Friday, 12 February 2010

REHEARSAL 2001




Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Rehearsal 2001
Format: Cassette-only release from W.A.R. Productions (Austria) in 2009. Rehearsal sessions of tracks compiled as a unique release for the Honour & Darkness Blog. Package contains a signed photo, dedicated black inlay card and is sealed with a pendant (see photo).
Edition: Only 1

Track Listing:

1. Nachtreich 1.48

2. In Flammen 5.03

3. Mittvinter 1.23

4. Nordlandschllacht 8.21

5. Trollsturm 8.00

6. Urd 6.53

7. Tagreich 1.48

Nazgul pondered a few ways of how to best celebrate the first anniversary of Honour And Darkness but finally decided to keep on doing what he's been doing all of this time, as it seems to sit well with his honoured audience. So let us consider this interesting morsel obtained from Hugin in the bleak autumn months of 2009....

It is, as the title makes plain, a rehearsal recording from one of Nazgul's favourite projects Hrefnesholt. It is also a particularly special recording as it was made as a unique tape for Nazgul and is thus another Blog world-exclusive *cough* in an ultra-personal edition of 1 copy! You'll have no doubt seen from the photos that Hugin really pushed the boat out for this one, with a superb drilled-case and pendant arrangement (the original design was exemplary, and in Nazgul's haste to open it and view the inlay he discovered that he could not replicate the original design of pendant wrapped around case! The photo is therefore not as good as the original looked, and Nazgul has learned to take photos first and open second!). Also in the package was a small dedicated black insert signed in gold with the date of issue and edition number, plus a classic photo of our hero in full-on black metal mode!

A couple of the tracks within will be familiar to fans of this band: 'Nordlandschllacht' was the bonus track on the recent Wulfrune Worxx tape reissue of the 2004 demo 'Heidensturm' whilst 'Trollsturm' appeared on the Rabentanz release of 2005. Both excellent synth tracks with harsh vocals and an unstoppable percussive momentum, they are blasts of heathen power in between more ephemeral pieces. For it is the case that there are some extremely subtle and - dare one say - delicate moments on this recording that characterise the split nature of the beast that is Hrefnesholt: one part pagan war-machine, one part ambient naturalism.

Opener 'Nachtreich' ('Night Empire') is an incredibly beautiful piano piece played across a familiar synthesiser melody from another Hrefnesholt album, and is echoed at the end of the demo in the coda 'Tagreich' ('Day Empire'). Second and third tracks 'In Flammen' and 'Mittvinter' bring the ambient natural sounds to the fore, with the chill breaths of mountain wind and the very sound of Mother Earth augmenting the underpinning keyboard melodies.

Penultimate track 'Urd' is an interesting synchronicity as only recently Nazgul purchased an early Hrossharsgrani demo by the very same name, which was completely unknown to most of us until offered for sale on eBay - strange how often that sort of coincidence happens!

Overall of course it may seem rather easy for Nazgul to sit comfortably in his castle library and proclaim great things about a demo that no one else has actually got a chance to listen to for themselves.

However, in the great cycle of things, I would imagine that in due course some of these recordings may become more widely available given the recent deluge of split-series tape releases and demos from W.A.R. Productions. Until such time, you'll have to take Nazgul's word that this is indeed another excellent Hrefnesholt recording, and one that he is particularly proud to have been gifted from Hugin - may his pennants fly proudly atop the spears of his ancestors..!

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