Saturday, 18 August 2012


Title: Heidensturm
Reason for second update: Re-mastered reissue of this 2003 demo on Fallen-Angels Production (South Korea) in 2012, cat ref FAP015. 
Format: There are two versions of this release, both professional CDr releases in slim dvd-size cases.  The first version is a 'standard' edition with black and white covers, the second a 'limited edition' version with the same songs but with a colour cover.
Edition: Standard edition comes in 40 hand-numbered copies, the colour version is limited to 10 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Heidensturm  32:14   
02. Zwei Raben  4:41  
03. Nordlandsschlacht  8.31

A second reissue for the Hrefnesholt "Heidensturm" demo, following a tape re-issue on Wulfrune Worxx (see post for 16 November 2009), but the first time the material has been available in a CD format.  This feat comes courtesy of the Fallen-Angels Productions label of South Korea, an unlikely but increasingly productive source of new releases and re-issues from Uruk Hai amongst other of Hugin's projects.  Methinks an interview with this label might prove to be an interesting exercise....

Back to the matter at hand, however: this CDr set comes in two versions, in a total run of 50 copies across the pair (explaining why the edition number on the back of each inlay is showing /50 as the designation).  10 copies are in a colour inlay format, the remainder in black and white, and despite paying a small premium for colour the same songs appear on both versions.  Nazgul, of course, has collected both editions for the Castle library, so can at least enjoy the album in old-school stereo - two copies playing simultaneously from opposite sides of the room!  Looking at both copies together you really don't notice much of a difference between them on the front cover image, but the rear cover photo of Hugin shows a clear distinction between the two.

This new edition does contain a significant bonus for Hrefnesholt fans - the release drops the Burzum cover song 'HermodrA Helferd' from the 2003 original demo, and adds instead the 'Nordlandsschlacht' track, previously encountered in these pages as a self-titled unique demo release in its own right (the post of 20 March 2010 will doubtless jog your memory). 

This collectable song makes it well worth the effort to track down your own copy of this demo, as it's pretty much unavailable anywhere else except for the obscure and sold-out "The First Evil Spell" compilation CDr on Australian label Smell The Stench.  It's certainly good to see that the current programme of re-issues doesn't just focus on the 'big' name projects like Uruk Hai, but also is picking up some worthy releases from less obvious sources.

What becomes very evident on listening to this material again (to be fair, it's probably been a few years since 'Heidensturm' hit the death-deck) is how different it is to the modern Hugin sound.  This is notable in two main ways, really: Firstly, in the way that the whole Hrefnesholt vibe has moved away from the stark black ambient sound of this demo (which, on 'Nordlandsschlacht' in particular, manages to sound more like Hrossharsgrani than Hrossharsgrani does itself) towards the ritualistic/shaman/Percht genre that it currently inhabits.  The second evident difference comes in the improvement in the production and arrangement of songs, which in the 2012 world of Uruk Hai sound full, epic and lush compared to the more primitive recordings (even allowing for the benefits of re-mastering) evidenced on these earlier songs.

The original tape has always had a fond place in Nazgul's heart as it was one of the earliest Hrefnesholt demos that I bought, and I've never even seen another one for sale since.  It was sufficiently different and more 'pastoral' to Hugin's other material to claim a place in Nazgul's affections as a strangely peaceful place to visit: putting on an early Hrefnesholt recording brought to mind the evenings spent on the ramparts of Castle Nazgul, the ambient effects in the music mirroring the wind echoing around the battlements and the methodical percussive thud of stakes being driven into the ground to crucify the unwary. 

Even these happy memories pale next to the latest Hrefnesholt recordings though - the likes of "A Haund voi Dreck" for example - which are just in a different league in terms of quality and entertainment.  Such is progress.

Fallen-Angels Production have an interesting array of material on offer and recently have put out a number of Uruk Hai box-sets, so clearly this is an enterprise to support!  The link to the label's site can be found here

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