Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Castle Nazgul's Spring sale...!

Nazgul's horde of treasure: eat your heart out, Smaug...

You know, it's not all sweetness and light running a castle. There are always bills to be paid, repairs to be made, oubliettes to be scoured and beggars to be turned away. Frankly, the upkeep of a monolith such as Castle Nazgul incurs frightening amounts of expenditure - only last week, Mrs Nazgul cocked an eyebrow disdainfully at the vaulted ceiling in the great hall as yet another piece of medieval plasterwork fell down upon the dining table in a gentle cloud of ancient dust, and the likely cost of renovating the moat keeps your uncle Nazgul awake long into the early morning hours...

Taking stock of the dire situation, one thing became clear - finances are much needed to ensure the castle monkey will not go hungry this coming summer, and that the fabric of this venerable pile will not collapse around our ears.

To this end, Nazgul has thrown open the doors of the library for a little early Spring cleaning. Within the vast piles of Hugin-related memorabilia the items shown above had been identified as ones that really could do with a good new home, being spares/duplicates/trades that Nazgul has amassed over the years. Many are mint condition, all are in good condition, and a full list is shown by project below.

Loyal readers of Honour and Darkness - this is a rare opportunity for you to lay your hands on such a treasure trove, many copies of which are almost impossible to find anywhere and came in very limited supply when first issued. Some items are more recent, yet still fall into the category of being in limited supply and hard to trace. Within the pile of goodies pictured are some collectible gems, and the chance to own them is yours...

Nazgul plans to sell the items in this manner: outrageous offers, early bird bids and a general free for all chance to own these great items will be entertained via email to for the period until the end of April 2011. At the end of April, all the offers will be considered and deals can be struck, leading to goods winging their way across the globe to happy new owners. This is an exclusive early chance for readers of this Blog to get their hands on these great items first!

Thereafter, the plan is to list whatever is left on eBay. Listings will be under my eBay id of tall_dai which, you will notice, has a positive feedback score of 8800+ so you know you can trust me on this one! However, the rare items are likely to sell privately first so if you want something in particular my suggestion is to email me rather than wait until May...

I will reserve the right to charge for recorded delivery for certain countries (most of South America, Mexico, Italy, Russia and others) due to unreliable postal services, and also for parcels of above average value.

So, enough of the administration, the list of items for sale is as follows:



Durst Nach Unsterblichtkeit (rare debut demo, ltd 100)


Uber das Prinzip der Unschuld (500 copies in gold digipak)

Morella (rare unique version of track in triangular packaging, ltd 66)


Bluthochzeit (rare 3 track 7" vinyl release from 2001, ltd 100)



Of Battles, Ravens & Fire (Depressive Illusions release, ltd 33)

Kampf (original Chanteloup Creations tape from 1999, ltd 300)


The Secret Fire (first edition pressing, ltd 1000)

Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est (collectible promo in plastic wallet)

Dead:Meat (collectible promo in plastic wallet)

The Long Grey Road (rare 3" release, ltd 20)



Solar Fire (commercially unreleased 1 track demo)

Tiefenrausch (specially packaged with magnets, cards and more, ltd 44)



Little Boy (rare Depressive Illusions version, ltd 33)

Anti-Genesis (very rare split tape with Saturn Form Essence in special packaging, ltd 9)


Weiss (split release with Miel Noir in A5 package, ltd 300)

War Poem (split release with Stirnir, ltd 23)

Split release with Rei Rea (sealed, ltd 70)

Damaged Sounds (split with Pope On Acid, ltd 21)

Rotation Zwei (superb compilation of tracks from super-rare releases)

Music For Catgirl Lovers #3 (rare split with Kaelteeinbruch in A4 packaging, ltd 20)



Woid & Geist (great demo, ltd 33)


Wolfsnacht (label master CDr disc with original tape inlay, #8/30, a mega-rare one-off!)



Eismond (debut demo, colour pressing on Depressive Illusions, ltd 99)


Der Gegner Ist Die Zeit (13 song compilation feat. Bonemachine & WACH, ltd 333)



Lebensende: Winter (ltd 33)

Barbarians - Orcish Battle Hymns Part II (AMF pressing with 5 bonus tracks)

Gil-Galad (Depressive Illusions colour version, ltd 100)

Dragon War (split with Bestia on Wulfrune Worxx, ltd 66)

Songs From The Woods (rare original pressing on EoLP, ltd 88)

Black Blood, White Hand (Depressive Illusions version with 2 bonus tracks, ltd 99)

Long Forgotten Tales (very rare demo, ltd 50)

Elves & Men (Depressive Illusions pressing with bonus track, ltd 200)

Gestalten, Berge & Walder (split with Walpurgis, ltd 33)

Nazgul (split with Vinterriket, ltd 400)

Elbentraum (ltd 55)

Darkness (original Chanteloup Creations demo, rare! ltd 300)

Elbenwald (original Elven Witchcraft/Beverina demo, ltd 500)


Quenta Silmarillion (very scarce original AMF Productions pressing from 2004)

Tawantinsuyu (digipak, ltd 1000)

The Battle (ltd 1000)

~2~ (split with Vinterriket, ltd 1000)

Elves & Men (rare 3" in special packaging, ltd 14)

Black Blood, White Hand (collectible promo in plastic wallet)


Schall & Rauch (rare CCP Records pressing, ltd 333)


Legacy Of The Tyrant (rare! Size L, ltd 10)

Saturday, 26 March 2011


Title: Death Is Just Another Path...
Format: Red coloured CDr pressing on the W.A.R Productions label (no cat ref) on 9 April 2010. colour card sleeve folded to house disc in a white card wallet, which bears the edition number. The item comes in a plastic sleeve. An uncredited bonus second song appears at track 66: there are 3 minutes of silence between the two songs (tracks 2-65 inclusive).
Edition: 50 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

01. Death Is Just Another Path... 8.00
02. March To War 12.30

It's been a hectic week here at Castle Nazgul with limited time to update the Blog and delve once more into the world of all things Hugin. To make up for a quiet week of posting, here's a gem pulled from the collection to brighten your weekend.

The disc in question is the exceedingly rare "Death Is Just Another Path..." CDr pressing that was sold as a bonus disc only with initial orders of the "Black Blood, White Hand" box-set (see post of 27 October 2010) and also was available at the release party for that album held at Steinklang Records, Austria.

The two songs present are not unique, but are certainly excellent modern Uruk Hai tracks. Both the title track and 'March To War' were present on the CD split releases with Sieghetnar and with Funeral Fornication, and both tracks also feature on the Depressive Illusions tape version of "Black Blood, White Hand". 'March To War' has also had a very limited vinyl release, more of which in another post.

The likelihood is, therefore, that the keen Uruk Hai fan will be familiar with the songs and thus will not necessarily feel the need to rush off to buy the only copy of this CDr that Nazgul has actually seen for sale, currently listed on Discogs for a healthy 55 Euros...

From a collectors perspective, of course, it's a great item to own. The superb cover artwork features Lucifera, the model who also features on the cover to the digipak version of "Black Blood..." and who has worked in the past with notable bands including Dimmu Borgir. The quality of the disc is also rather fine, being burgundy red on the playing side and resembling a vinyl record on the non-playing side. The disc comes in a stickered white card sleeve which bears the edition number, in Nazgul's case #2/50.

Sadly Nazgul was unable to attend the release party in Austria back in 2010, but by all accounts it proved to be a blast!

Nazgul's copy of this item has also been personalised by Hugin on the transparent sleeve that the inlays are housed in, to read (as shown below) "Death is just another path ... in Honour & Darkness." A nice touch!

If you really want to add a rarity to your collection and have a wad of spare cash burning a hole in your pocket then you could still head to Discogs and grab that one copy available, otherwise why not dust off those split CDrs and give them another spin...?

Saturday, 19 March 2011


Title: Der Rote Glanz Der Flammenfee
Reason for update: Cover art for an unreleased two-track CDr version

It's always fun to feature one of Hugin's lesser known projects on the pages of Honour and Darkness, and although music doesn't form part of the equation in this offering it's an interesting little update to the last full Ceremony of Innocence album, released in 2008.

Indeed, it was all the way back on 24 June 2009 that Honour and Darkness first covered "Der Rote Glanz Der Flammenfee", and with little in the way of C.O.I. material coming through in the intervening years this opportunity is something of a blessing to keep the band in public view.

You may recall in the original 2009 post that a Kulturterrorimus online review was cited, which read:

"should [your taste] be rooted in Ambient, Trip Hop, Chill Out, Drum And Bass, (future) trance and Goa, must this multi-layered gem is unconditionally excellent. Others who love avant-garde Neoklassik or ritual and/or occult Industrial should risk also giving it a listen"

and that Nazgul concluded that "It's simply a great CD to chill out with! It forms the first part of a four-album concept based around the elements - Fire, Water, Air and Earth - hence the coloured disc and the 'fire' themed tracks running throughout the album."

The artwork shown in this post (above) was presumably for a planned - but unreleased - CDr version of the release, which has two tracks listed: 'Feuer' and 'Zeit & Raum'. The latter track did appear on the Beverina & WAR (B&W) version of the CD as both an album track and as bonus video content. The track 'Feuer' is not listed on the final release, although there are Part I and II versions of a song called 'Feuertraum' that may be the derivation for this alternate version.

Fire, or 'feuer', is the theme of this release of course, so it's not impossible that there was another track (or version of an existing song) going by this title at the time. Until (or if) a disc to accompany the artwork comes to light, however, this is a matter for pure conjecture at this time.

The image on the rear panel of the illustration shows Hugin in tub-thumping mode, and is the same picture - albeit it in colour not monochrome - that appears on the inside rear tray insert on the B&W pressing.

The artwork was designed by Hugin himself, and to Nazgul's eyes is rather more spectacular than the artwork on the full album release. A shame therefore that this particular release never saw the light of day. Unless, of course, Hugin could be persuaded to release a limited run for the die-hards out there!

Mind you, it's a privilege to have seen this at all, as it was totally unknown to me until Alexander at AMF Productions unearthed it from his archive.

Until the next full Ceremony of Innocence release comes our way, these little nuggets will have to suffice!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Followers of Honour and Darkness ... #4

Nick Diak
Nazgul thought it high time the wider community met Nick Diak in this, the fourth outing in the Followers of Honour and Darkness series.

Nick and Nazgul have been in contact for sometime now, and Nazgul is proud to list Nick and his partner Michele amongst his friends on the North American continent. Not content with merely being fans of the music, Nick and Michele have recently been involved in shooting a video for one of Hugin's songs, more of which in another post.

Nazgul hopes you enjoy this insight into another of our own kind...

Q1.Hello! Tell us your name?

A1. Hello! My name is Nick Diak, or Nicholas Diak if you want to be proper.

Q2. Where do you live?

A2. I've just moved from rainy Seattle, Washington, to sunny Orange, California.

Q3. Your age, Nick?

A3. 28 years old, almost Logan's Run time for me.

Q4. And what do you do for a living?

A4. I'm a master's student at the University of Washington, with aspirations to be an academic author on Italian vernacular cinema.

Q5. Your favourite style of music?

A5. There's a few genres I like quite a bit: industrial, neofolk, military-pop, synth-pop, dream-pop, bit-pop (video game-esque music), black ambient, aggro-tech, and EBM.

Q6. Your favourite other bands (non-Hugin)?

A6. I've been an ardent follower of KMFDM for 14 years, they are probably one of my all time favourites. Other bands I hold with high regard include Changes, Werkraum, Von Thronstahl, Armageddon Dildos, Chandeen, DE/Vision, Bandaloop, The Stranglers, Death in June, Der Blutharsch, T.O.Y., Farmer Boys, Galaxy Hunter, Hyperbubble, Juno Reactor, Kirlian Camera, Laibach, OOMPH!, S.P.O.C.K., Waldteufel, Welle:Erdball, Weissglut, and Lady Gaga (don't laugh!).

Q7. The first album you ever bought...?

A8. I don't recall the first CD I ever bought but the first 2 CDs I received as gifts were Barenaked Ladies' "Stunt" and Rammstein's "Sehnschult". It was a red pill/blue pill moment and you can see what musical path I went down...

Q8. ...And the latest album you have bought?

A8. I bought 2 at the same time from my first trip to Amoeba records near Hollywood: Kirlian Camera's "Not of This World" boxset and the new Die Krupps EP, "Als Waeren Wir Fuer Immer". The godfathers of industrial metal are back! I have a pre-order for the new Armageddon Dildo's album (after so many years of silence) and the new Massiv En Mensch album. They should arrive soon, hope they are good!

Q9. Your favourite food?

A9. Jalepeno pizza, Paneer Masala with Pankoras, Chile Relanjos, white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake: Om nom nom nom nom

Q10. Your favourite film?

A10. Probably my all time favourite movie is either Lars von Trier's "Europa" or Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colours: Red". "Wicker Man", "A Clockwork Orange" and "Amelie" are also movies I love.

Q11. Your favourite book?

A11. "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson is probably my favourite fiction book. I read a lot of film books, and my two favourites are "Nightmare USA" by Stephen Thrower and "La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film" by Mikel Koven. Both books have had a profound influence on me and the way I perceive films.

Q12. How long have you been reading Honour and Darkness?

A12. Early 2010. My first email to Nazgul was when he took a quest to the States and I said he should stop by for a drink. Unfortunately he already departed and much later did we get a chance to establish a rapport.

Q13. How did you first come across Hugin's music?

A13. Ahhh, sit back and grab your favourite beverage - this will be a tale that could take a while. One of my musician friends is Marcel P., a prolific and great musician who has been in a plethora of projects. Much like Hugin, I like to support Marcel by taking an interest in his projects and buying some of the releases he appears on.

At the tail end of 2009 he informed me of his appearance on Allerseelen's new "Sonne Golthi-Ade" single put out by our one and only Hugin's Beverina and W.A.R. Productions label. I was able to procure an email contact for Hugin (I don't do MySpace so getting hold of him at first was problematic) and order a copy of the very limited single from him.

Now as we all know, Hugin is a pretty shameless promoter. In my order from him I got some postcards. One postcard that was noteworthy was of Hugin in chainmail brandishing a sword. Now I'll be honest, at first I laughed thinking the photo was rather silly. However the image's advertising capability must've worked because next thing I knew I was checking out Uruk-hai's discography.

Being attracted to the cover art of "Lost Songs From Middle Earth", I was soon re-contacting Hugin to place and order for that CD as well as WACH's "Experimentum Solaris" (impromptu purchase). WACH didn't impact me much at the time, but "Lost Songs..." did. I soon pounced on the pre-order for "Black Blood/White Hand" box-set which pretty much cemented me into Uruk-hai, which led to delving deeper into Hugin's other work.

Q14. Which of Hugin's projects do you follow most attentively?

A14. Uruk-hai is the one I follow them most with Hrefnesholt a close second. The subject matter of the dark woods in Hrefnesholt really resound with me growing up in the forests and rivers of southwest Washington. I don't follow every release of every project for one simple reason: tapes. My AIWA has been sitting in storage for years, and I've made the full conversion of importing my CDs into iTunes and onto my iPhone or onto my Pandora (a little mini Linux box that looks like a Nintendo DS). This way keeps all my nice collectible CDs safe and sound and I got a portable library full of Hugin's music at my disposal. I still buy limited edition records since they look like works of art, but tapes are not too much my thing.

Q15. What was the first thing you bought that Hugin composed?

A15. The SkullLine anniversary compilation "WHW" back in 2005. I was not aware of Hugin's projects at the time and bought the compilation purely for the Von Thronstahl track "Return Your Revolt Into Style (Boss/Lagerfield Mix)" which turned out to be a terrible version of the song.

The Bonemachine track "Rhythmus Der Einsamkeit" didn't leave an impression on me at the time when I was exploring the compilation, and I wouldn't revisit the material until some years later when I was fully immersed into Hugin's projects.

Q16. What was the last thing you bought that Hugin composed?

A16. I just picked up Bonemachine's "Erste Rotation" over the holidays. I am trying to listen to more Bonemachine, and this seemed like a good place to start. Love the cover!

Q17. What is your favourite release from Hugin's discography to date?

A17. My favourite release of Hugin's so far is probably "Angband", and for a few reasons. Firstly, Runenstein Records did an awesome job at presentation. Though I am not so lucky as to have the version that comes in the metal box (see below), the normal release is presented well: the artwork is cool, the map is fun, and for some odd reason, the CD case reminds me of the CD case Final Fantasy 7 came in 14 years ago, so looking at it makes me feel nostalgic.

Secondly the sheer quantity of music on "Angband" is staggering, and based on probability alone there is a song for everyone. I don't care for all the tracks on "Angband" (specifically those with 'shouty' vocals), but there is a large population of tracks (particularly on later discs in the set) that I enjoy.

Q18. What items/release(s) do you most treasure in your collection of Hugin's stuff?

A18. There's four particular items in my collection I probably treasure the most. Aside from the aforementioned "Angband" (based on pure utility), the other commercially available item I feel quite proud to own is the "March to War" limited vinyl. The other two items I treasure, and actually treasure the most, are two custom made releases. The first is my personal copy of Hrefnesholt's "Rabentanz" album as seen in Honour and Darkess entry on October 30th 2010. The second is a special "Michele & Nick" edition of "Cirith Ungol" that Hugin made for my girlfriend Michele and I. A truly generous gift from Hugin.

Q19. Are there any particular releases of his that are you looking for?

A19. I am sad my copy of "Angband" is without the box so I wish I had that. I wish I had alot of the tape material, only I'd want them on CDs. I really like things in boxsets, so I'd love copies of Bonemachine's "Vogelfrei" for example. I kick myself for not getting the new "Darkness" box, but I was afraid the state of Cali would detain it at customs due to the seeds and stuff inside, so I missed a good opportunity.

Q20. Do you have a particular message for Hugin?

A20. Hailz Hugin! I hope this new year finds you in good health and much success with your projects. I hope you can realize some of your ambitions, get some good music released, and of course set aside some copies for yours truly to order from you.

Q21. What message do you have for your fellow readers of Honour & Darkness?

Q22. Comrades, my fellow connoisseurs of good and sub-altern music! My hats go off to you for supporting such music. Perhaps you'll in turn become inspired and make music yourself. Perhaps you'll start a D.I.Y. label and contribute to the canon of the underground. Or perhaps you'll relax in a comfy couch with your favourite drink and rock out. Regardless, I wish you all the best in your endeavours (and if you do wind up making some music, send some my way!).

Nick Diak, one of the good guys. Nazgul sends his thanks across the pond for this interview.

As always, should you wish to be featured in this occasional series then Nazgul would be delighted to hear from you via the usual email address.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Title: Darkness (Part II)
Format: Cassette release on the Wulfrune Worxx (France) label in 2010, cat ref WW166. As well as existing as a unique tape release, the demo is also compiled within the Darkness I-V box-set released through W.A.R. Productions in 2010. The tape comes with a photocopied black and white inlay and is on a C120 tape (1 hour per side), one song on each side. Two versions of the demo exist, the first 16 copies having a unique bonus track.
Edition: 166 hand-numbered copies, numbers 1-16 in the limited two-track edition and copies 17-166 as the 'standard' edition

Track Listing:

Standard release:
01. The Darkness 58.00
Bonus track on first 16 copies only:
02. Darkness 7.46

"One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie."

The theme of 'darkness' runs throughout the Lord of the Rings novels, to the extent that there is many a written word on the symbolism and metaphor behind Tolkien's writing and even the odd YouTube lecture on the subject. While the obvious theme of the books is the epic struggle of good against evil, common to many contemporary genres, it is also profound reflection on what it means to be authentically human: the search for the solution to evil, going beyond oneself for the good of others, sharing what we have been given for the common good (the concept of 'fellowship'), bring hope out of darkness and root out evil in our hearts.

The central theme of the ring is really a symbol for greed, power and personal gain, and the struggle against this. This is where Boromir comes a cropper, Bilbo shows his darker side, Galadriel resists the temptation, Sauron is completely consumed with the ring (dehumanised) and even Frodo is almost overcome at the end. The climactic scene of Frodo choosing not to throw the ring in the fires of Mount Doom has this dramatic sense of Frodo's temporary capitulation to evil. Significantly, the battle between good and evil, personified in Gollum, takes place in people’s hearts. Overcoming resentment, addiction, greed and temptation are what the characters struggle with. Salvation consists in overcoming the 'darkness' within, only possible through faith in the good and help from others.

Just taking a step to one side for the moment, the original demo "Darkness" reviewed on 10 February 2011 really doesn't quite fit into this series of releases as neatly as the box-set might make you believe. It was released 10 years before the other demos back in 2001 as a collection of 10 various instrumental and other songs, including a Motorhead cover. Yes, there was a track titled 'Then The Gloom Gathered, Darkness Growing', but that aside that the subject matter was spread more generally across the Middle Earth domain and was not focused on the one theme alone.

Using the concept of darkness for the basis of a series of Uruk Hai releases - of which this formally is, as the title suggests, Part II (although more realistically it is Part I of the remaining 4 demos through to Part V, if you put the original demo to one side, if that makes sense). It is an ambitious project by Hugin for sure. That is Middle Earth-based is left in no doubt by the cover illustration of the tape - a map of Mordor - and Hugin's own dedication on Nazgul's copy, which reads "the darkness comes from Mordor".

So what does a 58 minute instrumental track called simply 'The Darkness' bring to the table? Quite a few surprises, as it turns out, although mercifully nothing that involves Justin Hawkin's recently reformed Lowestoft mob.

Things begin rather ethereally with a lovely chiming opening passage created on keyboards, all very Elfin and uplifting and with some nice chord changes and progressions. So far, so Uruk Hai. After a few minutes and an obligatory sample from the Lord of the Rings film, the nature of the beast turns and the remainder of the song develops harsher and almost Bonemachine-like passages of discord, tension and unease (fear and loathing in Mordor!) This is unexpected - it brings together elements of these two different projects in a successful manner, but with little advance warning. The imagery seems clear enough, however: the insidious onset of chaos and evil (the 'Bonemachine-esque' instrumental bits) over light, gradually pervading the whole until the darkness has fully spread....

It's a long piece, to be sure, and rather than being a constantly changing kaleidoscope of different parts there are some fundamental riffs and elements to the song that repeated over time and form a consistent and unsettling listen. Is it an Uruk Hai track - yes, but not as we know it!

Happily for Nazgul, he managed to snare one of the early tapes in this series so has the extra track to listen to on side B as well. Oddly, the inlay states that the bonus track is "only available on [the] first 16 copies through Werwolf Promotion", which alludes to the Italian label that released a few very hard to find demos from Uruk Hai back in 2004, such as "Ea" and "Battle Magic". Not quite sure why that reference is cited as opposed to the credit going to Wulfrune Worxx, but let Nazgul get back to you on that one!

Equally oddly, Nazgul has two copies of this tape: one is part of the Darkness box-set and - as all the tapes in that set are except for the original demo - is numbered #1/166. The second copy was bought when Wulfrune Worxx spewed out a glut of Uruk Hai demos at the tail end of 2010, and interestingly that also seems to be numbered #1 of 166 copies! Nazgul can only imagine, with a little squinting at the back of the inlay, that this tape must in fact be #7 and the pen-work is just a tad askew?! Hmmmm...

Anyway, bonus track 'Darkness' is a little under 8 minutes long and takes us into yet another dimension of the Uruk Hai sound, underpinned by what could only be called a low, almost dirge-like drone sound. Think Uruk Hai being whisked off in Saturn Form Essence's UFO and genetically spliced with both SFE* and WACH sounds to get a general overview of what this might sound like. Again, it is a song geared to reflect the dim and murky side of Middle Earth, the shadow spreading across the land and infiltrating all in its path.

It's an eclectic release for sure, certainly not what Nazgul was expecting and not quite what Hugin has put out before in the Uruk Hai name. That said, the musical territory covered here fits comfortably within the blackened ambient genre that the band often explores, and will be familiar fare to follows of Hugin's other projects. No amount of narrative is truly going to tell the story here, this is a release to be experienced on a personal basis.

It took a while to grow on me, I'll admit it, but the tide of pure blackness slowly but surely won Nazgul over...

* As a shameless plug for Nazgul's recent creation, should you be interested in reading more about Ukrainian ambient space drone project Saturn Form Essence then please do take a look at for interstellar adventures beyond the edge of the universe...

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Title: Kampf (Part 2 - Dead:Meat)
Format: Cassette tape release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW175 / AWE 52-2. The tape comes with a black and white copied inlay.
Edition: 100 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

Side A
01. Come My Phoenix 4.06
02. Znischy Jih 1.06
03. Countess Bathory (Venom cover) 4.22
04. Warriors Of The Wasteland 11.32
Side B
05. Down There (Beherit cover) 7.19
Bonus Track
06. Down There (Beherit cover - different version) 7.04

The clue, as they say, is in the title. "Dead:Meat" was a CD split release between Hrossharsgrani and Belgium's Dead Man's Hill in 2010, which featured in Honour and Darkness on 29 July 2010. The release was positively reviewed by Nazgul, with the cover versions on the Hrossharsgrani side of that album offering a different and interesting perspective on the evolution of the band's sound.

This tape release is a more curious proposition. Released on the ever-supportive Wulfrune Worxx label, it takes just the Hrossharsgrani songs and re-packages them in old-school tape format under the banner of "Kampf - Part 2". Now the original "Kampf" demo was a rutting rhino of a demo release from 2000, brimming with viking brawn and positively oozing blood and severed limbs. Does the newer tape release really have a lineage back to that early demo tape?

Well, the honest answer is no and hence the 'Dead:Meat' suffix to make sure there's no doubt in the listeners mind before they press the play button. Tenuous links can be seen - both albums have riders on horseback adorning the black and white covers, albeit in the form of skeletons rather than mythical figures in the newest release. Another nice touch is that the old Chanteloup Creations catalogue reference number AWE52 from the original "Kampf" demo is resurrected here to be AWE52-2 on the 2010 tape. But in reality, this is no more a modern updated version of "Kampf" than Predator 2 was a worthy sequel to the original film. It's different.

The curious nature of the beast is that the majority of Hrossharsgrani fans would surely have already bought the original CD pressing with these tracks present? Would they - save for the odd crazy obsessive completest like Nazgul - go and purchase a tape version of the same songs, even allowing for the 'different version' bonus track of 'Down There' which, if I'm brutally honest, is pretty hard to distinguish from the original? I'd wager 'no' is the answer to that question, hence perhaps the small limitation of just 100 copies of the tape being produced (Nazgul's copy being #2).

Nazgul's advice would be to take a read of the original post for "Dead:Meat" and determine if this sounds like your sort of music. If so, and if you can't quite justify stumping up the cost for the CDr pressing (which does feature the excellent Dead Man's Hill too, of course) then this low-cost option might well be worth investigating.

One small anecdote to end: this post very nearly didn't happen as the last play of "Kampf (Part 2 - Dead:Meat)" in the Castle led to it being the very first (and hopefully last) tape to become chewed up in the inner workings of the death-deck. Fortunately a deft bit of finger-work accompanied by no little swearing managed to salvage the tape sufficiently for it to fight on another day. But dead-meat it very nearly was...

And - this is the 400th post on Honour and Darkness, would you believe? Nazgul thanks all of you who have made the writing and maintaining of this Blog an absolute joy.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Gil-galad (The Whole Story)
Format: Tape only release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW182. There was also a tape-only version of this demo released with the same cover (in colour) on Depressive Illusions (Ukraine), cat ref cut163, with 2 fewer tracks under the name "Gil-galad". Both are covered in this post, along with a little history...
Edition: Wulfrune Worxx demo limited to 60 hand-numbered copies, Depressive Illusions to 100 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
Both versions contain:
01. Gil-galad (remastered version) 10.44
02. The Fall Of Gil-galad (first take collaboration track with Golden Dawn) 5.37

"Gil-galad (The Whole Story)" adds:
03. Gil-galad (original version) 10.47
04. Hymn of Gil-galad (previously unreleased) 3.53

Tolkien's story of Gil-galad - last of the High Kings of the Noldor-in-Exile in Middle-Earth - was convoluted and complex. In the closing years of the Second Age the reappearance of Sauron with a newly formed army led to a war against the kingdom of Gondor, close to his old home of Mordor. Gil-galad formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil, High King of the Dúnedain-in-Exile and the armies of Elves and Men, victorious after the Battle of Dagorlad, laid siege to Sauron in Mordor. At the end of the siege, both Gil-galad and Elendil aided in the overthrow of Sauron's physical body yet perished themselves in the assault - a record left by Isildur in Minas Tirith implies that Sauron himself slew Gil-galad, with the heat of his bare hands.

The history of 'Gil-galad' the song is no less convoluted, but thankfully has yet to end up with any deaths being associated with it. It may be prone to giving the occasional Uruk Hai collector a cold shiver down the spine, however, as the history of this song through the band's discography is itself a complex tale worth reciting. So let us delve back into history to see what our research uncovers....

The first Uruk Hai release to bear a song named 'Gil-galad' was not, as often supposed, the 2008 split with Moloch but a much earlier release: "Elbentanz" in fact, from 2003. Here the track is purely instrumental, and only of 1:24 duration. A simple keyboard refrain with regular war-drum like beat behind it, it was nothing more than an early rehearsal track committed to CD by an early incarnation of the project. Interesting enough, but with nothing whatsoever in common with later songs of the same name.

The legacy as we recognise it now came with the release of an entirely different song by the same name as half of the "Vereint Durch Die Kraft Uralter Wälder" split release with the aforementioned Moloch. A triumph of enchanting female choral vocals and memorable keyboards, the song immediately elevated the Uruk Hai ambient art-form to a new level and in so doing became a major part of the contemporary sound that the project was moving towards in the last years of the decade.

This 3"CDr split release was a relatively small one, however, with only 50 copies out in general circulation. Perhaps inevitably, therefore, the lure of a good song was too good an opportunity to miss and the track started to crop up on more and more releases as time went on. Indeed, it became almost impossible to pick up a CD from Uruk Hai in 2010 without the blessed thing being there in one form or another! But first things first: the next official time the track was to be found was in remastered format on the split tape release "Bounded By Blood" with Hugin's self-titled Hugin project. This again was a pretty limited release (66 copies) and so, with some predictability, the track appeared on a number of CD's thereafter including (in no particular order) the split albums with Sieghetnar and Mhnunrrn, and the multi-disc "Angband" compilation.

You can imagine Nazgul's face when news came out that the song was due for yet another tape release at the end of 2010 and not just once, but on two separate labels simultaneously!
However, as can so often be the case all is not what it seemed and these two tapes offered something a little extra in their composition. Whilst both have the same cover illustration, the colour version on the Depressive Illusions release looks far more the impressive of the pair with some striking blue and green tints in the main image. both tapes have the re-mastered version of the song as their first track, and then both have a bonus track recorded with Austrian act Golden Dawn as track two. Golden Dawn were originally part of the Austrian 'Black Metal Syndicate' along with Pervertum, Trifixion, Pazuzu, Summoning and Abigor, although they now have a more extreme gothic metal style. Nazgul will attempt to track them down for a future mini-interview to see how this collaborative track come about.

This second track - 'The Fall Of Gil-galad' - is presumably based on the poem translated by Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring, detailing the last days of this enigmatic individual. This song starts with a couple of metallic clanks (for a moment, it seemed like a re-recording of 'Schall & Rauch" was in the offing!) before it moves into a very pleasant and harmonic song that is distinctly different to your standard Uruk Hai tune, courtesy of the input from Golden Dawn. Well worth tracking down, this one. Incidentally, the last verse of Bilbo's poem read:

"But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are"

To which one is tempted to add, with apologies to Tolkien:

"But now he's back, and here to stay
His name with time won't pass away;
He's on CD and tape cassette
Just waiting for his own box-set"

Ahem. Anyway, that brings us to the end of the Depressive Illusions tape release but wait - for there is more on the Wulfrune Wroxx version! Now, in honesty when Nazgul placed his order for these two cassettes he assumed it was the same track listing on each, but in order to support both labels placed an order for both anyway. It was a very pleasant surprise therefore to find the Wulfrune Worxx expanded edition - the 'Whole Story' - with two more songs on it.

The third track is billed as the original version of 'Gil-galad', which did lead Nazgul to wonder if this might in fact be the original 2003 version raised from the depths of obscurity for this collection. "No", was the short answer to that. It is in fact the 2008 version from the "Vereint Durch Die Kraft Uralter Wälder" split CD, and to be honest it's not a whole heap different from the re-mastered version save for a sample of Gandalf at the outset of the newer version. Still, it's nice to have them together in one place, especially for those who might have missed the split album the first time around. The final track 'Hymn of Gil-galad' is purely instrumental, and if one might dare to venture such a view not that different to many other recent Uruk Hai instrumental outings. Nothing offensive about it whatsoever, but it comes and goes rather fleetingly with no real 'hooks' to drag you in...

When all is said and done, the quality of these two releases shines through, and as a now familiar friend the song doesn't outstay its welcome by appearing again on these two tapes, particularly with the attendant bonuses. Wrapping things up, here's a photo of the Gil-galad 'family' of releases to date. Although a CD release of the 'Whole Story' saga might not go amiss, here's hoping 'Gil-galad' keeps a lower profile in 2011 than he did last year!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Chanteloup Creations > original artwork

Items: Mounted original artwork for 4 Chanteloup Creations cassette releases from both bands in the period 1999-2000.
Source: Skogen

The four items you see here were kindly donated to the Hugin Museum by Skogen, long-time friend of Honour and Darkness and former co-owner of legendary French Black Metal label Chanteloup Creations (from whence these inlays derive) and latterly of Wulfrune Worxx.

Each panel takes two of the original artwork proofs for the inlays of tapes released on the label featuring Hugin's bands, which Skogen has very nicely mounted on a piece of A4 paper and dedicated to Nazgul. What a splendid fellow he is, to be sure.

Although the quality of the images shown here may not fully demonstrate the fact, the quality of these original prints of the inlays are far better than the photocopies used in the actual production run, so you can see all of the little details so much more clearly. The edition number boxes are blank, of course, as they were hand-numbered after the original tape pressings were made and ready to be boxed up.

A very nice addition to the memorabilia contained within the library here at Castle Nazgul, and my thanks again to Skogen for his endeavours on our behalf.

This image shows the mounted inlays from Hrossharsgrani's "Kampf" demo (1999: AWE52), and bears the inscription, "To Nazgul, thou shalt keep this primal source of ancient voices of wisdom and knowledge in the dungeon of Castle Nazgul"

The second image is of Uruk Hai's "Orchish Battle Hymns" demo (2000: AWE65) and it's probably only right to note Hugin's dedication on the inlays, "These songs are dedicated to Skogen". The inscription on this panel reads, "Another piece to add to the most impressive collection known so far in the Middle Earth of Hugin's worxx"

Photograph number three shows the Hrossharsgrani "Die Ruckhehr Zum Pfade.." (2000: AWE84), once noted by Hugin himself as one of his favourite demos. Skogen's words here read, "In Honour and Darkness to Nazgul, master and commander of the brotherhood"

And last, but by no means least, the inlay for Hrossharsgrani's "In The Mystic Forest" (2000: AWE51) and one of Nazgul's favourite covers from Chanteloup Creations. The detail of the central melee image is incredible, and much better seen in this copy. This mounted cover bears the legend, "To Nazgul, master secrets unveiled but the quest never ends...until we fall"

Truly great stuff for any collector to own, and I trust you have found this glimpse further into Castle Nazgul illuminating.


Title: Oak Folk
Format: 6 panel digipak CD pressing on the Ahnstern label (Austria) from 2010, cat ref AORCD 14 / AHNSTERN 48. Contains 12 exclusive tracks contributed by European and North American bands, theming their songs to the motif of the sacred oak tree. The concept is the brainchild of Gerhard Hallstatt of the band Allerseelen (see text). You can download or just listen to the 'Oak Folk' medley - a 30 second mp3 sample of all 12 songs - through the Steinklang site.
Edition: unknown, presumed unlimited

Track Listing:
01 Agalloch - Where Shade Once Was 5.14
02 Allerseelen - Eiche Aus Eisen 4.32
03 Arnica - Altas Hojas 4.22
04 Changes - The Oak Trees 2.26
05 Dannagoischd - Ôichâbleddr Onnd Ôichâsâmâ 5.43
06 Fräkmündt - Eiche, Tüüfu, Geissebueb 3.49
07 Hrefnesholt - Winter Eiche 8.00
08 Klammheim - Des Mörders Eiche 4.21
09 Splinterskin - A Bed Of Burning Leaves 4.16
10 Sturmpercht - Die Tausenjährige Eiche 4.05
11 Waldteufel - Unter Einer Eiche 4.43
12 Werra - Eichenlaub 3.56

Certainly a well presented CD this one, featuring one of Nazgul's favourite projects: Hrefnesholt.

Look up this CD online and you'll be sure to stumble across this description, which seems to have been used wholesale on every message board and label link out there!

"Oak Folk is a CD anthology compiled by Gerhard Hallstatt from Allerseelen with exclusive contributions by numerous European and North American groups who have one thing in common: a close connection to nature, to trees and woods. All the groups were invited to write a song about the sacred oaktree. The result is a wonderful compilation with songs with an atmosphere somewhere between Dark Ambient, Folklore and sometimes even a slight Black Metal touch. The CD comes in a 6-page-digipack edition with photographs by Gerhard Hallstatt, designed by Haate Kaate who already did stunning artwork for other Ahnstern groups like Allerseelen and Svarrogh."

A number of these bands will be familiar in name, as they are vehicles for our old friend Cz (Vinterriket) as the interview last month confirmed. The playlist on the album is done alphabetically by band name, which is an elegant was of getting around any ego-problems concerning running order.

"Oak Folk" is described as 'the definite follower of the famous compilation 'Wir rufen deine Wölfe' and you can see why: Gerhard Hallstatt also created that compilation based upon one sole premise wherein the seventeen contributing artists were asked to compose a song based upon the lyrics of a Friedrich Hielscher poem titled 'Wir Rufen Deine Wolfe'. Friedrich Hielscher is an obscure German poet and philosopher whose writing and poetry is being rediscovered and embraced by radical traditionalists and heathens alike. The reviewer at respected Heathen Harvest website called this compilation "is possibly the most innovative Neofolk compilation I have ever listened to", so to be named in the same breath clearly means "Oak Folk" has much to live up to.

It's surprising then that few online reviews of this compilation are to be found. There are a couple out there, the most detailed of which is on the intriguingly named site (mine's a large one, fnarrr fnarrr), which notes:

"There are record companies that regularly throw any label-sampler onto the market. Senselessly assembled compilations of already published songs, that are bought by people who need a gift for the sister of the friend of the brother-in-law. After that these CDs find their way to bargain bins where they become available for 99 cents. But sometimes there is a Label that elevates the idea of such samplers, usually at the same time as rather brilliant, cult and highly fascinating releases come out. That applies to Steinklang in the special, remember only the fantastic "We call your wolves" sampler. New songs, with a connection, so different from what is usual in the musical circus.

Now Steinklang have published a worthy successor with 'Oak Folk'. This time the oak is the central subject, and stylistically the respective songs remain faithful to this theme. The oblique acoustics and Alpine Folk of Sturmpercht & Splinterskin offer beautifully influenced folk music. The Hrefnesholt mix is ambient in a vein to tracks already on the magnificent 'Uraungst' album featuring both metal and acoustic work, Fräkmündt are this time especially traditional, and their carrying accordions are one of the absolute highlights of the sampler. Also Dannagoischd remain itself and faithful, also one of the highlights to its dialect Folk with 'Ôichâbleddr Onnd Ôichâsâmâ'.

Changes perfect their idea to voice poems against a background of acoustic guitar - 'The Oak Trees' in spite of the short 2'26 duration transfers one immediately into an intoxicated and beautiful mood. Arnica, Allerseelen and Agalloch are represented also. A fantastic release and not only because the songs are previously unreleased. 'Oak Folk' is unconditionally recommended for everyone!"

Shorter, but more pertinent to Hugin's project, is the review at which offers the following on Hrefnesholt's 'Winter Eiche' track - "Hrefnesholt appear with a strong concept, similar to those on the recently released album ("Uraungst") and is a very attractive symbiosis of both Folk and Metal." It is this track that Nazgul is particularly interested in, of course, so what is his view of it?

Well, it starts out with a short crackling fire except - so far, so Uraungst - but then rips into some black metal-style riffing and deeply spoken vocals, to be followed with some strumming acoustic guitar which in turn is overlain by some excellent guitar work. It's a real mixture of elements this song, with the next section retaining the acoustic guitar but throwing in some chanted vocals with the odd scream in the background! The feel of the song is very different from most of the others on this compilation. It's somewhat ironic when in a recent post on a Hexenreich sampler disc Nazgul was noting how much lighter the Uruk Hai track was compared to the other songs present, and here on this sampler the reverse is true as Hrefnersholt kick ass over some of the more 'hey-nonny-ne' style contributors without losing that sense of folk and metal being fused. The song ends with a brief acoustic respite, quickly supported with some electric guitar soloing (!) and with more of that excellent jangling and spiteful guitar: Hrefnesholt have managed to out-Agalloch the mighty Agalloch with this one!

Now basing an entire album around a tribute to a type of tree may sound like a project from the glory days of 1970's Progressive Rock, but of course the oak tree is tremendously symbolic in folklore, if you'll pardon the pun. Prevalent across all European cultures, the oak is deeply connected in British hearts, for example, as representing the very essence of England, and especially the power of the High King and his ancient and spiritual link to the land. It would be hard not to think of this tree as a masculine energy - mighty, strong, enduring and steadfast. The images we have of the Oak are buried deep in in our national psyche. Indeed, it is one of our longest-living trees, spanning generations upon generations. For this reason, old oaks were venerated and used by the Druids, Ovates and Bards, and later by the Kings and the Church, for important meetings and ceremonies.

Wands were made from oakwood from trees which had been struck by lightning in the belief that lightning would not strike twice in the same place, and were used as talismans of protection. Very often, an acorn was carved at the end of a Druid's wand and oak leaves were worn or carried for protection, especially from disaster. A spray of oak leaves was carved on the old shilling and 6d coins, and many family crests and emblems carried the symbol of oak leaves, showing allegiance to the Oak tree and its magickal properties.

The Norse God Thor and all thunder Gods are connected to the Oak, which is often struck by lightning. The force of the blast bursts the trunk apart, often leaving a hollow bole and gnarled and withered trunks. Here lies a warning about stubborn rigid strength which resists and breaks in the storm. Flexibility can be a strength in itself, which can balance the forcefulness of rigid thinking and actions. During the 7th lunar month the Druids carved a circle, divided into 4 equal parts, on the Oak for protection against lightning. This practice is said to be found even today amongst some old foresters in Britain, who continue to carve this symbol onto the Oak to avert disaster for the tree.

For generations upon generations, people have gone to sit beneath the mighty Oak to gain strength and spiritual renewal. The outside world can be forgotten and the inner world can slip back into perspective. The Oak can allegedly help to find new understanding and vision, gained from life experiences. This in turn will bring strength and courage to fact whatever life has to offer you.

Reverie about oak trees duly finished, it's time to conclude this post!

A fascinating mixture of songs to be sure, and although some have surfaced through YouTube clips and via MySpace pages they are essentially unique to this compilation. This alone makes it something of a collector's item for a fan of any of the bands featured. I did think the Agalloch track was excellent, as was the novel approach offered by Changes and the wistful sorrow offered through the Splinterskin track. There's also that Fräkmündt with its rousing accordions, which is a real toe-tapper and beer stein-swinger! The Hrefnesholt track is certainly a tour-de-force in the band's recorded history though, and proudly promotes the band on this particular compilation.

If you're a fan of the folk-tinged rock genre then there's a fair chance you'll love this album, and anyone with an ear for a good tune and thoughtful lyrics will also find much to enjoy as there isn't one bad song amongst them.

One final thought though - what a golden opportunity missed for a folk-reworking of the old allegorical Rush standard 'The Trees', complete with the salutary tale of those mischevious oaks and repressed maples. Ah well....

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

REHEARSALS (1999 & 2000)

Title: Rehearsals (1999 & 2000)
Format: Tape-only release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France), cat ref WW176 / AWE00-2, released in 2010 with the standard black and white photocopied inlay. The tracks were, as the title suggests, recorded at W.A.R Studios as rehearsal pieces between 1999 and 2000. The same songs are recorded on both sides of the cassette.
Edition: Only 22 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

01. Heimatleid (extended version) 8.52
02. Kampfgebruell 3.45
03. Neptun 1.23
04. Maschinekadaver 2.07
05. Heimatleid (part 2) 2.16

Looking back to the 2010 end of year round-up Nazgul mentioned in passing that Heimatleid had - totally out of the blue - resurfaced on the releases schedule with a tape of past demo and rehearsal material. And here it is - released in 2010 on the ever-supportive Wulfrune Worxx label, this short collection of 5 songs brings previously unheard recordings into the hands of fans for the first time.

The release is presented with typical Wulfrune efficiency but in a smaller than usual volume - only 22 copies, of which Nazgul's tape is #2/22 - reflecting the reality that there will probably be only a small, dedicated audience for this rather obscure project from Hugin's past. One nice aspect to the release is that it resurrects (albeit temporarily) the Chanteloup Creations label, both in terms of the logo that appears inside the inlay and the dual catalogue reference on the spine: WW being the Wulfrune prefix, AWE being the old CC label appellation. The original pair of Heimatleid demo tapes were released through Chanteloup Creations as you may recall, and have been previously reviewed on Honour and Darkness on 25 September 2009 and 3 September 2010 respectively.

Before getting onto the music, let us consider the cover. The image - unless Nazgul is very much mistaken - is that of the Angel of Mons, and the story behind that particular legend is well known: a group of angels who supposedly protected members of the British army in the Battle of Mons at the outset of World War I. The story is supposedly fictitious, developed through a combination of a patriotic short story by Arthur Machen, rumours, mass hysteria and urban legend, claimed visions after the battle and also possibly deliberately seeded propaganda. It's a good yarn though, and the war imagery of this popular tale fits well with the war themed approach of this project, which of course in time evolved into the equally war-and-time focussed Bonemachine/B-Machina band.

Apart from track one, the majority of songs on this tape are short pieces. Divided chronologically into 1999 and 2000 output, the total running time for all 5 songs is a mere 18 minutes and change, which would barely be time for the introduction of a modern-day Uruk Hai song to get into full swing! The two versions of 'Heimatleid' appearing here are not immediately recognisable as the track that came to dominate many early Bonemachine releases with its presence, being bereft of the buzzing Geiger-counter style keyboard elements of the later heavily reworked versions of the song. The drumming is very much in keeping with the Hrossharsgrani 'frenetic pummelling' style that was in vogue around this time in that band's earliest demos, and there is an interesting and evident overlap in style between the two projects. The 'Part 2' refrain at the end of the tape is a light, keyboard based lament and is much softer in nature than the first rendition.

The remaining three tracks demonstrate key aspects of the early Hugin sound - as previously noted the drums are still very akin to the Hrossharsgrani approach of take-no-prisoners battery, we hear samples of battle and war-sounds that have appeared in finished form on other songs in the Hrossharsgrani/Bonemachine discography, sampled excerpts from classical music (the Ride of the Valkyries in particular is used to striking effect), and the vocals in 'Kampfgebruell' especially are very much in the harsh, black metal style.

It's all very interesting to listen to, and frankly whizzes by in double-quick time, but as a historical document into the mind of our Austrian hero circa 1999/2000 it is a useful and revealing insight into the development of key themes in his early recordings.

Well worth troubling our good friend Skogen at Wulfune Worxx for a copy, while you can...