Monday, 19 April 2010

THE LONG GREY ROAD


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: The Long Grey Road
Format: Cassette tape release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW113. Black and white copied inlays, part of the Split Series. The other side of this release is the re-release of Uruk Hai's "Valkyrian Romance" demo.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 66 copies

Track Listing:
01. Fimbulwinter 15.06

02. Intro 1.47

03. The Long Grey Road 9.24

A quick update to Honour & Darkness on this gorgeous spring day here in England, as Nazgul basks in some rare seasonal sunshine on the turret of Castle Nazgul. The view from here is just dandy - one can see the carrion crows feeding in the graveyard below, and the churning inky-black waters of the river tempting reckless youths to their doom on such an unseasonably warm day.

So to celebrate Nazgul thought he would share with you another tape from the Split Series released in 2010 by Wulfrune Worxx, namely "The Long Grey Road". Come to think of it, there's a long grey road visible from up here too, snaking off into the middle distance into the haunted forest, but I suspect Hugin's road is a different one from that...

To quote from the sleeve notes, 'Fimbulvinter' is "the missing link between "Ancient Tales" and the "...Of Battles, Ravens & Fire" albums" and will be known to long-time readers of the Blog both from the review of that latter album as well as the special edited version that Hugin very kindly made for Nazgul some years back (look for the post on 21 May 2009 for more detail). Here the song appears in its full 15 minute version, and is replete with some classic movie samples and awesome music to make it an unmissable experience.

'Intro', on the other hand, is a relatively short piece at under two minutes duration, and is a 2007 recording previously unreleased. Whilst there's a limit to what anyone can fit into such a short song, there's plenty of atmosphere on offer and it's piece of music that bears repeated listening despite its brevity.

Final track 'The Long Grey Road' (also a 2007 recording) is described in the inlay as the "Last part of the LOTR trilogy after "The Secret Fire" and "Schattenkreiger" albums". Given the relatively slick commercialism of the latter album, the casual listener might be expecting more of that polished sound. Instead, what you have here is a very happy medium between the higher production standards of "Schattenkreiger" and the soul of the original Hrossharsgrani project.

This is a song that - were Nazgul more of a technical whiz - would be ideal to accompany this tribute Blog as you navigate around its many pages. Underpinned by a eerie piano/synth melody, the songs opens out and 'blooms' over its nine minute plus duration like a fantastical rose coming into flower. The song builds, slowly and ominously, and really sinks into your consciousness, augmented by a weaving and wailing electric guitar and funky percussion as it progresses to its climax. Well worth the price of admission alone, and a must-listen for any fan of Alex's output.

All in all then, a recommended release from Wulfrune Worxx and bearing a rather striking cover image too, of a mysterious winding woodland path disappearing into the fog-shrouded distance. Nazgul's copy is #10 of the limited series of 66 tapes, and there are very probably some available either from the label or Hugin himself, so there's no excuse not to experience this for yourself.

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