Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Title: A Vikings Journey
Format: Tape-only release on the Skullf*cking Tapes label (Canada), cat ref skull37. Released in 2005, the tape has a colour inlay and a plain black C60-style cassette. A separate compilation tape of this release and "The Battle" also exists but with slightly different track listing.
Edition: Presumed unlimited

Track Listing:

1. Der Schrei des Blutes 11:26
2. Stahlzeit 19:20
3. Hermodr A Helferd (Burzum Cover) 02:56
4. The Plague [tape-only bonus] 07:07

Not to be confused with fellow North American skullfuckers (namely SkullFuckingMetal, run by our old friend Keegan in Canada), this is a separate label based in Wisconsin but with a very similar name. What are the odds of such a profane coincidence of label name releasing Hugin's material...spooky stuff?! Anyway, such musings aside, back to the main focus of this post: "A Vikings Journey".

Let's start with a little myth-busting! In 2005 Uruk Hai released "The Battle" CD. This subsequent "A Vikings Journey" tape from 2006 has since been identified in some quarters on-line (notably as a 'sequel' to that album. Whilst this may be true in a purely chronological sense, Nazgul is less convinced that the tape represents any strict story-line or other continuance from the material on "The Battle". The four tracks on this tape were had in fact been previously released on earlier releases and show no real correlation with the music on the earlier release, save for the fact it's recorded under the same project name.

Exploring the songs in a little more detail supports this conclusion. The first three tracks on this tape were originally available on the April 2005 release "~2~", the split CD with German band Vinterriket. That release was neatly sandwiched in the discography between "The Battle" and "A Vikings Journey" but was never referred to as containing 'sequel' tracks to "The Battle" when it was released, as far as Nazgul can establish. The three songs on the "...Viking" tape are exactly the same as on that split album, and count amongst their number the Burzum cover version that has since reappeared on the "The Song Never Remains The Same" tape of 2010. Honour and Darkness covered the "~2~" split release on 10 December 2009.

The 'tape only bonus track' (which presumably refers to a bonus above and beyond the track-listing on "~2~", as there is no stand-alone CD of "A Vikings Journey" itself) is an interesting one, being 'The Plague'. This song was originally included on the then-unreleased 2004 demo "Elbenmacht" (which finally saw the light of day as part of Wulfrune Worxx's split-series of releases some five years later), and was one of the songs chosen for the 2005 compilation CD "Blutreich". There is no direct link between this track and anything on "The Battle" or indeed "~2~" in terms of style, content or theme other than Hugin being the musician responsible. You can find separate coverage on the Blog of both "Elbenmacht" (24 April 2009) and "Blutreich" (20 November 2009).

Where the matter becomes complicated - and Nazgul suspects the confusion arose - is that later in 2006 A.M.F. Productions released a tape combining both "The Battle" and "A Vikings Journey" onto one single album. Looking at this objectively, it seems more likely that this was a convenient way to issue a tape re-release of "The Battle" and utilise the free space on the cassette to re-issue "A Vikings Journey" at the same time, rather than to suggest that the two albums are directly linked.

Does all of this matter, you might ask? Well, objectively perhaps not, other than it may tidy up the already confusing discography of the band a little!

The cover illustration, incidentally, possibly shows the Argonath (a monument in Middle Earth, comprising two enormous pillars carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, standing upon either side of the River Anduin at the northern approach to Nen Hithoel). The more definitive illustration of this, however, is shown on the "Bounded By Blood" release from Hugin's self-titled project.

At the time "A Vikings Journey" was released the bonus that this tape offered over the pre-existing split CD was the one additional track - 'The Plague' - which until recently was pretty unavailable anywhere else (given the apparent and mysterious scarcity of "Blutreich" as discussed elsewhere in the Blog). With "Elbenmacht" now unleashed upon the world that rarity factor has diminished, although it must be said that "A Vikings Journey" is still probably the easier tape to find than the Wulfrune Worxx reissue! It is still advertised quite widely on the Internet for purchase, should you feel the need to add to your own collection.

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