|Black & White version (left), Colour version (right)|
Bands: HROSSHARSGRANI and URUK HAI
Title: Lieder von Feuer, Eis, Winter& Krieg ['Songs of Fire, Ice, Winter & War']
Format: This is a wooden box-set that was released by Fallen Angels Productions (South Korea) on 15 December 2012, cat ref FAP029. It came in two versions: a colour edition, and a black and white edition. Both releases contain two CDr discs and four cassette tapes (with colour or monochrome covers throughout, depending on the edition), 1 woven patch, one white sea-shell, and multiple Uruk Hai logo stickers. The catalogue reference is the same for both versions
Edition: Only 17 boxes were released in total: 11 of these were with colour, whilst 6 were strictly in black and white.
CD1: Lieder von Feuer, Part 1 47:15
CD2: Lieder von Feuer, Part 2 78:53
Tape 1: Eis 55:36
Tape 2: Krieg 22:20
Tape 3: Feure 57:50
Tape 4: Winter 16:21
(i) Hidden Path (different version)
(ii) Lebensende: Winter (different version)
Another sumptuous box-set released by Fallen Angels Productions and housed in a little wooden casket. This label really has got the bit between its teeth in producing fine compilations of material from a variety of bands, and its no wonder that Hugin has turned to them in recent times for his compilation box-sets. Joining this illustrious list here is Hugin's sprightly old Viking war machine, Hrossharsgrani, chariot wheels freshly oiled and horned helmets especially polished for the occasion, alongside seasoned old campaigner Uruk Hai!
In an unusual move for editions of this ilk, the black and white version is the more limited version with a mere 6 editions being made, whilst the (one would have assumed) more desirable colour version sports a total of 11 copies. In either case, though, it's hardly a matter of there being a surfeit of this desirable release being made available, and as ever in these matters it's a reasonable guess that had you not got your order in pretty sharply then you will now be without this splendid item in your collection.
As ever, virtually nothing exists online to detail this release save for the entry on Fallen Angels Productions own site. Oddly, most of the internet links that do crop up for this box-set appear on Russian chat forums (perhaps a bulk order was placed by the Russian Mafia?!) and with the hope of being able to provide you with some external review Nazgul ventured forth into this murky world to see if any reviews lurked out there. Sadly, the answer is no: one site sported a promising looking piece of text under the title of the release, reading "Цены приведены без учета почтовых расходов" and for a fleeting moment it looked as if an independent view might have been expressed. Alas, this translated as 'Prices do not include postage costs'...!
If we tried to cover off every song on every format we'd probably be here until Winter, and this is bourne out by the fact that Nazgul's original draft for this release started on 12 September 2014 and I've still not listened to everything in the box! Compounding that issue, the things I have listened I'd need to re-hear to remind myself about them, so the best approach at this juncture seems to be to to have a tantalizing look at the contents with a plan to cover off the individual parts in due course, much of which of course is reissued anyway from earlier demos and releases.
You'll hopefully forgive Nazgul therefore, as he enters into something of a brisk canter through the landscape of "Lieder von Feuer, Eis, Winter & Krieg" in order to give you a broad orientation of what's on offer.
So - majoring on the colour version as the inlays are easiest to see - this is principally a reissues programme for Hrossharsgrani demos dating to the 1998/99 period. Back in 1999 Hrossharsgrani released a very limited tape release (10 copies only) called "Feuer & Eis". The 14 songs therein have popped up here and there as bonus songs on more contemporary releases - the "Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est" being one such location - but a re-release of the original demo had been long anticipated, split here into the two constituent parts on separate tapes.
Likewise, the "Krieg" demo tape of 1999 has long been impossible to find and is a rare thing indeed. The tape version in this box is therefore a great chance to become acquainted with this long-lost slice of prime Hrossharsgrani musical pummelling.
The CD entry in the box - looking rather resplendent in its full colour livery - is the equally ancient release "Lieder Aus Mittelerde", previously a tape release on the Irrlichter label. Nazgul's favourable observations at the time of his review read:
"Musically this sits fair and square in that early period of Hrossharsgrani that polarises opinion so firmly - you either love it, or hate it! Plenty of snarling vocals, long and atmospheric synthesizer passages, pounding drums and unexpected odd snippets from what sound like a square-dance (!) in 'Felagund' and spoken word (in German) in the final track. As a rehearsal tape it is prone on some occasions to sounding primitive, both in terms of the sound quality and also in the construction of the songs - not always do the keyboards and other instruments stay in time with each other... :o)"
and yes - that is a favourable comment!
So a prize box containing long forgotten and dust-gathering Hrossharsgrani work, all now a rather mind boggling 15-16 years in age. They'll be smoking fags and off down the pub before we know it....
|Lieder Aus Mittelerde|
Also shoe-horned into this Fallen Angels presentation - and creating a split release by virtue of its presence - is an Uruk Hai tape. Now, this one also contains a couple of songs that are versions of historical releases, but as an entity this particular two-song tape hasn't ever been released independently before in this guise so it is something of a box-set exclusive! Bedecked in suitably chilly looking artwork (and a great inside picture really brings the big freeze to your door even in the muggy summer weather Castle Nazgul is currently basking in), it's a nice thing to own for sure.
Song-wise we've got two on offer here: the second of the pair is an alternative version of the title track from the "Lebensende: Winter" demo whilst opener 'Hidden Path' was tucked away on the relatively obscure "Under The White Hands Flag" tape demo of 2010 in this same version. An interesting couple of songs to choose to pop onto this single tape, one with a clear winter theme and the other ... not so much. But hey, any Uruk Hai tape is a good Uruk Hai tape in this book, so let's be glad to have it at all !
Augmenting the music are three bonus items in the set: a white sea-shell which, I am assured by someone who knows about these things, tells us that "by being in contact with seashells, we open and activate our intuition and sensitivity. This allows us to be able express our imagination, and our creativity".
Also present are a handful of Uruk Hai logo stickers and a nice woven patch with red band logo against a black background. Both the black& white and colour box-sets contain the same items.
Of course, there's much future fun to be had in re-playing these old releases and living in the memory of olden days of yore. When Nazgul gets a free moment in his ever more hectic schedule, he'll tell you just how much fun was had in that endeavour!