Saturday, 31 March 2018
Title: Mit Stahlernem Blick
Reason for update: A special one-off variant of this 2016 release.
Is it really almost April already? A significant month here in Castle Nazgul for one main reason - it's Hugin's birthday early in the month and normally we'd do a post to celebrate it. Let's hope the gruelling work schedule currently punishing your old uncle Nazgul doesn't get in the way of putting a suitable post together for that occasion...
And just in case you are beginning to wonder if Honour and Darkness has gone into terminal decline, let's find a few minutes to dredge from the archive something a little more unusual to look at today and to get a new post up - and no, it's not an April Fool's Day joke!
No, what you see here is a bespoke one-off 3" CDr release of the B-Machina vinyl-only song 'Mit Stahlernem Blick' that we covered back in January. The reason for it's existence is simply that anything vinyl that comes into Nazgul's clutches is immediately guaranteed to be kept pristine and in mint condition for ever and a day on the basis that I still have no turntable to play it on.
And so kindly old Hugin - no doubt rolling his eyes at his evidently tight-fisted friend over the Channel - puts together a playable CDr version for me to review. And this is the copy that was used as the basis for that January review, as you will have deduced.
The cover is folded piece of card, and it sits in a small clear plastic wallet. I think it's probably a trimmed B-Machina postcard or promo card actually, rather than a unique creation for this particular mini-disc, but it looks the part and I'm certainly not complaining whatever its origins - at least I got to hear this particular song!
Speaking of things vinyl, by the way, the Castle Nazgul inbox literally trembled at the receipt last night of an email (unsolicited, and totally out of the blue) from US label Beasst Promotions, who you may recall were at the centre of an apparent bit of scamming over the vinyl reissue of the Hrossharsgrani "Uruk Hai" demo. They suggested manufacturing issues had rendered the first batch of this album as unsaleable, and effectively asked if I'd be interested in reordering. Hmmm, not sure I've got the physical endurance to go through all of that again, but I'll keep you posted if I do...
Thursday, 22 March 2018
Band: URUK HAI
Title: Origin Of Evil [V/A]
Format: An online digital compilation pulled together by South Korean label Fallen Angel Productions, released for free on 13 February 2018.
01. Katharos XIII (Romania) - The Chains Are So Beautiful 08:21
02. Code Red (Japan) - Destroy 03:15
03. Krigere Wolf (Italy) - Towards the Black Mass 05:18
04. Winter Deluge (New Zealand) - ...Now You Reap 08:42
05. Basilisk (Japan) - In Most Septile 05:30
06. Draconis Infernum (Singapore) - Anathema 03:38
07. Sabbat (Japan) - Transmigration of the Soul 05:03
08. Malichor (Australia) - Sentinels 05:03
09. Necromutilator (Italy) - Fuck With Darkness 02:53
10. Iron Woods (Brazil) - Sound of War 06:00
11. 原罪 Original Sin (China) - 衰老前死去 (Die Before Senility Sets In) 06:26
12. Mourning Dawn (France) - When the Sky Seems to Be a Flag 12:12
13. Hellfire (China) - Possessed by Satan 04:57
14. Vomit of Doom (Argentina) - Woman in Eternal Darkness (Astral Witch) 02:27
15. Kvalvaag (Norway) - Dystopia Naa 08:34
16. AK11 (Australia) - Their Flesh our Fire 04:07
17. Morte Negra (Brazil) - Que a Desgraça Caia Sobre a Humanidade 04:23
18. Kyy (Finland) - The Narrow Gates of Apôleia 04:57
19. Barbarian Swords (Spain) - Pure Demonology 03:11
20. Spectral (Romania) - Neural Correlates of Hate 02:59
21. Rademassaker (Germany) - Paindealer 02:22
22. Rerthro (China) - III 04:00
23. Descend Into Despair (Romania) - Silence In Sable Acrotism 08:24
24. Dekapited (Chile) - Mundo Decadente 03:41
25. Heretical (Italy) - Khrysos Anthemon 03:46
26. Wolfenhords (Croatia) - Kozoglav 07:12
27. Aasgard (Greece) - Ia Nyarlathotep 05:52
28. Valgaldr (Norway) - Et slott i skogen 05:08
29. Malediction 666 (Brazil) - Malediction 03:26
30. Gothic (Romania) - Shadow Man 05:01
31. De Vermis (New Zealand) - Black Wolf Pride 05:50
32. Decay of Reality (Russia) - Illusion's Death 04:43
33. Argus Megere (Romania) - Tronul celui ce stă de strajă 10:41
34. 帝辛 Tyranny (China) - 金台拜将 06:10
35. Skull (Colombia) - Infinite Horizon 04:00
36. Bloodlust (Australia) - Shadows of the Black Sun 07:34
37. Skuldom (New Zealand) - Kill this Fucking World 03:38
38. Belkant (Colombia) - Mesías Satánico 02:33
39. CodeRed (Romania) - The Sixth Sun 08:01
40. Wendigo (Norway) - Cannibal Ritual 06:57
41. Forbidden Shape (Russia) - The Sleepwalking Psychopath 06:18
42. Herege (Brazil) - Cries of despair coming from Christians burning in Jerusalem 02:22
43. Indian Fall (Romania) - Dincolo de Timp 07:34
44. Obscure Dream (China) - Farewell To My Concubine (霸王别姬 ) 04:22
45. Sodomic Baptism (Belarus) - Conception of Beast 07:56
46. Claret Ash (Australia) - Devolution 05:44
47. Uruk Hai (Austria) - In Mordor (Outro) 04:30
Funnily enough, it was only the other evening when Nazgul was pondering whatever happened to South Korean label Fallen Angel Productions. They released, you may recall, some startlingly good compilations in physical formats ranging from little wooden chests to lavish cardboard boxes, and from tape and CD combos to gold-CD boxed-sets, for Uruk-Hai and Hrossharsgrani plus a range of other bands besides. And then, just as quickly as they burst onto the scene, they seemed to vanish.
Indeed, ahead of this online-only compilation being advertised, Nazgul had been rummaging around online trying to find out if the label was still in existence and it had become apparent that they’d moved away from physical releases and into the digital world.
So it’s most timely that “Origin Of Evil” has been produced, as it allows us to keep abreast of the Fallen Angels story, celebrate the existence of free release featuring Uruk Hai, and brings this release to your attention whilst it’s relatively new and fresh.
No less than 47 bands feature here, a prodigious number for sure and a volume usually only seen in the demented releases of our old mucker Leigh Stench (and is it just me or does Uruk Hai tend to appear in last place in the running order on more than an average number of these sort of vast compilations?!)
At first glance the countries of origin seem to span the globe and cover virtually everywhere, but on closer inspection some countries (albeit with different artists) feature significantly more times. By way of example, from 47 entries a total of 7 are Romanian (nigh on 15%, which seems disproportionately high), 5 are Chinese, whilst 4 are from Australia and Brazil respectively. So that’s 43% of the album taken up, then!
Uruk Hai fly the sole Austrian flag here (hurrah!) with their ‘In Mordor (Outro)’ track. It's an up-tempo piece, dominated by a persistent violin and underpinned by blackened vocals and guitar. But why are you asking me what it sounds like - click on the links and check it out for yourself, then make a suitably polite donation for the privilege.
Thursday, 8 March 2018
|An intentionally blurred photo of the inside, to preserve the anonymity of the contents...|
Title: No, sorry, can't tell you that!
Format: 2 x CDr set released on a small European label in 2013 - there are catalogue reference details etc. but they remain a secret. It comes in a black paper sleeve with clear round front window to display some of the artwork, and is hand-numbered in silver on the back of the envelope. The contents are two discs with semi-pro printed white labels. A multitude of bands feature as it is a compilation album intended for a very limited circulation.
Edition: 50 hand-numbered copies only
Of the 27 bands to feature, the pertinent two for our purposes are:
CD2 track 1: Uruk Hai * Lucifer
CD2 track 12: Eismond * The Wind That Shakes The Grass (edit version)
Contrary to popular opinion Castle Nazgul hasn't exploded as a result of recent seismic events in the UK, nor has your old uncle Nazgul fallen into one the oubliettes in the Castle gardens after a rowdy night out at the One Legged Hobbit pub down the road.
No, the recent bout of inactivity (if that's not a contradiction) is solely down to the old chestnut of not having enough hours in the day to do justice to a new post. There's been a lot going on recently, none of which you will care a hoot about I fully appreciate, but suffice to say after a few months of reorganisation in the 'real' job Nazgul is now twice as busy as he used to be, slightly more senior in the hierarchy, no better off financially, but thankfully still employed.
By way of celebration, a new post has therefore been commissioned from the Castle's own monkey, and here it is. Well, sort of: efforts to shift any blame clearly won't work here. Nazgul is sticking his neck out a bit here as a veil of secrecy surrounds this particular release, none of which I am prepared to discuss here, but which hopefully gives context to the edited details and intentionally blurry photo that accompanies the post. All very mysterious I know, but needs must...
You see, very occasionally Nazgul ends up with something in his collection that Hugin has suggested (politely, as is his way) would be better kept under wraps. Not many things in truth, though perhaps 2 or 3 other items fall into this category. Things change over time, allegiances alter, interests are repositioned, people come and go, you know the sort of thing that can distance you from former actions.
But equally, the old golden nugget sometimes emerges that is of such interest then acknowledging its existence outweighs the shroud of secrecy. And so, in Nazgul's judgement, it proves to be with the Uruk Hai song featured on the second disc of this limited pressing - a rare and excellent Uruk Hai song that does not exist anywhere else in the official discography of this mighty Austrian band.
So at risk of incurring the boundless wrath of W.A.R. (fingers crossed that we won't, protective armour donned just in case we do) here's a post to cover the piece in question...
'Lucifer' is the song in question, being a spoken word piece (following an instrumental opening and a short, female vocal melody to add atmosphere). It is, in essence, a song containing lyrics from the poem 'Lucifer' written by one Ludwig Fahrenkrog.
"Who he?", I hear you all cry!
Well, he has a German writer who lived in the period 1867 to 1952, and was also a recognised playwright and artist. Born in Rendsburg, Prussia, he attended the Berlin Royal Art Academy as a young artist before ultimately being appointed a professor there in 1913.
He was involved in founding a series of folkish religious groups in the early part of the Twentieth Century, as part of a movement to create what its adherents referred to as a 'Germanic religious community', founded in part in his belief in the religious nature and mission of art. The religious mission in particular was the revival of the pre-Christian Germanic faith and the rejection of Christianity, hinted at in such paintings as Luficer's Renunciation of god (1898).
Fifteen years after this, Fahrenkrog published a book (Lucifer: Poetry in Word and Image) in which Lucifer speaks in tones reminiscent of the German anarchist philosopher, Max Stirner: 'We choose our own property - the right to freedom. The empire of the spirit wants only masters, not slaves'.
Of course, the span of Fahrenkrog's lifetime crossed paths with the rise of Nazism. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 they outlawed almost every group not affiliated with the Nazi Party though Fahrenkrog's then organisation (GGG - Germanische Glaubens Gemeinschaft) was allowed to carry on. This was nothing to do with Nazi sympathies, but more due to Ludwig's international status as an artist.
Some of the activities of the GGG were limited though: they could no longer hold public meetings, and after 1938 they could no longer use the swastika (which they had, in it's more innocent context, since 1908). Fahrenkrog, to his enduring credit, refused to use 'Heil Hilter' in letters, and was effectively sidelined if tolerated by the regime.
All of which sounds like Nazgul has swallowed a history book, so let's move on!
Heading back to the song, there's almost an inevitability that being spoken word there's a solemnity to it that's quasi-religious/monastic at times, and as such it stands apart from 95% of everything else recorded by that project. Which, of course, makes it of importance and interest regardless on which compilation it has ended up on. It's also a typically excellent piece of music, and it would be a shame if it never makes a public appearance anywhere else in the otherwise prodigious output of Uruk Hai.
Very quickly addressing the Eismond contribution, it's unique in being an edited version of the song 'The Wind That Shakes The Grass', released as you will remember on the 2013 full-length release "As We Hide The Moon". Nothing overtly interesting to add to that bit of trivia, but it's actually rather nice to hear a bit of Eismond again: whatever happened to that side-project...?
Well, dear readers, Nazgul's allotted time for rambling and musing is just about up for today, and it's nose to the grindstone for me again (what you don't realise, as you read these words, is that most of my posts are written at around 06:45 in the office before I start the day job, rather than in the evening at the Library desk accompanied by a guttering candle and with a robust glass of red wine in hand!)
Keep the faith - Honour and Darkness lives ... assuming W.A.R. is still speaking to Castle Nazgul after today?!