experimental

v/a * The Pact… Of The Gods (cd 2000 fremdheit)

Let me start with quoting the back of the booklet: “The Pact… Of The Gods” is the companion cd to “The Pact: Flying In The Face” [that was released some time ago]. The original idea was conceived by Ian Read and the late Robert Williams”. It is compiled by Ian Read and Michael Moynihan and the latter participates in several of the contributions with Annabel Lee.
The opening track is for the godfathers of neo-folk: Changes. Then Der Blutharsch has a tranquil and very good track. Some nice tunes are then presented by Fire + Ice and Ataraxia contributed a song from their 1995 cd La Malédiction d’Ondine. The Austrian occultist Kadmon presents a tranquil ‘orchestral ambient’ track with Allerseelen and then we hear a very nice folky song by In Gowan Ring. The first negative thing on the cd is from Camerata Mediolanense who can be found with a live song with a horrible sound. Blood Axis worked a bit on their contribution to the “Saturn Gnosis” and this is a very minimal track that you may have to get used to. The booklet has the ‘original’ face of the “Saturn Gnosis” cover to accompany the Blood Axis information and it doesn’t look a bit like Anton LaVey anymore (see my “Saturn Gnosis” review). The first band that I didn’t know is Shining Vril (a project of John Murphy) with an ‘organ ambient’ track which is quite nice. Another band that I didn’t know is next: Mee. Minimal ambient to accompany female vocals, a bit long for my taste. The Forseti song can be found on their Eis & Licht 10” “Jenzig” and the Ostara song is taken from the “Secret Homeland” cd that was released a while back. A wonderfull folk song from Waldteufel is followed by some spoken work of Dave Lee and the closer-off is for Beastianity with a chaotic ‘industrial punk’ track so to say.
All in all I think that the largest part of this compilation is really worthwhile. A few more exclusive tracks may have maded it a bit more interesting, but people who are not too familiar with this music and/or those who can’t keep up with the (vinyl) releases can be pleased with “The Pact… Of The Gods”.
Get your copy from Tesco!

v/a * The Fossil Dungeon (cd 2000 memento mori)

Dark Age Productions (DAP) was ‘founded’ to make the Cernunnos’ Woods demos look more “official”. This man now runs the Battle Helm heavy metal magazine for which I do the alternative pages When three demos had seen the light of day (94/95/96) “Bard Algol Eriboas” decided to release the demo of another band “Under Crushing Wings” (usa 96) which was more or less the start of DAP growing into a label. Then a folkrock band caught Bard’s ear and he urged the band to go for a more medieval approach and two …The Soil Bleeds Black demos were released. Two of the three members of this band (the Riddick twins) proved to be active music makers who also ran a tape label of their own called “7th Key Creations” that for example released the early Equitant demos (known for playing in the metalband Absu). Later the Riddicks and Bard decided to work together and more later sir Prosciptor MacGovern (also of Absu) joined the ranks and DAP from then on consisted of three “Towers”.
The three towers more of less independantly released their material under the DAP banner and still all releases were limited to about 100 copies in most cases. Of the 20 releases before the split of the towers, I only miss two items. The full discography is (with all other information) in the booklet of The Fossil Dungeon.
Somewhere in 1996 Cernunnos’ Woods was asked by the Swedish cultlabel for a cd on a to be founded sublabel “Cruel Moon International”. Roger Karmanik also showed interest in …The Soil Bleeds Black (in my ears always the best DAP act). Things didn’t exacly go as planned.
In 1996 DAP released a red double 12” of Prosciptor called “The Venus Bellona”. This would be released on cd by Cruel Moon being the third DAP act on CMI. CMI not only released the cd, but also a vinyl version that more or less made the DAP vinyl superfluous. Other problems caused the third act (Prosciptor) being the first Cruel Moon release, the second act (TSBB) the second and Cernunnos’ Woods was released after two long years. Plans for an Equitant on CMI were never carried out.
Profane Grace also became quite well-known, but more in the dark industrial scene, releasing cds on the same label who made this compilation possible (and for who Michael Riddick does the artwork).
As you probably know …The Soil Bleeds Black was the fastest rising star of the DAP firmanent. After the cd on CMI, they released two cds on Draenor Productions (a sublabel of Napalm Records from Austria) and now they are on the notorious World Serpent label.
The tracks on “The Fossil Dungeon” as mostly taken directly from the mastertapes for the demos. 4 Tracks are exclusive, Cernunnos’ Woods, Profane Grace, Prosciptor and …The Soil Bleeds Black. The music ranges from medieval, to atmospheric and extremely dark ritual industrial.
Because of the ‘strange’ and mostly pretty good music, DAP was called the “American CMI”. After several years of activity, changing interests, quarrels and maybe a lack of things to be released, caused the demise of DAP. The second Prosciptor cd “The Serpentine Has Risen” was released after the break-up by Prosciptor himself. “The Fossil Dungeon” may be regarded as DAP 022, the final release of the label.
The Riddicks have plans to continue DAP as a new sublabel of CMI under the name… The Fossil Dungeon.

v/a * Somehow They Knew… (cd 2006 vrihaspati records)

Vrihaspati is the label of Peter Savelkoul of A Challenge of Honour. The cd promises “various artists”, but however there are a lot of bandnames on this cd, there are really only four artists on this album. Under the monickers The Arkwoods, Laharis, Praetorio, Staight Mental Instutution, Un Defi d’Honneur, Comtesse du Nord, A Challenge of Honour, Ex.zero and Code 243, S. Arkwoord, J. König, P. Savelkoul and I. Getrouw present their different projects (Praetorio is I. Getrouw, the rest is the rest). Most tracks do not sound too good to me. Minimalistic, repetative, too much focussed on a single (folky) sample. The Praetorio tracks is the best, a soundtrack-like orchestral industrial soundscape with a good atmosphere (I will have to listen to his split with ACOH). On a few tracks (under which ACOH), ‘the other side of Peter Savelkoul’ (who is also a drum’n’bass DJ) comes out, which resulted in a more technoish sound. Code 243 is danceable industrial, quite a break with the rest of the cd, but a nice break. Overall, nothing too special…

v/a * Ny Regret Du Passè, Ny Peur De L’Avenir… (online compilation neo-folk.it)

It was only a matter of time before this would happen: a compilation that can be downloaded entirely, tracks and artwork. I didn’t know the site neo-folk.it yet, but this compilation surely changed that. However the sitename says “neofolk”, this is (fortunately) not just a neofolk compilation. It begins (very) industrial with the bands Omnicore, Atomtrakt, Die Macht, Cold Fusion and Ghost of Breslau. Of course there is also neofolk to be heard and not the worst either: Storm of Capricorn, Sonne Hagal, The Green Man, Belborn, The Well Of Sadness, Apatheia and Rose Rovine & Amanti. At the end there are more experimental things of Naevus, Calle della Morte, Nemodog, Division S, Novo Homo and Der Feuerkreiner. As you will notice immediately, there are wellknown and unknown bands and I must say, for a compilation this is really not bad, so for a free compilation it is great!

v/a * Neo-Form sampler 1 (online compilation 2005)

Many years ago you had to buy demos and compilation cds to get to know new bands. Nowadays the internet is stuffed with mp3s for free download. Now there are more and more online compilations, so new bands can present themselves together with known bands but still for free. The German magazine Neo-Form (of which I had never heard) now presents a new of such online compilations. 17 Contributions which are all “exclusive in this form”, whether a new track, an old or new version or a live-track. There are a few established bands to be found: Cawatana, Volksweerbaarheid, Von Thronstahl and Belborn. Then there are a few bands that you may have heard off, such as Langemarck, Laufeyiar Sonr or Herr. The rest are (to me) new names: Culture Of Darkened Fires, Rose Rovine E Amanti, Shava Sadhana, nA, Werra, Solblot, Gruenland, Stein, Sagittarius and UR. Most of the music is neofolk -and not the worst even-, but there is also more avantgarde and industrial music to be heard. Another very nice free compilation!

v/a * Letters From The Front (cd 2006 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front from Israel is a relatively new label from Israel. With this release they literally turn the scene upside down. First: “”The Eastern Front” dedicates this tribute to their glorious grandmothers and grandfathers who fought with great valour as soldiers and officers in the Red Army and laboured selflessly in the Soviet rear during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)”. An honour to those who “resisted the Nazi power” and “dedicated to 61 Anniversary of Victory in WWII”. A release investigating ‘the red side’ of WWII instead of the brown. Secondly. Whereas many releases include ‘Schlager’ songs for enjoyment and amusement, this compilation cd is almost completely filled with ‘Russian Schlager’ (of course this is a very bad term!). The cd alternates speeches (such as those of Stalin, Molotov and Levitan) with a great many songs from the period and only here and there are ‘songs from the scene’. The bands Silence & Strength, Westwind, Storm of Capricorn and Neon Rain mostly contributed tranquil, rather ambient, sometimes a little bit martial tracks, accompanying what I described before. I like the idea. The execution is rather well done too. Sometimes the 1940’ies songs tend to become too much, but when the Russian choirs set in, my attention is drawn back. The tracks of the four bands are not the greatest pieces performed in the scene, but they go very well with the traditional sounds and speeches. The compilation comes in a highly limited 244 edition with a magnificent cardboard ‘poster’ folded into a triangle. A wonderfull release for sure!

v/a * L’Ame Electrique (mag/cd 2001 l’ame electrique/wkn)

After a long periode of silence, here we have the second issue of the Greek magazine “L’Ame Electrique”. This magazine is very well printed, written in good english and has interesting interviews with Tribe of Circle, Les Joyaux de la Princesse, Waldteufel, Novy Svet, Of The Wand and the Moon, Gae Bolg & the Church of Fand (among others). However there could have been a shitload of reviews since the first issue, they sticked to recent and relevant releases. What is even more interesting though, is that the magazine comes with a cd with one track of each band that ever released something on Albin Julius’ (Der Blutharsch) “Hau Ruck!” label and the tracks are mostly exclusive and in chronological order.
So, in this order you will hear C.O.Caspar, Novy Svet, Dernière Volonté, Of The Wand And The Moon, La Maison Moderne, Tribe of Circle, Novo Homo, Lucisferrato, I-C-K, His Divine Grace, Decadence, Reutoff and Changes. Since Hau Ruck! offers a variety of styles of music, not all tracks are my taste and also it appears that most bands didn’t contribute their best material. But since all tracks beside Of The Wand are exclusive and it has all the bands from Hau Ruck! this compilation may be a good introduction for those who are not too familiar with the bands and a good expansion of the collection of those who are. Besides, the magazine itself is worth the money already!

v/a * Hermann Hendrich (cd 2002)

Waiting for the Breker compilation of Vaws (which is said to be available) you can get this tribute to another German sculptor. I hadn’t seen it coming and I don’t think I had heard of Hendrich before this cd. Anyway, the line-up was promising enough to order this cd, but the result is very disappointing. Besides a few very well-known bands (Belborn, Trumpet Call, Thronstahl, Waldteufel), there are some quite-known bands (The Sword Volcano Complex, Shining Vril) and a bunch of bands that I didn’t know (Freiheitsgeist, Sturmkind, Gandolfs Gedanken, Carpe-Diem, Elke Rohling). There is a bit too much guitar on this compilation (even leaning towards metal/rock at times) and most tracks are awfull. A good thing -though- is that the Belborn track is a very nice opener, the Trumpet Call isn’t too typical and there is a totally unique (in sound, but also previously unavailable) track of Von Thronstahl to be heard (together with one from the first cd).
So, it’s upto you if you decide to buy this compilation.

v/a * Gloria Victis Vae Victis (cd 2005 war office propaganda)

In a magnificent wooden package comes this WOP compilation with 20 tracks. Most of the bands are the established, but smaller bands (like Der Arbeiter, Rukkanor or Omnicore), other bands are (a bit) bigger (Belborn, Pazival, Toroidh, Karjalan Sissit, HERR), but no ‘top sellers’. The new names to me are Out of Sight (a nice weird ‘industrial’ track), Ait! (industrial), Krepulec (ambient industrial) and Vishudda Kali (what kind of music is this?). All tracks but the Karjalan one are new to me and the biggest surprise is already the opener. I know Cawatana as just another unimaginable neofolk band, but here we have a very martial and loud industrial track. Not brilliant maybe, but certainly surprising. For the rest mostly industrial music, some Parzival weirdness and more tranquil sounds towards the end. A nice compilation in a magnificent package (too bad that cutbacks had to be made on the booklet), limted to 111 copies (very special version) and 777 copies. Sold out from the label, but some distros seem to have copies left.

v/a * Eisteddfod (compilation cd 1999 cynfeirdd)

Fortunately I’ve been able to still get a copy of this cultsampler. This review is meant more as referance than as suggested buying.
The cd opens with a not too good track of Der Blutharsch (see cds reviewed elsewhere) and continues with a brilliant song of Gae Bolg and The Church of Fand, Scivias, a band that I knew from the Mysteria Mythrae compilation and who recently contributed a song to the Lichttauffe compilation (also reviewed in these pages). Then two bands that I didn’t yet know: Tor Lundvall (Sol Invictus layout-artist) with an orchestral ambient track and Skald with an alright folky song with female vocals. Next up are That Summer (rather gothic sounding folky music), Argine (a bit Current 93 like song), l’Orchestra Noir (an orchestral side project of Sol Invictus), Tragos Adein (medieval/folk music with female vocals), The Soul That Creates (orchestral, quite nice) and then a brilliant track of a band that I never heard off: Omne Datum Optimum. I think this band is of the Cynfeirdd people themselves. The song opens with nice atmospheric ambient and goes over in a great marchingmusic like song with marchdrums, a flute and heavy beats. The pre-last band is Hollenfurt that I already knew from Immortal Legends (see review). On this compilation their contribution is very atmospheric. The last track is a long one of the brilliant Spanish act Nothvs Filivs Mortis. Great and haunting dark ambient this time. Also see other compilation reviews for this band.
All in all a nice compilation with some promising bands that I didn’t know yet and new or different tracks from band that I did know.