Friday, 28 March 2014

Followers of Honour and Darkness ... #8


It might be a bit misleading of Nazgul to record our latest victim - *ahem* 'volunteer' - as a follower of Honour and Darkness in this case, for as you will read the featured fan only recently came across the Blog's existence.  That said, James (for it is he) is a keen and loyal devotee of Hugin's music and as a brief interview with him is well worth the time it will take you to read it!  Nazgul only found out of James' existence during the recent visit of Hugin to these shores, and it turns out that James is based not a huge distance from the hulking edifice that is Castle Nazgul.  Who would have thought another ardent collector would have lived so near by?!

As ever, Nazgul hopes you enjoy reading about the predilections of a fellow Huginophile, and should you wish to become part of this occasional series then please do drop me a line at the usual address.


Q1. Hello! Tell us your name?
A1.  James (Jed)

Q2. Whereabouts in the world do you live?
A2.  Sussex, in England: close to many haunted forests!

Q3. Your age?
A3. 35 and some days older, lol

Q4. And what do you do for a living?
A4. I don't work due to disability.

Q5. Your favourite style of music?
A5.   I like most types of music but my main loves are black metal, ritual sounds, and Tolkien-music.

Q6. Whilst being a keen fan of Hugin, who are you favourite other bands?
A6.  Fear of Eternity; Burzum; Motorhead; Delain; Eluvitie; Dark Sanctuary; Karjalan Sissit; Valar; and all bands by my bro' Edgar Kerval (two of his bands are Emme Ya & The Red Angle, his music is awesome ritual sounds!) [this shocking use of free advertising has not escaped Nazgul's attention!]

Q7. The very first album you ever bought...?
A7.  It was "Experience" by The Prodigy

Q8. ...And the latest album you have bought?
A8.  Arcane Art - "When The Gods Die"

Q9. What's your favourite food?
A9. Stir fry veggies, with hot chillies garlic & onion.  Ummmmm!

Q10. Your favourite film?
A10.  The Star Wars films (I'm sure they are based on a true story from the past???!)

Q11. Your favourite book?
A11.  'The Demonic Connection' by Toyne Newton - an awesome read & all true, I remember it well; Clapham Woods is a 30 minute drive from my house *


Q12. How long have you been reading Honour and Darkness?
A12.  I've only been reading the Blog for a few weeks, so I found out I was missing out on a awesome part of Alex's music history.  There is so much info on here, all of Alex's great work!  [Well, I try, and how kind of you]

Q13. Where and how did you discover Hugin's music?

A13. I think I first found the band Uruk-Hai when I bought a split tape with some other band on it. I can't remember the other band as the Uruk-Hai tracks were far better!  Then about a year later I bought a CD on Discogs and found out it was Alex himself that I had bought from, after which I started buying boxes of music from the main man!

Q14. Do you follow any particular project(s) of Hugin, such as Uruk Hai, or all of them?

A14.  I follow and collect all of Alex's bands, they all have their own life & style.  You can pick a different band to listen to depending on your mood.

Q15. How many items do you think you have in your collection of Hugin memorabilia?
A15.  I have about 185 CD's or tapes across all Alex's bands.

Q16. What was the last thing you bought that Hugin released?
A16.  At time of writing this I have just purchased 5 CD's: Uruk-Hai "The Battle" and "Tawantinsuyu", the split with Odium, the split with Gorthaur, and the 4-way split with Uruk-Hai/Onyx/Ringbearer/Black Jade. Of these, the ones a have played so far are magical!

Q17. What is your favourite release from Hugin's discography to date, and why?

A17.  Uruk-Hai's "Cirith Ungol" - the special extended edition is a great adventure!

Q18. What items/release(s) do you most treasure in your collection of Hugin's stuff?  Do you have any unique one-off and/or very rare items, for example?
A18.  I have a copy of uruk-hai "Natt Skogen" on CD, only 33 copies made, an amazing CD!

Q19. Are there any particular releases of his that are you looking for?
A19.  Not that I know of but one day I may list all I have and see if I can talk Alex in to checking to see if I am missing anything!  That is a long job, lol

Q20. Do you have a message for Hugin?
A20   Alex, brother, your life's work is a magical ride and I hope we are still in the early phases!  I am sure you are booking a place in history with your commitment to the art of music. Every time I get a package from you it is a great day! Loudest hailz & horns up!!!

Q21. Do you have a message for your fellow Honour & Darkness readers?

A21.  Fellow readers, what we have here is a one off!  Alex's music is a hell of a magical ride. I don't know if there is a plan as to where these music projects will take us: I don't ask, I am happy to be going along with the ride!  All the bands have a spirit of their own, so if you haven't heard some of them I urge you to check em all out. Hailz to all!!!!

Many thanks to James, and good luck with getting that list out of Hugin!


* For those as intrigued as Nazgul was, here's the story: The book in question and the subsequent Clapham Wood mystery refers to local folklore surrounding Clapham Wood, West Sussex, England. Paranormal enthusiasts believe the area to be a locus of UFO sightings, Satanic cult activity, deaths, and lost or sick pets.  

According to Fortean Times magazine, reports of UFO sightings, claims of nausea, sudden patches of grey mist, and sensations of being pushed or followed have been made since the 1960s, as well as a number of reports of pets being sick or lost in the area. Four deaths have occurred either in or close to the woods. In 1972, missing Police Constable Peter Goldsmith's body was found hidden in a patch of thick bramble. In August 1975, missing pensioner Leon Foster was found in the woods by a couple searching for a lost horse. In 1978, the missing Reverend Harry Neil Snelling's body was found by a Canadian tourist. In September 1981, the body of Jillian Matthews, a homeless schizophrenic was discovered, having been raped and strangled.

In their 1987 book The Demonic Connection, authors Toyne Newton, Charles Walker and Alan Brown claimed that the woods were used for rituals by a Satanic cult calling itself the "Friends of Hecate".

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A WARRIORS LEGEND

Band: URUK HAI
Title: A Warriors Legend
Format: Unreleased promotional CD, compiling existing songs and unreleased material, circa 2005
Edition: not applicable

Track listing (proposed):
01. Thousand Lightnings Strike  2.41
02. Elbentod  5.32
03. Galadriel  1.35
04. Die Legende Von Elbenwald (A Mystical Journey In 6 Parts)  14.50
05. Nebelberge (Parts 7 & 8)  8.14
06. Far Away  4.55
07. The Eye  4.15
08. The Flag  7.11
09. Mithrandir  5.30
10. ...Of Thingol & Melian  21.25

#10: From the Vaults of W.A.R.

Ever one for productivity, there are a number of proposed promotional CD's in the W.A.R. archives that were planned and - in some cases - designed in some detail, but never issued.  And here's another one, the heroically titled "A Warriors Legend".

Taking as its cover a piece of art that did eventually see the light of day (as the original tape pressing of "A Song From The Woods", this disc would have collated a number of previously released songs with 3 new tracks.  Usually at this stage Nazgul would have to go into great detail about the release that each song features on, but this task is handily done already by Hugin in the artwork!


A word on the advertised 'unreleased' songs, as the first one to catch the eye is 'Far Away'. Now, the 2013 Uruk Hai release "...And All The Magic & Might He Brought" had as its second song a track called 'Far Away' (clocking in at 6 minutes duration).  Also, back in 2006 (which which would contemporary with this promo), the project also released "Across The Misty Mountains (Far, Far Away)" on Stuka Sound.  Logically, it's highly likely that this unreleased song either became a track on that latter release or was substantially reworked for the 2013 opus.  Only Hugin knows....

It would have been something of a splendid release, this one, had it come to pass.  However, now suitably armed with the art and the source material one could put together one's own copy of this release if one was so inclined.  It's very tempting...!

Monday, 17 March 2014

FOLIAGE OF GLASIR [V/A]

Band: URUK HAI
Title:  Foliage Of Glasir [Various Artists]
Format: CD release on the Valgriind label (Russia) in 2013, cat ref VG55.  Comes with colour covers and picture disc.
Edition: Unknown

Track Listing:
01.  Corvuz Son  *  Trava  6:35  
02.  Bolverkstorm  *  No Eyes - Alone In The Fog  5:01  
03.  Dasein  *  Grain  4:47  
04.  Orchid  *  Выпал Снег  2:48  
05.  Norma Reaktsii and Sva Battalion  *  Blood-Red Snow  7:09  
06.  Parchim  *  Aion  4:27  
07.  Yav'  *  Night  4:10  
08.  YAO 91404 D  *  Arktische Erde, Dezember 2012  7:48  
09.  Transistorwald  *  Der Romantische Krieg  4:15  
10.  Uruk-Hai  *  The Door To The Paths Of The Dead  7:08  
11.  Shepot Run  *  Пусть Всходит Солнце  3:16  
12.  Astarium  *  Moranas Lands  5:00  
13.  Lebensessenz  *  Dostojewski  6:04  
14.  TemnoJar'  *  Sator Venit  5:39  

Described online as a "long-awaited CD compilation of residents and friends of the great Russian label Valgriind", this compilation album bucks the recent trend of compilations reviewed recently in Honour and Darkness by being (i) very listenable, and (ii) mercifully short!  


Valgriind, of course, have issued some of Hugin's work in recent years, notably the Uruk Hai double-CD release "Upon the Elysian Fields" and the single-disc reissue of "Northern Lights", so it's no great surprise to see Hugin featuring on this collection of songs.  That said though, had Nazgul had to put money on which of Hugin's projects would have been chosen the more likely choice would have been B-Machina, who have also had material released on this label and who on the face of it are a more straightforward 'fit' with some of the other bands featured on this style of album.  Just goes to show what I know: 'The Doors To The Paths Of The Dead' is a track drawn from the latest Uruk Hai opus "...And All The Magic & Might He Brought".

There's a variety of musical styles on this CD, ranging from neo-folk through ambient-experimentalist-noise-electronica to some good old metal: Uruk Hai's contribution comes across as one of the 'harder' songs on the album, which must be a first as normally Nazgul is left ruminating that the Uruk Hai song is the soft and gentle part in a maelstrom of black-metal.  This particular song features Bart Piette (Dead Mans Hill) on vocals and Trevor Sewell doing the virtuoso guitar solo parts.  

Like many Valgriind releases it's well thought out, well conceived, and attractively priced.  It gives you a good opportunity of venturing into the realms of a number of bands that you surely won't have come across before.  A shrewd marketing tactic once the CD is in your sticky hands. but given the number of unknown bands on the release it may not be the album you'd immediately go out and buy on the off-chance of finding your next favourite band.  Nazgul's advice would be to track down an affordable copy post-haste as there is much to enjoy here.

The first three tracks of electronic ambient drone will have you believing you've entered some form of intergalactic portal towards the mysterious enigmatic world of Saturn Form Essence, but this is quickly turned around with a song far more akin to New Wave on Orchid's 'Выпал Снег' ('snow fell'), which sports a synthesiser sound very reminiscent of Visage's 'Fade To Grey'.

The following two tracks are - to be brutal - a bit of a drag, but things perk up immeasurably on track 7 with Yav' and 'Night', which has the most elegant and beautiful keyboard parts to it and is a pleasure to let wash over you.  This is then followed by what I suppose you'd call an experimental noise 'song', which is not unlike listening to a radio being tuned inside an oil barrel, before a neo-folk song breaks out from Transistorwald complete with samples of what sounds like Hitler speeches.  What you might term 'die militarmusik', then.  Following Uruk Hai's contribution the remaining tracks are again something of a mixture: the wonderful Shepot Run with female vocals very reminiscent of neo-folk band Hekate; the somewhat odd-sounding piece by Astarium (Wongraven-esque humming mixed with Aboriginal instruments); a radio-play style song with nice piano from Lebensessenz; and then finally the album comes to a close with the strident 'Sator Venit' from Russian folk-ambient performer Temnojar'.

To understand the album's title one has to venture into old Nordic legend.  In chapter 32 of the 13th Century Prose Edda book 'Skáldskaparmál' numerous poetic references to gold are provided, including "Glasir's foliage". Glasir, it turns out, is a is a tree or grove, described as "the most beautiful among gods and men", bearing golden leaves and located in the realm of Asgard, outside the doors of Valhalla.  In a surviving fragment of chapter 45 of the skaldic poem "Bjarkamál", Glasir is again listed as a meaning for gold ("Glasir's glowing foliage").

Overall, a good value release with some tracks standing out amongst the throng like the Faraway Tree emerging above the Enchanted Wood.  Nordic legends?  Pah!  Enid Blyton ever time at Castle Nazgul!  Leaving aside any Uruk Hai bias for the moment, Nazgul's favourites on this compilation would undoubtedly be the tracks by Yav' and Shepot Run, and they are worth some further investigation.  Indeed, Nazgul noticed that Shepot Run had done a cover of the Burzum song 'The Crying Orc', which by odd coincidence was also recently covered by Uruk Hai, so clearly fate is at work here!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

THE DANCE OF THE BLUE



Band: CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE
Title: The Dance Of The Blue
Format:  Currently this is an unreleased album, but shown here in demo version with bespoke covers, CDr disc, and plastic wallet.
Edition: Unreleased - this may well be a one-off copy

Track Listing:
01. Eiswelten  7.32
02. The March of a Drop  3.54
03. Ich Tauche Tiefer  4.15
04. Wasser  2.42
05. Deep Blue See  24.25
06. Black Water  4.58
07. The Flow  5.45
08. The Dream  5.38
09. Fear of the Deep  3.46
10. Penses Noires (featuring Flo)  4.59

Back in 2008 when COI was a relatively new project in Hugin's hands an album was released called "Der Rote Glanz Der Flammenfee".  This was the first instalment in what was planned to be a concept series dealing with the four elemental forces; Fire, Water, Air and Earth, and covered off the 'Fire' side of things.  Something of a lull followed that release, with the odd EP or single appearing but nothing that could be said to be part two in the series.  Then the COI project evolved into something with more neofolk leanings with the addition of lyricist Nick Diak, and the band moved into rather different pastures with a flurry of low volume releases on the Catgirl label.

But behind the scenes, Hugin has clearly been industrious.  A second part of the quadrilogy had in fact been compiled in 2009, drawing water-themed songs from intermediary releases ("Tiefenrausch" for track 'The Dream', and the title songs from "Fear of the Deep" and "Ich Tauche Tiefer") together with new compositions.  However, no formal release has yet come about - it would appear that this is one of those completed releases that is looking for a label to release it, much like the almost-mythical Drachenfeuer album.  Let us hope that in the fullness of time a label will emerge to give this the release it properly deserves.

We have to adjust our listening expectations to a time 5 years ago, before the lyrical and vocal influences of Mr Diak and back in a time when ambient keyboard tapestries decorated the airwaves.  What we have here is a varied and enjoyable 'electro-pop' album (to draw on a lazy term) that at some points sounds like vintage Ultravox (imitating that trademark Billy Currie synth-sound), on occasions more like euro-disco (!), and in other parts reminiscent of parts from more ambient Uruk Hai releases.  In actual fact, if track five 'Deep  Blue See' hasn't at one time been subsequently recycled into a contemporary Uruk Hai song then Nazgul will eat his hat, horns 'n' all.

Underpinning all the many and varied sounds comes instrumentation that does manage to convey the medium of water on more than one occasion - drips, plips, trickles and rivulets, frozen wastes and dark, murky deepness.  It's rather clever, actually, and achieved to fine effect in the first few seconds of track one 'Eiswelten'.

Also welcomed back on this release is none other than Flo of Herz Tod on vocals for 'Penses Noires'.  We've not seen Flo involved on one of Hugin's projects since the release of the uber-limited edition "Dieu du Tonnere" mini-CD from Bonemachine in 2008, so what a great surprise this proves to be.  Flo's husband, incidentally, is Luc Mertz, he of the one-man project Zarach 'Baal' Tharagh - one of very few men who can claim more demo releases to his name than Hugin!

There may yet come a day when an enterprising label such as Depressive Illusions will release this demo into the world.  It may well be in both cassette tape and CD format, sporting some suitably aquatic-theme of artwork.  The wider question is whether it would sell particularly well, and whether you - as a loyal and discerning Honour and Darkness reader - would want to hear it?

Well, let's put it this way: if you're a hardcore metal-head then no, almost certainly this will prove to be too 'poppy' for your tastes.  If, however, you enjoyed a bit of New Wave in your youth and have some interest in the Germanic electro-scene post Kraftwerk et al then I suspect you would be much to enjoy here.  There's enough variety to keep your interest buoyant and afloat (you see what I did there), and it's easy to listen to as well should you need something less challenging than, say, a Bonemachine industrial piece. 

And if bands like Paradise Lost can release covers of 'Smalltown Boy' by Bronski Beat, then I suppose the sky's the limit....

All an officially released version would need is a bonus cover version of the classic cult new wave track 'World of Water' by New Musik and you'd have a little ripper on your hands!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

5 JAHRE SKULLLINE [V/A] metal-box edition

Bands: HREFNESHOLT and B-MACHINA 
Title: 5 Jahre SkullLine (5th Anniversary SkullLine)
Format: This limited edition was released in 2010 on the SkullLine label (Germany), cat ref SLDVDR100-10.  It comes with a DVDr with 46 audio tracks in DVD case with paper-insert, one badge, a stamp, a bonus CDr in card sleeve, "TT - Opfer / Einheit " (SLCDR001-06), and a 1GB memory stick with 100 further bonus tracks!  The whole set is housed in a metal box with a double-sided colour SkullLine label t-shirt.  A sticker in the base of the tin lists the 100 bonus songs from the memory stick, as does a special insert in the DVDr case.
Edition: This version of the release is limited to 50 hand-numbered copies.

Track Listing:

DVDr disc
01  Angry Young Formation –  Masters Of Silence  
02  Argheid –  Innocent Eyes  
03  Barbarossa Umtrunk Feat. Schattenspiel –  Vive Le Quebec Libre  
04  Droefheid –  Alarm  
05  Durch Herr Und Kraft –  Câteau De Trianon (French Version)  
06  Gabe-Unruh –  Heimat Guben  
07  Heiliges Licht –  Am Ende Des Tages...  
08  Hrefnesholt –  Hexnfeia  
09  Hybryds –  Never Trust An Angel (Vocal Mix)  
10  In Scherben –  Sachsenland  
11  J Orphic –  Scisma  
12  Kazeria [KZ] –  Marching Solstice  
13  L' Effet C'Est Moi –  Rite Nacht  
14  Primeval Existence –  Roar Of The Warchiefs  
15  Rose Rovine E Amanti –  My Blacky Europa (Early Demo Version)  
16  Shattered Hand –  Dreaming Of Prypiat  
17  Sinweldi –  Jeunesse Nationaliste Révolutionnaire  
18  Stormfagel –  Ve Er!  
19  Strydwolf –  Frii Es De Festsang (Mantra)  
20  Truart –  Panzertanz (Tribunal Version)  
21  Zr19.84 –  Beautiful Lies  
22  Nocturne (2) –  Un Dimanche Dans La Gorge (Avec Jule Á La Guitare)  
23  Svart1 –  Display Of Hate  
24  Area Bombardment –  Baile Átha Cliath 1916  
25  Bleiburg –  Concept Of Reality  
26  Brandkommando –  Cops  
27  Camisole –  Clitoridian Temple  
28  Disciplina Urbana –  Industrias Tóxicas  
29  Eldar –  Silence In The Wind  
30  Electric Uranus –  3 Min  
31  Erntegang –  Parker Barrow Memorial  
32  Escuadron De La Muerte –  Cruz De Hierro  
33  Forests And Communism –  Raindrops  
34  Founiersches Gangraen –  Total War  
35  Front Sonore –  Skeleton Dance  
36  Grabstein –  V2 (44)  
37  Irikarah –  I Will  
38  Kaelteeinbruch –  Grey Ships  
39  Kenji Siratori –  Ground Scream  
40  Kristus Kut –  Disco Fever  
41  Life's Decay –  Feythium  
42  Nuevo Ideal Nacional –  Hvetramannaland  
43  Siege –  A Honorable End  
44  Zyankali –  Gefahr Im Verzug  
45  Melek-Tha –  8,42 Good  
46  Lerophania –  Ritual Of Rising Child  

Bonus CDr disc
01  TT –  Blutsauger (Intro)  
02  TT –  Abschreckung  
03  TT –  Leichenliebe  
04  TT –  Unter Beschuß  
05  TT –  Automat  
06  TT –  Dreamwave  
07  TT –  Aufmarsch  
08  TT –  Krieg  
09  TT –  Höllenlicht  
10  TT –  Stechschritt  
11  TT –  Gott Wo Bist Du?  
12  TT –  Fanfaren  
13  TT –  Krachversion  
14  TT –  Schlaflied  

Memory Stick bonus tracks (limited edition only)
01  Oneiric Imperium –  Guided By Internal Vision  
02  Oneiric Imperium –  Catacomb Hieroglyph Portals  
03  Oneiric Imperium –  49th Street  
04  Oneiric Imperium –  The Devil Was In Your Heart  
05  Oneiric Imperium –  The Imprinting Of Total Control  
06  Oneiric Imperium –  Your White Liberal Shit  
07  Oneiric Imperium –  Where Their Type Of Kingdom Awaits  
08  Oneiric Imperium –  Kiss The Girl With Dirt In Her Mouth  
09  Oneiric Imperium –  Hijacked Imperatives  
10  Oneiric Imperium –  Made Of Dream Flesh  
11  Oneiric Imperium –  The Wolves Of Lhasa  
12  B-Machina –  1  
13  Chaoticum –  And Then There Was One  
14  Chaoticum –  Harmonious Dirge  
15  Dismal Woe –  Part I  
16  Dismal Woe –  Part II  
17  Forest Funeral –  Mist  
18  Forest Funeral –  Grief  
19  Forest Funeral –  The Wraith  
20  Fournisches Gangraen –  Ekel Teil 1  
21  Fournisches Gangraen –  Ekel Teil 2  
22  Geheimestadtspolitik –  Threads I - The Inexorable March To War-  
23  Grabstein –  Intro    
24  Hrefnesholt featuring Dead Man's Hill –  Untitled  
25  Kalt See –  Mereth Undulosë  
26  Kalt See –  Au Pied Du Phare  
27  Kalt See –  Feäloth  
28  Kalt See –  Flocons De Nuit  
29  Kalt See –  Gorgond  
30  Kalt See –  Kalte Nacht  
31  Kalt See –  La Fin Du Voyage  
32  Kalt See –  La Naissance D'Un Clan  
33  Kalt See –  L'Antre Des Loups  
34  Kalt See –  Melancolie Ethylique  
35  Kalt See –  Menelgǔl  
36  Kalt See –  Mystic Forest (FFVI)  
37  Kalt See –  Neiges Éternelles  
38  Kalt See –  Orothalion  
39  Kalt See –  Summorning The Night  
40  Kalt See –  Une Plainte Dans L'Oubli  
41  Kalt See –  Vision Deseperee  
42  Maelifell –  La Danse  
43  Maelifell –  La Paix  
44  Maelifell –  Le Depart  
45  Maelifell –  Le Dernier Hiver  
46  Maelifell –  L'Empire Interieur  
47  Maelifell –  Le Soir  
48  Maelifell –  Priere  
49  Maelifell –  The Summerlands  
50  Maelifell –  Un Noveau Royaume  
51  Maelifell –  Un Noveau Soleil  
52  Maelifell –  Untitled  
53  Maelifell –  Waffenbruder  
54  Manifesto  –  Beneath  
55  Manifesto  –  Brimstone  
56  Manifesto  –  Cancer  
57  Manifesto  –  Colony  
58  Manifesto  –  Elder  
59  Manifesto  –  Leech  
60  Manifesto  –  Singularity  
61  MDMA  –  Purevil  
62  MDMA  –  Synergic Antagonsim  
63  MDMA  –  Requiem For A Dying Culture  
64  MDMA  –  Dogfix  
65  MDMA  –  Natural Born Serial Thriller  
66  MDMA  –  Removal  
67  MDMA  –  Devastated  
68  MDMA  –  Broken Memories  
69  MDMA  –  Nada!  
70  MDMA  –  Disappointment  
71  MDMA  –  Step Forward  
72  MDMA  –  Rush  
73  MDMA  –  Vengeance  
74  MDMA  –  Divide And Conquer  
75  MDMA  –  The Last Salute  
76  Miräkemen –  Glinatur  
77  Naudhiz – Untitled I  
78  Naudhiz - Der Erschöpfte Wille  
79  Naudhiz – Untitled II  
80  Naudhiz – Echo Der Vergangenheit  
81  Naudhiz – Schneetreiben  
82  Naudhiz – Das Erstnachkommen  
83  Naudhiz – Offenb. 19,21  
84  Naudhiz – In Tiefem Heimweh  
85  Naudhiz – Gratitude  
86  Naudhiz – The Final One  
87  Naudhiz – Ewigkeitspfad  
88  Naudhiz –  Heimreise  
89  Opus Finis –  White Chrysanthemum  
90  Schattenspiel –  5 Years (We Salute You)  
91  Secret Druid Society –  Deserted World  
92  Secret Druid Society –  Lonely Moon  
93  Secret Druid Society –  Phobia  
94  Secret Druid Society –  Restless I (Foreboding)  
95  Secret Druid Society –  Restless II (Night Is Here)  
96  Secret Druid Society –  Tell Me Why  
97  Shattered Hand –  The Sun And The Shadow_Master Mix  
98  Strydwolf –  Natur Und Krieg  
99  Strydwolf –  Aus Der Jugendzeit  
100 Zex Muzak –  Right There  

Yes, you have seen a version of this before, but it turns out that there are two versions of the 5th anniversary celebration release from Germany label SkullLine: the standard DVDr edition, reviewed back on 5 July 2011, and this far more limited edition metal box set deluxe pressing with bonus goodies and one hefty metal tin to house them all in.  

The standard was of interest as it contained the Hrefnesholt track, 'Hexnfeia', culled from their 2010 release "Uraungst".  For some time after this review, Nazgul had tried to find out some details about this limited edition pressing, as although the SkullLine site listed it as available and with 100 bonus MP3 tracks, there was no detail about what the bands or songs were that comprised the bonus element.  Last year - finally - Nazgul found a detailed track listing and lo and behold two more Hugin related songs appear: the enigmatically titled '1' from B-machina, and a second Hrefnesholt song (in collaboration with Dead Mans Hill) called, errrm, 'Untitled'.

So the hunt was one to procure one of the 50 copies of this limited edition to see what these additional two songs offered.  Yes, once again madness reigns at Castle Nazgul as a significant financial outlay was incurred for the sake of just 2 additional songs.  The things I do for you lot, honestly...  This proved to be somewhat more of a difficult task that it would have been about a year ago, as SkullLine had by this stage sold the only remaining copy of the box-set.  Some frantic online research eventually dredged up a couple of copies for sale though, and the one you see pictured here now resides amongst the many other box-sets in the Castle Nazgul library.  

Strangely, however, in the drafting of this post Nazgul noticed that SkullLine are now re-selling the set on their web-page and have - at the date of writing - no less than 8 for sale at €34.50 a go (plus shipping).  Most odd - maybe they found another crate of them under the couch, or something?

A quick dissection of the box contents reveals that along with a black t-shirt emblazoned with the SkullLine logo, you get a small sticker, a small round pin/badge of the label logo, the standard 2-disc DVDr compilation (with new inlays showing full track listing), a bonus CDr from a project entitled "TT - Opfer / Einheit ", described as 'first releases', and a natty little logo'd USB stick with all of the extra songs.  The whole thing is housed in a galvanised metal box with cover sticker, and it's a fair old weight too: about 1.5kg to be precise, more than enough to hike up the shipping costs!

The standard item we've dealt with already, so let's have a look at the additional bits and bobs.  You may reasonably ask if Nazgul has listened to all 100 songs on the memory stick?  "No," would be the answer to that question.  Has Nazgul listened to the TT tracks on the CDr disc.  "Errr, no," once again.  Is he ever likely to - well, possibly, but don't hold your breath: as usual the collecting madness tends to limit itself to a consideration of Hugin's music only, so let's press on and see what the two pieces of music have to offer in that regard.

What Nazgul did do, however, was to plug in the USB stick when Hugin was over visiting from darkest Austria, so we could see what SkullLine had been up to, as news of the inclusion of these two projects was news to Hugin.  Seemingly, it turns out that whilst Hugin had submitted tracks to the label in the past as part of older promotional work or efforts to get a particular demo/album released, they'd not sought permission to use these two specific song on this release.  Nor had the label sent Hugin any promotional or retail artist copies of the final product.  This is what's called 'being a bit naughty' in the trade, though sadly it's far from uncommon with smaller labels as past Blog posts attest.

So what do we have here?  Well, the Bonemachine track '1' is a mighty 20 minute epic, and fits right into the style of song prevalent around the "Right Now!" release.  The second song is an untitled track credited to Hrefnesholt featuring Dead Man's Hill.  Now, you'll recall that Hrossharsgrani did a split release with Dead Man's Hill back in the day ("Dead:Meat") but no formal split or collaboration between DMH and Hrefnesholt was released, so what's the story here you ask?  Well, more label shenanigans, as it turns out - Hugin explains: "The Hrefnesholt/DMH track is Solid Grey from debut album, it was the first song we had recorded together for this project, back in time when we had no name for it - strange that [SkullLine] used it for this compilation without asking - aaaaarrrggghhhhh!"

It would be interesting to learn whether any of the other bands on the memory stick knew of their participation in this release....?

So, the bottom line: is it worth tracking down a copy of this set and shelling out a likely €45+ for it, as opposed to sticking with the far less costly standard edition?  To be honest, no, and for one principal reason: the label's actions of released product without the permission or benefit of the contributing artists (if the experience of Hugin is common across the board, and it seems likely) is reprehensible.  Irrespective of the quality of the packaging or the music on offer, the apparent underhand nature of the enterprise means that no one should really support the label by buying the item.  Too late for old Uncle Nazgul, but not for you, honoured reader.  As Hugin himself put it, "it would be nice if the label would contact the artist before it releases his stuff :-)"  

Rather an understatement, but then Hugin's very polite!

Edition number stamped on base of tin - 17/50

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

URUK HAI / RINGBEARER flyer


Band: URUK HAI
Item: A promotional flyer for the forthcoming trilogy with Canadian band Ringbearer

Ok, ok, it's a fair cop, guv'nor!  Nazgul has been a bit remiss about new content on Honour and Darkness, but not without good reason.  The grind of daily life, the need to actually take time to listen to the material before reviewing it, endless distractions both professionally and socially, they all take a toll.

But the best excuse Nazgul has had for ages is that the mighty Hugin himself took time out of his mindblowingly busy schedule to fly to the UK last week to spend a long weekend at Castle Nazgul.  Now, if this were Facebook I'd be covering this post with photos of Hugin at Stonehenge, or Hugin on the London Eye ... but it's not Facebook, and Lady Nazgul has already done an excellent job of such matters on that august forum.

Instead, this is Honour and Darkness where the focus is on all things (mostly) musical.

An in lieu of the fact that Nazgul has a couple of posts still in draft form and not quite shaped to perfection, here's a quick promotional nod to an exciting looking trilogy to come from Uruk Hai and Canadian band Ringbearer.  Looks pretty good, does it not?!  No details yet on the label or release date, but keep your eyes peeled via Hugin's Uruk Hai Facebook page for more information, including links to advance audio files on YouTube!

Whilst you feast your eyes on this and place advance orders via Hugin, Nazgul will get back to the task in hand of reviewing something new and exciting for you as his next post.  Can't say fairer than that really, can I ....?