Friday, 24 July 2009

S.P.Q.R.


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: S.P.Q.R
Format: Internet-only split release with Phalanx (featuring the White Rabbit), available online (or direct from the artist!), released 2008. Artwork uploads in .jpeg format also provided.
Edition: unlimited internet download

Track Listing:

01. Nehmt Ihnen Alles * Phalanx

02. Enemy * Hrossharsgrani 8.47

A single track on this internet-only CD release seems to signify another new era for Hrossharsgrani, this time with Roman Empire connotations artistically and a change in musical emphasis too.

The artwork for the main cover is battle-orientated, in an echo to the past theme of the band, but this time featuring armoured combat rather than fantasy based battle scenes. Equally, the inlay sheet for this release shows a phalanx of Roman Centurions marching with their battle standards held high.

Musically this is rather different from the pounding drums and snarled vocals of Hross' demos of old, and different again to the more commercial 'folk-'n'-metal' approach of the 'Schattenkrieger' release. Here, the track in question is predominantly piano based, with various parts of the song being very familiar to more recent Uruk Hai keyboard compositions (less the female chanted vocals). Overlaying the piano is a percussion accompaniment, and towards the end of the song a smattering of guitar, but taken as a whole this is a rather calmer and more measured piece of music than much of the sample-heavy and bludgeoning work that we've become accustomed to.

This in itself is not a bad thing if you have an ear for melody and a decent tune, but even as Nazgul types these words he has a premonition of various members of certain internet forums using his words as ammunition to try to declare Hrossharsgrani not suitably 'metal' any more. Oh dear.

Interestingly there is a element of the background 'static' noise that Nazgul commented on during his review of the 'Sanguis' release, although it is far less intrusive here and actually benefits the music rather than detracting from it.

Credit to Alex for making this available as a free download though - complete with some rather nice artwork that's worth the time and trouble to have professionally printed as it makes a good-looking package overall.

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