Friday, 24 June 2011


Title: Der Pfed Zum Tor Der Toten
Format: Cassette tape released on the Wulfrune Worxx/Chanteloup Creations label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW200 / AWE00-02. Black and white copied inlay, inside of which is a Hrossharsgrani 'business card' promo insert. Contains 4 bonus tracks over the 1999 CDr release.
Edition: 200 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

Side A
01. Der Pfad Zum Tor Der Toten
02. Schönheit Gibt Es Nur Im Kampf
03. Schwerter & Äxte
04. Blut Pt. 5
Side B
05. Heimfahrt Nach Hördaland
06. Barbarenblut
07. Bußfertigkeit
08. Anämisch In Einem Universum Auf Blut
09. Heideks Ende
10. Blut Pt. 6

Continuing the re-release of classic Hrossharsgrani releases from years gone by, the Wulfrune Worxx label in deepest France has contructed an absolute monster of a tape here with the newly remastered "Der Pfed Zum Tor Der Toten" (The Path To The Gate Of The Dead). Reviewed back in the early days of Honour and Darkness on 23 April 2009 in its CDr pressing, this latest version has 4 additional tracks and comes in an equal quantity to the CDr version - 200 copies. This latest tape has also been given all new cover art - another effective Middle-Earth battle scene complete with siege towers and an armoured horde of thousands - and Nazgul's copy (#8 of 200) bears Hugin's signature too.

"Der Pfed Zum Tor Der Toten" was always one of the less common releases from Hrossharsgrani's early years to stumble upon. Although a good many of the band's early demos turn up eventually in one form or another, many years of collecting has only ever uncovered one sole copy of the CDr pressing and the original tape release - in a quantity of 33 tapes and with 3 more songs than the CDr, one less than the recent version - Nazgul has yet to come across even now. Consequently the demo being reissued in 2010 should be cause for celebration, and will give a few more happy devotees the chance to purchase a copy for their own collection.

As noted in the original review, this demo differs slightly from other Hrossharsgrani work of period by having a greater tendency to employ guitar higher in the mix as opposed to keyboards, hence the memorable riffs are often the guitar ones and not derived from synthesiser. The clarity in the remastered sound brings this nicely to the fore and whilst the drumming still sounds a little like Hugin was thrashing the kit to within an inch of its life whilst falling down a flight of stairs, the overall effect is a positive one. One aspect that the re-issue has taken full advantage of is the augmentation of choral parts on some of the tracks, where the much improved sound (and what sound like newly added sections) really give a sense of grandeur that the original demo didn't possess.

Of course, polishing up and remastering a Hrossharsgrani demo the late '90s is a little like taking a sabre-tooth tiger for a manicure - sure, those claws may look nice and clean, shining brightly in their new gloss, but they'll still tear your throat out at the drop of a hat. The sound may be much improved, and the new tracks (three of which presumably were on the original tape version, although not having a copy prevents Nazgul from confirming such) are very welcome, but make no mistake about it: this remains music for people who like their steaks raw and bloody!

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