VARIOUS ARTISTS: EUROPA AETERNA
LP: Autre Que H.ch00 [2006]
Ltd x 500

While Angels Watch – Utopia
Lady Morphia – In Ewigkeit
Dies Natalis – Friendship-Adrago Beach
Darkwood – Torn Nation
Sonne Hagal – Europa Aeterna

Camerata Sforzesca – Salve, Mundi Domine, Caesar noster, Ave (live)
Decadence – Lacrimae
Karnnos – O Bosque do Limiar
Reutoff – four lines of the sun

After six years, the French and Swiss online web magazine, Heimdallr has called it quits, but not before delivering a recherché of exclusive tracks from a roster of the more well known dark neo-folk acts of Europe. The compilation album features specifically-composed-for-the-event tracks, proffered by the folk neighbours, upon the motto of the magazine, Europa Aeterna).

While Angels Watch’s corroded ballad to a European 'Utopia' is a hoarse reminisce of refined taste, an excellent launch into the thematic paeans. More wistful and listless is Lady Morphia’s contribution, condensed in sparkling guitars, dominos of flute and bass melody.  Lament and dulcet male/female duet from Die Natalis is next, with its pop brilliantine, a contrast to the more forested haunt of Darkwood, a varnished copse of mummified trees and the tune that sings of it. Sonne Hagal’s metal encrusted inflections gutter and wallow in dark pits that echo with the clamour of steel, strange ululations and liquids, from dark to sinister. The flip side heralds on a pantheon of horns, Camerata Sforzesca, the only live track, but a treat nonetheless being recorded with a choir of five operatic vocalists from Modena, at first a recitative it ends into mock-martial style. The pizzicato of the strings and the carnivale-esque waltz of Decadence’s Lacrimae blares before a herald announces a play of verisimilitudes. Derelict halls and buildings are Karnnos’ contribution, spoken word mixed with memories of lutes lost in subtle droning noise. This descent finally leads to the hells of Reutoff, a militant march through layers of death and decay.

The vinyl release is limited to five hundred copies, featuring the stark and morose photography of Peter Bengsten, on chunky black audiophile, the stereo quality of which is a testament to aestheticism with a consideration to deliver an unique ‘Various Artists’ manifesto.


NYR

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