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imgAs the solo project of DJ Ash (Ashlar von Megalon), Heimataerde emerged several years ago with the debut EP "Ich Hab Die Nacht Getraeumet".  With the releases appearing on Infacted Recordings in Europe, they started to take the electronic music scene by surprise with the awesome dance-floor beats.  After appearing on two compilations, including Infacted Vol. 1 and Gothic Compilation XXV, Ash put together a full-length album released in spring of 2005, including a North American appearance on Metropolis Records.  He continued to work and perform live on different occasions and through it all has written and released more great albums continuing the relationship with Infacted Recordings in Europe and under license with COP International and Metropolis Records for the N. American releases.

Possibly through his DJ roots, or from other gothic and industrial influences, Ash puts together a powerful mix of a unique breed of Industrial and EBM fused music.  The music is often compared to older Wumpscut and the heavy electronic industrial elements of Suicide Commando.  I would also add Grendel and a myriad of other industrial bands to the comparisons, as well as a number of medieval bands including Estampie, Corvus Corax and I found a lot of similarities to the upbeat tracks from The Soil Bleeds Black.  These latter similarities stem from the inclusion of samples of swords clanging, bagpipes, choir samples and chants mixed with a number of other medieval-related sounds.

This excellent mixture provides something refreshing for fans of the heavy, pounding electronic dance-floor sounds in what I like to label it as Medieval Industrial music.  There is enough variety that you can hear selections not only on the Gothic Paradise club mix, but also on the ethereal mix as well.  Visit the website for updates including tour schedules, gallery, music downloads and more.  Enjoy!

Gottgleich - Review

The saga lives on as our undead knight templar Ashlar von Megalon continues to fight and create captivating music in the flavor of medieval industrial. img This album features nearly an hour of intensely powerful music across fourteen pieces.

The album kicks off with a spoken word piece with a beautiful soundtrack backing it up with haunting female vocals along with background sounds of clanging metal from an epic battle. Immediately visions from favorite epic movies like The Lord of the Rings or Braveheart comes to mind as this music plays on. It gives way to the powerful mix that we've become accustomed to from this project over the years of various medieval sounding pipes mixed with grinding guitars, pulsating electronics and a driving beat. This mix continues across several tracks on this album, but not all together and definitely broken up with various styles including the somber, emotional piece "Zwishen den Sternen" with it's slower beat and less intense mix of instruments at first, though it's all made up for with the dripping angst-ridden vocals and overall mood, especially as the track slowly builds to an epic climax that holds the listener entranced and takes the breath away. This pattern of a couple of upbeat, intense pieces broken up with various spoken word or otherwise softer, more somber works creates a great album with enough variety to hold the attention of listeners well.

With this great mix there are definitely some favorites from everyone, spanning quite a broad range as previously mentioned with the medieval undertones mixed with the driving EBM styles. Highlights have been spotlighted on our radio shows for a while now, so pieces like the previously mentioned introductory piece "Der Weg" and the upbeat selection "Templerblut" along with "Wacht auf" should not be unfamiliar with our regular listeners. Around Christmas time we're also treated with several selections from this band, including a highlight instrumental piece from this album "God rest ye merry gentlemen". "Tief in dir" is an excellent example of ancient meets modern with the handclapping, pipes and tambourines which at first make up the whole of the mix of instruments on this track until the pulsating bass gradually builds up and the modern EBM style takes over though the medieval sounds come pack in between each verse, making this a fun and enjoyable selection. This style definitely stands out as a favorite as later on "Pilgerlied" it really shines again as well as later when the album starts to wrap up with "Allein" before the final spoken word piece "Leise fliesst der Ebro" to close the album.

Once again it comes to a close, another masterpiece, another enjoyable album that's well worth picking up and enjoying.

Rating: 4/5

Unwesen - Review

This band just never seems to slow down. img Here we have yet another new great album featuring the continuing story of Ashlar von Megalon, the undead knight templar. It comes presented in an excellent package with the music spanning no less than fourteen captivating tracks.

As with many of these albums, our first introductory piece (in this case the title track) comes to us with some spoken word, dark and haunting, yet beautifully composed background music to slowly ease us into the powerful, driving medieval industrial sounds. Immediately we're launched into the fray with "Gotteskrieger" and the onslaught of driving beats, layered electronics and the bagpipe sound that has become a staple for this band across so many tracks. Various acoustic and medieval sounds come out on various pieces altering the moods and the tempo slightly so it's not all a constant barrage of pounding beats. But for those who come for the pounding dancefloor rhythms, this disc is loaded and will definitely please.

There are several pieces that stand out as favorites for various reasons. While all of the dance-friendly pieces follow the standard style and patterns set by this band from the beginning, various others that seem to break it up a bit seem to stand out well on this disc. "Niemals mehr" is one that presents a more emotional side to the music and breaks up the pounding beats a bit with a more acoustic intro and other elements that break the mold a bit. "Dark Dance" is definitely a favorite and I refer the reader to my full review of the maxi that was released previous to this album. Occasionally something of a dark ambient piece will pop up on these albums and "Der Erste" is a definite gem along these lines with various samples that sound like they come out of a medieval based movie and the music as a background for whatever action is happening. As the album starts to come to a close with the last couple of pieces, "Malitia Angelica" is another that has really become a favorite, maybe for it's somber introduction, or the inclusion of the medieval pipes and percussion that stand out so well, or just the way it all comes together when the heavy dance-friendly beats and layers of electronics come in, it's really a combination of all of these things as well as the vocals becoming a bit more melodic to wrap it all up in a nice little package that makes it so superb. This leads to the finale of the album "Psalm 115" which is kind of an accapella piece, except it seems the choirs are actually vocoded with synthesizers, a very nice touch and an excellent end to this powerful album.

Rating: 4.5/5

Dark Dance - Review

This excellent maxi single was released in the fall of 2010 as another in a long line of excellent works from this artist. img It comes packed with great material in the form of six excellent tracks, three of them as versions on the title track and the other three as exclusive b-side tracks for the disc.

The title track is now a new favorite from this band for me and many Gothic Paradise listeners. It's the perfect piece to feature the medieval industrial sound from this band with the refrain "dark dance / tanzen en der nacht" echoed throughout. The first remix presented is the "Medievalfloor" mix which features more of the medieval side of the musical style at first and slowly building up to the harder driving industrial side. This reflects more of the "Mainfloor" mix which is much more like the album version. It remains with a solid industrial style throughout and should keep dark dancers moving on the dance floors throughout the world for a long time to come as a new classic club track. The final track "Maschinenfloor" is a bit harsher still with more of a "remix" style in that the track doesn't seem to flow like the main mix, but rather gets caught up in the remix loop a bit, making this my least favorite of the three but still an excellent pounding dancefloor piece.

In addition to the title track, the bonus material on this disc is really excellent and in my opinion makes it really worth picking this maxi up in addition to the album Unwesen. The introductory piece "Taenzer Der Nacht" is just that, an introduction (in german" and builds right up to the "medievalfloor" mix of "dark dance". The nice bonus starts with their powerful cover of "Veni Veni Emmanuel" as only Heimataerde can do. This is a nice addition to a growing collection of goth/industrial Christmas music. Another excellent cover appearing on the disc is "Herr Mannelig" which listeners should be very familiar with by now with our inclusion of the Haggard cover as well. The version on this disc definitely has that medieval industrial feel for a nice electronic edge to it, keeping it upbeat and heavy for another stellar work.

Rating: 4.5/5

Unter Der Linden / Vater - Review

In today's world of instant gratification and selectivity of single mp3 tracks, I always enjoy getting the full-length packaged versions. Short EP's are a group where there's a fine line between the singles and the full thing. img So when something like this double EP comes along, it's a great combination of all of the above. This includes the very popular and out-of-print Unter Der Linden EP along with the newer music from the Vater EP. Included are a few tracks from other previous releases that we've featured here, but both of these singles and their extra tracks are great additions to any fan's collection.

We start off with the popular club version of "Unter Der Linden" which is the epitome of this project's mix of medieval music and modern dance-friendly industrial. This mix is what first caught my attention with this band and continues to hold my interest over the years and is the unique factor that makes them really stand out amongst the rest. We're presented with the more laid back, slightly more traditional sounding "Opus Dei Version" of this piece a bit later that would make a perfect ethereal piece if the heavy percussion were left out, but as is remains a nice heavy hitting piece with that more traditional medieval sound. We quickly pick up with the modern electronic modern pieces wtih "Tempus Es Iocundum" and "Gott Will Es" both of which keep the beats pounding and the bodies moving.

At this point we move into the second phase of the album with the "Vater" EP, kicking it off is the short classical prologue version of "Mutter", which brings us right into the aggressive, emotionally driving industrial piece "Vater (Aura Lusus Mixtura)". Another mix of this track is presented later towards the end of the album with a little heavier, modern progressive trance feel and more aggresive edge to it. The meat in between these pieces continue to amaze with the excellent mix of traditional medieval or classic styles with modern electronics on the beautifully amazing piece "O Grosse Lieb" which starts off with a classic choir that gradually gives way to the modern beats and is even mixed in later for that amazing mix that we've grown to love with this artist. The same happens later with the full version of "Mutter" for a great finale to the album and grand fashion.

Rating: 4.5/5

Leben Geben Leben Nehmen - Review

Ashlar von Megalon is at it again with the excellent new album which in many ways is surprisingly superior to previous works in many ways, yet definitely still remains true to his established medieval industrial style. img As an introduction I would simply refer the reader to the reviews of the previous two albums and say that this disc builds on everything in these two albums and simply makes it better, expanding in various directions and including guest vocals from a couple of different artists.

There are a dozen powerful tracks on this disc all starting with the appropriately named "Introductio" featuring spoken word which I'm unfortunately unable to understand it all in german, but I'm sure is much more meaningful to the german audience. The introductory music is exactly what you would expect from this project, featuring minor key synths, slowly building as a backdrop for the spoken word, slowly building with some electronic loops until we break right into the pounding dance-friendly piece "Heimataerde". This features the typical, heavy and deep, growling vocals over a powerful industrial dance beat. The overall mood of this piece is angst-ridden and melancholy. Taking a slightly different twist and lightening the mood a little is "Brueder (Vocem Meam Version)" which sports some synth loops that are upbeat and provide an overall "fun" mood, though the vocals are still harsh, but even somewhat melodic which is quite a change and adds some nice variety to the album. However, the crowning moment in this latter piece has to be during the chorus when the angelic muse sample kicks in. This is an excellent sample and sounds much like a soprano's voice soaring above the harshness of it all. These types of pieces as described here are what stand out as the backbone for the album and some of the best work for this project. Though not very prominent in these pieces, there are still some medieval and neo-classical influences in the music, especially in other tracks.

As with many works there are the rough edges around the beauty of it all and this album still has a little bit of that with the trance-influenced instrumentals. For the first couple of minutes these pieces are tolerable, but after four minutes or so, it starts to grate on the nerves a bit. Luckily, on this album these are few and far between and the real substance of the album is contained in a number of other pieces. A perfect example of this is in "Vater" which sports all of the powerful styles and moods that this project can pull together. This piece slowly builds up with the sound of blowing wind, spoken word and a synth similar to a bagpipe slowly moving, a sort of lament that slow builds and gives way to the harsh industrial beats and electronic loops along with the pleading, harsh vocals. After this excellent dance piece we're presented with a sort of medieval industrial rendition of "Palestinalied", titled on this disc as "Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland". This is a memorable rendition of this medieval piece that people should really enjoy with the mixture of medeival instruments and a pounding industrial beat.

As we pass the midpoint of the album we're treated with the angst-ridden spoken word piece "Arca Memorial". Out of this piece we're brought to another melodic heavy synthpop piece "Sie Zerrt An Mir" which is a real treat for those after the more upbeat style of electronic music. The vocals come from guest vocalist Dennis Schober of Solitary Experiments. After a couple of very fast-paced, trance-laiden tracks we're finally brought to the finale of the album which is a definite highlight and favorite for me from this disc in the form of "In Alle Ewigkeit" with guest vocals from Henrik Iversen (ex-NamNamBulu). Again we have some melodic vocals over the powerful beats and synths, but the heavenly choir samples is what once again makes this the stellar track that it is. Listeners to the Gothic Paradise club mix will be very familiar with this piece as a favorite for us and our listeners. With this great finale, we wrap up the album and simply leave it with the reader to understand that this is an excellent work, well worth tracking down and picking up as something unique, yet accessible to the industrial, EBM, synthpop and medieval music fans because it's all here in complete splendor.

Rating: 4.5/5

Kadavergehorsam - Review

Continuing on in much the same style and intensity as the previous album, this new work is a great new addition to any collection. img The undead Templar Knight Ashlar continues his quest and trek through this medieval world.  Packed on this disc are fifteen powerful tracks that explore a sort of hybrid of medieval industrial music with harsh, deep vocals, pipes, pounding beats and electronics for a unique experience.

Kicking off the album is a slow and brooding piece "Gedanken", which puts the listener on a distant seashore listening to the sound of seagulls and spoken word over a dark ambient piece.  This builds up to the powerful dance-friendly track "Lebloser Koerper" with harsh and heavy industrial beats and electronics mixed with a bagpipe for a great sound.  "Eins Sein" moves into the modern realm of music with solid synths and a pounding beat with vocals that are harsh and sober, brooding and desparate.  We move quickly back into the medieval world with "Jerusalem" and that distinct mix of instruments and samples for a modern industrial soundtrack to a medieval battle. "Gott Will Es (pax vobiscum version)" follows close behind in much the same way, slowly building, using some synthesized strings for a moody introduction over samples of a shouting group of soldiers on the morning of battle.

At this point the music really switches into high gear with a fast-paced, extremely aggravated industrial onslaught with "Morituri Salutant" featuring the guest artist X-Fusion probably providing the overall backbone of this track.  Luckily this seems to be the exception on the album, but likely a favorite to hard-edged extreme industrial fans.  Toning it back a bit is "Koenig von Thule", with a catchy rhythm composed of pulsating bass and a swing beat.  The story and beat moves on through "Dona Nobis Pacem" with a mix of various interesting samples of old songs and shouting mixed with the modern electronics.  Really taking it down a notch is the interlude piece "Brueder" containing a speach backed by a rousing composition that stirs the soul and captures the heart.

This brings us back full circle to the powerful electronics of "Die Schlacht" which really brings out the guest musician's hand XOTOX on this piece.  "Morte" continues on with heavy electronics while moving on to "Verflucht" and "Warum das Leiden lohnt" bring us back to that style that we've grown to love and recognize as Heimataerde.  Some sweet heavenly ambience starts off "Im Sande des Wahns" though it builds up to a more driving industrial piece.  This mix comes off surprisingly well on this piece and has quickly become a favorite with the siren vocals backing the harsh electronics.  This brings us to the final piece of the album "Leben" which seems like it would be a brooding ambient piece, but it slowly builds up with the throbbing synths and beats and drives on throughout the remainder of the song that way wrapping up the album in solid power and style.

Rating: 4/5

Gotteskrieger - Review

As the title and band name suggests, this is a powerful and epic album containing fourteen solid tracks. img The album contains an entire story of the artist in a medieval world struggling between good and evil and trying to question and understand the various mysteries of this fantasy world.

The album starts off with a dark and brooding mostly instrumental piece "Non Nobis" with a bit of spoken word.  All of the vocals are in german as well as most of the spoken samples which give the album a rough and full edge to the music.  After the incredible dark ambient style introductory track the ambience and overall brooding nature of the music remains but the intensity, driving beats and industrial music all kick in for a powerful highlight in the form of "Die Offenbarung".  This incredibly commanding track combines these popular industrial rhythms and elements with the medieval samples and bagpipes for a full and dynamic sound.

These two tracks provide an excellent example of the two extreme styles this project covers.  "Endlos" continues the album in much the same style and powerful beats as the previous track.  And so the album continues with slight variation from track to track until we get to other slower downtempo tracks like "Die Lauterung".  But there is still plenty of dance-fiendly material on the album.  Other highlights include "Moerder" with various samples layered throughout with harsh, fast beats.  "Gib Mir" is driving and edgy in much the same way, a treat for many EBM/Industrial fans.

Overall this album has been a nice surprise and has grown on me the more I listen to it.  With such a great variety of styles on the album, it's truly a treat that should prove to be a nice surprise for fans.

Rating: 4/5

Website: www.heimataerde.de
Label: COP International
Label: Metropolis Records

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