Saturday, 18 April 2015

ATLANTIDA COMPILATION V [V/A]


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Atlantida Compilation V  (Various Artists)
Format: Cassette tape release with professionally printed glossy cover and stock C90 tape, with an Atlantida sticker as a label.  This release is on the Atlantida label (Lithuania) as the fifth instalment in their lengthy series of compilations.  No date of release, thought to be possibly circa 1999-2001 based on the period in which songs on this tape were released, and no catalogue reference.
Edition: As for all Atlantida releases, number of actual copies unknown

Track Listing:
Side A
01. FOREFATHER  *  These Lands II
02. ARRIVAL  *  Thou Borne All Sins
03. ETERNAL DEFORMITY  *  Salvation
04. ARCKAN OBSCURA  *  The Blessed Virgin's Whoregasm
05. METAL INQUISITOR  *  Resistance Is Futile (R.I.F)
06. UNKNOWN SERENITY  *  Ode To Isis
07. ENSOPH  *  Chapter II: My Gloomy Glare
08. FLAUROS  *  Monuments Of Weakness

Side B
01. VINTAGE SOLEMNITY  *  Oiablera
02. FATAL PORTRAIT  *  Rapture...
03. HAIMAD  *  The Horned Moon
04. VALE OF TEARS  *  Where Dead Dreams Live Again
05. CRUENTION  *  Aratare
06. AMAZEROTH  *  The Arrival Of The Infernal Comet
07. AZATHOTH  *  Love Breed Hate, Sometimes
08. ETHEREAL PANDEMONIUM  *  The Children Of The Carpathian Woods
09. HROSSHARSGRANI  *  Hel - Goddess Of The Underworld

You'll need nerves of steel (or a fast-forward button on your cassette recorder) to reach the Hrossharsgrani track on this Atlantida compilation tape, being the last song of a 17 track aural assault guaranteed to leave your ears bleeding and mouth agape.

Once again Atlantida had scoured the world of metal (well, the European part of it at least!) to bring together an assortment of bands and styles, with contributions from hailing from diverse locations including Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Malta, Finland, Sweden, Austria, France, England, Turkey, and Portugal.  Some of the bands do suffer a little from the genre-wide failing of trying to have a two-word name imparting gravitas but instead generating something that only raises a chuckle - Vintage Solemnity / Fatal Portrait indeed - but there's no denying you get a bang for your buck through the 17 songs on offer.

Hrossharsgrani's offering is their 'Hell - Goddess Of The Underworld' song, the fifth track from the "Ancient Tales" album of 2000.  Immense synths at the start (sampled, most likely, from the Conan soundtrack), thundering drums, Hugin in fine mead-fuelled Viking vocal form, it's a song likely to launch a fleet of longboats and lead to pillage and despoiling on an epic scale, much like the rest of "Ancient Tales" to be fair.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead.  Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by the wonderfully named Snorri Sturluson. In addition, she is mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th centuries, respectively.

In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to "go to Hel" is to die.  In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm located in Niflheim.  In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance (well, you would be with colouration like that, I suspect; one can't imagine her being asked out on many dates). The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and played a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

A lady worth dedicating a song to, I think it fair to say.

This early tape in the Atlantida series offers us two new pieces of information that are both interesting in their different ways.  Firstly, we have (finally!) a credit for the artwork, shown as being the creation of  Michael Schindler of Dragon Design, Germany.  Now, as Nazgul has commented on in the past, there is quite a consistent design theme throughout the totality of Atlantida compilation releases so it's not too much of a leap to suggest that Mr Schindler might well have had a hand in a great number of them, if not all.  Hailing from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria (yes, Nazgul is a font of knowledge) Michael has been responsible for many band logos and artworks since 1992 including Folkearth, who you may recall was the project founded by Atlantida label owner, Ruslanas Danisevskis.

And speaking of Ruslanas, the inlay also reveals his former contact address, being Alytaus 4, 4120 Ukmerge, Lithuania.  This seems somewhat surprising for a man who protected his privacy quite stringently, but I suppose bands had to be able to get hold of him somehow!  It transpires that Ukmergė District Municipality is in Vilnius County, Lithuania and thanks to the marvel that is Google Earth you can have a good look at where Ruslanas (presumably) once lived if you feel so inclined!  

Yes, that is a bit weird but that's the danger of sharing personal information in this fully connected internet age!

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