Thursday, 29 August 2013

HARBINGERS OF STORM

Band: Burevestnik 
Title: Harbingers Of Storm
Format: CDR released on the Depressive Illusions label (Ukraine) in 2013 in a standard-size jewel case, with colour inserts, cat ref cut667.  This is a Russian band, but included in Honour and Darkness courtesy of track one being an intro by Hugin's Uruk Hai project.
Edition: 500 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Intro [Uruk Hai]  03:02    
02. Последний день  (last day)  05:11    
03. Вечная битва  (the eternal battle)  06:49    
04. Буревестник  (petrel)  05:11    
05. Не находя покоя  (not finding peace)  06:16    
06. Север  (north)  04:44    
07. Единство братства  (the unity of brotherhood)  05:01    
08. Оutro (Рождество в окопе)  (Christmas in the trenches)  03:51  

Something more unusual to finish off the month of August here on Honour and Darkness - a seemingly random Russian black metal release, but cunningly featuring an introduction by Hugin's enduring project: Uruk Hai.


We've seen this sort of contribution before - Hugin has popped up on all manner of other band's releases with the odd (and occasionally literally 'odd') intro or outro track, normally a short keyboard-led piece designed to give a little atmosphere to an album, and/or offer the rub of support from one well-known artist in the genre to another.  Examples of this are rife across Honour and Darkness, and encompass bands such as Nachtfalke, Hugin Munin, Orcrist, and Dark Domination to name but four.

Well, here's another one, working with a new and relatively obscure Russian band named Burevestnik [Буревестник in the original Cyrillic].  Reliant on Google translation as Nazgul is, it would appear that the band name literally translates as Petrel, which ... is a sea-bird!  Assuming this translation is correct, the bird's name derives from the Latin name for Saint Peter, and refers to the habits of certain species to hover just above the ocean waves, with their feet barely touching the water, thus giving an appearance of walking on water, as St. Peter is said to have done.  It may be a bizarre coincidence, or may be absolutely relevant, but there is a genus of the species called a Storm Petrel, which given the album title seems highly appropriate!  

It does sound like an improbable name for a band though, and it's a truism to note that bird names are not exactly common currency as Black Metal band nomenclature.  Whilst it remains possible that the next corpse painted horde to cross Nazgul's radar may rejoice under the name of Chaffinch, he's not putting money on it...

Although our main interest here is the Uruk Hai contribution, we can't very well ignore the main protagonist.  Burevestnik hail from the Russian town of Ekaterinburg. As you will doubtless know, this is the fourth-largest city in Russia, located in the middle of the continent, on the border of Europe and Asia, and is home to about 1.3m people.  Perhaps most infamously, it is the city in which Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their children Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatyana, Maria, Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alexey were murdered by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House after the October Revolution, on July 17, 1918.  

In its other dubious claim to fame, there was an Anthrax outbreak in the city in April and May 1979, which was attributed by many to a release from the Sverdlovsk-19 military facility but in actual fact was the spearhead of a thrash metal insurgency into Russia led by Scott Ian.

According to their label, Burevestnik play 'Depressive Militant Black Metal' in the vein of Trist and Wedard, and it's fair to say after your first listen to these tracks that they are unlikely to be selected as background music for television commercials anytime soon.  That said, Nazgul found the material to be very listenable and the inclusion of some acoustic instrumentals and varied song structures actually gave the album quite a punch, particularly effective in fifth song 'Not Finding Peace'.  Their album has scored an average rating of 2.47 out of 5 from the users of rateyourmusic.com so can't be all bad, as they say.

The two big questions remaining at this juncture are therefore these: (i) How did this collaborative relationship come about, and (ii) does the Uruk Hai track fit into the general mournful blackness, or is it one of Hugin's more uplifting tinkle on the ivories?

Nazgul approached Hugin in regard to the first point, and Hugin's comment summed up the situation nicely: "that guy [A. Bandera] first wanted me to play keyboard in his band; I told him I did not have the time to be in another band and I offered that I could do an intro for him if he wanted and he was very happy about this idea.  That's the way it happened :-)"

Well, that clears that one up.

And as for the 3 minute introduction, it's rather a sombre affair and sets an interesting mood of apprehension: if this track were playing as the background music in a film it would be odds on that someone was imminently about to get the chop!  An opening burst of thundery noise, followed by pervasive elements of an industrial nature (as in hell's kitchen, rather than the Genre per se), is then chased with a mixture of ambient sounds, peculiar rumblings and snippets of a gloomy violin.  All entwined together it works nicely, and if this isn't itself a harbinger of storm then Nazgul doesn't know what is!

Not - as far as Nazgul can see - appearing anywhere else in the Uruk Hai catalogue, this release is currently the only place to hear the song so for collectors this becomes a must-have release to find!

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