Friday, 31 January 2014

ATLANTIDA VOLUME 15


Bands: RAVENCLAW and EUPRAXIA (who dey?)
Title: Atlantida Volume 15
Format: A compilation CD released on the Atlantida Productions label (Lithuania), number 15 in their ongoing series.  No catalogue reference, plain silver CDr disc in professionally printed black and white labels.  Estimated date of release circa 2002.
Edition: Unknown

Track Listing:
01. Ravenclaw  *  Weltenbrand  1.16
02. Thyrfing  *  The Giant's Laughter  5.21
03. Icon Of Hyemes  *  As Burning Within  3.40
04. Trollskogen  *  Wolfsruf  3.39
05. Spellcraft  *  Season Five  4.51
06. Daemonlord  *  Mankind's Decay  3.05
07. Aisling  *  The Oracle Of Dehumanisation  5.38
08. Eupraxia  *  Spiegelbilder  6.55
09. Cropment  *  Fear Of Death  3.53
10. Ravenclaw  *  Battlemarch  1.10
11. Spiritual  *  When The Moon Shines  4.29
12. Dyspraxia  *  Warloot  3.04
13. Valhalla  *  Phonix Aus Der Asche  3.07
14. The Kovenant  *  Dragonstorms  5.22
15. Primal Dawn  *  The Cull  8.33
16. Ravenclaw  *  Ravenclaw  3.14
17. Dead Corpse  *  Walking In Fire  3.21
18. Crimson  *  Starry Eyes  3.08
19. Crossover  *  Errors  3.13  

Of the myriad Atlantida compilations that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s Volume 15 - for Huginophiles at least - is possibly the most significant of the lot of them as it contains the only song ever recorded by the band Eupraxia: another super-secret black-ops style project featuring Hugin, involving his fellow Elisabetha member Uwe Backer!

But let's not get ahead of ourselves, for there are not one but three Ravenclaw tracks to consider here.  All three - including the 'previously unreleased' track 'Battlemarch' revel in the barbaric keyboard-influenced style of early Hrossharsgrani, and rumble along in a manner certain to trigger avalanches in the highest Alps.  Never the most sophisticated of bands, the songs are a slightly odd 'fit' against the spiky and spiteful black metal offerings on the majority of the compilation, but nevertheless one hopes it encouraged a few souls to track down the band's "Where Mighty Ravens Fly" album from whence two of the three songs derived.

But onto track 8 and that Eupraxia song, 'Spiegelbilder' (literally: mirror images).  Now, whilst the daughter of Vsevolod I, Prince of Kiev was named Eupraxia (you knew that, of course) and Professor Eupraxia Mole was Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1870's, the more likely source of the band name comes from Greek mythology, in which Eupraxia was the personification of well-being (leading to a chain of weight loss fitness clubs in Wisconsin being named after her: she'd be so proud!)

The song itself is presented in two distinct sections.  The initial part that is so-like Elisabetha that you'd swear it was either an old outtake or a demo pinched and worked over: spoken word sections abound, voiced by sombre, deep-voiced males and a slightly panic-stricken woman (albeit it that the lyrics this time are in French, not German) creating the traditional radio-play environment; edgy and scraping string sections craft a brooding atmosphere of unease and tension; and odd little flurries of keyboards making their presence felt with melodies occasionally reminiscent of the band Lacrimosa.  Which is interesting, in fact, as the second 'half' of the song  bounds along on an distinctly Goth-rock tinged bouncing bass line and puts another spin entirely on the song.  As a means of distinguishing this from Elisabetha, it's as if the Gothic Horror motif has been shared between the two bands, whilst Eupraxia assimilates more of the Goth-rock sound into its grooves than their more vampyric counterparts.

It would have been interesting to hear a whole demo by this particular project, but - alas - this one song was the entire recorded output before it was shelved.

You'd think by now that every project that Hugin had been in would have been covered in Honour and Darkness, but oh no: as we near the 5th anniversary of the Blog this new one pops out of the woodwork and - even more startlingly -  Nazgul has in his possession another 3 song demo by yet another as-yet undocumented side-project of the madman of Linz.  Honestly, where he gets/got the time from I have no idea, given that it's taken Nazgul 10 days between updating his posts and fitting them in with normal life stuff!  Hell's teeth!

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