Challenge of Honour, A – Only Stones Remain

After various demo’s and cdr’s this is the first regular cd of the Dutch act A Challenge of Honour, released by the French label Divine Comedy Records. This isn’t the only French connection, because a few paintings of the great artist Jean-Marc Dauvergne were used for the cover artwork. A Challenge of Honour was founded by a German guy, Johan K. He was joined by Dutchman Peter S., who is also webmaster of the excellent webzine Above the Ruins. Later Peter S. continued the project by himself, on this album there are still three songs to which Johan K. participated.

The musical styles and moods of the 11 tracks on this album are rather varied, ranging from neo-folk and industrial to neo-classical, but they sound pretty mature overall. Some tracks are bombastic and martial, others subtle and atmospheric. The album contains two acoustic songs: ‘The Raven’, based upon the famous poem by Poe, and the title track, ‘Only Stones Remain’, that starts off as a dark soundscape, but then turns into a nice acoustic neo-folk song. Various songs though are more bombastic and orchestral. A few bands that they remind me of are Dernière Volonté, Turbund Sturmwerk, Der Blutharsch and Allerseelen, but A Challenge of Honour possesses enough originality. Most songs are instrumental, with various samples added. Some highlights are the infectious ‘The home coming’, the long epic track ‘Seppuku’ and the ritual ‘Dum pater familias’.
With this release A Challenge of Honour proves to be an act to look out for…

artist: Challenge of Honour, A
label: Divine Comedy Records
details: 11 tracks, 51 min.