Tuesday, 4 August 2009

NOSFERAT


BAND: ELISABETHA
TITLE:
Nosferat (Das Blutige Vermachtnis Einer Dynastie)
FORMAT: Official release is a casstte-tape only pressing on the Smell The Stench label (Australia) from 2003. There is also a promotional-only 2CDr version produced by Alex, with the same track listing but alternate cover (see photo). both versions contain rehearsal tracks recorded between 2000 and 2003.
EDITION: Neither tape nor CDr pressing numbered, tape believed unlimited but CDr pressing limited

TRACK LISTING:

CDr1 / Side A

01. Des Abends Rotes Seelenblut 1.20
02. Wurdulak 3.44
03. Das Blut Meiner Ahnen 1.34
04. Todessehnsucht 6.45
05. Nachtherrscahft 1.33
06. Der Vampyr 8.30
07. Fleisch 1.22
08. Leb' Wohl Lieb Land 17.29
09. Akasha 1.59

CDr2 / Side B
01. Im Schatten Jener Nacht, In Der Ich Starb 11.54
02. Verwoben Im Netze Ewiglicher Finsternis 11.18
03. Kabinett Der Angste 14.08
04. Bathori (Sturm Einer Winternacht) 8.28

Named after Nosferatu himself, this is self-proclaimed "Vampyric Avantgarde" from the original (unholy) triumvirate of Elisabetha members, recorded between 2000 and 2003 and forming nigh on 90 minutes of music across the whole album.

Some research on the internet suggests that the tape pressing of this release should come, in fact, in a red paper cover rather than the white one shown here. I suspect a bit of local distro-photocopying and tape dubbing has occurred over the years, but happily Nazgul has found a more reputable looking source online with an advertised red version, which I shall be popping off to purchase after authoring this update! [Edit 05/08/09: Alex has just emailed to say that the red cover version is his own, issued when tapes of this release are bought directly from him, as the red colour is more in keeping with Elisabetha] The 2CDr version is the more collectable pressing, as this came directly from Alex and has not been released in this format as far as Nazgul is aware.

So what does one get for one's money with this effort? Well, first and foremost you have a range of 'classic' era Elisabetha songs - all from the early 2000's when the band was just past its spoken word radio play debut and emerging into more black metal / outre-metal leanings. As one might expect from a demo of rehearsal recordings there are a few short tracks that sound like a good idea that could be used for the basis of a longer song once developed, and then a few full-formed epics that are the (raw, red) meat and potatoes of this release.

There are some general themes behind all of the music on this release, and like any good suspenseful horror film the songs keep you on the edge of your seat and uncomfortable throughout. Effective use of discordant harmonies and strange melodies maintain an 'edgy' and not-quite-right atmosphere that entertains and chills at the same time. In some ways, this is a musical version of the atmosphere depicted by American writer H.P. Lovecraft in his novels, describing the unsettling architecture of the cursed towns of Innsmouth and Dunwich.

Once again some key elements are found on this release as in previous Elisabetha material, from the Gregorian chants to the werewolf snarl, from the wispy female vocals to the oddly compelling rhythms of the damned, from the wretched screams of troubled souls to the eerie passages of keyboards and percussion, Nazgul likes this album!

Must like the ghost-wreathed town of Innsmouth there is much to be explored on this release, and much to be feared too. It's not an album for the foolhardy or the weak of heart, and Nazgul has a salutary anecdote to relay on that score: in getting his car serviced recently Nazgul had inadvertently left the CDr playing in the stereo when he turned the engine off. Along comes an unwary mechanic to transfer the car from parking space to ramps, and about five seconds into his journey (just as the break from the end of one track to the beginning of the next ended) the car violently swerved off to one side as the tortured sounds Elisabetha broke forth, echoing from the open window around the garage bay and leaving some appalled looking faces amongst the mechanics generally. Nazgul likes this album a lot!!

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