Tuesday, 10 May 2011

PAGAN FOLK AND APOCALYPTIC PSYCHEDELIA KAPITEL II


Band: HREFNESHOLT and URUK HAI
Title: Pagan Folk And Apocalyptic Psychedelia Kapitel II
Format: Promotional CD on the Steinklang Industries label (Austria) released 2010. Contains tracks from bands on the label, including the sub-labels Ahnstern, Heimatfolk, Percht, and Sturmklang. Comes as a picture disc CD, housed in a colour card sleeve, and focuses primarily on Alpine Folk, Neofolk, and acoustic compositions.
Edition: Presumed unlimited

Track Listing:
01. Stormfågel * Håll-lågan-klar! 5:46
02. Fräkmündt * Wörmer 4:54
03. Sturmpercht * Der Teufelsgeiger 5.10
04. Allerseelen * Wo Ist Das Leben 3:27
05. Wappenbund * Licht Ist Leben II 5:02
06. Vinterriket * Seelenleere 4:3
07. Birch Book * Feet Of Clay 3:32
08. Dânnâgôischd * Waldfuir 2:22
09. Larrnakh * Delictum 4:20
10. Moon Far Away * Deus Amet Puellam 3:55
11. Uruk-Hai * ... Does Not Glitter 3:10
12. Atomtrakt * Blut Und Erde 4:55
13. Hrefnesholt * Hexnfeia 4:49
14. Irij * Vasilisa 4:09
15. Jännerwein * Jede Stunde 3:58
16. Phase II * Sweet Lady Fair 3:53
17. Miel Noir * Honiggöttin 4:31
18. Le Testament De La Lumière * Retaliation 3:40
19. Dead Man's Hill * The Curse 3:56

This is the second volume in this series from Skteinklang Industries, the first volume having been reviewed in Honour and Darkness on 18 November 2009. Again, this full-length CD features what were at the time new tracks from most of the principal bands on the Steinklang (and wider family of labels) neo-folk roster. Of particular interest to Nazgul is the inclusion of two tracks from Uruk Hai and Hrefnesholt, which we shall cover in more detail shortly.

If online reports are to be believed, this compilation was released especially for the 2010 Wave-Gotik-Treffen, in Leipzig, Germany. for those unaware (and Nazgul counted himself in this list until a little diligent research), Wave-Gotik-Treffen (in German, 'das Treffen' means 'the meeting') is an annual world festival for "dark" music and arts in Leipzig.

The major attraction of the Wave-Gotik Treffen are the band performances: Generally, the number of musical acts is close to 200, spanning the breadth of "dark music" from acoustic and medieval-influenced folk to deathrock; dark electro; EBM; symphonic metal; gothic metal; and industrial genres. The dozen-or-more venues are equally varied, from the stately Schauspielhaus to the sombre Krypta of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal to the Parkbühne under the trees to the massive 10,000-person capacity AGRA fairground halls.

In addition, there are Renaissance fairs, Viking and Pagan markets, Gothic Romance events, CD/DVD and film premieres, literary readings, artist signing events, brunches celebrating Absinthe, fetishists event, and many late-night dance clubs such as Darkflower or Moritzbastei. The main market in the AGRA that runs the entire duration of the festival is perhaps the largest for the goth community anywhere in the world.

The date of the WGT varies from year to year. It is held on the German holiday weekend of Pfingsten, known in English as Pentecost or Whitsun, which is 7 weeks after Easter. Unofficial events start in Leipzig on the Thursday night preceding the date of Pfingsten, while the official festival starts on Friday and runs until early-morning on Tuesday, as Monday is an official holiday in Germany.

There: following such excellent free publicity (doubtless some of you new to this extravaganza may decide to make a pilgrimage) Nazgul will sit patiently in his tower, awaiting his free tickets to the 2012 event...

Back to the music, and the Uruk Hai song '...Does Not Glitter' features on the band's 10 year jubilee album "Black Blood, White Hand" and thus is familiar to us in that guise. Hrefnesholt's 'Hexnfeia' pops up on the band's "Uraungst" advance tape. Both good songs in their own right, and very welcome to see two of Hugin's projects featuring on this disc (although Cz fares better still, with a seemingly endless procession of his projects being featured!)

A track by track review of this compilation appears on the 'Hatred Means War Zine' blog site (and also, word for word, on the site for 'Blackened Underground Music Zine'), and in respect of Uruk Hai and Hrefnesholt contributions reads as follows: "Uruk-Hai bring us '...Does Not Glitter', which is a very epic and medieval sounding neo-classical song mixed with neo-folk with a lot of darkness to it ... Hrefnesholt brings the compilation back to neo-folk with their song 'Hexnfeia' and then after the neo-folk part it turns into a heavy dark industrial song that has a very heavy black metal feel to it and then goes back to being Apocalyptic Folk." A fair description, it must be noted.

The remainder of bands on this album represent the great variety of music in this broad genre; from the dark ambient machinations of Stormfagel, Wappenbund and Le Testament De La Lumiere to the more martial/industrial leanings of Atomtrakt and Miel Noir; from the uplifting and lively tracks proffered by the likes of Sturmpercht and Allerseelen to the more unique creations of Dead Mans Hill and Irij. All most excellent exponents of their craft, and in one glorious collection a complete no-brainer in terms of investment, as this compilation is only a few Euros from most distros plus the Steinklang online shop.

Also worth recording are the thoughts of the reviewer at www.plaguehaus.com, who noted:

"Anyone who’s been a regular customer or fan of the Austrian Steinklang record label knows that they've released some amazing sampler CD's over the years. Keeping with that tradition is the "Pagan Folk And Apocalyptic Psychedelia" series. This release focuses more on the wide ranging Folk genre, whether metal, dark, martial or other influences are present. 'Folk' is a nice umbrella to capture them all.

A little something from all the Steinklang sub-labels is represented as well; Ahnstern, Heimatfolk, Percht and the newly formed metal division, Sturmklang. There are a total of nineteen tracks and a full one hour and twenty minutes of music. For my money, there’s not a clunker in the bunch. While I won't go into a track by track review, I will give you a brief run down of styles. Stormfågel, Wappenbund, Atomtrakt, Miel Noir and Dead Man’s Hill all delve into more martial industrial styling. For whatever reason this was my first exposure to Stormfågel and this band impressed me to no end. And that is the point of these samplers, is it not?

Keeping things in a more Alpine UR Folk vein are fantastic offerings from Fräkmündt, Sturmpercht, Dânnâgôischd, Larrnakh, Hrefnesholt and Jännerwein. Every single one of those tracks was impressive, with special notice going to newcomers Fräkmündt and Hrefnesholt. Allerseelen offers a track from their new CD, as Gerhard is really in a genre all his own. Vinterriket, Moon Far Away and Le Testament De La Lumíère all have a more Neoclassical bent, with each bringing their own elements in as well like touches of Ambient and even Noise. When it comes to more traditional Folk sounds, you can’t do wrong with Birch Book or the side project of Changes guitarist Nicholas Tesluk, Phase II.

Rounding out the disc is the more metal influenced, but Classical sounding project Uruk-Hai and the Baltic Folk of Irij. The latter is the project of the beautiful Meri Tadic, who also plays violin for the Slavic pagan metal band, Eluveitie."


Overall, a highly recommended product and one well worth tracking down: you'll be sure to successfully broaden your horizons and find many new musical avenues to explore after a few listens...

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