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The Soil Bleeds Black * Mirror Of The Middle Ages (lp 2002 the fossil dungeon)

The sixth album of TSBB is first released on this heavy lp limited to 500 copies by the twins themselves and in the summer there will be a cd-version through World Serpent. If you regularly check the mp3-page of the band, you already have five of the ten tracks of this lp. You may have already noticed that this is the first time that TSBB didn’t write all the tracks themselves, but that they actually used existing melodies or lyrics. Therefor they call it their “most medieval album-to-date”. “Mirror Of The Middle Ages” is not as sad in sound as the previous album “Alchemie”, but also not as joyous as the older works, but pretty cheerfull at times.
Besides the mp3-tracks “Ring Around The Rosey”, “The Wife Of Bathe”, “Pasttime With Good Company”, “Epitaph Of Elizabeth” and “Jubilation Of Earthly Delights”, you will hear the songs “Kyrie Eleison”, “Tempus Est Iocundum” (that we already know in Ataraxia’s version “Mundus Est Judundum (Carmina Burana)” from the 1998 cd “Historiae”), “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”, “In Taberna Quando Sumus”. “Palastinalied” (which the German Corvus Corax have on several cds) and “Daughter Of Leondegrance”.
All in all another nice album from the American neo-medievalists.

The Soil Bleeds Black * Quintessence (cd 2001 world serpent)

The Soil Bleeds Black continues to slowly change their style from electronic neo-medieval through more traditional music and now to a more folky approach. The band discovered the accoustic guitar which results in some neo-folk-like songs. This I do not only say because of the use of a guitar, but also the song-structure and manner of singing is comperable to neo-folk at times. The violin is mostly flutes on “Quintessence”, but there is also some violin to be heard. Another thing that changed is the mood of the music. Whereas in past days the music was cheerful and funny, this new cd is pretty melancholic. The third change is the length of the songs. TSBB used to be able to fit 36 tracks in 45 minutes, but this time there are 5 songs for 40 minutes. And -last but not least-, the band finally made recordings with a good sound-quality.
Overall I must say that inspite of the change of style, I really like this cd and I think it is safe to say that people who like the older albums may still like “Quintessence”, but people who found the older albums too happy may want to listen to this one. Maybe “Quintessence” will even appear to the neo-folk audience.

…The Soil Bleeds Black * Alchemie (cd 2000 world serpent)

Finally the new cd of …The Soil Bleeds Black is available. This time released by the biggest folklabel of the gothic scene. I don’t know what took them so long, but still…
“Alchemie” is the fourth album of TSBB and ever since their debut they have been striking out synths to replace them by real instruments for means of playing their neo-medieval music in a more classical manner.
Two things that struck me are the length (35 minutes) and the fact that the faster/victorious tracks are no longer present. Further of course the lack of samples, but that was to be expected.
All in all this cd isn’t better than the previous for me, but overall it’s still pretty damn good. It’s not for nothing that TSBB has been one of my favorite bands since their second demo!
Already anounced “Quintesse” a brandnew cd. I wonder how long World Serpent needs to release that one. I doubt that they will be able to keep up with the productive Riddick twins.

Pazuzu * III – The End Of Ages (cd 1999 avantgarde music)

Some metalheads out there might remember the first Pazuzu cd “And All Was Silent” from 1995. “Black metal meets Dead Can Dance” were the words which should describe this extraordinary debut cd. It indeed is a pretty funny cd in which medievalish music is cheered up with metal-like screams and talking. The second cd “Awaken The Dragon” was released a year later, but this one especially got much attention from the gothic scene. It is a magnificent piece of dark medieval music (but not always that dark). Now we are three years further and the man moved from Austria to Canada and ended up on the Italian Avantgarde Music. This more of less happed ‘by accident’. Avantgarde was negotiating with Raventhrone to release their albums. And while talking with this blackmetal band, Avantgarde said: “Why don’t we just sign Pazuzu as well?”, it is one and the same person anyway. Fact is that even though Pazuzu is still on (again another) metallabel, their music still has not got anything to do with metal, but I suppose this cd will find it’s way to the right audience just like the previous one.
People who say that “The End Of Ages” sounds just like “Awaken The Dragon” did not listen very well to the two albums. This last album is less medieval, more neo-classical and has more dark ambient on it. The medieval parts are now more as music with speaking over it than the medieval songs that we enjoy from “Awaken…”. Still it sounds pretty nice and sometimes pretty dark as well. Maybe you can compare this kind of music with Cernunnos’ Woods from the States. One song in particular reminds me very much of this act. The neo-classical-oriented tracks are pretty good as well. Then there are pieces of dark ambient, which are just alright. All in all again a (slightly) surprising album and damn good again as well!

Parzival * Anathema Maranatha (cd 1999 euphonious records)

Here is one to test your imagination. First, the singer of Rammstein starts to sing, not only in German, but also in Latin, Gregorian even sometimes. He does this accompanied by heroic medieval music and the rhythms are sometimes drumming and sometimes techno rhythms. If this description allows you to form something in your head with this sound, you are pretty close to what Parzival sounds like. This is really weird shit, but it is very funny and definitely original. In a way you can say that it is a mix between Gaë Bolg and Enigma and I definitely never heard anything like this. I believe this is a side-project of Of The Wand And The Moon, but I can’t find anything about that in the booklet.
Unfortunately this cd is very short (34 min) and it is also older than I thought. Who cares? As long as the music is alright!

Omne Datum Optimum presents Missa XXI (cd 2004 cynfeirdd)

Most people will know this band from their great track on the “Eisteddfød” compilation from the same label. After this I got the split vinyls with Gae Bolg and Nothvs Filivs Mortis which are for all bands nice, but not smashing. “Missa XXI” was anounced as “very bombastic” and made with contribution with Gae Bolg. Indeed, the singing will sound familiar to Gae Bolg fans, but the music is by far not as bombastic as that band. ODO has much Gregorian singing, medievalish music and drumming, but less bombastic. Entertaining. The digipack is great by the way. <27/4/04><3>

Omne Datum Optimum / Gaë Bolg and the Church Of Fand * Oran Môr 1. Aryant ol. 1 (12″ 2000 cynfeirdd)

I have been looking forward to this split 12″. Both bands appear with brilliant contributions on the “Eistedfodd” compilation of the same label that released this 12″. Gaë Bolg also has a good full-length cd out on Cynfeirdd as well. This 12″ is the first of the “Oran Môr” trilogy in which these two bands and Nothvs Filivs Mortis will have a split 12″ with the two other bands.
“Aryant ol. 1” begins promising with ODO’s piano, beats, singing and later marchdrums. In comparison to their “Eistedfodd” contribution, this track is rather tranquil. The second track of ODO is not that good. It’s tranquil, with vocals and a few strange sounds and actually this sounds a bit too much like Gaë Bolg!
Gaë Bolg opens with a tranquil track with a heavy beat. This track is not very good. The second track is even poorer. It is some kind of soundscape with a few flutes. Also I don’t hear in these two songs that they are actually recorded with 12 members!
So musically this 12″ isn’t that exciting. The only positive point about this 12″ is the exquisite inlay with beautiful medieval caligraphs from the hand of Ars Magna 118+ (ODO?) who also plays the “Bic” in Gaë Bolg.
The 12″ contains a card in which you can order an upcoming Gaë Bolg picture vinyl, which will be only available for “subscribers”.
Should you want to get this split 12″, be quick, because there are only 333 copies available. I’m actually more looking forward to hear more of Nothvs Filivs Mortis though…. <9/9/00> <2>
Well, the performance of Gaë Bolg in Amsterdam was definately a 5 out of 5 though!! <10/9/00>

Nothvs Filivs Mortis / Omne Datum Optimum * Oran Môr III. Moddion-o-Gair .III (7″ 2001 cynfeirdd)

After a 12″ and a 10″, this is the third part of the Oran Môr trilogy which was formed by split releases between these two bands and Gaë Bolg.
The NFM tracks are alright, not as dark and heavy as this Spanish act can be, quite atmospheric actually. The ODO tracks are quite nice. This band has a some more orchestral medievalish sound with the gregorian-like singing and drumming. If you know their contribution to “Eisteddfod” you will know what I mean. The tracks here are by far not as heavy as “Pastoralis Preeminentie” though.
This 7″ is again limited to 333 copies, so be quick.

Mirabilis * s/t * (7″ 2003 the fossil dungeon)

If all went as planned, this 7″ was released on 31/12/03 and after this 7″ a cd has already been released on Middle Pillar. This very nicely packed 7″ has three completely vocal songs and one with some electronic instrumention. As you may expect from the bandname and the cover of the 7″, the sound is medieval and are fairly nice.