Friday, 21 June 2013

BEHIND THE MOON WE ARE LOOKING INTO THE DISTANCE

Band: EISMOND
Title: Behind The Moon We Are Looking Into The Distance
Format: CDr disc in blue DVD-style case, with colour flyer inside advertising both Eismond and Uruk Hai releases on the label.  This was a 2012 release on the Kristallblut Records label (Germany), cat ref KBR001.
Edition: 200 unnumbered copies
 
Tracklist:
01. The Other Side Is Calling Me 11:43
02. Eismond 32:23
03. Trying Not To Breathe 12:48
66. Space Death  1.00

There's a certain perverse logic in the fact that whilst you can scour the Internet looking for reviews of Hugin's more well-known projects and find absolutely nothing besides the excellent prose on Honour and Darkness (*cough*) , this relatively obscure Eismond release attracts quite a bit of online attention.  Maybe the genre of 'Deep Atmospheric Ambient Space Black Metal' is the style to be playing, at the moment, or something?  Most odd....  

Described by the Kristallblut label as "deep soundscapes filled with hypnotic guitars and drums take the listener to a cosmically journey to the stars" this demo is recommended to fans of Elffor, Summoning, Paysage D'hiver, Lustre, and Sieghetnar, all of which have vaguely related sounds.  Eismond play a lot more melody and - frankly - make a more fulfilling noise than really out there space-ambient projects like I Am Esper or Saturn Form Essence, so comparison to projects such as Paysage D'hiver does make some sense.

It's also worth mentioning that whilst this may appear to be the first fully-fledged album from the project it is in fact the re-mastered first demo tape on CD with three bonus tracks, including 'hidden' fourth song 'Space Death' at track 66 on the disc!  Nazgul's coverage of the original tape "Demo 1/2010" can be found in the post of 16 April 2011, later updated on 17 August 2011.  There's a giveaway on the rear of the cover if you look closely enough, as the text in the sash to the top left of the rear cover states "Demo 1.2".   You may also recall that there was a review of a split CDr with Dysonsphere written on 20 July 2012, which becomes relevant as this is where the song 'Space Death' first appeared.

Background now established, what does the wider Internet community make of this release?  Well, let's start the ball rolling at Metal Soundscapes:

"Eismond is one of the many projects of Alexander Wieser from Austria.  Like most of Alex's projects, in Eismond the base of his music is ambient.  They call what they play ambient space black metal, but I think the black metal elements are too few in this release. The album begins with 3 long instrumental songs, followed by 62 tracks of 'silence' and closes with the 66th song, a 1 minute untitled track.  Eismond create a unique cosmic atmosphere, with very good ambient space music.  Wonderful deep atmospheric keys have the basic role in their compositions and they are combined with electric and distorted guitars that fit perfectly with their music. 

The slow 'lazy' drumming keeps always the tempo down and their music seems like floating into the endless vacant space, without any outbursts, or surprises…  I’d like a better guitar sound quality, but of course it is actually taken from a demo tape, so I shouldn’t complain. Anyway this genre should be judged by the atmosphere it creates and Eismond succeeded to generate visions and images in the listener's head, offering him for 74 minutes a fictional cosmic journey to the universe. Overall I think Eismond is one of Alex Wieser’s best projects and he has released a very promising demo."

Equally positive is the review at German site www.amboss-mag.de

"Behind The Moon We Are Looking Into The Distance" is not the debut album of this group, but the re-release of the first demo with a bonus track.  With Eismond, however, [Hugin] seems to have reached a creative peak. Such an atmosphere I have rarely heard in songs in the ambient genre that last over 10 minutes.  Opening the whole thing is 'The Other Side Is Calling Me'.  For alleged "Space Ambient Black Metal" I am left waiting for the black metal part, but the song is definitely good, sometimes sounding a bit like Ulver. The song 'Eismond' lasts about 30 minutes and even has a proper black metal component that really does not sound bad, but does not quite fit into the song. This is very spacey, the drums again sound slightly Ulver in some pieces, something akin to trip-hop.  Despite its length, a good, compact song, only the drum sound distracts from the cold guitar. Then there is silence from track 4-65 before track 66, the bonus song 'Space Death'.  A dark hum introduces the song and it fits nicely into the overall picture."

Yes, you can't beat a good, dark hum.

And last but not least the Dutch have arrived, with Lords of Metal giving the demo 68/100 with the following comments:

"Eismond is an Austrian ambient black metal outfit and this 'Behind The Moon We Are Looking Into The Distance' is their first record. Only four tracks are present, but they last a total of 67 minutes. They posses a very spacey sound often reminiscent of Pink Floyd, and this one of the rare occasional albums of which I like the ambient part better than the black metal ones. The latter are rather standard slow depressive black metal, but the astral ambient elements really have a nice soothing touch. The songs may be in need for some downsizing and more dynamics, but overall the album succeeds in its intentions. Still this is only for dark ambient black metal fanatics, a limited target group indeed."

A veritable outpouring of support for this demo, it has to be said.

The mention of Pink Floyd in that last review is actually quite interesting as the same thought fleetingly passed through Nazgul's tiny mind during a recent listen to the demo.  There is some excellent sparse guitar work throughout the tracks, but particularly on 'Trying Not To Breathe', and it gives an added element to the sound to bolster the otherworldliness of the synthesisers.  Who knows, maybe Hugin will go down a progressive-rock route later in his storied career...?!

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