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neo classical

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

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 * 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 * 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!

v/a * Audacia Imperat! (12″ 2002 öktagön)

It was a long wait for this not-too-great compilation. First edition is a picture 12″ and a normal 12″. Rumours say that the cd-version will come afterall, but with different bands/tracks. Anyway, after having been postphoned countless times, I got the picture lp version in my hands this week. What we get is new versions of old tracks by Of The Wand And The Moon, Von Thronstahl and Dies Natalis and all three aren’t too great and of course we already know the Von Thronstahl track from his “E Pluribus Unum” cd. There are new tracks (or at least to me) by Tribe Of Circle (not too great, ambient-like), Spiritual Front (by far the best track from this lp, another crazy, folky experiment), Waldteufel (very strange), Kirlian Camera (a nice and long atmospheric track), The Days Of The Trumpet Call (sounding exactly like most of his other tracks) and Sonne Hagal (terrible). The last track to mention is one of a band that I didn’t have anything of: Cadaverous Condition. The bandname suggests a metal band. Musically we get a neo-folkish song with a vocalist that seems to be a deathmetal vocalist who doesn’t know whether to roar or to sing, awfull!
All in all not the most brilliant compilation of recent times.

v/a * 10 Years Of Madness (Behind The Iron Curtain) cd 2000 achtung baby!)

This is a compilation cd to celebrate 10 years of existence of the Russian underground culture magazine Achtung Baby! (1988-1998). A double cd in an A5 booklet with silver printing on black paper with on one disc mostly industrial and ambient music and on the other disc more folky music.
However I believe that the cd was made available quite recently (at least to a larger public), it seems that it was actually released or planned for a while ago. The booklet -for example- states that all tracks safe the one of Sanctum are exclusive, but I happen to already know a several of them.
The first disc is the industrial / ambient disc and I must say that I am not too crazy about it. Most tracks are very monotous and too minimal for my liking. The only very good track is of Turbund Sturmwerk, which is a slightly different version of the last track of their latest cd (before the ‘ghost track’). The other bands are Reutoff, Inade, Skrol (quite a nice track), Solar Salt, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, First Law, Sanctum, Reptilicus, Turbund Sturmwerk, Dissecting Table and Cyclotimia.
The second cd is already more interesting. It opens with Anima In Fiamme and continues with Feverdreams, a very silly but funny track of Der Blutharsch, a great alternative version of “The March Of Brian Boru” by Blood Axis, “Operation Valkrie” of Ostara, Argine, Novy Svet, Troum, Ataraxia, then industrial tracks of the Hybryds, The Infant Cycle, Dream Intro Dust and Les Joyaux de la Princesse, a folky song of Ain Soph and a nice closer off by Stahlwerk 9.
All in all quite a descent overview of the scene, but as with many compilations there are only a handfull of tracks that I like.

Sieben * High Broad Field (cd+dvd 2006 trisol)

When I noticed that the new album of Sieben comes with a one hour DVD, I figured that I might get myself another Sieben album. Sieben is another of these bands that make good music, but I don’t think it is necessary to get all albums. “High Broad Field” is a hearplay, so there are guest-vocalists on this album. Another result of this is, that this cd is really an album, instead of a collection of songs. Of course the sound is again catchy and all about Matt Howden’s violin. “High Broad Field” is another good album.
Then to the DVD. It is the album put to film by Joao Paulo Simoes. The film is not too interesting. Slow shots of nature, but with now and then a naked Martina Goodman to add to the interestness. It is not a film to watch (however it does have a story), but more something to play on the background. <4/12/06><3>

Remanence * Apparitions (cd 1999 cold spring)

I had never heard of this band before, so I can’t tell you much about them. Maybe only that Remanence excists of Brian McWilliams, John Phipps, Eric Berg, Carter Dewberry and Mike Rashid.
“Apparitions” may not sound like what you expect from Cold Spring. The cd opens very orchestal -almost neo-classical- and evolves towards a rhythmical kind of atmospheric music with orchestral influences. Here and there a voice can be heard, but mostly the music is instrumental. It all sounds pretty good as well, especially the first orchestral tracks.

Chaostar * s/t (cd 2001 holy records)

Septic Flesh is an experimental deathmetal band that has been releasing cds on the French Holy Records for years. I never liked their metal much, but every cd (that I know) also has a few brilliant avantgardistic opera tracks that vaguely remind of Devil Doll. When I read that Chaostar was a Septic Flesh opera side project, I was quite excited, because I hoped for a whole cd with the Septic Flesh-like opera songs for a long time.
Chaostar does not fully live up to my expectations. The approach here is not as avantgardistic as on the Septic Flesh cds, but more ‘really’ classical. The music reminds quite a bit of modern horror film soundtracks and however it is very experimental, it is not in a style that could be expected.
Still it all sounds pretty good. There are both female and male choirs and solo voices, beautiful orchestrations and modern sounding classical music, but also ‘dark voices’ and distorted vocals, electronic and even some metallish influences and some more gothic sounds.
The cd comes in an extremely luxery digipack on a label that may be a metallabel, but that was never afraid of experimental and neo-classical music (remember Elend?). It seems that Holy is distributed by Edel / Sony music nowadays, so I asume that you will be able to find this cd in your local recordstore as well.

Autumn Tears * promotional sampler compilation (cd 2001 dark symphonies)

This is the first time that I get a promotional sampler to introduce a band. This is a cd that will not be for sale, but which is meant to make me advice you to buy the albums of Autumn Tears. Therefor tracks are included from all three albums and the mcd.
What Dark Symphonies probably didn’t know, is that I have known Autumn Tears for several years. I ‘even’ own their debut album “The Garden Of Crystalline Dreams: Love Poems For Dying Children… Act 2” from 1996. The reason that you never read about Autumn Tears in these pages is that I do think the music is good, but I don’t like it enough to play it very often, or buy it.
What I already knew, and what becomes quite clear on this promo sampler, is that Autumn Tears started quite atmospherically with quite some medieval influences, but that they work towards a more orchestral and at times neo-classical approach. But especially the great female vocals still give a medieval atmosphere to the music, also in the newer songs.
And listening to this promo cd I come to the same conclusion as listening to the cd that I already had: the music is very nice and at times beautiful, but after a song of four I have heard enough of it.
Still this American band deserves the attention that it gets in the gothic scene and if you like atmospheric and orchestral music with medieval influences, you might want to give this band a try. There are three “Love Poems” (2, 1 and 3) and between 1 and 3 a mcd called “Absolution”. Everything is available from Dark Symphonies in the States and well-obtainable in Europe as well. The cds are always packed very luxery by the way.