Saturday, 16 September 2017

DEMOS 88-99



Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Demos 88-99 War Sampling's by Bernd Barnickel [V/A]
Format: Silver CDr in bespoke front and rear covers, not released on an official label
Edition: Unknown

Track Listing:
01. Empyrium  *  Astrum Luciferi (demo 95)
02. Falkenbach  *  Laeknishendr (demo 95)
03. Dimmu Borgir  *  Raabjørn speiler draugheimens (demo 92)
04. Ensiferum  *  Old Man (Väinämöinen) (demo 96)
05. Hrossharsgrani  *  You And Me (demo 95)
06. Hrossharsgrani  *  The Sign Of Nargothrond (demo 95)
07. The Sins Of Thy Beloved  *  Silent Pain (demo 95)
08. Therion  *  Megalomania (demo 89)
09. Ensiferum  *  Knighthood (demo 95)
10. Dimmu Borgir  *  Inn I Evighetens Mørke Part I (demo 92)
11. Dimmu Borgir  *  Inn I Evighetens Mørke Part 2 (demo 92)
12. The Sins Of Thy Beloved  *  Even Though (demo 95)
13. Rimmersgard  *  Circle Of The Scroll (Jarnauga II) (demo 99)
14. The Sins Of Thy Beloved  *  Garden Of Eden (demo 95)
15. Paradise Lost  *  Paradise Lose (demo 88)
16. Ensiferum  *  Tale Of Revenge (demo 95)
17. Ensiferum  *  Outroduction (demo 95)

It's not often that you find Nazgul flummoxed by a release, but this one's had me scratching my head a bit.  I found it online, and the fact it came with a couple of Hrossharsgrani tracks on it made it a shoe-in for the Honour and Darkness collection.

But WHAT it is - or more aptly, perhaps, WHY it is? -  remains something of a mystery.
 
For openers, I have no idea whatsoever who Bernd Barnickel is, assuming it is a real person.  There are more than a few Bernd's listed on Metal Archives but none of this title.  Likewise a Google search brings up a few people of this name, but given their jobs (including a furniture maker and a forestry manager) I honesty think we're barking up the wrong ... ummm .... tree?

No, it's a bit of a puzzler.  Another odd thing about it is the fact that the guy's name is on the cover at all, as you'd imagine that if this was a personal collection of tracks for some kind of sampling purpose then you'd call it "Demos 88-99" and be done with it.  Not a lot of point in adding your own name to it if it is a one-off for your own personal use only, is there?  But equally were there more copies distributed, given that some effort has been expended on putting a nice set of printed inlays on it?

And are those Bernd's initials in green on the front of the disc, by the way...?
As far as the spread of music goes, there are some really good songs on here from a number of bands that will be very familiar to most of you.  And thrown into the midst of all of them are a pair of Hrossharsgrani songs, 'You And Me' and 'The Sign Of Nargothrond', both from the demo "In The Mystic Forest".

But here's another weird thing: the attribution on the rear cover for these songs says 'Demo 95', whilst in reality the release "In The Mystic Forest" came out in 2000 as a tape demo?  And the earliest of Hrossharsgrani demos, "Blut", was issued in 1998 some three years after the date cited for these songs. 

This is equally true for other tracks on this CDr: by way of example, the three Dimmu Borgir tracks are attributed to demos released in 1992 although according to Metal Archives the earliest date for demos from this band is 1994.

So does this merely represent some sloppy referencing on the inlay, or were earlier tracks and/or demos knocking around somewhere that our mysterious Mr Barnickel had access to?  Probably the former scenario, one imagines, but I guess we'll never know for sure....

Ignoring the fact that whoever did the inlays managed to misspell Hrossharsgrani, let's take some positives from this release.  As weird as it is, it's not a bootleg nor a pirated copy of anything, but seems to have been a bespoke project for *some* defined purpose, currently unknown.  It pulls together some pretty good songs too, and makes for a perfect listen in the car on long journeys.  It's also presumably fairly rare, and quite possibly a one-off, making it even more interesting in the Castle collection!

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