“Leonidas” is again an orchestral release of the Dutch A Challenge Of Honour. The music is quite soft, slightly bombastic and (march)drumming is added and this time does not have the poppy sound of the previous album that I reviewed. 45 Minutes which are (I am afraid I have to say it again) not really boring, but not particularly good either.
Links: A Challenge Of Honour, Old Europa Café
With each new release of ACOH I ask myself whether or not I have to buy it. Most of the older material did not survive the years and most newer material is not too good. I am afraid that for “No Way Out” the same goes. Steinklang says that this release presents a new side of the project “the album would be best described as a pure Neo(Pop)Folk album with many Neoclassical and some Martial elements”. Well, the sound has changed a bit indeed. There seem to be some wave influences and more poppy drumming, but “many neoclassical and some martial elements”? I am afraid that I have to describe the sound and softly poppy and slighly cheesy and however I admire Peter for again leaving the obvious path, his musical taste (or efforts) drift away from mine.
Links: ACOH, Steinklang
I used to follow ACOH quite fanatically, but recently I miss most of Peter’s releases. What I do hear does not always sound too great. Of Der Feuerkreiner I have the first “La ‘Nvidia” vinyl and the first cd. It is a nice band with an original sound and some nice tracks here and there. When I saw this split I decided to get it and find out what these two projects are upto nowadays. ACOH opens with a statement against the occupation of Tibet (very good) and continues with “Arabian Tradition”, a rather easy-to-listen track. The next track comes from the “Verdun 1916” album which I don’t have and has the older ACOH sound with orchestral samples and a slightly military touch. The next track comes from “Monuments” which I do have, but I don’t recognise the track. It is also more accessible, but quite minimalistic and not too good.
Der Feuerkreiner contributed three tracks, the first of which is called “Dioniso”, a melodic and orchestral piece with a nice rhythm and a nice sound. “Moderne Landschaft” is more of an industrial track and was recorded live in Bologna. The sound and the track are not too good. The last track of this album is another live version of “Nein!”, but a much lesser version than the one on the “Ny Regret…” online compilation.
Besides a few nice tracks, this 30 minutes cd is quite disappointing…
Links: A Challenge Of Honour, Der Feuerkreiner, Dagaz Music
“Un Défi d’Honneur” is of course just “A Challenge Of Honour” in French and the booklet says: “A Challenge Of Honour présente: Un Défi d’Honneur”. A while ago I saw this band on stage together with Dernière Volonté and it appeared to be Peter of ACOH with two other guys from who one French-speaking-Albin-Julius-lookalike. The music proved to be tranquil and monotous with drumming and French lyrics. I can’t see anything of the lineup in the booklet, but there are no lyrics on this cd, so maybe in Leuven it was a live-lineup. Too bad, because now it is only tranquil monotous music with drumming. Not bad, but not too exiting either. Also pretty short: 39 minutes.
Materialschlacht is the pre-A Challenge Of Honour project of Peter Savelkoul. As far as I know there is only a 7″ of this project, but here we have 9 tracks from a demo and an older track on an older cd that is very limited but not completely sold out yet. Materialschlacht is harder, more industrial and most of all darker than ACOH. The cd opens with some monotous ambient/industrial/noise tracks, but lateron there are more rhythmical tracks. Most tracks are pretty good.
The cd is dedicated to the neutral attitude of the Dutch people (in war, but also out of war) “which is summarised in two words: alertness and trust” (which words are the meaning of the title). A nice re-release on Stahlklang, limited to 25 copies, so don’t wait.
From the early days of this Dutch act, I’ve been following ACOH and I have most of the early material. Then it seemed to get a bit silent around mr. Savelkoul, but also some more very limited releases have been made available on various small labels. (This 12″ comes in 500 copies which are relatively many.) This makes it hard to keep up. Besides, ACOH experiments with its own sound. This is good of course, but doesn’t always result in something that I like a lot. The early releases where mostly orchestral bombast, then followed more dark industrial / ambient releases which are still very enjoyable. I am not too fond of the neofolk elements. This time ACOH sticked to a more tranquil pace with nice orchestral tracks, a terrible ‘poppy’ track, but also a very nice neofolkish song and a wonderfull dark orchestral track towards the end.
The (like this 12″) long delayed “Seven Samurais” cd seems to be available, so I suppose I will have my copy soon. I wonder what that one will sound like. Always a surprise! <4/6/05><3>
Much later than planned ACOHs last part of his trilogy about the madness of mankind. This time the story is about Nazi soldiers who commit genocide in the French city Oradour sûr Glane. There are five tracks on this 10″ that give the story of each of them well. The 10″ opens with a tranquil track (‘morning’) when nothing was wrong yet. Then a bombastic and slightly militant track anounces the coming of the Nazi troups. The next track tells what happened in the village and the other what was done to the people who were driven into the church. The last track is the evening, quiet again, but of course everybody was dead. ACOH sure developed in style and this 10″ is another fine release of this Dutch act. Now we have to wait until the new cd that was anounced for januari of this year. <21/5/04><3>
A fairly expensive (E 10,-) and very limited (133 copies) cdr of the Dutch ACOH with which PS anounces his new label. The activities for this label caused the website Above The Ruins to be taken down, so now you know why. Anyway, three ACOH tracks, a neofolk song which is alright, and two bombastic ACOH tracks of which one is a reworked old one. <2>
Another ACOH product that still has to be released. A very bombastic release again. Two very nice tracks and an outro. Of course very limited, so be quick. 300 Copies and smaller amounts of special releases! <14/10/02><4>
This isn’t exactly the first ACOH review on these pages. As a matter of fact the “The Right Place” demo was the first sign of ACOH that came to me some 15 months ago. In that time the band was still Johan König, later Peter Savelkoul of Above The Ruins / Stahlklang Audio / etc. joined and eventually continued alone. The 7 tracks of the demo are here and further 5 newer tracks which are of course by mr Savelkoul. The cd starts with orchestral industrial reminding a bit of Der Blutharsch or Dernière Volonté, sometimes rather soft, sometimes harder. Also there is an acoustric track and one with Sleepy Hollow soundtrack samples (also used a bit too much on the “Only Stones Remain” cd) and some tracks are better than I remember from the demo. The newer tracks are very orchestral and bombastic and mostly very good too! Quite a classic release again from the Netherlands. ACOH articles are usually very limited, but released a couple of times. There are 100 copies of this cd in a nice A5 package and other early ACOH releases are made available again as well. Try to miss them not.