Sunday, 19 April 2009

ISTEN SZEK!

Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Isten Szek!
Format: Cassette tape on Werwolf Productions (Italy), catalogue reference WP014, released 2001. A CDr version with alternative cover artwork apparently also exists.
Edition: Cassette version in a hand-numbered edition of 66 copies

Track Listing:
01. Isten Szek! 45.46

Well, it's been almost a week since Nazgul last updated the pages of his Blog, so with no more ado let us proceed down the examination of this interesting Elizabetha demo tape from 2001.

And it is interesting in as far as it is very much removed from the Elisabetha demos preceding it, which readers of this Blog will know follow the 'radio-play' dramatization approach to the Dracula/vampyric legends of Eastern Europe. This particular release is almost wholly music, virtually a 180 degree turn from the predominantly spoken-word releases that came before. So what does that lead us to conclude, you may well ask?

Well, taken on its own merits it is a perfectly good addition to the Hugin canon of work - a rich and atmospheric wander through strange electronic/synth landscapes and ambient scenes, leading to an overall feeling of unease and foreboding due to the nature of the occasionally discordant passages and pseudo-vocal synth pieces: some of these sound like tortured souls screaming for mercy....

The piece kicks of with a rumbling, gloomy segment vaguely reminiscent of the introduction to Sabbat's classic "History Of A Time To Come" and follows on with a dirge-like drum, which in turn leads us into a dungeon-esque feeling of containment and shadowy corners through the ambient synth pieces. Throughout the demo this feeling of an uneasy 'lurking fear' is cleverly portrayed, and sets the tone for the general 'Gothic horror' of the album.

The drum makes periodic reappearances throughout the lengthy single track, and by the end of the piece the almost hypnotic nature of the rhythm will have you marching toward the window to let in the vampyric figures that surely await you outside the frosty panes of glass.....

"Isten Szek" itself is a term that refers to "God's Seat", the mountain in the Borgo Pass (south of Mount Bargau) identified to Jonathan Harker by a fellow passenger (who crosses himself reverently after the event) whilst he travels by coach and horses through Transylvania in Bram Stoker's classic 'Dracula.'

Perhaps the one drawback with this demo is that the lack of vocals puts the album almost into territory that could be occupied by some of Alex's other projects: there is almost an industrial rhythm to some of the synth pieces that could be found on a B-Machina release, whilst some of the ambient elements would be at home on a Hrefnesholt demo. By losing the distinctive and dramatic narrated vocals the demo becomes less defined, less an Elisabetha piece and more a generic piece of ambient art.

It still makes for a good listen, mind you, so in that regard I'm more than happy to give my tape (number 45 of the 66, trivia fans) an occasional spin on the ol' Death-Deck.

And I'd suggest you should do likewise....

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