Saturday, 15 August 2009


Title: Sagen & Gedichte ("Sagas & Poems")
Format: CDr only demo released through W.A.R Studios (Austria) in 1999, catalogue reference W.A.R 009. Hand-prepared inlay with photo of artist and thank-you list opposite cover image, and track details within (photo 3 above).
Edition: Limited to only 9 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:

01. Korperteile 7.53
02. Ode An Den Tod 2.11
03. Sagen & Gedichte 5.04
04. Vom Schwerte Tyrfing 3.30
05. Freude Am Leid 7.16
06. Rabenschwarze Nacht 6.21
07. Hey Wickie (cover version) 2.53
08. Krieg 7.33
09. Mit Dem Schwerte 4.34
10. Totale Vernichtung 5.29

Living in leafy-green Surrey (to the west of London, for the benefit of international readers)Nazgul often sees some prize machinery on his way to work in the mornings - the frequent sight of Ferrari and Porsche on the road, the occasional Lamborghini or Maserati, and just occasionally something pretty rare (or pretty and rare) like the Alfa 8C or even - on one notable occasion - a Bugatti Veyron. So what, you might reasonably cry? Well, it's Nazgul's way of leading us into this particular Hrossharsgrani release, itself a rare beastie and massively limited to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it 9 copies in total, and pretty much impossible to find anywhere now.

Interestingly it's an early release (issued in 1999, so right at the start of the project) that Alex himself professes not to like much anymore. I guess that's the way of demos, they're a good way to get some early tracks down to coalesce those artistic thoughts and half-songs that wash over the musically adept but in retrospect they may not be of the quality or professionalism that the artist themselves enjoy.

From the perspective of a fan, however, they allow a real insight into how the band was forming and how the music evolves over time. It's a fair summary to report that this release falls squarely into the early era of Hross' and as such it's full of pounding percussion, black-metal influenced vocals yet underpinned with the omnipotent synthesizer that this project is known for. That said, there are plenty of other interesting qualities to the songs on this demo as they also contain a healthy dose of guitar - both electric (often producing a warbling counter-melody effect to augment a track) or in more gentle acoustic terms.

Indeed, it would be a more balanced summary to observe that there are enough 'soft' moments on this CDr in terms of acoustic passages, gentle keyboard passages, samples of nature and chanted vocal effects to make it quite a mixed listen - certainly not all blast-beats and one-dimensional pseudo black metal. Nazgul was also pleasantly surprised to hear that sampled fanfare once again - the one that precedes 'Gondolin Falls' on the Uruk Hai 'Honour' demo from 2004 - only this time it appears in fuller format and is attributed on the inlay to cinematic soundsmith Jerry Goldsmith.

Nazgul is rather partial to early Hrossharsgrani material, and as such can sit and listen to this demo quite happily in the knowledge that he is quite probably the only person in the world at any given time who (i) has access to one of the vanishingly small numbers of this CDr, and (ii) is prone to listening to it!

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