Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Band: ALEXANDER WIESER
Title: Elia's Lebensgeschichte
Format: CDr in full colour covers, self-released for the 2009 'Langen Nacht der Kirchen' in Austria (see text)
Edition: 30 unnumbered copies
Track Listing (one long track):
A concept story in summary:
King Ahab honours a god of strangers 0:00 – 01:36
Elia is threatened with a drought 01:36 – 02:36
Elia hides at the river Kerit – Ravens bring bread and meat to him 02:36 – 03:26
The river dried and Elia goes to the widow, she parts the last bread with him – now she has flour and oil forever 03:26 – 04:30
Elia has a contest with the Prophets of Baal and his God wins 04:30 – 06:12
Elia is persecuted and flees from the vengeance of the Queen 06:12 – 06:54
He hides in the desert and faces death death. God gives bread and water to him. 06:45 – 07:48
Elia walks 40 days to the mountain 07:48 – 08:24
At this mountain Elia enters a cave and whispers about his sorrow 08:24 – 09:01
God talked to him: I will come
A storm rumbles mountains 09:01 – 09:31
An earthquake crushes rocks 09:31 – 10:19
A fire follows – but still God was not there 10:19 – 10:43
After that comes silence: Elia came out of the cave and God passed by 10:43 – 12:07
Elia comes back annointed a new king and prophet 12:07 – 12:55
Elia transcends and rides a chariot of fire into Heaven 12:55 – 14:31
And now for something completely different ... again!
Occasionally Honour and Darkness throws up something that even the most ardent of Hugin's fans and followers are blissfully unaware of. Past examples of this have included the unearthing of the quasi-legendary Guts For Dinner demo; the I.L.L. demo on Smell the Stench, or the practically unheard of Raben Nacht demo.
This outing is something else yet again. Recorded with his actual name of Alexander Wieser rather than the normal his solo sobriquet, Hugin. This is largely because - one would imagine - that this release is a far more personal creation as opposed to one that needs to 'fit' with his commercial discography. That said, as it's one of Alex's releases we must take a look at it in order to fulfil the modus operandi of Honour and Darkness!
The CD was released as part of the celebrations for the 'Langen Nacht der Kirchen' (Long Night of the Churches): a joint project of all 14 Christian denominations that are represented in the World Council of Churches in Austria. The purpose of the event is not necessarily to preach the Gospel, but to celebrate the beauty found in religion though arts and music. By way of example, on May 28 2010 more than 720 churches throughout Austria opened their doors, and with over 3,400 different programme points invited people to get acquainted with them, and on 27 May 2011 the process happened all over again.
As the website for the Vienna-based part of the event in 2011 details, "The 'Long Night of the Churches' shows what our churches offer: you can discover interesting artistic details, enjoy the view over the rooftops of Vienna from the steeples of the city and explore the secret passages under the church premises; you can meditate to Gregorian chants and experience a rock concert from the first church bench, or (even) participate in a religious service!"
For the 2009 event Hugin created this particular disc, presumably in the spirit of getting the churches in Linz rocking to barbarian metal! The subject of the piece is the Prophet Elijah (also known as Elia, or Elias), arguably the greatest prophet of the Old Testament next only to Moses. Reducing his 'career' to a short paragraph might seem somewhat churlish, but in brief he sought to abolish idolatry and restore justice during a time when the Hebrew nation was divided. He raised a dead child; he brought fire from heaven, through prayer, three times; he did not die but was carried skyward in a chariot of fire; and, so it is said, will return to prophesy once more before the end of times. Interestingly, the Vangelis "Chariots of Fire" release was also about Elia.
One of the first things you notice about the CD is the name Elia SolarCity. Now, it just so happens that the fiery eye has spotted that in Linz (home of W.A.R. Productions) there exists something called the Linz Solar City Project. This is an integrated solar village for 1300 households on the outskirts of Linz and includes other infrastructure, including shops, schools, and a 7-km tram rail line to the city centre. The Elia Church, for which this was recorded, is located in SolarCity, hence the name.
The second thing that strikes you is the detailed narrative on the inlay for track listing: segments in the life of the Prophet himself, all contained within a single piece of music spanning about a quarter of an hour. The style and tone of the song is unmistakably Uruk Hai-ish in places, and in fact Nazgul would go so far as to suggest that there are distinctive samples and elements of existing Uruk Hai songs that get a dusting down and re-airing on this disc. This seems an entirely practical approach, given the likelihood that many of the people hearing this would have been unlikely to be familiar with Alex's other music, and with all the other pressures of life it would be the most natural thing to use what was readily available to evolve something new.
And do you know, it's a really pleasant listening experience! It captures the hauntingly eloquent and ambient nature of Alex's more tranquil keyboard works and surely would have sounded amazing if played at volume in the vaulted chambers of an old church.
Speaking with Hugin about this release, it transpires that although there were only 30 copies pressed of the original CD it's possible that more will be done in 2012 complete with a new logo and new artwork, including both an audio and video version, shown in the last image above. Which will hopefully put this release into the 'accessible' category for those of you whose interest has been piqued by this review.