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...

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