Monday, 25 April 2016

ATLANTIDA VOL. 17 [V/A]


Band: RAVENCLAW
Title: Atlantida Vol. 17 [Various Artists]
Format: You know the drill by now - a compilation CD on the Atlantida Productions label (Lithuania) with professional cover artwork courtesy of Mike at Dragon Design, and plain silver disc.  The 17th compilation of bands contributing to this endearing series from the late Ruslanas Danisevskis. Released circa 2002
Edition: 800-1000 unnumbered copies (see text)

Track Listing:
01. MIDGARD  *  Controller Of Dimension Error
02. DIVINUS  *  All You Need
03. DEATH SILENCE  *  Prelude For A Fall
04. ALEPH  *  Hallowed Hatred
05. ROHBAU  *  Kopfschuss
06. FLESH MADE SIN  *  Tormentor
07. IRREDEMPTION  *  Sacred Light Of The Hidden Sun
08. ANATRIZ  *  Balder's Death
09. DAYNIGHT  *  Tomorrow
10. DEATHLESS  *  Under Fear
11. HUMAN PESTICIDE  *  Horrid Pain
12. VALHALLA  *  Legion Of Doom
13. THEMSELVES  *  Time To Rise
14. NOSCE TIEPSUM  *  Witchcraft By A Picture
15. INFECTOR  *  Nunca Mas
16. BERSERK INC.  *  Recollection
17. VICIOUS CIRCLE  *  Vampire Princess
18. O.D.O.  *  Dominator
19. EXECRATUM  *  Fatherland
20. RAVENCLAW  *  Unreleased Track  1:19

Slowly but surely the pile of unreviewed Atlantida releases has dwindled down to the final handful of releases, of which Volume 17 is one.  The end of an era, really, as once they've been covered then that's it ... we know that there are no more to come, and sadly there will then be nothing new to add to an ongoing series that has graced Honour and Darkness for more years than I care to mention.

It's also one of the last hurrahs for any Ravenclaw material too, unless some previously undiscovered demo or recordings come to light.  Oh dear, it all feels rather sad....

Well, onwards and upwards Nazgul... 

Unusually for an Atlantida compilation, all but one band on this edition originate in Europe, and award yourself a gold star if you knew that Nosce Tiepsum were from Australia.  Award yourself a further 5 gold stars if you knew that 'Nosce Tiepsum' was a philosophical poem published in 1599 by John Davies of Wiltshire, England, which is mostly about the immortality of the soul and which stoutly defended contemporary Elizabethan beliefs.  Whether the band's contribution 'Witchcraft By A Picture' concerns spell-casting whilst in an art gallery, or is literally about an actual picture that is responsible for witchcraft, is currently unresolved....

Whilst we're on a theme of discovery and enlightenment, let Nazgul also answer your as yet unasked question by revealing that the meaning of the name of the band O.D.O. at track 18 is 'Odio, Distruzione, Orrore' ('Hate, Destruction, Horror' in their native Italian); that Rohbau's song 'Kopfschuss' translates to 'headshot'; and that yes - there is something oddly prescient about Ruslanas' inclusion of 'Baldur's Death' at track 8, given the tribute album released in his memory by Folkearth in 2014 was called "Baldur's Lament" (different spelling, same Norse god, same sentiment....)

Also of minor interest, but included for the sake of meticulous completion, is the credit in the inlay booklet to both Mike Schindler of Dragon Design and Thomas Hammer of Hammer Graphics for the artwork.  That's the first time we've come across a collaborative credit for Atlantida artwork, so duly mentioned for your edification.

As usual, part of the due diligence in putting a review together for you is to undertake a little light Googling after dinner to see what - if anything, which is seldom - comes up about specific releases. Other than a passing reference to Atlantida Volume 17 on a website reviewing the Aleph album from which their contribution came.  But then, lo and behold, an article was found on a Romanian chat forum (the places I visit for you, honestly) which came from the virtual pen of none other than Ruslanas himself.  

I've quoted the whole thing for you below, exactly as it appeared on the forum, as it answers one of the enduring questions of our time about these releases (namely, exactly how many copies each volume released in) and provides a bit of context about how Ruslanas used to look for material to publish.

It starts, however, with one of the oddest salutations I've ever read:  

"Hi, In mute nostril agony,  [seriously, it does say that, I'm not making this up]

I found info about your band on www.bandpromo.de

I'm from ATLANTIDA Prod.
I collect bands for ATLANTIDA compil. CD Vol.17!
If you interesting put track - ask more details!
On vol.1-16 are more than 200 bands!  A lot of from all the world!  You can see some artwork of last volumes on www.dragondesign666.de (look at Medusa prod.).  All artworks for compil. done by DRAGON DESIGN!
Each volume release 800-1000 copies and spread around the world... Played on some radio-shows too!
I'm in metal from '85 and in underground from '96.
I hope that you saw flyers of ATLANTIDA Prod.?
I have more than 1500 contacts from more than 50 countries!
I hope that you will be on vol.17!  If interesting - ask more details!
I hope to hear from you soon!
Your friend Ruslanas

Alytaus 4,
4120 Ukmerge,
Lithuania"

And, you know, it must have worked for him as you don't put out over 20 compilations with around 20 songs on each one without some people responding to you.

And if, like me, you can't pass up on anyone putting their address online without putting the details into Google Maps to see what their house is like then the inclusion of Ruslanas' previous home address is a real boon here too!

Now, as entertaining and thrilling as this waffle may be, the question yet to be answered here is simply this: what does the 'unreleased track' by Ravenclaw sound like?  Will it be the expected heavyweight thud of percussion and guitars, or an interesting diversion into Boney M cover songs?  The world holds it's collective breath expectantly as Nazgul selects number 20 on the death deck, adjusts the volume to 'certain death' and presses play....

And slap me in the face with a wet halibut if it's not a short and sweet synthesizer piece with a restrained drum beat behind it, kicking off a little melody that builds in speed and comes to a shuddering climax before it's really got going.  And I'd bet a Pound to a pinch of salt that this self-same piece has been used on a longer song somewhere else in the Ravenclaw discography too at some point, as it sounds hauntingly familiar...

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