Challenge of Honour, A – Wilhelm Gustloff

The cdr I have in front of me was only released in a very small edition. But it will be re-released this summer (with a few extra tracks) by the English label Cold Spring, which is a good thing, because this album is interesting for a wider audience.
A Challenge of Honour is a productive Dutch act, combining musical elements of neo-folk, industrial, dark ambient and neo-classical. Historical subjects are often treated in the songs. That is also the case on this album. “Wilhelm Gustloff” is a conceptual album, about the ship of the same name. This ship left the harbour of Gotenhafen in January 1945, but was attacked by a submarine. Over 10,000 people were killed in this deadly attack. A Challenge of Honour states in the booklet, ‘This recording is in memory of the people who died in this greatest naval-disaster in history’.

On the album 12 varied tracks can be found, some of which use speech samples from the UFA movie “Nacht fiel uber Gotenhafen”. Just as on “Only Stones remain”, this album contains industrial, which is perhaps a little less bombastic here. Furthermore there are a lot of orchestral and some folk elements. An example is ‘Only Stones remain’, a nice instrumental acoustic song, reminding of classic Death in June. ‘1938’ and ‘V√∂lkerwanderung’ are threatening orchestral pieces, with speech samples and a heavy low horn sound. Very good is ‘Ehret das leben’, with a dramatic bombastic sound, consisting of powerful drumming, (synthetic) horns and strings. All in all an interesting and succeeded project.

artist: Challenge of Honour, A
label: Stahlklang Audio
details: 12 tracks, limited to 50 copies