Saturday, 16 July 2011


Band: ILL
Title: s.t.r.a.n.g.e.
Format: A cassette-only release (Nazgul presumes) released through the Smell The Stench label (Australia), date unknown, no catalogue reference. The tape comes with a blue photocopied inlay and is in a standard commercial C60 style.
Edition: Limited to 22 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
Side 1
01. s.t.r.a.n.g.e #1 29.32
Side 2
02. s.t.r.a.n.g.e #2 29.39

Well, the consensus from the recently ended poll here on Honour and Darkness was that you were super-keen to get to grips with an old - yet mysterious and previously unknown - project of our favourite son of Austria. Who could blame you?

And yes, Hugin's only gone and done it again - just when you thought that there couldn't possibly be any more unheard of past projects lurking in the shadows, he re-discovers this one out of goodness knows where! It's old, it's evidently been absent without leave over the years, but now it's back ... and it demands your attention: this is "s.t.r.a.n.g.e." from recently the re-discovered and short-lived project, ILL.

Hugin takes all the credit for unearthing this one (from a dusty archive in the cellars of W.A.R. one has to assume) as the world at large - with the possible exception of Leigh Stench at the STS label - has missed this one completely, and even Hugin himself seemed to have forgotten all about the existence of this ILL demo until recently!

Such bizarre circumstances seem to add to the growing body of evidence that suggests that Hugin must actually have the ability to create and record demos whilst asleep, thus his conscious being isn't always fully aware of the somnambulistic activities of his other self until their musical paths inadvertantly cross in chance encounters...

You don't need old uncle Nazgul to tell you that nothing exists on the internet about this release: of course it doesn't, apart from being listed on the STS web-site under the 'sold-out' section of older releases. Amusingly enough, though, type into the UK version of Google the words 'ILL' and 's.t.r.a.n.g.e.' and the first link considers whether the strange bowel movements of one poor unfortunate may constitute a serious illness: very appropriate for a release on the Smell The Stench label, methinks...

The cover art of this release (Nazgul's copy being #3 of the 22) is a rather strange depiction in its own right, and quite honestly it's difficult to see quite what's going on here. It could conceivably be a monster/animal/thing falling upon (devouring?) a human victim, as a large pair of feet seem to be sticking out to the far right of the image with something large and menacing on top of the rest of the body. Frankly though, Nazgul's not sure what's going on here...

...Which also may be an appropriate link to the music! ILL are described inside the inlay as 'postnuclearhumandeathnoize', so we are all about to enter on a voyage of discovery here as Nazgul has yet to crank up this tape (received only this week from Hugin, with no additional information) on the Castle death-deck. This really is unexplored territory. Based on this description one might presume it's going to be more in the weird and wacky vein of a Bonemachine or a WACH song than it is likely to present the harmonious natures of an Uruk Hai song, or battle-crazed savagery of a Hrossharsgrani demo. However, we shall see.

And what's with the title of this demo? Is it, in fact, a cunning acronym or merely the word 'strange' with dots between the letters? Perhaps, in fact, the title might stand for 'Sundry Taped Rubbish And Nazgul Gets Enthused' or even 'Surreal Transcendent Recordings Are Not General Entertainment'?! It's so mysterious it's impossible to know.

Onwards and ever upwards, however: let's hit that play button and see what emerges from the speakers... And the answer is - early industrial musings that wouldn't seen out of place under the Bonemachine banner. Side 1 is a lengthy and repetitive set of poundings, hammerings and general industrial/machine-derived noise (with the odd burst of female 'voals') that thrusts the listener into being the witness to the death throes of an inanimate metal monster. Side 2, conversely, whilst starting off with a noise that sounds horribly like the sucking of brains out of a skull, develops into a rather cool sci-fi/spacey influenced track that would sit very nicely on the Bonemachine discography circa the online "Extraterrestrial Death" recordings.

Nazgul was rather taken with 's.t.r.a.n.g.e. #2' and when the time finally arrives that an Honour and Darkness compendium album appears to celebrate some of the more obscure elements of Hugin's output, this song will feature.

When pressed on the subject of the ILL project by your intrepid scribe, Hugin's comment on all of this was, "with ILL I wanted to do something noisy but still atmospheric - it was just this 1 release only, I never wanted to do more with ILL :-)"

Although lost to history, it's actually quite an interesting release: Although it exists as a short-lived project in its own right, this tape links the sounds of a very early Bonemachine project to some of the middle-period output of the band around the "ET Death" release as previous mentioned, and as such shows some of the developmental thinking on Hugin's part as his concept of industrial/noise output developed. All good stuff.

Somewhere it has to be imagined that the other 21 copies of this demo must exist (either that, or there's a box of them in Australia waiting to be sold), so if by any remote chance anyone reading this Blog out there in the big, wide world has one then Nazgul suggests you dig it out, dust it off, and see what you make of it.

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