Friday, 21 October 2016

DIE LEGENDE...


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Die Legende...
Format: A piece of artwork designed for an Uruk Hai cassette release circa 2004, but ultimately unused
Edition: never released 
 
Proposed Track Listing:
01. ...Von Elbenwald
02. Khazad-Dum
03. Ein Licht Geboren Ward
04. Nordhimmel
05. Die Berge
06. Die Ring 

#25 From the Vaults of W.A.R. 
 
Bizarrely this would appear to be the first entry in 2016 in the ongoing 'From the Vaults of W.A.R.' series, in which the obscure, previously unknown or lost to history outings from many of Hugin's projects are dusted off for their 5 minutes of fame in the fiery gleam of the Burning Eye.
 
It's for a proposed tape release called "Die Legende..." (and no, you don't need me to translate that title for you surely) that compiles recordings from the 2000/01 period, giving them (so it is advertised) an end mix circa 2004.  This explains the use of the old style Uruk Hai band logo - as seen, for example, on contemporary tapes of this period.

Personally I think the artwork on this cover is magnificent, perfect for an Uruk Hai release and impressively menacing as fantasy artwork of this type should be.  Rather a shame, then, that it has been consigned to the dustbin of history deep within the W.A.R. bunker ... until now, that is.  What a t-shirt that would have made...!
 
We know from the inlay that the intended recordings are early in the Hugin's musical history.  Some of these tracks, indeed, appear by the same name (but presumably in different form) elsewhere in the output of other projects: 'Khazad-Dum', for instance, being an early Hrossharsgrani track that appears on such demos as "In The Mystic Forest" and "Rehearsal CD1" from way back when.

If the track listing is familiar to you, then doubtless you are having deep subconscious twinges that are directing you to two specific releases where these songs did make their public appearance more formally:

(1) On the "Honour" demo, where they were incorporated into side two of this ever-wonderful release under the title of 'Die Legende..."; and

(2) On the subsequent reissue of the material, both on "Lost Songs Of Middle Earth" in 2008 and then on the lavish box-set "Legacy Of The Tyrant" of 2011/2012 (depending upon which pressing you have).

We have to presume that the creative forces that churn and wrestle within Hugin led to last minute changes in release schedules and composition of demo tapes, with 'Die Legende..." not therefore appearing as a tape release in its own right but being subsumed within the longer "Honour" release.  The music will out, latterly followed after a mere 12 years intermission by the originally artwork...!

Unheralded surprises still languish within the Vaults of W.A.R. biding their time until being thrust into the cold light of day, so keep your eyes peeled for further offerings in this vein in Honour and Darkness.  Though hopefully in a rather shorter period of time than has elapsed between more recent editions of the series. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Uruk Hai > DEFCON 1 logo

Band: URUK HAI
Title: It's not really a title: Let's call it the DEFCON 1 logo
So what is it, then? Well, a bit of fun, really, conjured from the hand of Hugin...

SPOILER ALERT: We are NOT at imminent threat of impending nuclear war...!
Here's something fun: an Uruk Hai themed DEFCON 1 logo!
You're immediately left wondering 'why', 'what', and - very possibly - 'when'?
The 'why' is straightforward enough: in Hugin's own words, it was just a joke to spread the DEFCON 1 message in the past as a means of promotion for the band.  This image appeared on Facebook a while ago, and no where else as far as Nazgul recalls.
The 'what' is a little more complicated, so bear with me: The defence readiness condition (DEFCON) is an alert state used by the United States Armed Forces. The DEFCON prescribes five graduated levels of readiness (or states of alert) for the U.S. military. It increases in severity from DEFCON 5 (least severe) to DEFCON 1 (most severe) to match varying military situations.
The DEFCON level is controlled primarily by the U.S. President and the U.S. Secretary of Defence through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combatant Commanders, and each DEFCON level defines specific security, activation and response scenarios for the troops in question.
In general, there is no single DEFCON status for the world or country and it may be set to only include specific geographical areas.
Defence readiness conditions vary between many commands and have changed over time, and the United States Department of Defence uses exercise terms when referring to the DEFCONs. This is to preclude the possibility of confusing exercise commands with actual operational commands. On 12 January 1966, NORAD "proposed the adoption of the readiness conditions of the JCS system", and information about the levels was declassified in 2006:
DEFCON 1 - 'COCKED PISTOL': Nuclear war is imminent. Maximum readiness
DEFCON 2 - 'FAST PACE': Next step to nuclear war. Armed Forces ready to deploy and engage in less than 6 hours
DEFCON 3 - 'ROUND HOUSE': Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness. Air Force ready to mobilize in 15 minutes
DEFCON 4 - 'DOUBLE TAKE': Increased intelligence watch and strengthened security measures. Above normal readiness
DEFCON 5 - 'FADE OUT': Lowest state of readiness. Normal readiness
And so to the 'when'.  Be warned - should this logo appear on your computer screens as a sustained flashing image, then it's time to adopt to time honoured 'duck and cover' method of survival, and to kiss your ass goodbye... !

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

VERSCHIEDENE STANDPUNKTE ZUM PHÄNTOMEN DES VAMPYRISMUS


Band: ELISABETHA
Title: Verschiedene Standpunkte zum Phäntomen des Vampyrismus
Format: This is a CDr demo disc in a white paper sleeve, with typed inner sheet giving the background and details of the songs herein.  This is presumed to be the working demo for an unreleased split album with Vow Dreams, circa 2005.
Edition: Unknown, but probably only this single copy

Track Listing:
01. Prolog  1.52
02. Down There  7.15
03. Countess Bathori  4.24
04. Der Fall Valdemar  6.06
05. Transsilvanischer Hunger  7.29

It's been commented on before by Nazgul that given sufficient time and industry many of the confusions and puzzles within the collection at Castle Nazgul could be unpicked and put to rest. This philosophy - not dissimilar to the one that suggests sufficient monkeys, typewriters and time would recreate the works of Shakespeare - has borne fruit once again in the discovery of this apparently innocuous CDr demo from Elisabetha, which was buried deep in a dusty drawer of random items.

It is, on the face of it, a collection of 5 interesting but random tracks from this erstwhile vampyric project.  A little diligence, however, identified that it was highly likely to have been the original demo disc for the proposed but ultimately scrapped split release between Elisabetha and Italian band Vow Dreams, as reported on this Blog almost 2 years ago to the very day.

That release, you may recall, was lost to history: Hugin tells us that the reason for the album not being pressed was simply down to the label (possibly Bloodmorfog Productions, he recalls) losing interest in releasing it.

Interestingly, however, this item comes with it's own insert page which amongst other details gives us a title for the demo: "Verschiedene Standpunkte zum Phäntomen des Vampyrismus", or 'Different views on the phenomenon of vampirism' to give it a loose English translation.

Whether this suggests the release may also have had an individual life of its own outside of the split digipak is an interesting, albeit moot, point of discussion.

The insert - in German of course - gives us some insight into the background of these five songs, which in the interests of enlightenment Nazgul has translated for you below on song by song basis:

Prolog:

"Veil of death

Along border death

The country of demonic fears

Now down where chaos reigns

Demons, devils, ghosts dark

What I feel, in this endless night"


Down There:

A classic, hi-tech intermezzi of the same Beherit song

Written for organ, piano, trumpet and violin


Countess Bathori:

A Medieval presentation of the same Venom song

Composed for organ, trumpet, flute and harmonium


The case of Valdemar (based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe)

“... When it seemed to come from the tongue, not from the lips of the sufferer during the exclamation, the necessary magnetic strokes suddenly broke, and in less his single minute, his whole body together crumbled, decayed completely under my hands. And on the bed, in the eyes of those present, was an almost liquid, cleared to disgusting rotting mass”


Transsilvanischer Hunger

German speaking rehearsal-recording of the same Darkthrone song

Suitably armed with both music and artwork, it would now be entirely possible for an actual release of this name to be unleashed unto the world by an aspiring label, should one be out there and so-minded to do so....


Musically some of this is very familiar to us - 'Down There' for example, which is as bat-shit crazy as Nazgul remembered it - whilst a couple of the songs are less common: the 'Prolog' track is dark and doomy in nature, and a really fitting introduction to this set of songs, whilst 'Der Fall Valdemar' is based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe.

In this story, the narrator presents the facts of the extraordinary case of his friend Ernest Valdemar, which have incited public discussion. He is interested in mesmerism, a pseudoscience involving bringing a patient into a hypnagogic state by the influence of magnetism, a process that later developed into hypnotism. He points out that, as far as he knows, no one has ever been mesmerized at the point of death, and he is curious to see what effects mesmerism would have on a dying person.

He considers experimenting on Valdemar, an author whom he had previously mesmerized, and who has recently been diagnosed with phthisis (tuberculosis).
Valdemar consents to the experiment and informs the narrator by letter that his doctors expect him to die by midnight of the following evening. Valdemar's two physicians inform the narrator of their patient's poor condition. After confirming again that Valdemar is willing to be part of the experiment, the narrator comes back the next night with two nurses and a medical student as witnesses.

Valdemar is quickly mesmerized, just as the two physicians return and serve as additional witnesses. In a trance, he reports first that he is dying — then that he is dead. The narrator leaves him in a mesmeric state for seven months, checking on him daily with the help of physicians and friends. During this time Valdemar is without pulse, heartbeat or perceptible breathing, his skin cold and pale.

Finally, the narrator makes attempts to awaken Valdemar, asking questions that are answered with difficulty as Valdemar's voice emanates from his throat and lolling tongue while his lips and jaws are frozen in death. In between trance and wakefulness, Valdemar begs the narrator to quickly put him back to sleep or to wake him. As Valdemar shouts "Dead! Dead!" repeatedly, the narrator starts to bring him out of his trance, only for his entire body to immediately decay into a "nearly liquid mass of loathsome — of detestable putrescence."

Nice...!

This may well prove to be one of the very last - if not the last - entries on Honour and Darkness under the Elisabetha name, as the supply of unusual and rare items in the collection has been exhausted over the past years.  Now defunct, there's little prospect of anything new coming onto the market for this project, and only if another retrospective collection a la "Eternal Deathvastation" comes along are we likely to see something more by this most unusual of bands.

Elisabetha ... R.I.P.