Wednesday, 21 October 2009

VAMPYR




Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Vampyr
Format: CD release through Eclipse Of Live Promulgation (Germany) in 2003, with full colour inlays. Bottom photo shows EoLP advertisement for the release in their catalogue (right) plus original artwork for cover (left).
Edition: Limited to 455 copies numbered on jewel-case, and 45 promo copies

Track Listing:

1. Schauermarchen 01.44
2. Geisterstande 08.20
3. Der pfahler 03.30
4. Finster doch der tag begann 04.10
5. Der funke des lebens gar langsam verlischt 03.45
6. Sanguis vobiscum 06.20
7. Erszebet Bathori - Eine mar aus fleisch 22.19
8. Einsam in truben nachten 10.08
9. The priest must die (Countess cover) 13.50

Freddy vs. Jason ... Alien vs. Predator ... and now Elisabetha vs. Bonemachine?!

That's the best Nazgul can do as an analogy for this release on EoLP, which is an extraordinary amalgamation of styles and influences, and virtually impossible to describe in any meaningful way.

Virtually anything and everything that you might expect from an Elisabetha album is here - sombre, spoken word narrative parts, occasional strings and scarily-effective keyboards, screaming females and unsettling atmospherics, and even some neo-classical church organ parts foreshadowing the move to a less horror-ambient content that the "Über das Prinzip der Unschuld" release of 2007 presented.

Equally, there are many parts of this release that are wholly Bonemachine-esque in nature - peculiar sound-scapes that are part industrial, part synth, part goodness knows what coming into interaction with the gothic motif of Elisabetha in a well orchestrated yet utterly chaotic manner.

To add confusion to the mix, you also have possibly one of the few appearances of a bass guitar on any of Alex's releases not to mention a cover song of Dutch BM horde Countess to finish things off with, which whilst maintaining the theme of the Countess Bathory connection explored earlier in the album is an unexpected ending.

Frankly, Nazgul can;t think of the right words to describe this album adequately, and suspects that to do so might involve the writing of a major dissertation and the taking of industrial quantities of stimulants.

This is a most interesting and rewarding album with some great cover-art and superb songs - pressed for a favourite, Nazgul would go for 'Sanguis Vobiscum' with all of its variety - and is certainly recommended, but probably for experienced listeners rather than those new to the Elisabetha sound.

There was a time - oh, about 4 or 5 years ago - that this particular album (often described as an EP online, oddly enough, given its length) turned up on eBay and similar sites with unfailing regularity. Recently, however, Nazgul can't think when he last saw one for sale, so perhaps all 455 copies (why 455 copies as opposed to, say, 400, 450 or 500 copies? - answers on a postcard please) have found good homes around the globe. Still well worth seeking out, though!

[Edit: Alex has just sent a photo of his own copy of this release - #2 - which has the issue number written in silver on the jewel-case tray holding the disc. Nazgul's copy, it would seem, is one of the 45 promo copies rather than one of the 455 issued copies. Also, the EoLP owner tended to be a little random in his issue numbers, by all accounts, though of course 45 promos and 455 copies = 500 CDs in total - there's method in the madness!]

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