BLOOD AXIS

Unveröffentlicht

The easiest way to begin this review is also the most honest: I should not have this album. The album's title should be a clue to this fact. In this context, Unveröffentlicht is German for "Unreleased," and this was actually supposed to be a private CD-R circulated by frontman Michael Moynihan among his personal friends. I do not know Michael Moynihan and I am not a personal friend of his. And yet, I'm listening to and reviewing this album anyway. Accordingly, I will not review this album for the sake of recommending it to readers but rather as a simple analysis of the material at hand.

To be fair, Unveröffentlicht is not comprised of previously unreleased material. Rather, it is actually a compilation of Blood Axis tracks that perviously (and officially) appeared on various splits, demos, and V/A releases. Similarly, almost all of this material is available on other full-length Blood Axis albums in some form or another, but I guess this is where the "demo" part comes in. Of the nine tracks, two are covers of songs by other bands: Walked In Line is a Joy Division cover and the Hangman and the Papist is a cover of a 1960s band called The Strawbs. The new version of Walked In Line is more keyboard-oriented than the original, and by that, I mean the original doesn't have any keyboard passages at all. Likewise, Moynihan has altered the lyrics to coincide with his personal political views and has added clips of an Adolf Hitler speech here and there. It's all quite effective and this helps to make it the best cover of this song I've yet heard, but it's not as good as the original. Then again, this is usually the case.

Ironically, Blood Axis goes on to buck this trend with the second cover and, to use a scientific phrase, kicks the shit out of the acid-inflected original. The original version of The Hangman And The Papist sounds like a stereotypical 60s novelty song complete with "bluesy" organ passages and plodding basslines. The Blood Axis version is far more solemn and replaces the goofy organ passages with more sorrowful violin parts that suit the mood of the subject matter -- not to mention the aesthetic principles of the song -- far much better. A live version of this appears on BLOT - Sacrifice In Sweden and is as equally majestic as the version here.

The songs Bearer of 10,000 Eyes/Lord Of Ages and Electricity are Blood Axis's oldest tracks and are two of the best. The first is very atmospheric and the latter portion of it features a poem by Rudyard Kipling devoted to Mitrhas (a.k.a. Sol Invictus) sung over a piece from the soundtrack to the film A Clockwork Orange called Overture To The Sun. This was the first Blood Axis song I ever heard and it has always been one of my favorites. Electricity is much harder to describe but is a very militant piece with heavy percussion, violin, synthesizers, and distorted vocal passages. This song has always had a very "esoteric" feel to it and ranks as my favorite from this band from any era of its existence; this is the song that defines Blood Axis at its height, in my opinion. Both of these tracks also appeared on the aforementioned live album, though I prefer the version of Electricity that is found here to its live counterpart.

In keeping with the sample concept, the second track features Michael Moynihan and Corneliu Z. Codreanu (leader of an old Romanian fascist organization; thanks the G. van der H. for the correction) offering contrasting orations on rather obscure subjects (in Moynihan's case, a passage from Ernst Juenger's book Im Stahlgewittern) while a piano passage (whose origins I have yet to discern) plays in sync with a recorded sample of a thunderstorm. Likewise, the version of Eternal Soul that appears here is very strange and features some old German marching song I've never heard before along with Michael Moynihan speaking some of the lyrics in German. His accent is terrible, but his voice is always monotonous anyway, so that plays a part in his lack of inflection. I can't really say that I like this version at all since it's quite inferior to the version that appears on the Gospel Of Inhumanity CD and is rather unnecessary, all things considered. I suppose it's nice as one of the band's historical oddities, but not much else, in my estimation.

Despite the almost complete lack of overall consistency from track to track (most compilations of this nature suffer from this problem, for all the obvious reasons) this album showcases everything that makes Blood Axis the inventive band that it is. The songs Life and Electricity are incredible pieces that really let Moynihan stand out as both a musician and as a writer in his own right and it's really unfortunate that this great compilation has not been released in any official form. Given setbacks like the very boring collaboration with Les Joyaux de la Princesse called Absinthe: La Folie Verte, I think an official version of this album would really strengthen Blood Axis's position in the neofolk "scene" and among "outsiders" like black metal fans who still might be interested in the innovative and inventive music this band plays. In total, this is a very solid unreleased release.

Main Page | Reviews 1