Saturday, 6 February 2010

DIE RUCKHEHR ZUM PFADE...


Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Die Rückhehr Zum Pfade (literally "The Return to the Path")
Format: Cassette-tape only release with hand-numbered xeroxed inlay. The original release was a five track version, self-released by Hugin circa 2000/2001. The expanded seven track Chanteloup Creations (France) version (cat ref. awe84) was most likely released in 2001, as the inlay notes recording was "during the dark and stormy winter 2000.2001"
Edition: Self-released version believed to be 5 copies. Chanteloup pressing believed to be 300 copies

Track Listing:

Self-released version:
1. Der Pfad Zum Tor Der Toten
2. Von Blinkenden Schwertern
3. In Der Nacht Des Todesscheins
4. Aufmarsch Der Todes Krieger
5. So Finster Wie Es Niemals War

Chanteloup Creations version:
1. Der Pfad Zum Tor Der Toten (re-recorded) 24.52
2. Wenn Es Nacht Wird 1.11
3. Von Blinkenden Schwertern 11.20
4. Drachenerzahlungen 0.42
5. In Der Nacht Des Todesscheins 12.21
6. Elfentraum 1.10
7. So Finster Wie Es Niemals War 19.29

The impact that French label Chanteloup Creations had in releasing Hrossharsgrani (and other projects) to a wider audience in the early days of these bands lives should never be underestimated. As we've seen from earlier posts, the follow-up to a very limited edition 'domestic' version of a demo was on more than a few occasions a fuller release via the Chanteloup label - still in a limited quantity, but usually in the multiple-hundreds - that helped to establish whichever band it was in the underground scene. The Chanteloup story is still to be fully told, but that tale is for another day....

This demo, "Die Rückhehr zum Pfade" is a classic example of an expanded release taking the main elements of the original five track album, losing one of the tracks ('Aufmarsch der Todes Krieger') but replacing it instead with three short instrumental pieces, all unique to this version. Nazgul has but the Chanteloup version in his collection (#63 of the pressing), and has yet to find the original five track demo. Happily, the 'missing track' is to be found on the later "Rehearsal 1999" tape issued through Smell The Stench in 2006 and the bonus of having this version of course are the three additional tracks, unavailable elsewhere.

If you've heard early Hrossharsgrani you'll know pretty much what you're going to get on this recording, and get it in spades you will! Vocals that could flay your flesh at 50 paces, percussive effects that sound more like a seismic event than a one-man drumming episode, cavernous keyboard riffs that echo and thunder as if recorded in the very bowels of the earth, and a selection of long songs that both engulf and enthrall at one and the same time.

Of all of the early demos from the 1999-2001 period this one perhaps has the most variety and demonstrates both the power of this barbarian horde and the delicacy that it offered in some surprisingly gentle instrumental interludes. Nazgul's cassette case that houses this release is kindly dedicated by Hugin and contains the phrase "My fave demo" and you can see why - it sounds like he was having fun making it!

Of course, being a decade old makes this a pretty scarce find now, so if your path happens to cross one Nazgul suggests you grab it immediately and don't let go at any price!

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