Label : Artoffact Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Germany’s Haggard are not so much a band as they are an orchestra. They utilize an endless array of musicians to create, beautiful and complex songs that definitely has the feel of a big orchestra sound – combined with all of the great elements of symphonic metal, of course. They quite simply are like no other metal band out there, the only band that I can really think of in a similar vein is Sweden’s Therion. Haggard are led by Asis Nasseri and have been in existence since 1991 and even though they have been around for a long period of time, the band has only issued four full-length albums, so far. Fortunately, for us, Artoffact Records has decided to re-issue two of Haggard releases, for those of us who have missed them the first time around. We’ll start with “Awaking the Centuries” which was originally released way back in the year 2000. The first thing that struck me on “Awaking the Centuries”, is the complexity of the songs and broad range of styles that the band delve into. It really makes for some fascinating listening as the band take us through a sort of musical journey. The CD is divided up into an “Intro” which encompasses the first two tracks and then five chapters. The whole thing lasts for 12-songs about 37-minutes worth of playing time. “Awaking the Centuries” features a number of Intros and shorter tracks, that set up for what is to follow, but the band are at their best when the songs are longer and more developed. The 9 and-a-half minute title song is a good example of this and was a huge highlight for me. Haggard also enlisted the New Moscow Radio Choir and they can be heard through the CD. Asis Nasseri does a great job in keeping this all together, as well as providing Grunt Vocals and Guitars with Karin Bodenmüller joining in on Soprano vocals. Probably my favorite track is “In a Full Moon Procession” which goes from piano to acoustic to heavy and some great vocal chemistry between Asis and the female vocalist really make this a great song. Even with a relatively short playing time “Awaking the Centuries” has the feel a full-blown big production. Everything mixes together nicely and has the feeling of a night out at the symphony. After listening to “Awaking the Centuries” it is easy to see why Haggard have become so influential and developed quite a cult following. The band is really interesting to listen to and for me, one of the great things about listening to this CD was waiting to see what would come next.

Rating – 88/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Rachmaninov: Choir
  2. Pestilencia
  3. Heavenly Damnation
  4. The Final Victory
  5. Saltorella La Manuelina
  6. Awaking the Centuries
  7. Statement Zur Lage der Musica
  8. In a Fullmoon Procession
  9. Menuett
  10. (Part I) Prophecy Fullfilled / (Part II) And the Dark Night Enterered
  11. Courante
  12. Rachmaninov: Choir

 

Line Up

  • Asis Nasseri – Grunt Vocals, Guitars, Kettle-Drums
  • Luz Marsen – Drums & Percussion
  • Andi Nad – Bass
  • Danny Klupp – Guitars
  • Karin Bodenmüller – Soprano
  • Hans Wolf – Grand Piano, Piano, Church-Organ, Keyboards
  • Kathrin Pechlof – Concert Harp
  • Fiffi Fuhrmann – Tenore, Scholar
  • Christian – Tenore
  • Thomas Rosato – Bass
  • Christoph v. Zastrow – Flute
  • Florian Bartl – Oboe
  • Robert Müller – Clarinet
  • Andrea Sterr – Violin
  • Michael Stapf – Violin
  • Steffi Hertz – Viola
  • Kathrin Hertz – Violoncello
  • Georg Uttenthaler – Doublebass
  • Florian Schnellinger – Percussion
  • Peter Prysch – French Horn

 

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