Tuesday, 3 November 2009

BLUTRAUSCH

Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Blutrausch (literally, 'blood intoxication', or 'drunk on/with blood')
Format: Cassette-tape demo release on the Werwolf Productions (Italy) label in 2003, catalogue reference WP012. Black and white xeroxed inlay, containing rehearsal tracks recorded at W.A.R. Studios in Linz in 2002/2003.
Edition: Only 66 hand-numbered tapes released

Track Listing:
1. Dunkle Gemacher 17:30
2. Karpathensturm 09:16
3. Ausklang: Todt 02:16

It's strange to consider that across the globe at this very moment there are but a maximum of 66 copies of this relatively obscure demo from 2003 in existence for this, dear readers, is one of the finest pieces of vampyric art that Elisabetha ever produced. And hands up how many of you have ever heard a copy...?

Released on the hugely supportive Italian underground label Werwolf Productions, this is a simple 'copied inlay and C60 tape' release but contains three fabulous songs that demand to be played over and over again.

'Dunkel Gemacher' ('Dark Rooms') should be in the dictionary for anyone trying to find the definitive horror film score: packed with eerie, creepy and downright alarming moments of atmosphere created predominantly with only strings and keyboards - together with a host of well chosen sound samples including screams, thunder, creaking doors, the sounds of ships at sea, howling winds, screeching cats and various other effects you'll be too worried to ask about - it's a triumph of how effective a song can be assembled from a diverse set of components once the common thread has been established. Sounds a bit cheesy from that piece of prose, doesn't it? Well, trust your Uncle Nazgul - it most certainly isn't! Those violins in their spiralling lament will pull you back into the song time after time after time as the song creates the image in your mind of a cold and forlorn place, unwelcoming yet compelling you to enter...

Well done Graf Alexander Zu Sankt Magdalena and the gang! Nazgul's favourite Elisabetha moment? ... Quite possibly.

Second track 'Karpathensturm' begins on a more discordant theme, akin to an orchestra tuning up, before resolving itself into a simple yet memorable piano refrain repeated over some rumbling percussion and weather effects. The perfect soundtrack for that next winter trek into the Carpathian Mountains. The simplicity and ode to nature put Nazgul in mind of Hrefnesholt at times.

The finale to the tape is the short piece 'Ausklang: Todt', clocking in at a modest two minutes plus. That said, it crams a lot into such a short timeframe, keeping the theme of the previous songs going for the first half then launching into a pseudo-'Extraterrestrial Death' Bonemachine moment at the midpoint, before lurching into ecclesiastical mode after that! A maelstrom of influences, and over all too soon. Incidentally, this is a totally different track to the 'Ausklang' song from Elisabetha on the Smell The Stench compilation "The First Evil Spell" and markedly more interesting!

This is one demo that you really should beg, borrow or steal a copy to obtain - it defines the whole middle period Elisabetha sound, moving past the spoken word radio play approach of the earliest demos and setting down some of the foundations even in 2003 of the latter-day neo-classical sound that was to follow. Above all else, though, it's a captivating piece of dark art, and well worth celebrating for that reason alone.

If you missed it first time around (and with only 66 of them available then quite possibly you did. Nazgul was lucky to find his copy - #21 - when he did) then the first two tracks of the demo are contained on disc 2 of the 3CD "Eternal Deathvastation" release from 2008, the last few copies of which are still available if you search hard enough (at today's date there is one last copy for sale at www.evildist.com)!

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