V/A 'Europa Aeterna' LP

Curated by the Heimdallr staff as a testimony to six years of activity, the 'Europa Aeterna' compilation presents nine exclusive tracks from some of the finest European artists of the neo-folk scene (Camerata Sforzesca (side project of Camerata Mediolanense), Darkwood, Decadence, Dies Natalis, Karnnos, Lady Morphia, Reutoff, Sonne Hagal and While Angels Watch). Each song* was composed specifically for the compilation and each project offers, in their own unique style, their interpretation of the Heimdallr motto Europa Aeterna. (* with the exception of Camerata Sforzesca who present here an exclusive extract of their unique concert with a choir of five opera singers in Modena in December 2004)

Presented in a sumptuous cover featuring an exclusive new photo from the Danish artist Peter Bengtsen, 'Europa Aeterna' comes on heavy black audiophile vinyl and is limited to 500 copies. The compilation is distributed by Nathalie's label, Autre Que.

Track list:

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

Release date : 22/01/06
Still Available

More info & orders: info[@]autreque.fr



Heathen Harvest
Neofolk music fans across the world have come to rely upon Heimdallr webzine as a reliable and discretionary source of news, reviews and interviews pertaining to neofolk, neoclassical and other relevant forms of post industrial music. Heimdallr has remained a stalwart source of selective and filtered information over the years introducing readers around the world to deserving artists and musicians. Heimdallr's journalism personally inspired the creation of Heathen Harvest and the webzine continues to prove that good taste and quality journalism are defendable values. 2006 marks the sixth year of Heimdallr's publication and it also marks the end of the Heimdallr webzine. Heimdallr recently announced the termination of their existance as a web publication. In commemoration of the Heimdallr website the owners have released the Europa Aeterna compilation. Europa Aeterna celebrates the success of Heimdallr and the artists and music that defined their journalistic mission.
Europa Aeterna is published as a limited edition heavy black vinyl 12" LP. The LP is housed in a stylish sleeve that includes photography by Danish artist Peter Bengtsen (www.peterbengtsen.dk) . The LP is limited to 500 copies. Contributing musicians include well known neofolk artists such as While Angels Watch, Lady Morphia, Dies Natalis, Darkwood, Sonne Hagal, Decadence, Karnnos and Ruetoff. There is one new introduction in this illustrious line up, a band named Camrata SforZesea is introduced to unfamiliar listeners as well. Each of the participating artists was asked to contribute a recording based on the LP's title and theme "Europa Aeterna." All of songs on the LP were recorded specifically for the "Europa Aeterna" except for "Salve, Mudi Domine, Caesar noster, Ave" which was recorded live during a Winter Solstice celebration.
Side I begins with an offering from While Angels Watch titled "Utopia." While Angels Watch has proven to be one of the most anticipated artists to have emerged in the past few years from the neofolk genre. Burgeoning fans have heard little from While Angels Watch aside from occasional compilation appearances following the bands debut album "Dark Age" in 2002 and their contribution to the Cynnfeird Eye for Eye series in 2004. "Utopia" brings us back in stride with the powerful and convincing music of While Angels Watch and reignites the passion many have felt for this band. "Utopia" begins with the warmly familiar acoustic and electric guitar of While Angels Watch. The guitars strum a casual song that inspires reflection. Piano and bass join the song along with the confident male vocals adding depth and emotion to the composition. The male vocals are mature and instantly convincing. The singer's voice recalls the strength and conviction of singers like Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus and Ian Reed of Fire + Ice. The music though grounded in guitar based folk also encompasses elements of rock and classic music. Though the instrumentation is a familiar combination the resulting music is refreshingly original and does not immediately attract comparisons. The song meanders through a couple of passages of verse that discuss the seeds of Europa scattered across the fields becoming slowly estranged by the weeds. The song calls upon Europa to set the fields afire freeing the seeds from the weeds. Europa's struggle is eloquently spoken of while the guitars lead surging music that effortlessly swells to meet the passion of the lyrics. After a powerful call for a meeting in a castle in the sky above Europa the music shifts away from guitars into a brief ambient transition that ends with the sound of gunfire. The guitars slowly rise once again this time accompanied my martial orchestration. A call comes from deep in the music speaking of the infinite love and tragedy of Europa as While Angles Watch brings the song to a blazing peak with strings orchestration, drums, percussion and guitar.
The title track "Europa Aeterna" offered by Sonne Hagal is the last track on Side 1 of the Europa Aeterna LP. "Europa Aeterna" gives voice to the ritualistic and experimental side of the diverse music of Sonne Hagal. "Europa Aeterna" captures the spiritual aspects of the Europa Aeterna theme as Sonne Hagal explores the dark pulsing heart of Europa through sound and word. The song begins with electric and bass guitar, random metallic percussion and quivering electronic pulses. The atmosphere instantly strikes the listner as distressed. The guitar plays a repetitive phrase while the electronic ambience bounces and pings about the darkness. The metallic percussion sounds like large iron bells or heavy iron gongs being struck. As the sounds collide and expand a male voice begins singing in hushed tones as if conversing with the night. He sings of the heart of Europa, it is wood, stone, ancient, patient… The song navigates dark ritualistic atmospheres for several minutes exploring the hidden soul and throbbing pulse of Europa before gently retreating. "Europa Aeterna" is mature return to Sonne Hagal's early ritualistic musical roots. The music reminded me at times of the elusive ritual atmospheres explored by the likes of Voxus Imp. Sonne Hagal's contribution honors the spirit of the compilation and helps inaugurate spiritual aspects of the LP's theme and the genre it represents.
Side II features a commendable offering from Decadence titled "Lacrimae." "Lacrimae" sees Decadence displaying their musical and lyrical eloquence as never before. Though decadence has not been prolific in offering music over the last few years their initial LP offered on Hau Ruck records "The Beheaded Scent of Winter" garnished these romantic musicians a wide audience. On their most recent offering released title on Cold Meat Industries Decadence demonstrates an evolution in the bands established sound as the music and lyricism elevates to a new apex. "Lacrimae" illustrates Decadence's established erudite approach to musical composition and also captures the bands new compositional complexity. "Lacrimae" begins with brisk string orchestration and quickly progresses to include piano and inspirational neoclassical instrumentation. The music is played professionally with a neofolk genre inspired emphasis. Sensual male vocals are sung across a platform of piano and acoustic guitars. The lyrics are darkly romantic calling to mind romantic era poets like Rimbaud, Shelley and Byron. Decadence projects a unique classical sensibility embellished with modern bohemianism. Like a modern dandy the bands identity is exemplified by a touch of class that distinguishes the music and lyrics from their peers. The music of decadence often invokes a portrait of life and love sketched by a renegade post modern romanticist bourgeois that has rejected the values and beliefs of their cast in favor soulful probing and decadent indulgence. Decadence brings a particular elegance to the neofolk genre. After a lengthy neoclassical recital themed around the tendencies of Jasmine and the red tears of Christ the music shifts. The shift sees the retreat of the male vocalist in exchange for a female vocalist. The previous lyrics pondering love and Christ are replaced by lyrics that reflect upon war and hardship. The lyrics are recited by a female who sounds separated from the convoluted lyrics previously recited. The lyrics are spoken in a less multifarious manner as they focus upon the struggle of the common man who finds himself walking a path of war and survival marked by an attempt to understand the meaning of the discord. The lyrics speak of war and its losses, of scared lands and torn peoples. The music remains neoclassical, refined, and eloquent capturing the Decadence aesthetic like never before.
Aside from the three songs described above the album also contains six other exclusive tracks making for a total of nine songs. All of the participating artists have offered worthy contributions to this commorative LP and many memorable tracks await the lucky few who get a copy of this limited edition release. Heimdallr has created a befitting commemorative album that captures the spirit of the music which has been Heimdallr's passion. Europa Aeterna gives voice to the emerging Eurocentric artistic and spiritual renewal that has become the unifying banner of much of the neofolk and post industrial genre. I highly recommend this release to all neofolk and neoclassical music fans. The theme alone should be stimulation enough for heathen and Eurocentric advocates to secure a copy. Europa Aeterna exemplifies the high standard of quality and discretion established by the Heimdallr webzine so rest assured that your expectations will be exceeded. Collectors take note that Europa Aeterna is likely to become a coveted and memorable collectable as well. Congratulations on six years of premium musical journalism Heimdallr! And may your future conquets be as fruitful we wish the best from Heathen Harvest!
Malahki Thorn

Compulsion Online
Europa Aeterna commemorates six years of activity from the Franco-Swiss webzine Heimdallr, who focussed on neo-folk and related musical fields. The exclusive contributions from the nine acts (with the exception of Camerata Sforzesca who offer a live excerpt) revolve around interpretations of the Heimdallr motto "Europa Aeterna". Naturally that acts are all closely entwined with variations of the neo-folk genre. While Angels Watch offer the plaintive strum of 'Utopia' with Dev's gruff voice tells of Europe's battles and struggles. Its reprise through battlefield sounds, martial drumming to orchestration acts as a lament for Europa. Lady Morphia are as erudite as ever. The romantic goth-folk of 'In Ewigkeit' is constructed from ringing acoustic guitar and melodic tin whistle with the lyrics a combination of English and German. Lady Morphia are the sincere, stern young sons of Europe. There's a richness in the melody of 'Friendship - Adrago Beach' from the German outfit Dies Natalis. Male and female voices converge over chiming acoustic pluck and strum with a soft neo-classical reprise. There's a strong sense of traditional folk music in the vocal delivery and this is, by far, the most accessible of the contributions found on Europa Aeterna. 'Torn Nation' from Darkwood is a solemn affair with a precise almost spoken delivery, a string ensemble and ethereal female vocals embellishing the piece with finesse. Side 1 closes with the dark melancholia of Sonne Hagal, with atypical neo-folk cloaked in percolating electronics and ritual atmospheres.
The second side foregoes the generic neo-folk sound for a number of acts pursuing a more singular approach. The Italian ensemble Camerata Sforzesca provide a most baroque offering, where a cluster of operatic voices soar over majestic keyboards and spartan percussion culled from a Winter Solstice celebration. It's followed by the refined sounds of Decadence that switches between orchestral passages and acoustic folk. It's refined and mature and slips effortlessly into a classical romantic tradition. Ritual electronics from the Portuguese outfit Karnnos and dark industrial ambient from the cult Russian trio Reutoff close the album.
Europa Aeterna is a fitting epitaph to Heimdallr, which recently announced their intention to cease all activities. As an entry into the neo-folk scene it's a solid release and certainly more cohesive than the sprawling Looking For Europe 4 CD set. Europa Aeterna is available on black audiophile vinyl in an edition of 500 copies, with cover photography by Peter Bengsten. The cult status of many of the contributors will ensure this release on the Autre Que label will only be available for a short time.
Tony Dickie

For six years Heimdallr was a valuable source of information about underground music. But now the people behind the webzine decided that it's time for other activities. Like releasing records! Two members of the Heimdallr crew started the label Autre Que. After a single by Ô Paradis, they now released a compilation with some interesting names from the dark folk scene.
The LP 'Europa Aeterna' comes on extra quality vinyl and is limited to 500 copies. It contains nine mostly unreleased tracks by nine different artists. Side A is exclusively devoted to neo-folk songs, while the B-side has more room for atmospheric experiments.
On the first half of the record, one of my favourites is 'In Ewigkeit' by Lady Morphia, which has a strong melody and convincing vocals. It's about the time that this British act releases a new album! The Darkwood song is also nice, but earlier included on their Weltenwende album. The tracks by Dies Natalis, Sonne Hagal and While Angels Watch are decent affairs, without really standing out.
The flipside starts with the absolute highlight: a powerful live version of 'Salve, Mundi Domine, Caesar noster, Ave' by Camerata Sforzesca, a project related to Camerata Mediolanense, that also performs this wonderful solemn track often live. Decadence from Greece have not always convinced me in the past, but 'Lacrimae' is a nice mix of a gothic hymn and a folk tune. Both Karnnos and Reutoff deliver interesting soundscapes, respectively dominated by whispered/spoken vocals and martial percussion.
Overall this is a good record, which is a nice addition to the vinyl collection of dark folk fans. It's a pity that Heimdallr has ended its activities, but records like 'Europa Aeterna' (which has always been the motto of the webzine) are a welcome consolation.
Hans D.

Filth Forge
All good things must come to an end, and this time we have to say farewell to one of the most representative and outstanding webzines in the neofolk underworld, Heimdallr, the Swiss/French site that kept us company since 1999. Nathalie, Ian and Stéphane decided to stop their activities to concentrate on other projects, most notably the Autre Que label started in 2005 by Nathalie and Ian themselves. As a seal to six years of life and adventures, an LP compilation has been produced in an edition of 500 copies. "Heimdallr - Europa Æterna" features unreleased tracks by neofolk artists (with the only exception of Reutoff) who have been featured on the webzine's pages with reviews and interviews.
It's British WHILE ANGELS WATCH to open with "Utopia", a powerful hymn sung in a distinctive deep voice, followed by compatriots LADY MORPHIA, who take part with "In Ewigkeit", a song in German language. It's Germany itself to enter the scene with some of its most famous and appreciated artists, who effectively show the different approaches to the neofolk matter existing on their land: DIES NATALIS are light and gentle, DARKWOOD melancholic, SONNE HAGAL gloomy and crepuscular. Side B moves away from standard neofolk, featuring neoclassical, ritual and experimental sounds. CAMERATA SFORZESCA (Camerata Mediolanense's philological side-project) play a wonderful "Salve, Mundi Domine, Caesar Nostre, Ave", recorded live during 2004's Winter Solstice Festival. DECADENCE's "Lacrimae" is probably one of their best tunes, mixing piano, strings and almost Morriconian echoes, more focused and original than their previous productions. Portuguese KARNNOS lead us towards a mysterious ride through foggy ambient landscapes, where a ghost whispers in their fascinating mother language. Finally, Russian cult industrialists REUTOFF close the LP with a disturbing composition, made of a distant marching rhythm, creepy orchestral tunes and sharp, tinkling sounds.
On the whole, a beautiful collection of songs that perfectly represent the neofolk circle and everything that moves around it. Heimdallr's adventure was appropriately celebrated with this release, and we surely won't forget all the interesting reading it offered us during these six years. Rest in peace and honour to Heimdallr, Teacher of Men and Guardian of the Bridge!
Simon V.

The French-Swiss webzine Heimdallr has been a decent source of information for the European centered neofolk scene for a long time. Now they release a compilation on vinyl to celebrate the six years they exist on which each of the artists interprets the Heimdallr motto ''Europa Aeterna''. All tracks are written exclusively for this release and this is quite special. Musicwise the album mostly features delicate neofolk. Sometimes with a psychedelic touch such as While Angels Watch, Reutoff, Sonne Hagal or Lady Morphia, and at other moments with neoclassical undertones. Contributions have been made by While Angels Watch, Lady Morphia, Dies Natalis, Darkwood, Sonne Hagal, Decadence, Karnnos, Reutoff and Camerata Sforzesca, which is a sideproject of Camerata Mediolanense and is represented on this compilation with an exclusive recording taken from a unique concert they did with 5 operasingers in Modena in december 2004. The Dies Natalis song has multiple vocals and female vocals which turn this into an exceptionally beautiful song. The compilation is pressed on heavy black vinyl and is released in 500 copies, via the label Autre Que founded by Ian and Nathalie, with a cover on which a photograph is placed of the Danish artist Peter Bengtsen, like on the Heimdallr website itself.

No sólo teníamos noticia a finales del año pasado de que dos miembros del webzine Franco-suizo Heimdallr abrían lo que sería su propio sello, Autre Que, donde editaron un Ep del nuestro artista Ô Paradis; sino que en el 2006 cumplen seis años de trabajo. Para celebrarlo lanzan una recopilación en vinilo con nueve artistas de excelente dark y neo folk que interpretan el 'motto' del mencionado webzine: 'Europa Æeterna'. Todos los artistas han creado temas inéditos y absolutamente nuevos para regalar a este interesante proyecto; descontando Camerata Sforzesca, que les cede una grabación muy especial grabada el 18 de diciembre en Modena, con cinco cantantes de ópera. Por razones obvias no incluyen a las mayores referencias del dark folk; y aún así su selección cubre la mayoría de diferentes visiones dentro de esta escena. Desde el cuasi-pop de Lady Morphia hasta la experimentación de Reutoff, el disco es muy completo y cumple sin duda las expectativas puestas en él.
La cara A del vinilo cubre el lado más puramente folk y de pop oscuro. Empieza con un tema de While Angels Watch, 'Utopia', que introduce una voz grave y atonal cantando sobre unos acordes de guitarra y se presenta inicialmente como un tema muy convencional con unas letras nostálgicas que hacen referencia a la imposibilidad de la unión, pero que acaba introduciendo cortes; silencios, samplers de ametralladoras -que junto a los gases tóxicos fueron los grandes vencedores de la I Guerra Mundial - y una bellísima melodía para terminar acompañado de los lamentos:
"Still in my heart she lies: Europa!
But in my heart she cries: Europa!"
Lo sigue un tema mucho más alegre y pop de Lady Morphia con el nombre de 'Ewigkeit'. Contiene una melodía muy simple y hermosa de flauta que acompaña a la voz. Incluye unas interrupciones con letras en alemán y una voz más opaca que son realmente lo más interesante del tema, sobre todo en contraste con la mencionada melodía. 'Friendship - Adrago Beach' es el tema que presenta Dies Natalis, un tema mucho más folk, donde la voz masculina y femenina quedan entrelazadas con los arpegios de las guitarras y donde, a veces, reluce la voz femenina con su limpieza y belleza, arropada de una ambientación oscura, sinfónica y melancólica. Darkwood, o bien Henryk Vogel, defiende su excelente voz con 'Torn Nation' en un tema intimista con una melodía y cambios preciosos. Poco a poco se van adentrando más instrumentos: una acordeón, una flauta; que presentan su pequeño solo al que siguen esas terribles palabras como estribillo:
"The future is darkness
and their blindness is faith. [...]
A promise that's given will never be kept'
Tres minutos de belleza y nostalgia. Acto seguido, nos adentramos dentro del mundo de Sonne Hagal, que osan llamar su tema simplemente 'Europa Æterna' y empieza con unos acordes oscuros de guitarra donde la voz entra sigilosa, acompañada de leves sonidos y samplers sordos, como una reprimenda y un castigo al oyente, y a la promesa de esa 'Europa Aeterna'
La cara B se abre con ese directo de la formación italiana Camerata Sforzesca, 'Salve, Mundi Domine, Caesar Nostre, Ave' que va in crescendo, añadiendo voces, coros e instrumentos, en un tema marcial y glorioso con toques muy teatrales. Lo sigue el 'Lacrimae' de Decadence, con una introducción cinematográfica, que desemboca en un tema más folk con una voz recitada y con unos cambios que poseen unas melodías de viento tristes y oscuras y que va añadiendo diferentes capas al tema, con letras duras de referencias a Jesucristo ('Did you know the most beautiful dreams are meaningless?') y añadiendo la voz de Anna Zafiriou cuestionando sobre el tema. Una canción con muchísima libertad de creación, arriesgada y bella que se hace corta para la intensidad que presenta.
Karnnos y Reutoff son el lado más ambiental del disco. 'O bosque do Limiar', basado en citas del escrito 'As origens do sagrado' de Anne Bancroft, es un tema sangrante, que deja deslizar la voz sobre un fondo oscuro y ambiental lleno de soledad. Un tema lleno de imágenes de lugares olvidados, naturaleza destruida y promesas vacías. Para cerrar, 'Four lines of the sun' es una canción exenta de voz, mucho más experimental y que contiene ángulos escondidos y sonidos enfrentados entre acordes clásicos, bajos, percusiones, ruidos y arreglos extraños y ajenos. También muy visual, el oyente se puede sumergir dentro de las diferentes ondas que van sucediéndose en el tema.
Un trabajo muy interesante, muy caleidoscópico, que incluye creaciones muy diferentes bajo una misma concepción de una manera realmente loable. Sin duda una recopilación a tener e cuenta por su variedad, oscuridad y por las diferentes posibilidades que abre al oyente. Te invitamos a que andes junto a esta 'Europa Æeterna': "Where does he lead his future? What does he fight for? What will remain of him when this finally ends? Walk, oh sweet brother beside me. [...] Hold my hand: it's cold."

Das Webzine Heimdallr feiert in diesen Tagen sein sechsjähriges Bestehen mit der Veröffentlichung der Zusammenstellung "Europa Aeterna" auf dem hauseigenen Label AUTRE-QUE. Zu den Feierlichkeiten hat man sich durchweg bereits etablierte Bands aus dem erweiterten Neofolk-Bereich eingeladen, die sich zum vorgegebenen Thema "Europa Aeterna" kreativ äußern sollten.
Den recht gelungenen Anfang machen WHILE ANGELS WATCH mit dem STück "Utopia", das mit einem für die Band gewohnten etwas sperrigen Songaufbau aufwartet. Ist Dev normalerweise ein recht guter Sänger, so scheint er bei der Aufnahme dieses Stücks allerdings einen eher schlechteren Tag erwischt zu haben. LADY MORPHIA bringen im Anschluss mit "In Ewigkeit" einen ebenso für die Band typischen Song zu Gehör. Die Gitarrenspuren sind dem von LADY MORPHIA mitkomponierten WERKRAUM-Stück "Die letzte Jagd" entliehen, so dass man dann doch hier und da das Gefühl hat, eine Alternativversion mit anderem Text zu hören. Eigentlich war ich nicht immer ein uneingeschränkter Freund des musikalischen Schaffens von DIES NATALIS, aber das hier vorgelegte Stück "Friendship" ist sicherlich ein Höhepunkt dieser Zusammenstellung. Einprägsame und mitreißende Melodien unterlegt mit Akustik-Gitarren und überbaut mit einer guten und ausdrucksstarken weiblichen Stimme bestimmen hier das Klangbild. Ein weiteres Highlight stellt zudem das folgende "Torn Nation" von DARKWOOD dar. Das Stück besitzt ebenfalls eine hervorragende Melodik und ist mit Akkordeon, Flöte und pointiertem, weiblichen Backgroundgesang schön breit arrangiert. Für mich ist dieser Song zweifelsohne eine der besseren Arbeiten der Band. Die erste Seite der LP wird schließlich von SONNE HAGAL abgeschlossen, die ein eher ruhig-meditatives Folkstück darbieten, welches mit industriellen sowie elektronischen Hintergrundgeräuschen aufgelockert wird. Leider hat man diese Art von Musik von SONNE HAGAL mittlerweile schon öfter gehört, wobei sich die Variationen und die guten musikalischen Ideen doch eher in Grenzen halten.
Die zweite Seite beginnt mit dem ersten nicht für diese Zusammenstellung exklusiv geschriebenem Stück "Salve, mundi domine Caesar nostre. Ave", das bereits als Studioversion auf Vinyl von Camerata Mediolanense veröffentlicht wurde. Hier liegt die Live-Version des Stücks von der alternativen Inkarnation Camerata Sforzesca vor. Weiter geht es mit DECADENCE, die einen recht glatten und sauberen Neofolk-Track abliefern, der nach wie vor ein eigenes auch einmal kantiges Gesicht vermissen läßt. Die portugiesische Band KARNNOS bringt ein vom Sound her ureigenes Stück zu Gehör, das von dunklen atmosphärischen Flächen, sich im Hall verlierenden Gitarren und Flöten sowie Johan Aernus´ potugiesischem Sprechgesang geprägt ist. Trotzdem geht dem Stück die letzte Griffigkeit doch etwas ab. Die Kompilation wird schließlich von REUTOFF beschlossen, die mit "Four lines of the sun" einen interessanten neoklassischen Instrumentaltrack abliefern, der nicht ins bombastische oder martialische abdriftet. Das Stück ist sicher ein wertiger Schlußpunkt, es ist aber auch nicht so, dass man soetwas nicht schon einmal ähnlich gehört hätte. Zudem ist das Stück wie so viele Produktionen in diesem Genre für meinen Geschmack wieder einmal die entscheidende Minute zu lang.
Insgesamt ist es Nathalie und Ian von Heimdallr gelungen, eine sehr schöne Zusammenstellung zu kreieren. Echte Lückenfüller gibt es eigentlich nicht und musikalisch befindet man sich auf einem guten Niveau. Die sehr passende Cover-Gestaltung mit einem Bild von Peter Bengsten tut zudem ihr übriges, zumal man in dieser Beziehung wieder einmal den Vorteil einer großen LP-Hülle genießen kann. Die LP ist auf 500 Stück limitiert.

Dopo 6 anni di attività, la celebre Heimdallr, webzine francese di Ian e Nathalie, chiude i battenti per concentrare i propri sforzi sulla loro neonata label Autre Que. Per chiudere in bellezza, Heimdallr rilascia una compilation su vinile che tende ad abbracciare i temi più cari a questa iniziativa editoriale. La linea tracciata da “Europa Aeterna” si consolida su un dark folk malinconico, musica da ascoltare nel tepore casalingo guardando la pioggia bagnare i vetri delle finestre.
Ottima iniziativa, ma il tutto suona come ‘vecchio’. Come dire, uscito in ritardo. E soprattutto. Con tutto il rispetto, farebbe la gioia del popolo dark/gothic. Mi spiego… Da sempre, almeno in Italia, c’è una convivenza forzata tra pubblico dark e pubblico più incline alle sonorità di più spiccata provenienza industrial. Tutto ciò ha portato alla nascita di progetti (alcuni validi, non si può negarlo) ma destinati più ad un’audience dark/gothic. Per intenderci, Scivias, Sturmpercht, Turbund Sturmwerk fanno parte (con sforzi anche notevoli) dello stesso raggio d’azione di gente come Dies Natalis, Darkwood e Sonne Hagal, ma l’interesse del popolo ascoltatore viaggia su binari diversi e molto distanti tra loro. Chiusa la parentesi.
L’apertura è affidata ad una malinconica song di While Angels Watch, folk nero scandito da una calda voce maschile e con un’apertura più maestosa e solare nel finale. Lady Morphia propone una versione scarna e scheletrica della più potente e dinamica “Die Lette Jagd” di Werkraum, deboluccia e povera rispetto alla prova di Axel Frank. Dies Natalis non aggiunge nulla con il suo neo-folk delicato ed acustico con voci femminili, lo stesso si può affermare di Darkwood, solito neofolk intimista con aperture neoclassiche a base di strumenti ad arco. Sonne Hagal rialza le quotazione con un folk sussurrato ed oscuro, non eccelso ma decisamente meglio della caduta stilistica dei precedenti gruppi tedeschi. Con il nuovo lato si ha l’occasione di ascoltare un pezzo dei Camerata Mediolanense (qui denominati Sforzesca per indicare la forma live) dopo un considerevole buio discografico. La song è un estratto dall’ultimo live acustico, una versione carica e profonda di “Salve Mundi”, un senso religioso e sacro pervade l’aria tra cantato a più voci e percussioni marziali. Karnnos ci offre una song in linea con il suo ermetico CD di debutto, un brano dal sapore rituale, molto oscuro, quasi come se fosse registrato in una caverna durante un rituale arcaico. Reutoff sembra quasi la voce fuori dal coro, il suo background è notevolmente diverso dagli altri colleghi vinilici ma non per questo stona all’interno del contesto generale. La vicinanza di Karnnos li mette nella giusta esposizione con un brano simile per atmosfere seppur più dinamico grazie ad un apporto ritmico mai invasivo e ben calibrato all’interno delle trame oscure.
Una compilation dal doppio volto. Superficiale e debole nella prima parte, più profonda ed espressiva nella parte finale. Un disco abbastanza gradevole nel complesso.

"Europa" ist ein Schlüsselbegriff in der gegenwärtigen Folk- und Post-Industrialszene, die sich selbst gerne in einem konstruktiven (also nichtausschließenden) Sinne als 'eurozentrisch' betrachtet. Insofern verwundert es nicht, dass die Schweizer Genre-Webpage Heimdallr ihre Vinyl-Compilation "Europa Aeterna" widmet. Würde man jedoch einen der beteiligten Künstler um eine klare Definition dessen bitten, was "Europa" hier eigentlich sein soll, käme man wohl auf eine ähnliche Diskussion, wie sie unter den intellektuellen des 19. Jahrhunderts bereits geführt worden war: Europa scheint synonym für die Utopie eines kulturellen Gefüges zu sein, das sich von Spanien bis nach Russland hinein erstreckt. Da sich hier jedoch relativ wenig tatsächliche Zusammenhänge finden lassen, wird nicht selten auch die Idee des 'Heiligen Römischen Reiches' oder anderer Vereinigungsversuche - friedlich oder kriegerisch - herbeizitiert. Das "ewige Europa" bleibt also ein eher vager, spiritueller Begriff, der in etwa mit Georges "heimlichem Deutschland" korrespondiert und eher die Sehnsucht nach kultureller Identität und Zusammengehörigkeit formuliert. In der Beifügung "ewig" liegt schließlich bereits der "Mythos Europa", das Überzeitliche verborgen.
Auf neun weitgehend exklusiven Stücken widmen sich auf dieser stilvoll gestalteten LP nun ebenso viele Musikerinnen und Musiker einer Formulierung dieses mythischen Bildes. Die Briten While Angels nennen "Utopia" bereits beim Namen. In komplexem Arrangement wird ein mehrstrophiger Folksong geboten, den die markante Stimme des Sängers deutlich prägt - gleich einer der Höhepunkt zu Beginn. Es folgt das ebenfalls britische Projekt Lady Morphia, das sich an einer deutsch-englischen Text-Kombination versucht und deutlich auf die Idee eines 'inneren, geheimen Zusammenhaltes' Bezug nimmt. Dieses Stück erscheint weit optimistischer und kämpferischer vom Timbre…
Es folgen drei deutsche Spezialisten melancholischer Folkmusik: Dies Natalis, Darkwood und Sonne Hagal, die allesamt in tragischen Balladen das Thema angehen. Dies Natalis warten mit einem weiblichen Co-Gesang auf, während Darkwood an die bislang gelegten Spuren anschließen und in 'Torn Nation' die destruktiven Auswirkungen des Zweiten Weltkrieges, die bis heute spürbar sind, beklagen. Neben While Angels Watch ein zweiter Höhepunkt der LP. Aber auch Sonne Hagals düsterer Song , der direkt den Titel zitiert, kann sich hören lassen.
Mit Camerata Sforzesca liegt der erste Track vor, der nicht extra für dieses Konzept komponiert wurde, doch diese Liveversion entstammt einem exklusiven Konzert, in dem die Mitglieder von Camerata Mediolanense durch einen Chorus von fünf Opernsängern unterstützt wurden (Modena, December 2004). Fällt dieses neoklassische Stück durch seinen mediterranen Pathos auf, schließt die griechische Band Decadence mit einer Rezitativ-Ballade an, die leider nicht die Intensität der vorangehend Lieder erreicht. Wie bereits auf der aktuellen CMI-CD dominiert hier eine weinerliche Männerstimme in schlechtem Englisch zu eingängigen - wenn auch unspezifischen - Klavier- und Gitarrenklängen. Karnnos dagegen bieten eher düster-ambiente Klänge mit Sprache, die eine gute Überleitung zum assioziativen Instrumental der russischen Formation Reutoff bildet, die hier erstaunlich strukturiert und wenig ambient daherkommen.
Insgesamt bietet "Europa Aeterna" dem Hörer eine ausgewogene Zusammenstellung aktueller Balladen und Neoklassikkompositionen, die ihre Hoch- und Tiefpunkte haben, jedoch erfreulich nah am Thema bleiben. Formal und inhaltlich eine gelungenes Werk, das in den genannten Genres auf Interesse stoßen wird.
Maria Nicoli