Friday, 1 May 2009

UNITED BY HEATHEN BLOOD

Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title:
United By Heathen Blood
Format: Cassette tape-only release on the AMF Productions label (Bulgaria), cat ref AMF 033, released in 2007. A three-way split between Hrefnesholt, Symbiosis of Italy and Bagatur of Bulgaria (the band of AMF Production label owner Alexander)
Edition: unknown

Track Listing:

1. The Dying Satyr - Symbiosis
2. Asaland - Hrefnesholt
3. Ñêàçàíèå çà Äðåâíîáúëãàðñêîòî Âåëè÷èå - part 1 - Bagatur
4. Eine Ode an Midgard (Heil dir Midgard Krieger) - Hrefnesholt
5. Dance of the Falling Leaves - Symbiosis
6. Ñêàçàíèå çà Äðåâíîáúëãàðñêîòî Âåëè÷èå - part 2 - Bagatur
7. Ravnagund - Hrefnesholt
8. Desolazione al Chiaro di Luna - Symbiosis

Firstly, let me clarify that the Bagatur tracks above are probably not entirely accurate (!!) in spelling terms - as a band that has virtually no web presence, and being in Bulgarian, only the Metal Archive website attempted to list their song details and I've copied them from there. Apologies to any offended Bulgarians out there!

Now then, back to business. This 2007 release is the last official Hrefnesholt output, and with such a small discography of work Nazgul has to space out reviews in Honour And Darkness in order not to deplete their items too soon!

A short release all round (the snazzy green-coloured tape is only 30 minutes on each side, with all 8 tracks being encompassed within that time), these are therefore 3 relatively restrained releases but what they lack in length they certainly don't lack for in quality.

We kick off with 'Asaland', which is a very short acoustic guitar piece (vaguely reminiscent at the outset of the beginning of Radiohead's 'Paranoid Android') which leads into around 2 minutes of mature and stately music that would grace any full length album.

'Eine Ode an Midgard (Heil dir Midgard Krieger)' - loosely, 'An Ode to Midgard (hail Midgard warrior) - has a great electronic synth opening, which I have to say reminded me strongly of the electronica approach that latter day Paradise Lost took around their "Host" album. A sombre, melancholy piece this one, yet there is a very good pervasive rhythm throughout the track that lifts it from the humdrum to being a worthy tribute to the warriors being celebrated (as does the small - and classically Hugin - battle scene at the end of the song).

Final track 'Ravnagund' commences (and indeed ends) with the crowing and cawing of ravens, and the music is a combination of martial-style drumming with dramatic synthesiser. Croaking vocals - imagine a Viking elder around a camp fire, educating the younger warriors - recite verses from The Edda. The term Edda applies to the Old Norse Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, both of which were written down in Iceland during the 13th century. They are recognised as the main sources of medieval Norse mythology and skaldic tradition in Iceland. Some of the older poems included may predate the date of their recording by several centuries, establishing continuity with the Viking Age.

This release is still available at the AMF Productions website at a very modest 3 Euro all in, which represents fantastic value as the contributions from Symbiosis and Bagatur are equally good work. And properly spelt on the inlay.

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