Monday, 29 January 2018


Title: Mit Stählernem Blick
Format: Transparent one-sided lathe-cut 7” vinyl release on the Beverina label (Latvia) on 13 May 2016, housed in a white paper sleeve inside a colour cardboard cover.
Edition: Limited to 21 signed copies

Track Listing:
01. Mit Stählernem Blick  4:42

You can almost count the number of vinyl releases across all of Hugin’s bands on the fingers of two hands, which is quite something to ponder given the prolific nature of his release schedule and his love of a good vinyl record.  Elisabetha still lead the way with the most releases for any of the various bands and projects, but here’s a welcome addition to this little sub-set of the collection: a new (and transparent!) B-Machina 7” release.  And it is, indeed, a welcome return for B-Machina too, which has languished in the wings for far too long in recent years.

The single was released on the Beverina label, run by our old friend Juris Silders, and as the promotional blurb from the time reads it is a “special limited 7" single sided transparent lathe-cut release by Austrian Industrial project B-Machina (Bonemachine) featuring member of Uruk-Hai, expect a haunting journey back to the times of WWI.”

A single song in its duration, what we seemingly have here is a rather Uruk-Hai sounding piece of core music given a light remix through the B-Machina war machine.  The principal melodies and flow really do sound like ‘modern’ Uruk Hai of the 2016 period, and left to my own devices I’d probably have attributed it to something from an album of the time had I heard it cold.  The clever bit, tying it all back to WWI and a bit of an industrial vibe, lies in the hijacking of the percussion part to replace a snare beat with a drilling machine gun beat, which does lift the song into a somewhat different dimension (a field trip into Mirkwood, by way of Passchendaele?)

Given only 21 of the things were released, all signed (well, initially on the back in gold marker pen, which you have to look pretty hard to spot at first!), you’d be forgiven for thinking that they would all be long sold out and lost to history nearly 2 years after initial release.  You would be wrong – the Beverina label itself still has 5 physical copies left to sell, for €20 each should you be interested, or you could stream it for a more modest €5.  Hell, you can play it for free on the page in question, so why not give yourself a four minutes and forty two seconds treat and head there right now to give it a whirl?  Once there, you can also admire the pithy review left by customer Brad Abar, who cogently noted “I set it to Replay, and I listen to it Repeatedly”.  Much better and to the point than the drivel that Nazgul comes up with…

Oh – here’s a quick news flash, for those on a budget – the Steinklang online shop also has a copy in their current sale, at an attractive €14.50.  Gosh, at a price like that, perhaps even the tight-fisted Maximus might be tempted to fork out for a proper copy…?!

I have to say, I rather like the format of this release.  A transparent piece of vinyl still seems something of a novelty to me, not being a big player of vinyl (as you’ve probably gathered over the years if you’ve been a regular reader).  Indeed that accounts for one of the reasons this review has been a while in coming given the single came out nigh on two years ago: Castle Nazgul still doesn’t possess a turntable so Nazgul had to cheat slightly and request a CDr copy of this song from Hugin to play it (before realising, of course, that the Beverina Bandcamp page allowed for one to hear it!)

And of course to end we can’t really leave without a quick translation of the title: “Mit Stählernem Blick” in English would read something like “With A Steely Look”.  Whether that be in the eye of the hunter, or the glassy-eyed stare of the unfortunate but presumably pissed-off prey, is perhaps left unanswered.

Friday, 19 January 2018


Title: Through The Mountains Mist They Came
Reason for update: To feature the cassette pressing of this release, but chiefly to honour the memory of Marco De Rosa

A rather sombre little update for you today, I fear, as last year saw the unexpected death on November 16th 2017 of Marco De Rosa from the Italian band Skoll, of an unspecified illness.  Marco was just 43 years old.  He was well known in the Novara area and in addition to Skoll, Marco had put his signature on projects such as Emortualis, The True Endless and Opera IX.

The original CD pressing of this split album between Uruk Hai and Skoll featured in Honour and Darkness in December 2015, having been released a few months preceding that on Aphelion Records.  Some two years later came this tape version, on the Werewolf Promotion label (Poland, cat ref WP414) with exactly the same track listing and running order, and with the same artwork (less the gold lettering for band logos and the album title).  It's in a limited edition of 500 numbered copies, as you will see from the photos.

It remains as good a listen now as it was then, though for the vast majority of people it will be the CD pressing that is the convenient choice of course.

I never had the pleasure of knowing Marco, though of course he had many friends across the world through his music, not least our very own Hugin.  A tribute on the ‘Metal In Italy’ website reprinted a comment from the Facebook page of The True Endless, in which Marco also played, which is reproduced below:

“On November 16th 2017 we lost everything. I created with M. this family that, between ups and downs, between discussions and deep love, was born to exorcise everything that was not accepted by the masses, back in 1997, in a city that did not look favourably at the ‘diversity’ or being outside the box. We have carried on our music, ignoring all the prejudices that have always surrounded this lifestyle, expressing ourselves simply, often breaking the clichés, always consistent with ourselves. But now the backbone of The True Endless is no longer among us.  Many talented musicians have been part of this family, some for years, some for a short time.  Until Algol joined us, helping us to continue our dream, confirming that we are a unique and special musician.

No one will ever replace you, M., with you everything ends. But I promise you, and I promise to all those who have loved our music, that "The True Endless" will never die, I will honour your memory forever, as long as I live.  The flame will burn forever. I promise you.”

Into the mists, with Godspeed…

Marco De Rosa - RIP

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

WHW - update

Title: WHW [Winterhilfswerk]
Reason for update: Here’s one of the 64 box-sets for this 2007 release

Christmas is famously the time for giving, and amongst the presents littering the floor of Castle Nazgul this year was this little box, bought by Nazgul for himself and saved until now as a treat to temper the January blues.

The original review of WHW pretty much said all that needed to be said about this compilation, released in 2007 on the German SkullLine label.  It’s a 2CD set of various remixed and unique songs in the neofolk/ambient/industrial/dark folk categories, and was released to celebrate the label’s first birthday.  The title “WHW”, if you’re interested, stems from the Winterhilfswerk which as far as I can gather was a charitable organisation in the Third Reich era that collected food and fuel for the poor and needy.  Their slogan was ‘none shall starve or freeze’, which still has currency in many parts of the world over 80 years later.

And as that review noted there were a total of 200 copies of this release issued by SkullLine, of which 64 only came in this box-set format.  Now, to be brutally honest, Nazgul hadn’t really been looking all that hard to find a copy of the box given that the slim-line 2CD version plugged the necessary gap in the Bonemachine side of the Castle Nazgul collection.  But then, whilst idly browsing online for something else entirely, this copy appeared for a good price (partly because there's a bump/hole in the box, as you can see from the photos) and that, as they say, was that!  A short hop over the Channel from Belgium and here it is, scratching the itch for the completist in me but otherwise destined to sit on a shelf for a long time I suspect!

I was initially tempted to do a photo montage of unwrapping the parcel and revealing the contents, until common sense took over and the conclusion was drawn that (a) it would be far easier to show you a stock image of the contents, as they are the same from box to box, and (2) the value will be greatly retained if I don’t start mucking about with it, for re-wrapping it with brown paper and string and stickers/stamps is a recipe for disaster if Nazgul has a hand in it.

So what we have in the image below is SkullLine’s own photograph of the insides of the set (hence the garish red background!) and I can tell you that as well as the same 2CD slim-line release you also receive a handmade shirt (available in sizes Large and XL only I think, so the size within this set remains a mystery), a traditional old style parcel box with stamp + string (presumably as you see in war films of the period), plus an ear of corn (obviously) and an insert card.  The stamp, as you will notice, has the mock value ‘64’ to represent the edition number, which is a nice touch.

You could, if suitably inclined, purchase your own copy as I notice that SkullLine still have a couple left in their online shop.  

And a belated but nonetheless sincere Happy New Year 2018 to all Honour and Darkness followers!