V/A – Sturmgewitter ziehn durchs land

The first release of this small Belgian label is a split release with four bands which performed at the first Carpe Noctem Festival in Hekelgem on the 4th of September 2004. It was the initial intention that another label called Were Di! would produce this album. They were not capable enough to manage the project, so Carpe Noctem and the bands finally released it themselves with some delay, as you can read in the booklet with statements from HERR and Marcel P. There is also a nice personal report included about the festival by organiser Leslie.

HERR kicks off the split album with three songs dedicated to the ‘dreams, victory and tragedy’ of Constaninople. These songs were later also included on a complete album dedicated to the eternal city, “The winter of Constantinople” (first on Cynfeirdd, later on Cold Spring Records). The opening track sounds a bit distorted and chaotic, with heavy drums, trumpets, declamated texts and oriental samples. It is followed by a long solemn piano requiem, while ‘Tanz Konstantinople’ is a more uptempo and catchy martial piece, but less forceful and convincing than the album version. Unfortunately the sound quality of these songs is not very good. I don’ know if it has to do with my promo cd-r or with the mastering, but everything sounds a bit unbalanced.

Next are two tracks by The Days of the Trumpet Call. The neo-classical project of Raymond P. has turned into a threesome now, with Marcel P. and Carl L. as the other contributors. What mostly strikes me is the more prominent role for electric guitars and vocals, which makes the project move closer into the direction of Von Thronstahl. The Days of the Trumpet Call still displays elegant classical hymns, but the guitars make it even more bombastic, while the not entirely convincing vocals broaden the expressive possibilities. ‘Honour’ is a nice track, while Satan’s Trick appeals to me less.

The Belgian project Dead Man’s Hill contribute three tracks, with a sound somewhere between dark ambient and martial industrial. ‘Vesterbro’ (an area of Copenhagen with a doubtful reputation) leaves the best impression, a bit in the ritual vein of The Moon Lay Hidden… The other pieces are less convincing.

Last act is the notorious Von Thronstahl. First we get a ‘re-worked’ version of ‘Wider die Masse’, with an uptempo beat and heavy guitar riffs and loud shouting of the refrain. Not a version which will find its way to my cd-player very often. The remix of ‘Bellum Sacrum Bellum’, with many speech samples about the evil American government, unfortunately follows the same path and comes nowhere near their best work.

Not a compilation which is totally convincing, probably it will be most appealing to those who have attended the festival.

label: Carpe Noctem Records
details: cd, 10 tracks, 2005 [CN1]