Sunday, 14 November 2010

Nazgul's Top 10: Miscellaneous project 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 - this assortment from Hugin's miscellany of other projects and bands - being the sixth 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 By necessity this list is out of date as soon as it's written, as other items that Nazgul is yet to track down will eventually overtake some of these entries...

As always, there are some specific folk without whose invaluable assistance Nazgul wouldn't be able to bring these items to you: hails of gratitude therefore ring out to Hugin (of course!), Reverend Kim, Igor & Tanya at the Eastern Front, and last but by no means least to Skogen at Wulfrune Worxxfor dredging some of these items out of the primordial ooze of their archives.

And who knows, as more items are unearthed over the years perhaps some long-lost tapes of After Aids or Schlaganfall recordings are out there yet...

10. Ceremony Of Innocence * Tiefenrausch
Coming in a very limited edition (the first pressing being the "Echos of the Deep" set in an edition of 10 copies, shown here with a host of free gifts, including calendar, fridge magnets and postcards) this COI release was available only fleetingly until disappearing under the proverbial waters of time once again. Just 44 copies overall of this short electronica-style EP were produced, and surprisingly enough you can still find the odd one on sale on eBay now if you were to take a look, which will come to you via Israel if you choose to bid on it. And frankly, you should!

9. WACH * The Fear
A novel release format for this short EP from another of Hugin's ongoing side-projects: each of the 4 digipaks contains the same three tracks plus a different bonus track for each version, which is denoted by the colour seal on the front of the matt-black cover. Occasional copies of this 2008 release do surface online, although with volumes in the low twenties for each pressing once they've gone they'll not be seen again! The silver seal version in particular is a real swine to find, and without the gracious help of Reverend Kim it's unlikely that Nazgul would have found one for many more years...
8. Ceremony Of Innocence * Fear Of The Deep
As a single from COI issued prior to their main album being released, this mini-CD was quite the mouth-watering item and beautifully packaged. Just the 19 copies were made, one of which only seems to be advertised for sale now via the same Israeli eBay shop as mentioned previously. Certainly rare, but as yet not unavailable, unlike some of the remaining goodies on this list.

7. Manwe * First Battle
There was a time not so very long ago that the tape version of this debut (and so far only) Manwe album was fairly commonly advertised on eBay. Of course, hardly anyone recognised the band name or its association with Hugin so many languished around without being bought. Now, you'll be doing well to find one anywhere except the most dusty of distro lists. So where did those tapes all go? An unsolved mystery. Interestingly a CDr version was printed up and sold in a few arcane places too, which had escaped even the fiery eye affixed to the pinnacle of W.A.R. Productions until Nazgul happened across one many moons ago. A few recent rumblings from the Manwe MySpace pages indicate new recordings in the making, which can only be a good thing...

6. WACH * The End Of All Dreams
Now this one was a pig to track down. In such a small edition (just 30 copies) and lovingly packaged with a gorgeous wax seal and sash, it was always going to be an instant collectors item and one that would very probably be hard to find if you'd missed it first time around (which, for a variety of reasons, Nazgul had). Finally, however, some diligent searching located one in the clutches of those good folk at the Eastern Front, and a deal was struck. Bleak, dark and ever-shifting, this is one of the definitive WACH audio experiences.

5. Drachenfeuer * The Realm Of The Light (promo)
It would appear that the formal release of this splendid double-album from Drachenfeuer (a collaboration between Hugin and English ambient artist JimKirkwood) is likely in 2011. Fans of Uruk Hai should take to this project like a duck to water, but until such point you'll only be able to hear the music if you can get your hands on a label promo of the album, as shown here. Of course, once officially released the rarity value of this particular item falls somewhat, although who knows - perhaps a different track listing or cover artwork will grace the final album. One to mark in your calendar for next year as a 'must-have'.

=4. Heimatleid * Shock Millennium
=4. Heimatleid * Trummer Aus Stein
Both as rare as hen's teeth, both simultaneously unearthed from the vaults of the oft missed Chanteloup Creations label, and both featuring the almost forgotten project Heimatleid. This band was once to all intents and purposes only really a name on a web-site, shown as the former name for the project we now know and love as Bonemachine, as no recorded history seemed to be out there. Imagine Nazgul's surprise therefore when these demos were found, and revealed to be a closer relative musically to the barbarian horde, Hrossharsgrani. Theoretically there should be a few of these around, as the quantities pressed up for both must mean that some are out there in collections and trade lists around the world. However, that being said Nazgul has yet to come across any other copies - have you?
2. Guts For Dinner * G.F.D. demo #1
True, you can find the songs from this rare demo (together with a extra bonus track) on the split G.F.D / Bonemachine release "Gore vs. War" on Smell The Stench records. The original demo CDr, however, is a whole other story, and represents a one-off set of grindcore tracks recorded by Hugin for one of his fervent fans. You'll never find one of these now, guaranteed! It's also true to note that musically it is a positively brutal release, and is unlikely to have found a home in either format on anyone's playlist! Indeed, this release seems so incongruous with the rest of Hugin's output that for some weeks after receiving it as a bonus item amongst some purchases from W.A.R. Nazgul assumed it was a kind but randomly included free gift - until further investigation showed otherwise!

1. Raben Nacht * Raben Nacht demo
There are obscure releases, and then there are obscure releases! Until Skogen dragged this tape kicking and screaming up from the bowels of hell, Nazgul very much doubts anyone had recalled the fact that Hugin had also once been in the project known as Raben Nacht. Some 66 copies of this demo were distributed at the time by Chanteloup Creations and Irrlichter Distro in 2000, although clearly some temporal weirdness took place and a small but powerful cosmic vortex appeared to swallow 65 copies up, never to be seen again. The remaining one is here, and frankly is as unlikely a survivor of a piece of Hugin's recorded history as you're likely to find anywhere. And that, dear readers, is why it tops the list of Nazgul's miscellaneous rarities list.

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