Wednesday, 27 March 2013

STERBEGESANGE - master CDr

Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Sterbegesänge master CDr
Format: A two-song CDr disc in white paper envelope, with a typed paper cover. This was not an official release, but contains two songs from the recording sessions for the band's 2001 demo
Edition: Presumed to be a single copy

Track Listing:
01. Intro (Hure) 02:43
02. Im Mahlstrom der Zeit 12:50

One of the most interesting things that Nazgul has been listening to this month has been an old pair of Elisabetha songs dating to 2001. They form part of the demo "Sterbegesänge" ('Songs of Death'), and this disc represents part of the recording sessions, way back when in 2000/2001 when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Lemmy was but knee-high to a grasshopper.

The recording information on the inlay paper tells us that the recording was done between 10 December 2000 and 22-24 June 2001. It also confirms that Hugin's primary role was in the music, whilst lyrics were the prerogative of UB (Gha'agsheblah).

With the recent glut of material winging its way to Castle Nazgul from W.A.R. in recent years it's sometimes easy to get into tunnel vision mode and focus only on new releases, without revisiting and being able to appreciate once again some of the classic earlier material. Such an opportunity was gifted to Nazgul recently when this master-copy CDr was included by Hugin in a recent parcel of goodies to add to the collection. 

 Housed in a simple paper sleeve with typed inlay, the two songs transported Nazgul right back to the early days of his mania, when the "Sterbegesänge" had only just been added to the collection and was on repeat play on the Castle death-deck. It was back on 8 May 2009 that the original review of "Sterbegesänge" found it's way onto Honour and Darkness, which is as near as makes a damn 4 years ago! Nazgul doubts the tape has seen the light of day more than once or twice since then: how times flies.

Not having heard these songs for some years, what is immediately apparent is the sheer atmosphere and presence generated by them: it really is like being thrust into the midst of a Gothic horror story, complete with appropriate orchestration and sound effects. Somehow - and don't ask me how - the unholy triumvirate that comprised the band manage to pull this off without sounding cliched (personally, Nazgul avoids cliches like the plague) and what remains is a phantasm of mesmerising quality.

Parts of the introductory song 'Hure' sound rather like a nightmarish dream where you find yourself at first-hand involved in a game of Doom set in a Gothic cathedral, as Doom-esque background noises merge with creepy keyboards and other-worldly whispers. The piece ends in a thunder storm, which segues nicely into second track 'Im Mahlstrom der Zeit', where the keyboards take a distinct turn to the Egyptian in melody and the song descends into a whirling spiral of chaos and terror as Elisabetha transport us once again into their rather peculiar realm.

Oh, how the golden days of Elisabetha recordings are missed. And yet, with the Castle collection at hand, a re-discovery of these amazing songs is but the work of a moment.

It's been said before, but this may be the last Elisabetha item to feature on Honour and Darkness for a goodly while, as nothing else (new or old) is expected to be uncovered any time soon ... although with the extensive W.A.R. catacombs to plunder, who knows what other strange discoveries are yet to be made!

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