V/A - Wir rufen deine Wölfe - 2xLP - 18 tracks - Ahnstern - 2004

This compilation, edited by Gerhard (from Allerseelen), is based upon the beautiful poem 'Wir rufen deine Wölfe' ('We call your Wolves') written by the German poet and philosopher Friedrich Hielscher in 1979. All participants were asked to put this text in music and the result, aesthetically and musically speaking is very very interesting. Gathering well known names of the neofolk scene and newcomers, this anthology reveals itself as an inspired homage.

The A side of the first record opens with the rather danceable contribution of the Chilean band Der Arbeiter that I do not really find convincing... The following song by the Austrian band Graumahd, in a pure neofolk style combining acoustic guitar and a male voice, is a very good surprise. They were unknown to me until now, and even if they easily be compared to German neofolk formations and do not sound particularly original, they know how to compose appealing neofolk music. I am curious to listen to more.
What to say about Ô Paradis? Due to the Catalonian's unique music style, and aided by the fact that he sings in Spanish, his contribution sounds radically different from the others. The throbbing rhythmic is guided by the particular voice and singing of Demian, the sound of a kazoo (amongst a variety and a multitude of other small sound elements) and, at times, strong percussions. Anyway, whatever the theme of the work, Demian always finds the way to create special pieces... it is also the case here too.
Waldteufel bring the listener back to a more traditional atmosphere. The powerful deep singing of Markus Wolf, in German of course, rhythmed by percussions and an electric guitar make this contribution one of the very best amongst all.
The side closes with the Finish band Erdgeist. A nice neofolk contribution but nothing more. One can regret they did not sing in their maternal tongue. The result could have been more interesting to listen to and perhaps more original than the often-heard German lyrics.

Werkraum's contribution opens the B-side. I remember being a bit confused on the first listenings by the mix of electronic and acoustic elements with a male voice singing in German. Finally, I was swayed by the overall 80's sound and the fact that this song has not left my mind for the last few days.
The Hungarian formation Cawatana offers a neofolk composition based upon a grave male voice singing in his native language, flutes, keyboards and percussions. A solid contribution in the same vein as the songs featuring on their album released a while ago on Eis & Licht.
Next is Lady Morphia, the English formation guided by Nick Nedzynski. Knowing his sharp interest in German Culture, History, Art…one will not be surprised by the use of German lyrics. The song adds an 80's gothic rock influence to the familiar elements like Nick's particular voice, choirs in background, keyboards, percussions, bass line, bells... A combination that sounds quite new and makes me curious to listen to their future releases...
The cult industrial act Turbund Sturmwerk closes this side masterly with the darkest and tensest contribution of the anthology. Lyrics declaimed by a cold vocoded voice with, alternatively, monotonous, orchestral and epic compositions in the background. Magistral!

The second record begins with one of the most awaited tracks due to the few recordings done by the band in the last years. Violin notes, wolf howls, the voices of Moynihan and ELTHO (already present on the Allerseelen double lp 'Flamme'), bodhran and acoustic guitar are the main elements of this contribution from Blood Axis.
An excellent lively folk rendition with a strong Celtic influence.
Follows the initiator of the project, Gerhard from Allerseelen with a composition close to his last albums. More a spoken word than a song, based on a monotonous trip hop rhythm, electronic loops and an occasional violin note...
The next contribution is from another Austrian project named Sturmpercht that I only know for their participation to the HeidenVolk compilation. A grave male voice with a simple folk rock accompaniment... A dark, simple and well-played interpretation.
Sangre Cavallum from Portugal offer the last song of this side. A sombre neofolk piece with a monotonous male voice and medieval sonorities mixed with wolf howls... A weird atmosphere also due to Gerhard's progressively distorted vocals... One of the most original contributions of this anthology.

The German band Belborn opens the last side of this record with a typical neofolk composition featuring male and female vocals, soft percussions and the twanging sound of a jew's harp amongst other acoustic instruments. A pleasant well-played song.
Circe brings the second Catalonian touch to this project with a beautiful interpretation in her maternal language. Her voice has something very special, sounding very young and very emotional… quite unique; it is a contribution that will for sure catch the attention of the listener.
Riharc Smiles from Austria are unknown to me. Percussions, a melody played with old electronic material are combined in a kind of middle-ages folk rock. A very intriging piece.
As for the Italian formation Der Feuerkreiner, their track is built upon Valentina's aggressive vocals and a symphonic industrial martial soundscape… This promising duo offers the most radical interpretation, musically speaking, featuring on this compilation.
The Shining Vril contribution, exclusive to the LP format, closes the record on a ritualistic ambient note. Lyrics in English are pronounced as in a kind of ritual set to a very dark musical accompaniment. An excellent and original piece to close a just as excellent anthology!

The artwork also deserves to be mentioned as the two LPs come in a grey wooden box featuring only the title of the anthology. Also included is a six panel full-sized insert, in the same tone as the box set. On this artwork, inspired by the interior of various Norwegian stave churches, also feature informative texts like the biography of Friedrich Hielscher and the subject poem in German and English. This double LP is limited to 600 copies and a CD edition is also available.

A highly recommended anthology!

Nathalie F.
Spring 2004