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folk

v/a * Riefenstahl (compilation 2cd 1999 vaws)

As far as I know the second compilation by Vaws dedicated to ‘controversial’ artists (see Thorak below). This time Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker, photographist, dancer (in younger years), etc.
A nice orchestral opener by Voxus Imp. is followed by a tranquil industrial track of Von Thronstahl. Then Vaticans Children are up with an alright industrial track after which we hear some magnificent orchestral tunes of Forthcoming Fire and also a great track by Allerseelen. Less interesting songs of Nothwende, DIJ/Kapo bring us to a few guitar sounds. First a horrible track by Ruckgrat (pre-Orplid), a nice technoish track with guitar samples by Forthcoming Fire, a horrible dark ambient/industrial track with guitar samples by Nothwende. Then soft industrial by Preussak (another project of Josef K.) which is not too good. Neither is the atmospheric track of Andromeda Complex. Lady Domino has a nice track with a pulsating beat, gregorian samples and singing and the worst track of this compilation is for Projekt Blauland with a gothic song. Then Von Thronstahl with a funny technoish track and Josef goes even more techno with Preussak after that. Another horrible gothic song by PP?, again a no good track by Andromeda Complex, Tombstone with some boring dark ambient and Swirling Swasticas with a lousy industrial track.
This compilation starts off alright, but ends badly.

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 * Looking For Europe (4cd 2005 auerbach tonträger)

On a label that is new to me, a book about neofolk (which I will review as soon as I finished reading it) and an accompanying compilation cd were released. You can buy them separately or together in a box. The cd comes in a nice package with a rather large booklet in German and English with a short history of neofolk music and information about the bands. If you only want to read something about the music and hear some of it, you will have enough if you get this compilation. For philosophical backgrounds, more history, interviews, etc., you will need the book (which is in German btw). I don’t quite follow the ‘thinking paths’ of the writers and compilers of this cd. If Blood Axis covers a song of Strawbs, did this band influence neofolk music? Maybe Moynihan just heard the song on the radio and liked the lyrics. In a similar fashion, quite a few old songs that I never heard off can be found on this compilation as “predecessors”. Maybe some have a similar style or could have influenced some band (who on their turn influenced the rest, so what does that make of the influence of the first band?), but I didn’t know most of them. Also, most of these songs are terrible. Should they have put all these songs on the first cd, I would just have never played it, but there are (more recent, okay) on the others. Also, what do Blood Axis, Sieben, ORE, Kirlian Camera, Der Blutharsch, Gae Bolg, Boyd Rice, Empyrium and Shining Vril have to do with neofolk? If neofolk isn’t just simple guitar-music in a certain style, with similar underlying ideas, etc.? Are bands with similar underlying ideas, but different music influences for neofolk music? Sure they are from the same scene of influence for the scene, but if that is the condition then where are Forthcoming Fire / Von Thronstahl, Belborn or Spiritual Front or for example Genocide Organ, A Challenge of Honour, Karjalan Sissit or Turbund Sturmwerk, just to name a few bands?
Overall I am not too happy with the compilation ‘musically’. There are four cds, but the tracks that are good or alright can easily fit on one. Some bands have exclusive tracks, such as Blood Axis (some folkrock kind of cover song), Sieben (alternative version), Agnivolok, Sol Invictus (alternative version), Darkwood (alt.version), Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Laibach (justly on the cd as influence, but with a terrible and not very typical track), Andrew King, Werkraum & Lady Morphia (not my taste!), Der Blutharsch (a funny track) and Shining Vril. People who listen to this music more will probably have most of the non-exclusive material. Like I said, here and there a good track: Orplid (an oldie), ORE (always nice), Hagalaz’ Runedance and Der Blutharsch; sometimes ‘too neofolk’ for me (Forseti, Darkwood, Tenhi, Neun Welten), but actually that was what it is all about, right?
For those of you who are not too familiar with ‘neofolk’ (in the defination of the writers of the book), this compilation offers you both music and information. People who -like me- have listened to this music for several years, may find the book a nice read (but also here I disagree on several points) and enough to buy from this ‘project’.

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 * Immortal Legends (2cd 2000 arborlon music)

This is the third cd that is compiled by Thomas Wacker of the German Black Magazine. The first two has as theme “The Dark Ages” and now all tracks are about “Immortal Legends”. This cd features 26 bands that can roughly be divided into three groups.
The first group are industrial/ambient/ritual/soundscape bands. The names here are Ildfrost, Axon Neuron / Vagwa, White, Dream Into Dust, This Morn Omnia feat. Yasnaia, Profane Grace, The Sword Volcano Complex, Psychonaut, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, The Unquiet Void, Anima In Fiamme, Ah Cama-Sotz and Heid.
Further we have folky bands, being: Darkwood, Pilori, Remora, Orchis, Dawn & Dusk Entwined and …The Soil Bleeds Black.
And the rest are mostly bands somewhere in between the previous two groups or atmospheric or gothic of sound: That Summer & Rainier Lericolais, Bleeding Like Mine, Hollenfurt, The Machine In The Garden, In Winter Bleeding, Stay Frightened and Nothvs Filivs Mortis.
Unfortunately most tracks aren’t really that good, with the exeption of 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse with a very brilliant and strange track. Further the contribution of Nothvs Filivs Mortis is different than I expected (hoped), but surprisingly and strangely quite nice.
The conclusion can only be that this is just another compilation that is not too good and which didn’t bring much surprises. A good point is that there are bands on that I didn’t yet know.
The package is pretty nice, an A5-booklet in which the bands tell why they choose a certain “immortal legend”, or tell the story of it.

v/a * Il Sium E Il Vencul (lp 1999 sin organisation)

I have wondered if I should get this lp for quite a while and eventually I did. Now I remember why I don’t buy that many compilations again and I guess I will be more carefull in the future… Not that there isn’t an interesting line-up here, but I hate it when a compilation is full of tracks that I already have. The bands that I didn’t know vary between boring and alright, but there is one point of light: I don’t believe I had the live version of Tempestra Noire’s song “The Outset For…”. The other bands are Nobody, Ataraxia, Ordeal, Neither/Neither World, Sisygambis, Dead Leaves Rising and Autumn.

v/a * Neo-Form 2 (online compilation 2006 neo-form) + v/a * Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (online compilation 2006 neo-folk.it)

When the first online compilations were published by these two websites late 2004 and early 2005 it was in a way still new to offer music like this. A good way to get to know new bands though. More bands and websites started to release online compilations, but it is not really that this took a really high flight. After Ny Regret De Passe, Ad Perpetuam Gloriam and Neo-Form 1, I never really checked the websites where I found these compilations anymore. Recently for some reason I stumbled upon both and both proved to have new compilations available. In the case of Neoform, both old (Allerseelen, Tribe Of Circle, OTWATM) and many new bands. “Honi…” presents ‘two cds’ with mostly smaller or completely new bands. Like I said before, the website names suggest neofolk music, but obviously the websites are maintained by people who use this term to catch the whole scene. There is not much neofolk on the compilations, but more ambient, industrial, a bit of noise, military pop (but not as much as you may expect) and indeed, also a bit of neofolk. Both compilations are pretty good again, especially Neo-Form 2. Happy downloading! Oh, you may have to find software to unpack the files, but nothing that the internet can’t solve. <12/1/07><4>

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 * Flowers Made Of Snow (2cd 2004 cold meat industry)

Traditionally every 10th CMI release is a compilation and they are always eagerly expected. Even though it was a long wait since the last compilation while the ‘normal’ releases come like a flood, “Flowers Made Of Snow” lives up to the tradition. It features old and new bands, has mostly exclusive tracks, looks wonderfull and has a high level of musical quality. Apparently CMI wants to push its boundaries of the typical CMI concept. There are bands who are not even from Scandinavia, let alone Sweden and there is more folky music again. Here you get a good overview of the old and new CMI. Bands such as Ordo, ISN, BDN are present, but also new names such as Olen’K, All My Faith Lost…, The Last Hour, Apatheia, Hesperos and Sibellian. Definately a must-buy for old and new listeners!