Friday, 1 May 2009

ZALGIRIO MUSIS

Band: RAVENCLAW
Title: Zalgirio Musis / Baxas Xebesheth 1883
Format: split CDr with Svarrogh on the Atlantida Productions label (Lithuania), no catalogue reference, released 2003.
Edition: Unnumbered edition, possibly of 1000?

Track Listing:

Ravenclaw tracks:
1. Kovos Su Kryziuocials 1.39
2. Nuolatinial Karo Zygial 8.28
3. Lietuvial Nepasiduoda 5.37
4. Zutbutinis Musis 3.17
5. Pergale 4.00
6. Pabaiga 8.48

Svarrogh tracks:
7. Baxas Xebesheth 1883
8. Welkes Schwarz
9. Breathing Kathaarian Dust
10. Die Hämische Pein
11. Potoceta Nemirni (Part 1)
12. Am Nebelhain
13. Sa Lebedi I Vrani
14. Tyzhen Dyzhd


You may recall back on 10 May of this year Nazgul wrote up an entry for the first full length Ravenclaw album, and...well.....not to put too fine a point on it, was not overly enthused. This split CDr was released in the following year and featured a Ravenclaw duo of AW and R******s, with sometime third member Dimo Dimov's alternative project Svarrogh making up the second half of the release.

And so, you ask, is this more of the same 'epic Viking' tales from Ravenclaw as we heard on "Where Mighty Ravens Fly" CD? Are Nazgul's criticisms still valid? Does anyone else read this Blog and care? Well, just in case there is life out there....read on!

And the good news is this - I rate this release a lot more highly than its predecessor. But there is a snag: musically, this is exceptional. Puts me in mind of the sort of 'classic' folk release that French Pyrenees band Stille Volk were doing, with tons of indigenous instrumentation along the lines of flutes, balalaika-style plucked guitars and other folk-tinged elements together with subtle use of samples of natural sounds. It strongly gives the impression of green fields, dark cloistered woods and clouds scudding across the sky in a mountainous-yet-green landscape. Pretty much what you might imagine a musical evening in the Carpathians might be like!

Vocally, however, the effect jars a little for me although to be fair the more you listen to the Ravenclaw tracks as a whole the more you do get used to it. Whilst the music weaves an expansiveness and airy tapestry, the deep echo-y vocal performance is rather out of keeping and sounds too much like it is overdubbed as opposed to integral to the soundscape.

You know, far be it from me to be a creative/critical guru, but I'd be very interested to hear what these tracks would sound like re-recorded either (i) as a purely instrumental release, and/or (ii) with the vocals redone in a less guttural style and more ethereal and sympathetic way to the sound.

However, a definite step up from the debut release but of course, as we know, Ravenclaw were no longer around to release music after this second effort. That said, a few odd tracks were released on the Atlantida label compilation CDr's that Rusianas released on a periodic basis, so fear not intrepid Blogger - more Ravenclaw coverage to come in due course!

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