Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Nazgul's Top 10: Hrossharsgrani rarities

Nazgul's Top 10 Hrossharsgrani rarities
Following a few questions on the subject, Nazgul has decided to compile some 'top ten' lists of his most precious items - those rare and hard to come by releases from Alex's bands - that currently exist in his collection in the library at Castle Nazgul. For the purpose of retaining Nazgul's sanity, he is excluding t-shirts, badges, posters etc from this list and is focusing solely on the music! Feel free to disagree with these lists - Hrossharsgrani being the third in the series - as they are purely personal observations based on my experiences since 2001 trying to find this stuff! By necessity this list is out of date as soon as it's written, as other items that Nazgul is yet to track down will eventually overtake some of these entries...

10. Blut
The original demo tape release on Werwolf Productions is one of the few early Hrossharsgrani releases Nazgul managed to find on the open market. This was bought on eBay about 5 years ago, and I've never seen another one for sale since!

9. Der Pfad Zum Tor Der Toten
200 copies of this CDr demo from 1999 were pressed, but you'll be doing very well to find one now. There were also 33 copies on tape format with an additional 3 bonus tracks, and Nazgul has yet to track one of those down. If you have one you want to trade, you know where to come...

8. Rehearsal CD1
Frankly this is where it gets pretty hard to distinguish in rarity value between the subsequent Hrossharsgrani releases, as the majority from here were directly from Alex rather than bought online or from traders. The releases are just so hard to find, anything from pre-2000 is pretty much impossible to find now. This rehearsal demo being a good example!

7. Demo '99
A very hard-to-find demo from (you guessed it) 1999, in an edition of just 30 copies. Many of these tracks also ended up on the "Blut" demo.

6. Feuer & Eis
Nigh on impossible to find demo, although some of the tracks have been re-released elsewhere, notably 'Wintertod' which appeared as a bonus track on the limited edition 2-disc version of "Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est" from 2009. Great cover art, and - as Nazgul has just realised - yet to be covered in Honour & Darkness...

5. Krieg
Both versions of this 1999 demo are pretty well gone forever now - the colour cover was the original pressing (limited to 3 copies) and the black and white version limited to a huge (by comparison) 10 copies. And you wonder why it's taken Nazgul so long to compile this collection....!?

4. Sagen & Gedichte
Another self-released demo from the early years of the Barbarian Battle-Machine, and this time in an unnumbered edition of 9 copies. Rare as hen's teeth, this did actually turn up as an item on eBay back in about 2003 and led to a frenzy of bidding from Castle Nazgul. Raw, early and entirely in keeping with early Hross', this is a demo to savour.

3. Ewig Winter
Recently covered in the Blog, the story of how this came to be in the collection has now been told. Suffice to say, the odds of finding another one of these are as probable as coming across a bi-lingual marshmallow.

2. Demo Compilation 1
Perhaps a controversial choice for this lofty spot in the rarity stakes, but it was news to Nazgul a year or so ago that this tape (only 10 of which were released) actually existed. On that basis, therefore, a true collector's item!

1. Uruk Hai
The Holy Grail of Hrossharsgrani demos, and one that Nazgul would never in a million years have been found anywhere to buy other than from the man himself, Hugin. This is the transition of where Uruk Hai (the band) spawned from Hrossharsgrani, and we all know where that particular adventure has led. This tape is the ultimate Hrossharsgrani collectible!

Not forgetting....
In the interests of fairness, Nazgul compiled this list on the basis of releases that were in fact released generally, e.g. in more than one or two copies as a special or private edition, and which therefore gave the world at large a chance (albeit fleeting) of buying them. The photo above shows a number of these private releases - "Fimbulwinter, "Ea", "Hrossharsgrani", "Rising Sun" and "Rehearsal 1999" CDr - that never were released in a commercial way, and thus were unique in their own way at the time they were pressed. Also in the photo is the unique promotional one-track CDr "Urd" which will be covered in a forthcoming Blog. These titles could have filled this top 10 by themselves, which Nazgul felt may have been a little misleading for any other budding collectors out there.

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