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!

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