Two Dutch reviews today. Two times soft orchestral music too. “XII Caesars” has the style of “Vondel’s Lucifer” (and I apparently missed the previous album), which means that it is not as bombastic and martial as the earlier material, but still a bit. The orchestrations are nice, the vocals as well, yep, HERR makes some fine music.
Links: H.E.R.R., Cold Spring
The Brittish label Cold Spring has been around for 15 years which was celebrated with a small festival late last year and now this special 12 has been released, limited to 500 copies. On side A is a long track by Von Thronstahl, the other two bands have half of side B. None of the tracks are very good… Von Thronstahl (pig headed as they are) come with a strange sound collage consisting of a twice told tale (through eachother) with some kind of music towards the end. I do like it when a band tries to do something new, but of course I can’t always like the result. This track is better than some of the other soundcollages that Von Thronstahl has made, but I prefer them making music. Then to the Dutch band HERR. They made some kind of neofolkish song with awfull vocals and an accordion. Then Kriegsfall-U have a nice dark industrial track, but nothing compared to their album. Exclusive tracks by three great bands, but unfortunately not really their best material. <14/1/06><2>
Long anounced, this second full-length of HERR. As the title suggests, this is truely a concept album. HERR presents a hear-play version of the famous play by the Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679) about the rebellion of Lucifer against the fact that God placed the humans higher than the angels. HERR used English translations of the text which is a bit of a pitty. This fact is completely swept away by the mastery of this album though. The style remained HERR, soft to more bombastic neoclassical music with some martial touches and great vocal-work. This being a play, there are of course different vocalists who mostly speak their texts over the great music. The more I listen to this album, the more I like it and I already liked it from the start. Save for a few minor dips, a masterpiece and therefor rated:
“Heilig Europa / Romeins Rijk” (“Sacred Europe / Roman Empire”) is the new Dutch star in the scene, however there is one Brit in the four-piece-band. HERR did a few smaller releases of which some are reviewed within these pages and now Cold Spring picked up the talented band with this rerelease of a vinyl release and the anouncement of another full-lenght. The band has an original and nice sound, orchestral, sometimes tranquilly bombastic, here and there a militant touch, but mostly striking are the wonderfull vocals, usually spoken in beautiful Britisch. MP3s can be found on a few places on the internet (try Equilibriummusic for example) so you can have a taste. A minor point about “The Winter Of Constantinople” is that when you also have the four-band split cd “Hopes Die In Winter”, you get the same tracks again. Oh well, they surely are very nice and I am glad that there is another good new band from my country.
At the end of the summer of 2004 I heard that Von Thronstahl would give a show in Belgium. You don’t get the change to see this bands very often, so I went to a small village near Brussel. There wasn’t a very big audience, but the show that the gentlemen gave was superb. Other bands were the allied Trumpet Call and two bands that I have seen a few times more around the same time. Both HERR and Dead Man’s Hill seemed alright to me live. Not too original in sound and of an average quality. DMH tries to draw attention by shocking people with their shows (which sometimes works).
Accidentally I heard about this split cd that is of course a result of the show of 4 september 2004. “Sturmgewitter…” fortunately doesn’t contain live material recorded that night though. Each band contributed a few exclusive tracks (or at least exclusive in this form). Since Von Thronstahl always has my interest and The Trumpet Call gave a great show, this was a good opportunity to listen to studio material of the other two bands. The cd opens with three odes to Constantinopel (nowadays Instanbul in Turkey) by HERR. Three very nice to great orchestral tracks! Then follow two tracks by The Trumpet Call which are also very nice. Dead Man’s Hill (three tracks) is less interesting. Their first track is a very dark industrial but rather monotous track and the last one is better and more bombastic track, but their second track doesn’t sound good to me at all. The last band is of course Von Thronstahl, new versions of “Wider Die Masse” and “Bellum Sacrum Bellum” with guitar and in the second case new samples of America’s sacred war. A nice split cd of which especially HERR positively surprised me. <15/6/05><3>