Friday, 6 November 2009

DEMO '99


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Demo 99
Format: Cassette-tape only, independent release through Alex Wieser in 1999.
Edition: Hand-numbered and limited to 30 copies

Track Listing:

1. Ozeane der Zeit
2. Kalte Nacht
3. Der Morgen nach dem Leben
4. Herr ├╝ber die Winde
5. Aufstieg verlorener Seelen
6. Apokalypse
7. Zuende

Dipping back into history once again, this 1999 demo from Hrossharsgrani is a variant on theme from the "Blut" demo that preceded it in 1998. That latter demo was a 14 track epic, and was re-released with a bonus 15th track in 2003 on Werwolf Productions as detailed on these pages back on 8 May 2009.

The "Demo 99" release contained 6 of those 14 original tracks plus one new song, 'Der Morgen Nach Dem Leben', together with a new cover and limitation to only 30 tapes. Interestingly, the cover for this release shown on the metal archives pages (which is lifted from Alex's MySpace pages) shows a colour cover, whereas this one (and it's the only one Nazgul has actually handled in person) is xeroxed black and white, and hand-numbered #2 of 30. Whether it is a copy of an original, or perhaps only a few were in colour, is yet to be established! [Edit: Alex has just confirmed that only tape #1 has a colour cover, all the others are black and white!] Also of interest is the fact that the 14 tracks from the "Blut" release appear on side B of the tape, so you got the full works with this particular demo!

As detailed in the May post, there is quite a variety of styles on offer here, and the overall tone of the recording is less pound-you-into-the-ground than later battledrum-driven outings from the band. Take the new song 'Der Morgen Nach Dem Leben' for example, with it's repeating tinkling keyboard motif interspersed with dark keyboard passages.

In addition, the opening track 'Ozeane Der Zeit' and 'Herr Uber Die Winde' are short sampled narrative pieces, the former with strings high in the mix and the later predominantly vocal with the snarl of a wolf kicking things off. 'Kalte Nacht' is a brooding synth piece with breaking waves in the background, giving the impression of a dark night on the coastline awaiting the arrival of the long-ships!

Ultimately it is another insight into the formative stages of this band, which has evolved between ambient - black metal - viking metal - symphonic metal - battle metal genres over time. Given the relative scarcity of any of the early demos from this band you can't really go wrong if by happy chance you come across this one for sale somewhere...

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