Thursday, 3 December 2015

TERRA INCOGNITA



Band: Allerseelen
Title: Terra Incognita
Format: Digipak pressing released through two Austria labels, Aorta (cat ref AORCD016) and Ahnstern (cat ref Ahnstern 53), in 2015.  Features in Honour and Darkness due to the contribution on guitar at track 9,  'Grünes Licht', of the inestimable talents of one Alexander "Hugin" Wieser.
Edition: No limitation stated

Track Listing:
01. Steingeburt (2015)
02. Fliegerlied
03. Böses Blut
04. Ikarus
05. Flamme (2015)
06. Totenschiff
07. Thule (2015)
08. From the Emptiness
09. Grünes Licht
10. Neunmondmesser
11. Sturmlied (2015)
12. Wir Sind Schwäne (2015)
13. Panzergarten (2015)
14. Was Wissen Wir vom Licht
15. Schwarzes Vinyl

This is essentially a completist post, for Hugin plays a small (yet crucial) role to one song on this recent Allerseelen album.  Still - the modus operandi of Honour and Darkness is to catalogue all there is to catalogue about the musical adventures of Alexander "Hugin" Wieser, so once more into the breach we go with this little escapade.

The online promotional bumf about this release includes these words of wisdom from no less than Oscar Wilde: "All art is at one surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril", which is drawn from his acclaimed work Dorian Grey.  More meaty coverage of the release reveals to us the following details:

"While their highly acclaimed last release Rauhe Schale featured electric guitars by Dimo Dimov of Svarrogh and violins by the guest musicians Meri Tacid from Eluveitie and Annabel Lee from Blood Axis, this time they worked on the new release with a couple of high quality guest contributions by guitarists like John Haughm (Agalloch) and Jörg B (Der Blutharsch, Amestigon, Graumahd), Daniel P. Arnica (Arnica) and Alexander Wieser (Hrefnesholt) who add their very special musical charisma to several songs. 

The vocals for the songs are not only those by the frontman Gerhard Hallstatt but also by Robert Taylor (Changes). This release again is a manifest for the musical expression of Allerseelen that is difficult to be labelled as it is a unique combination of seemingly contradictory elements from industrial, metal and folklore.

So be adventurous enough to go beneath the surface of the music of Allerseelen"


So there you have it, it's official and not authored by me - Alexander Wieser is a high quality guest with special musical charisma!  Well, we knew that already of course, but no harm in repeating the fact...

Song 9 - Grünes Licht - may well delve into the legendary green fairy of absinthe via the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), although the lyrics are somewhat obtuse on that score:

'I sing a song for you
that does not know goodbye
an absinthe sky above me
I sing a song for you
are you seeking the winter sun
are you seeking the green light
i sing a song for you
a hymn to the night
a hymn to the green light
the green light
the green land
sometimes I am there
i sing a song for you
that does not know goodbye'


Nazgul bases his conclusion purely on a review of this album on the Heathen Harvest website that eloquently details the work and it's content.  Picking from the longer review, which you can read at your leisure, some pertinent details around this particular song and Hugin's contribution can be gleaned:

"Terra Incognita has been structured, placing emphasis once again on loops and danceable rhythms as the primary axis for creation and inspiration. Marcel P. (Miel Noir, Fahl, Sagittarius) is, as usual, responsible for most of the bass sections—his performance style having become, by now, a vital piece in forming the distinguished sound of Allerseelen (Marcel P. is also the percussionist and keyboardist behind a couple of songs).  Assisting on electric guitars are Jörg B. (Der Blutharsch, Graumahd), John Haughm (Agalloch), Daniel P. Àrnica (Àrnica), and Alexander Wieser (Hrefnesholt, Uruk-Hai)...

...As you can see, every guest musician appearing on Terra Incognita are members of already established bands. They give a personal yet discreet touch to the music of Allerseelen, as the project seldom allows for excessive experimentation outside of the borders that Hallstatt has defined for himself...

...The title, Terra Incognita, is suggestive of the concept that is prevalent throughout: the unknown territories of every aspect of life, the immense unexplored plains that emerge for every tiny piece of information we finally think we know upon much reflection—the magic that ensures that there is always more to seek and more to discover. The song titles and lyrics are an unmistakable guide, wherein a pilot reaches out to the sun and the stars, far above the surface of common perception (‘Fliegerlied’). There is a song inspired by the Belladonna fruit, whose psychotropic properties provide for new journeys (‘Böses Blut’), and another that is inspired by the beauty of the Aurora Borealis and the legendary green fairy of absinthe (‘Grünes Licht’) that leads elsewhere as well.  Hallstatt possesses a wide range of inspirations, from mountaineering, photography, and travelling to numerous authors, philosophers, and film directors, all of which assist him in expanding—a bit at a time—his horizons, indeed covering always a small new part of some terra incognita....

To provide details on each and every songs theme would be an intrusive obstacle in the way of allowing Allerseelen's audience to do some discovering of their own. I’d suffice it to say that the texts, images, and music are masterfully interwoven to create a unique playground that is at the disposal of your imagination. Choose a path, tread on it, and be not impatient with where it leads you."


Certainly an interesting listen, it's a nice recognition of his ever-growing status that Hugin appears on the album as a guest contributor. In so doing, let us hope it inspires a few intrepid listeners to tread a path towards Hugin's Hrefnesholt and his other associated projects...

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