Tuesday, 13 October 2015

ATLANTIDA VOL. 13 [V/A]



Band: RAVENCLAW
Title: Atlantida Volume 13 [Various Artists]
Format: The traditional silver disc CDr pressing on Ruslanas Devisekas' Atlantida label (Lithuania), no catalogue reference, year of release not stated but circa 2001 based on the content.  A compilation release that spans the globe, and which features Ravenclaw.
Edition: Unknown

Track Listing:
01. RAVENCLAW  *  In Battle (Intro)
02. RUNIC  *  The Search
03. JAILOR  *  Corpus Christ
04. CRUACHAN  *  The Children Of Lir
05. DARKMOON  *  Far From Heaven
06. LAW OF THE PLAGUE  *  Pi$$ On My Grave
07. VIGGEN  *  Armageddon
08. AMON HEN  *  Placer Des Sangre
09. FOREFATHER  *  Fifelder
10. ELENIUM  *  Shadowed Grandeur
11. SPEERHEAD  *  Bloody Ways
12. VALHALLA  *  Defenders Of Midgard
13. WOLFCRY  *  Nightriders
14. MIDNIGHT SCREAM  *  Lost In The Dark
15. REQUIEM  *  Tormentor
16. PROFOUND  *  Tragedy
17. FAUST  *  Immortality
18. CRIMSON  *  Starry Eyes
19. VLE  *  AMTheme
 'Special track for compilation only'
20. RAVENCLAW  *  Atlantida
 
Material degradation.  

No, not the name of some crazy noise/industrial band from Serbia with a song on this release, but two words that should make any committed Huginophile shudder in terror.

Although opinions vary on how to preserve data on digital storage media, one expert in the field - Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland GmbH - has said, "Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD," Gerecke said in a past interview. "There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more."

The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly used for burning, such as CD-R and CD-RW, have a recording surface consisting of a layer of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The degradation process can result in the data "shifting" on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the laser beam.  "Many of the cheap burnable CDs available at discount stores have a life span of around two years," Gerecke said. "Some of the better-quality discs offer a longer life span, of a maximum of five years.  Distinguishing high-quality burnable CDs from low-quality discs is difficult because few vendors use life span as a selling point ... and for those sitting on terabytes of crucial data, that could be a colossal problem."

Such information - if true - suggests that significant proportions of past CDr releases from Hugin's manifold projects could well become unreadable circles of plastic within a relatively short period.  The possible result: loss of crucial demos and limited releases from across his entire discography.  Such events are not entirely unknown within the fortress that is Castle Nazgul: past problems have already been logged, for example with Uruk Hai's exceedingly rare "Blutreich" disc.  A "colossal problem" indeed!

The rationale for such musing is connected to this Atlantida release, as you will doubtless have surmised by now.  It is, on the face of it, a 'typical' Atlantida compilation from the Lithuanian label, bringing together a mighty racket from bands scattered across the globe.  You name a continent and they'll be a band on here from it is pretty much the result.  Of most interest to Nazgul, however, was the inclusion of a pair of Ravenclaw tracks: a veritable pair of stylish book-ends either side of a cacophony of chaos.

'In Battle' is the opening track here, as is was on Ravenclaw's "Where Mighty Ravens Fly" demo of 2002.  So far, so familiar, and it's your classic instrumental opener that invokes the smell of the Vikings and the fury of pillaged buildings.  Or should that read that the other way around...?  No matter, it gets things off to a flying start before general chaos wades in with bucket loads of riffs, pummelling drums and all manner of screamed and croaked vocals.

Nineteen tracks into this sonic fury you're about ready to throw in the towel, except that there's a pot of gold at the end of this particular blood-soaked rainbow: a bonus Ravenclaw track called 'Atlantida' that's unique to this release!  "Woo-hoo, it's going to be another exclusive for Honour and Darkness" thinks poor naive Nazgul, bracing himself for the ultimate revelation at the end of the disc.  Except ... humm, hiss, phutt ... nothing.  The final song won't play, an unholy silence replaces the unholy racket; computer says, 'No'....

Material degradation.

Well, not to be deterred by such singular misfortune, Nazgul immediately approached Hugin with a plea for help, on the lines of, "I don't suppose you have a copy of that exclusive Ravenclaw track anywhere to hand, do you?"  And do you know, he did!  Not only that, Hugin saved the day in his inimitable style by copying said song onto another disc (Hmmm.... you think to yourself, 5 years from now we'll be revisiting this disc and finding it doesn't work either...!) and giving it a nice natty cover of it's own, which is the subject of the very next post in this Blog.  

Gosh, what a dramatic build-up....

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