Friday, 3 December 2010


Ancient Tales
Reason for update: 10th anniversary expanded re-issue
Format: 2CDr set with full colour inlays released on the Valgriind label (Russia) in 2010, cat ref VG37/reich12. Valgriind is a division of Lost Reich Rex, created for issuing experimental music. The re-issue contains the original CD version of the album on disc one, plus a second disc of bonus material.
Edition: 200 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
1. March Into Battle 01:38
2. The Riddle of Steel 08:23
3. Fire and Ice 08:11
4. Mjölnir 08:45
5. Hel - Goddess of the Underworld 04:07
6. Song up to Hall up High (Bathory Cover) 02:44
7. Blood on My Sword 06:14
8. Born in the Fight 09:39
9. The Unknown Land 05:39
10. The Eternal Halls of Valhalla 05:37
11. Ancient Tales 03:40
12. Myrkvid 01:59
13. Riding the Wind 02:50
14. Triumph in Every Fight 07:06
1. Hildskjalf 0.59
2. Wotans Ehre 6.18
3. Fimbulwinter Part I 16.03
4. Mjölnir (different version) 9.55
5. Steel Meets Steel 3.46
6. Fimbulwinter Part II 7.17
7. Heroism 3.40
8. When The Gods Come To Earth 3.12
9. Fimbulwinter (2009 remix) 7.15

In another celebratory release master-minded by Hugin, this double-CD set sees no less than the 10th anniversary of Hrossharsgrani's epic "Ancient Tales". Long-time readers of Honour and Darkness will know that the original tape release of this album was covered way back in 2009 (on the 21 March to be precise), and that Nazgul never had managed to track down one of the original 300 CD releases. Sadly, that position is still current and there remains a hole in the collection - however, with this re-issue at hand, there is some good news at last in the pursuit of a digital version of this early Hross' work.

What this 2CD set essentially does is to re-release the original CD pressing on the first disc (with sound markedly better than on the original tape version, as one might imagine) plus add a ton of bonus material onto a second disc. The March 2009 post makes clear that the tape pressing had the benefit of three bonus tracks over the CD version, and it is a credit to the bonus material compiled for the re-issue that only one of those bonus songs - 'Heroism' - appears there.

Instead, Hugin has plundered the depths of the W.A.R. archive for some fittingly collectible material for those intrepid 200 souls seeking out this album. To summarise further, the bonus songs include:

  1. Three versions of the classic 'Fimbulwinter' track, in Parts I and II format plus a remixed version. This song has been described by Hugin as the "missing link between "Ancient Tales" and "...Of Battles, Ravens and Fire" album" and can be found in past posts for "The Long Grey Road" (19 April 2010) and the unique "Fimbulwinter" mini-disc (21 May 2009);
  2. 'Wotans Ehre', which features on the "From The Dark Ages" compilation (2 July 2009);
  3. 'Steel Meets Steel', from the Hrossharsgrani "Kampf" demo, which Nazgul notices with some surprise he has yet to cover in Honour and Darkness; and
  4. 'When The Gods Come To Earth', a rare track previously only on the Demo Compilation Volume 1 tape (see post for 21 October 2009).

Add to that a different, extended version of 'Mjölnir' and the short (and very peaceful) acoustic track instrumental 'Hildskjalf' and you have yourself quite the bonus disc there!

For a recent (2010) release, there seem to be relatively few places online still retailing this CD although a swift search online should unearth one. For anyone wondering what all the fuss was about with those early cassette-only demo releases of harsh, viking metal then this would be an ideal digitised starting point for a voyage of exploration. The limited promotional blurb that accompanied this release noted that it was "raw & primitive viking black metal a la early Graveland, Burzum, and Mortiis", so if that appeals you really might want to check this one out.

The original 2000 tape with 2010 CD re-issue

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