Friday, 3 September 2010

SHOCK MILLENNIUM

Band: HEIMATLEID
Title: Shock Millennium
Format: Cassette-only release from 1999, on the Chanteloup Creations (France) label, no catalogue reference. Contains black and white photo-copied inlays and a standard C-60 style tape. This version features three tracks from the band's first demo on Side B, plus a bonus track exclusive to Chanteloup Creations. From details on the inlay there is presumably an alternative version without track 9 released through Irrlichter Distro (Germany).
Edition: An unnumbered edition of 100 copies

Track Listing:

Side A:
01. Shock Millennium 5.45
02. Natur 2.27
03. Blut 4.12
04. Stahlschlag 2.48
05. Feuer Und Eis 4.44
Side B:
06. Keltische Steine 9.50
07. Heil 8.46
08. Pentagram 4.51
09. Raising The Flag 6.34 [Chanteloup Creations bonus track]

Digging around on-line whilst researching this Heimatleid demo, Nazgul stumbled across a mail-order list for Chanteloup Creations from August 2000 posted by our old friend Skogen. This tape, and the subsequent demo "Trummer Aus Stein", were both being offered for sale and one can only wonder how many people took advantage of that opportunity to grab a piece of history? All too few, one suspects...

This particular tape came into Nazgul's possession in 2009 via Skogen, who had access to what were probably the last of the original tapes in the Chanteloup vaults. Interestingly, the "Shock Millennium" tape is noted in the mail-order description as being Heimatleid's second demo, which is borne out by the tracks 6-8 on the second side being listed as originating on the band's original demo. Whether this first demo was in fact released in its own right is unclear - certainly Nazgul has not seen reference to it anywhere, so it's possible that the tracks were recorded in 1999 and lay dormant until this second demo secured a release on the erstwhile French label.

What is clear from the inlay is that track 9 - 'Raising The Flag' - is a bonus track only found on the Chanteloup mail-order version of the tape. We've seen additional material being offered in this way before on a number of other Chanteloup releases of Hugin's demos, including Hrossharsgrani's "Die Rückkehr Zum Pfade" and the aforementioned "Trummer Aus Stein" demo. Chanteloup referred to the Heimatleid sound as "Kampf Metal" and noted that it heralded "...bringing back an age of Honour, Pride and Epic battle furies". It certainly does!

The musical style herein is - as Nazgul has previously reported - nothing like Bonemachine (itself founded from the ashes of Heimatleid), but instead mirrors prime early Hrossharsgrani. All that is implicit in that statement applies here - the slightly muffled yet resonant booming war-drums, the deep and accented guttural vocals, the interplay of acoustic and electric guitar. The overall feel is one of being immersed in battle (complete with sampled sounds of buzzing arrows and sword-play) whilst having your senses pummelled by the barbaric music unfolding around you. Various song titles - notably 'Blut' and 'Feuer Und Eis' - will resonate with Hross' fans, whilst parts of the music have been re-recorded again on early Hross demo tracks too, giving the demo a familiar feel.

Nazgul's tape came with the cryptic dedication "The Power Of One" on the cassette box, whilst the cover illustration shows the cataclysmic aftermath of a meteor strike to planet Earth. The tape is not numbered, but Chanteloup details suggests that only 100 were created. Incidentally, it would seem that a loose translation of the word Heimatleid is 'homeland sorrow', harking back again to the Chanteloup description of past ages of heroism and battle.

In casual conversation with Hugin, Nazgul infers that it is highly unlikely that the old Heimatleid material will ever be released again. Likewise the earlier recordings by some of Hugin's other less well known projects, notably Raben Nacht. Admittedly there would probably be only a limited market for such releases, and even with various other historical recordings seeing anniversary re-pressings in 2010 it is understandable that this may not be an area that is a high priority for W.A.R Productions right now. Perhaps Castle Nazgul should invest in a printing press and some blank tapes and - under licence from W.A.R. - start a resurrection project of its own...!?

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