Saturday, 19 May 2018

The 'death by a thousand cuts' post

So - what gives, Nazgul?

Well, to be honest, the last post that I put up - the prospective battle between two different Hrossharsgrani releases - seemed to be prolonging the issue somewhat.

So - tonight I'm putting up for sale on Discogs a whole load of the treasure horde of Castle Nazgul in one big listing.  Some are rare, some are impossible to find, others are more common and still more will be unique and/or hard-to-find anywhere else.

An eBay auction of t-shirts and other bits and bobs is highly likely in the future.

So if you need to plug some gaps in your collection, I strongly suggest you look at my DISCOGS page.

Yours ever

Uncle Nazgul

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

SALE #1: ANGBAND

This ... could be yours...

Band: URUK HAI
Item for sale: Angband (The Metal Fortress)

So the first Honour and Darkness vote for some time has identified “Angband” as the release most of you wish to see sold off.  Well it was a forgone conclusion, so let's get on with things.  Your wish is my command.

Here’s how this first sale will work, so please pay attention!

The sale is for the limited-to-5-copies metal box version of this release from Runenstein Records, complete and mint.  It’s been opened (hence the paper seal is breached on the tin lid, albeit carefully with a knife) and this version comes with the bonus 3” CDr, the tape, the map, the little bagged plastic figure and of course the 4CD fatbox set of discs.

The set will be formally listed for sale on Discogs at 8pm (British time) on Thursday 17 May 2018.  If you’re not yet a member of Discogs, you have a bit of time to register (it’s free).

I will be putting an ambitious price on the set, as I don’t intend just to give it away as you’ll hopefully appreciate.  In my defence, I would urge you to consider that no copy has ever been offered for sale online before, and almost certainly never will be again given the limitation.  It was released in 2010 at a cost of over €60, so it wasn’t cheap at that point and will only have appreciated in value. 

I’m using the ‘make offer’ feature on Discogs, which basically means you can assess what you think is a reasonable price to pay and send an offer at that value to me via Discogs for consideration.  Don’t be offended if I turn it down.  Also note that shipping costs (and it will only be send registered/tracked delivery) are not included in your offer, and are payable by you at the same time that payment is due.  I will invoice the lucky person through the Discogs system.  Shipping will vary by country, but will only be at cost (I don’t profit from it).

One comment about this ‘make an offer’ process – it’s happened recently that whilst one person was debating with me about what was a ‘fair price’ for a CD and prevaricating about putting in an offer, someone else came along and bought the item at the full asking price!  That can happen – making an offer does not put the item in your shopping cart and prevent others purchasing it.  So if you really want this, from experience I’d suggest not being too timid or taking too long.  Also – I think you can only make 1 offer, so once it’s in the system that’s it, you can’t up it!

All of which might sound a bit mercenary and draconian, but better that we’re all clear on the rules: I don’t really want exasperated emails from people saying ‘what gives: you ignored my offer and the item sold to someone else’.  My item, and my decision is final on any offer received. 

I will not be accepting offers to purchase outside of the Discogs site, through email or other routes.

Incidentally, I have a shedload of other cool stuff for sale on Discogs too, so feel free browse and buy whilst you’re there!

Not all items will be sold via Discogs in this way: I’m minded to do a t-shirt sale via eBay at some point over the summer, for example.  Who knows, if I am feeling generous we could even have a competition via Honour and Darkness.

So – we’re all clear, I trust. 

As Jigsaw famously said, ‘let the games begin…’

Friday, 11 May 2018

SALE #1: March to War versus Angband metal box-set

Game on!  Sale #1

Well, no time like the present to get the ball rolling.

Following on from the last post, there's a live poll running now for you which will end in the middle of the week ahead, for you to determine which of these highly coveted items will be offered for sale first.

On one hand we have the limited to 5 vinyl release of "March To WAR", signed and dedicated by Hugin and copy #1 of the 5.

On the other hand, the ridiculously rare metal box version of "Angband: The Metal Fortress" - also limited to only 5 copies in this format, including bonus 3" disc, tape, maps and soldier figure - with all of the paraphernalia and extras.

Photos below to help you decide, you can only vote once so be certain before you click, let's see what the public wants most....



The 'once in a lifetime' Castle Nazgul sale!

An open-mouthed and clearly shocked Uncle Nazgul, about to drop a bombshell

Ummm...what's going on , Nazgul...?

Well, we all knew that eventually this day might have to come, although it sticks in the back of the throat to admit it.

For a variety of reasons there has come a need to thin out the Castle Nazgul collection somewhat.  Not completely, at least not yet, but a few choice, select, rare or whatever you might want to call them releases are shortly to be offered by Nazgul for sale.

And I don't mean the sorts of tapes and CD's that you can find in any old distro around the internet, or through a quick search on eBay or Discogs.

Oh no, what I am proposing is to offer you - my loyal readers and fellow collectors - what will be quite literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy some of the rarest items associated with our much respected and loved brother, Hugin.

It could be a t-shirt.  It might be a one-off promotional or bespoke CD.  It could be one of the earliest tape demos from any number of projects, spanning Uruk Hai, Hrossharsgrani, Bonemachine, Elisabetha, or even that most collected of bands, Guts For Dinner.

As Lewis Carroll once expressed it, in his musings on the Walrus and the Carpenter:

"The time has come", the Walrus said
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax
And whether Nazgul has completely lost his marbles..."

Well, no I haven't (completely) but I've been the proud owner and custodian of many fine treasures over the last 12 years plus that are linked to the wondrous musician that is our friend Hugin, and a bounty of rare releases, one-off items and more demos, albums and oddities than you can shake a stick at have accrued in the horde hidden away in Castle Nazgul.

But you too are fans.  You too covet these items, now impossible to find and so rare it literally could take a lifetime to gather them all together.  You too deserve an opportunity to hold these things, cherish them within your own collection, play/wear/view them and enjoy them for what they are: artifacts of a most extraordinary person.

Yes, it's true: I'm not planning on just giving these away: like everyone, Nazgul has bills to pay and costs to meet, so the provisional prices I may set some of these items at may at first seem prohibitive.  But then again, ask yourself this simple question - when are you ever going to see another one?  I fully intend to release items that literally only one copy might exist, or other editions that are so vanishingly rare that the last one sold might be over 10 years ago (and yes - I would have been the buyer!)

I don't apologise for asking a fair price, and I think as connoisseurs of this sort of thing, you'll understand the value of what you're getting.  And - to be blunt - any reasonable and respectful offer against an asking price will be suitably considered too.

So how will this work?

Well for fun, and to focus attention, I propose to periodically run a poll/vote on Honour and Darkness between two collectible items I am offering for sale.  The item that gets the most votes then gets put up for grabs, either through Discogs or through eBay as most appropriate.  Clearly things like t-shirts can't hit Discogs, and there are different merits in offering things in an auction setting or for a fixed price.  I dare say as time passes we'll find a happy medium, and in the time that takes Nazgul might even remember how to go the necessary guff on the Blogger site to actually put a poll in place for you all to vote on.

So there we are - watch this space.  It's not a sale that will be over and done with within a week, as I appreciate not everyone will have the money at the same time to bid on things they want, and we're all busy people with better things to do than keep on logging into auction sites.

Let's make this both fun and productive, and I sincerely hope that the items sold make you delighted, me rich beyond my wildest dreams (*cough* - not!) and generally refresh the old Honour and Darkness pages.

Watch this space...

Thursday, 10 May 2018

OF BATTLE, RAVENS AND FIRE - the original demo!



Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: …Of Battles, Ravens and Fire
Format: This is a self-released tape from circa 1999 from W.A.R. Productions, no catalogue reference, band cut paper inlay and stock C60 style tape.
Edition: Only this 1 copy

Track Listing:
01.  A Legend...   
02.  Preparing For Battle   
03.  The Prayer   
04.  March Of The Einherjer   
05.  Ragnarok   
06.  The Ravenfight   
07.  Gjallarhorn

Well here is something of a scoop!

You know, back in the days when I first starting collecting Hugin’s stuff you could almost fall over releases like this with merely a casual trawl of the internet.  There seemed to be no end of distros, trade lists and online auctions out there who had demos, rare releases, signed things and random memorabilia for sale and – as a result – the collection grew quickly and all manner of strange one-offs and oddities were acquired.  Happy days indeed…

As the years have gone by the occasional item still popped up that Nazgul was pleased to find: things like the “Urd” demo from Hrossharsgrani, or peculiar non-official things like “Face The Science” that you may remember surfaced out of the blue a few years ago.  But in recent times it’s been hard – if not impossible – to source such rarities independently.  Alex, of course, has always been a star and has made more than a few things available to the Castle collection over time, so there’s been much of interest to share with you all too.

In 2018 those fertile collecting days seem long since departed, so unusual is it now to find such pieces.  Rarities shared recently on Honour and Darkness tend to have been in the collection for some time, having being stored for many moons and rationed out in posts when Nazgul judged the time was right.

So “Hallelujah!”, Nazgul cried, when his own efforts located this very rare cassette online!  And through the most innocent of means, it must be said.  A seller online was advertising quite a rare early Hrossharsgrani demo tape for sale, nothing new for the collection but the sort of thing that only turns up once every 5 or so years thus worth picking up a spare copy of.  And like you do, Nazgul asked the seller if he had any other items from Hugin’s bands to sell.

‘Only a few other standard tapes,’ he replied, ‘but I can send you a photo if you like’.  And there, nestling amongst some fairly standard Uruk Hai tape releases, was this unfamiliar looking item.  Better photos were requested and sent, Nazgul got all excited and raided the Castle coffers, and the item was secured and send across with the original purchase from Germany.

So what in blue blazes is it, you cry?! 

Well, essentially it is the very first demo version Hugin made of what became the CD EP “Of Battles, Ravens and Fire” released on CCP Records in 2000.  Before any of the official releases, this was the original recording sent off to secure a deal.

Hugin was – to put it mildly – surprised when Nazgul shared his find with him, as he had completely forgotten about the tape’s existence.  Putting his thinking cap firmly on, Hugin recalled, “I think it was before the CCP deal, I planned to do a split with Nachtfalke with this recording but then CCP wanted to release it as a CD EP...” and one thing led to another until ultimately said CD came into existence.

The interesting part of the story – how the tape went from CCP into the hands of the owner Nazgul bought it from – is currently unknown, but one of these days I might go back to him to ask.  The seller’s name means nothing to Hugin, so it’s likely that it was gifted or sold from the label to person(s) unknown over the years before by lucky chance falling within the gaze of the fiery eye atop Castle Nazgul.

One nice outcome of this story is that the photo of Hugin used on the tape inlay is not one that he had in his possession anymore, so Nazgul is now tasked with the happy job of putting together a decent scan of it to send back over to Austria for posterity.

Let’s hope 2018 brings more such surprises and collectibles to share!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

ALPHA ΩMEGA [V/A]


Band: URUK HAI (as a contributor to a song by Fahl)
Title: Alpha Ωmega [V/A]
Format: An online download only via Bandcamp, compiled by the ETOR label (Greece) and released on 25 January 2017.  This collection features 34 songs covering the genres of Neofolk; Neo-Classical; Industrial; Electro; Dark Ambient; and Darkwave
Edition: unlimited download

Track Listing:
01.   In Slaughter Natives feat. Cecilia Bjärgö  *  Black Soil  4:55 
02.   L'Effet C'Est Moi  *  Homeric Hymns To Athena  3:56 
03.   Death In Rome  *  Take On Me  5:16 
04.   Naevus  *  Odour (acoustic version)  3:34 
05.   Cornelius Waldner  *  The Walls Of Troy  2:38 
06.   Darkwood  *  Broken Wings  4:12 
07.   Fahl feat. Uruk-Hai  *  Untitled  6:02 
08.   Jännerwein  *  Eine Liebe  5:07 
09.   TSIDMZ Ὁ  *  τοῦ ἄντρου μῦθος  7:37 
10.   Strydwolf  *  Anastasia  3:04 
11.   Ataraxia  *  Lucretia (new version)  5:24 
12.   Skull & Dawn  *  Edward  8:59 
13.   Dark Awake  *  Mystique  3:23 
14   Allerseelen  *  Sonne Gothi-Ade (2015)  3:36 
15.   Valence (N2 ItinitI) * On First Seeing The Ocean  4:25 
16.   Lupi Gladius  *  Solidea  2:54 
17.   Sieben  *  Cult Of The Fallen  4:06 
18.   Sophia  *  The Unclean  4:11 
19.   Τέθριππον  *  Katharon Pyr (ΤΕΘΡΙΠΠΟΝ - ΚΑΘΑΡΟΝ ΠΥΡ)  5:29 
20.   Falkenstein  *  Trojaburg  3:53 
21.   Awen  *  Spiritual Echo  3:33 
22.   In Ruin  *  The Edge Of Light  4:52 
23.   1.9.8.4.  *  Frustration  4:34 
24.   Albireon  *  La Spusa De Striun (spirit mix 2015)  5:56 
25.   Stein  *  Stille  3:57 
26.   Tribes Of Medusa  *  Betrayal  5:23 
27.   Miel Noir  *  Honey Offering (Demeter's March)  4:55 
28.   Sagittarius  *  Spiel  2:19 
29.   Hekate  *  Lifetime  4:19 
30.   Karjalan Sissit  *  Vittumainen Yksinäisyys-Puliukko Mix  4:14 
31.   Traum'er Leben  *  Vorüber-Vorbei  4:46 
32.   Changes  *  It’s Up To You  3:16 
33.   Der Arbeiter  *  Für Die Neue Zeit  4:10 
34.   Tyr-Kreis  *  Unity [Shava Sadhana cover song]  5:32 

Another day, another whopping online only compilation.  They seem to be all the rage now, and with streaming and downloads being the choice of the youth rather than ye-olde-school physical releases I suppose this is only to be expected.  A shame though, Nazgul still likes to get his hands on an actual product rather than stare at it through the computer monitor.  A sign of age, I guess.

Anyway, what we have here is the first – and so far only – release on a Greek label called ETOR.  And I can find out absolutely nothing about that label on its Bandcamp or Facebook pages other than they seem to be currently marketing themselves as a live-events company based in Athens, focused on concert promotions.  Curious, but there you are.

The interest in this collection of diverse songs lies for us at track 7, where an previously unknown-to-me band called Fahl have Uruk Hai as a featured artiste on their track ‘untitled’.  Investigate Fahl and you will discover that it was founded by Dimo Dimov, Marcel P. and Cornelius Waldner in autumn 2008.

Now these names will be familiar to you I’m sure, but to recap Dimo hails from Bulgaria and has been active in a host of bands (Allerseelen, Fahl, Miel Noir, Moon Orchard, Sagittarius, Sturmpercht, Svarrogh) as well as being an occasional third member of Hugin’s Ravenclaw project.  Marcel P. has an overlapping band history, best known as the bassist in Allerseelen but also appearing in Fahl, Halgadom, Ill-Sanity, Miel Noir, Moby's Dick, Sagittarius, Svarrogh, and Werra. 

And if your head isn’t spinning yet, last but not lease we have Cornelius Waldner who currently features with Fahl, Hailstorm, Sagittarius, and Warloghe but who has also played with HERR, Von Thronstahl, The Days Of The Trumpet Call, Rose Rovine E Amanti and several others live and/or in the studio.  Crikey!

On this particular Fahl song, however, it’s principally Marcel P. and Hugin in action.  It’s a classic neo-folk sort of outing too, with an almost military precision to the drumming, spoken word vocals (in German, so I’ve not a clue if it’s a lament on the state of the Motherland or a stream-of-consciousness recital of a shopping list, to be honest).  Not a particularly uplifting track from a few listens, it seems quite sombre and reflective.

Ultimately it’s like nothing that you’ve heard Hugin involved in before, and a quite a step apart from his own leanings in that direction through projects like B-Machina.
 
There are a few bands on this collection that even Nazgul is familiar with including old favourites Hekate and  Miel Noir, and taken as a whole the listening experience is quite spectacular.  Not the cheapest online purchase you’ll ever make, but you can at least preview the songs via ETOR’s Bandcamp page to see what you might be getting yourself into first.

Worth some exploration…