil Rathbone films), there's wolves howling in the background, there's mellow keyboards and ambient passages, there's BM-style vocals with frantic drumming, there's all sorts going on.

Sometimes this reminds me of Elisabetha, which given the original date of the song is probably not too far wide of the mark.

Would it be worth buying just for this track, when you could buy the entire 'Wolf' demo? Well, that's debatable. As both releases are as rare as hen's teeth then it might be a moot point anyway....grab the first one you can find, and enjoy!

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