Monday, 24 October 2011


Band: HREFNESHOLT (as part of a compilation)
Title: Mit Fester Hand – Allerseelenlieder
Format: A six-panel digipak CD release on the Ahnstern label (Austria) in 2011. Full colour panels, silver factory pressed CD, catalogue reference Ahnstern 43.
Edition: presumed unlimited

Track Listing:
01. Ernte * Santa Sangre (Jodorowsky Mix) 2:10
02. Tyr-Kreis * Ernting 3:34
03. Haberfeld * Olle Lust Wui Ewigkeit 4:53
04. Die Weisse Rose * Flamme 3:52
05. Fanes * Sonne Golthi-Ade 4:14
06. Sagittarius * Musa 4:31
07. Scivias * Idun 4:04
08. Fräkmündt * Firnföuskamerad 4:08
09. Hrefnesholt * Herbstlied 5:34
10. Ô Paradis * Marqués De Púbol 4:45
11. Blood Axis and Sangre Cavallum * Sonne Golthi-Ade 3:51
12. Sturmpercht * Sturmlied 5:24
13. Larrnakh * Knistern 4:30
14. Àrnica * Foc De Salamandra 5:11
15. Klammheim * Allerseelen 5:23
16. Der Arbeiter * Flama 4:53
17. Der Feuerkreiner * Feuersalamander 5:05
18. Cawatana * Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit 3:57
19. Svarrogh * Heiliges Blut 4:40
20. Allerseelen * Mit Fester Hand 3:40

Brand new and literally hot off the press into Nazgul's eager hands comes this tribute disc to the mighty Allerseelen, released on the Austrian Ahnstern label (an imprint of the Steinklang label).

Perhaps a compilation dedicated to the evergreen Austrian project Allerseelen was always going to be a likely event given their twenty years plus of activity in the European underground, but this is nicely done as it features personal friends of Gerhard Hallstatt of Allerseelen. Drawing mostly from the rich roster on the Steinklang/Ahnstern labels, "Mit Fester Hand" presents an interesting overview of Allerseelen work in varying interpretations, though mostly within the neo-folk genre.

Though Nazgul may not be an expert in the area, not everything on "Mit Fester Hand" is pure gold to these ears although of course the vast majority of tracks I'm hearing for the first time in these interpretations. It's a very timely and honourable tribute to Allerseelen though, and an interesting release for anyone with interest in the European industrial/neo-folk arena.

Rather than attempt a ham-fisted attempt at a track by track analysis, Nazgul will leave you momentarily in the capable hands of Filth Forge ( for their review of the entire album:

"This articulate compilation is a tribute to the work of Gerhard Hallstatt as Allerseelen. Nineteen different bands interpret one of the long-running Austrian project's classic, according to their personal sound and sensitivity. It's Ernte who open this collection, with a vibrating and electric remake of 'Santa Sangre' (coming in a 'Jodorowsky Mix'), not by chance the track Allerseelen contributed to the historical sampler "Im Blutfeuer", released by Ernte's legendary label Cthulhu in 1994. To follow are the unknown Tyr-Kreis, who offer a not too brilliant cover of the martial and powerful 'Ernting', possibly the most representative song out of Gerhard's industrial / ritual period, originally appeared on the famous "Gotos=Kalanda". This uninspiring version, using samples directly from the original, can't stand next to it.

Much better is achieved by another new name, Haberfeld, whose 'Olle Lust Wui Ewigkeit' is a reinterpretation (probably in some Southern German or Austrian dialect) of 'Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit', in which the orchestral sample from Test Dept.'s 'Pax Britannica' is perfectly reproduced with acoustic instruments. The song itself is played with a personal touch. This is definitely a band to check out in the future. Die Weisse Rose deliver an epic and solemn 'Flamme', an obscure tune that doesn't come from the album of the same name, but from the remotest past of "Stirb Und Werde". Their organ and choral vocals seal one of the best episodes of the entire CD.

Fanes, another new-comer, play a very good version of 'Sonne Golthi-Ade', with electric bass boosting the song's power, whereas Sagittarius appears with a 'Musa' very close to the original, without any significant personal variation. Scivias give more welcome signs of life with 'Idun, in which their ritual and martial sound doesn't fail to offer another proof of these Hungarians' value. Frakmundt translate 'Kamerad' in their Swiss dialect, turning it into 'Firnföuskamerad', a faithful transposition of Allerseelen's original, and so does Ô Paradis with 'Marqués De Puból'. Another 'Sonne Golthi-Ade' is splendidly recreated by the joint forces of Blood Axis and Sangre Cavallum, reaching another of the compilations very peaks.

Sturmpercht turn the otherwise sparkling 'Sturmlied' into something dark and mysterious, whispered through forests and valleys, just like Àrnica do with "Foc De Salamandra", a tribal and savage Catalan variation of 'Feursalamander'. The same song is further moulded in the hands of Der Feuerkreiner, who manage to render it as an even more martial and gloomy anthem, with Valentina's awesome vocals as usual irresistible.

Another great moment is Klammheim's rework of 'Allerseelen' a recent song appeared on "Hallstatt" in 2007. Dea's beautiful voice and the quasi-religious solemnity of the band's sound conceive a special atmosphere. Last but not least, Svarrogh set fire to an electric 'Heiliges Blut', as powerful as the original on 1997's "Sturmlieder", and Hrefnesholt do the same to 'Herbstlied', with scorching e-guitars and violins. The other three bands featured, Larrnakh, Der Arbeiter and Cawatana, deliver covers way too identical to the originals, lacking the freshness of other interpretations available on this compilation (it's the case of the latters 'Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit', much inferior to Haberfeld's inspiring version).

Summing up, tribute CDs can be a very precious occasion to see a bunch of interesting artists paying homage to a friend or inspirator, putting their hands on his / her songs to offer a personal view, with either good or bad results. It can, however, turn into a rather useless exercise, especially when second-league bands are involved. "Mit Fester Hand - Allerseelenlieder" falls into the first category, as more than half of the collection features very good names and intriguing interpretations of Gerhard Hallstatt's music. And the artwork is, as usual with Ahnstern, outstanding."

There, you can't say that wasn't both thorough and interesting.

The Hrefnesholt song is referred to above as 'scorching', which isn't the word Nazgul would necessarily have employed: rustic, quaint, folksy, slightly demented (ok, that's two words) all might have been contenders though. It's a whirlwind of wooden folk percussion, bursts of guitar, and couldn't sound more 'of the forest' if you took the CD down to the woods and nailed the bugger to a tree.

Great to see one of Hugin's projects on this release, cementing his reputation as an artist of value and renown in the field (or, indeed, the forest). You can find your own copy via the online shop at and begin your journey today...

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