Saturday, 13 August 2011

KREUZ


Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Kreuz
Format: Cassette-only release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW185. The traditional label format of a black and white photocopied label remains, with a hand-written edition number in gold pen (in what looks suspiciously like the hand of Mr Wieser). Tracks recorded between 2009 and 2010.
Edition: Only 77 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Kreuz 2.17
02. Pestnogl 1.11
03. Schworzeichn 5.09
04. Die Glockn Von Dahoam 3.57
05. Dreck (Ans) 3.27
06. Dreck (Zwa) 7.05

Every now and then a band really gets their stuff together - they release an absolutely killer album that defines their sound and pulls together all the elements of their earlier work into one fine recording for the ages. Iron Maiden did it with their seminal "The Number Of The Beast" album, and before them Motorhead arguably hit their groove with the still-awesome "Ace Of Spades" release. It's a pivotal moment in the history of any band, as it's that moment in time that is often seen as the turning point in moving them from merely accomplished into the realms of genre-setting excellence.

With 'Kreuz' Hrefesnolt comes of age. Not so much knocking on the door of success, Hugin comes barrelling through like an out of control juggernaut and kicks some serious ass on the way. This, loyal readers of Honour and Darkness, is the definitive Hrefnesholt release.

An EP's worth of material in terms of overall duration at a smidgen over 22 minutes in length, there are some unmissable moments on this tape release and whether you collect this format of release or not you really should try to get your hands on this, or start an immediate petition to get the thing released as a CD pressing. In fact, I tell you what, let Uncle Nazgul give you a helping hand by starting a poll on today's page to see how many people actually would like to see this on the CD medium - take a look at the poll and vote away!

Anyway, back to this most excellent release. I don't really want to dwell on any one track in particular as they all have their merits, it's the overall nature and synthesis of the sound that demands your attention. From the outset there's a nod back to the band's "Rabentanz" CDr, all wind and keyboard effects, before the scene shifts into the 'new' folksy Hrefnesholt sound. Some songs blend riffing guitars with maudlin violin parts with absolute precision and beauty, on others you'll find organic rhythms and melancholy vocals performed brilliantly by Hugin.

In similar fashion to past Burzum albums, Hugin complements instrumental passages with suggested lyrics, giving us prose for 'Pestnogl' and 'Die Glockn Von Dahoam'. Hidden away elsewhere on the inlay is a small salamander-type lizard scuttling to the right of the cover photo, and to the left on Nazgul's version (#1 of the 77 copies) is a dedication from Hugin, "Up to the cross!"

Regular readers of this page will know that Nazgul has always had a soft spot for Hrefnesholt, and it's an absolute pleasure to report that with this EP Hugin has recorded one of his finest albums ever, across any of his projects. As the old rogue Xavier Russell used to proclaim in vintage Kerrang! album reviews, "buy-or-die": it's really that simple.

Can you say "all time classic" ...?

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