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Haggard - Tales Of Ithiria
I’ve been aware of Haggard for quite some time and I always considered them to be a bit odd. Virtually a travelling orchestra and an ever changing line-up, their maximum membership at one point were 21 members. Making a mixture of classical music and metal you wonder how so many people could agree about their musical direction. Well, basically because all of their songs are mainly written by vocalist and guitarist Asis Nasseri.
 
Being around since 1991, they released yet again another concept album. Previously known under its work title A Dark Winter's Tale it tells a medieval-themed story about a fictional land called Ithiria. The rather complex lyrics leave me puzzled what the exact narrative is about. Having listened to it a number of times I’m not really sure what it is about. As there was no accompanying bio, my guess is as good as anybody’s. But it is about music right? I’ve been trying to find out for years what Genesis is telling with their The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album. So who cares about what they sing?
 
Needles to say, the music of this new disc is just simply good. How good? After the spoken intro ‘The Origin’ it starts off with title track ‘Tales of Ithiria’ and you immediately feel you have just entered a medieval church mass. With the operatic vocals sung in Latin you can almost smell the incense. Halfway through the song we are reminded that Haggard used to be a death metal band, when Asis Nasseri growls during a couple of verses.

Not only partly sung in Latin, German and English, it shows off a variety of singing styles throughout the album. I am positively surprised about the Mecano cover ‘Hijo de Luna’ , which is perfectly sung in the original Spanish language. Aside with some heavy guitars it is quite close to the original. ‘La Terra Santa’ really sounds medieval, and knows some superb piano work. For those who just are horrified by the word piano alone, I strongly recommend skipping this song. Also if you are repulsed by classical music in general you will find very little of your liking on this record. Anybody else…recommended listening.
Haggard - Tales Of Ithiria
90/1001Details Drakkar Records
Released on Friday Aug 29th, 2008
Classical/Orchestral/Symphonic

Writer @Angel on Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2008

Tags: #Haggard
Tracklisting 01. The Origin
02. Chapter I - Tales Of Ithiria
03. From Deep Within
04. Chapter II - Upon Fallen Autumn Leaves
05. In Des Königs Hallen (Allegretto Siciliano)
06. Chapter III - La Terra Santa
07. Vor Dem Sturme
08. Chapter IV - The Sleeping Child
09. Hijo De La Luna
10. On These Endless Fields
11. Chapter V - The Hidden Sign
Line up Asis Nasseri - Vocals, Growls, Guitar
Florian Schnellinger - Bass, Vocals
Hans Wolf - Piano, Cembalo, Keyboards
Bartl - Oboe
Fiffi Fuhrmann - Crumhorn
Kathrin Hertz - Cello
Steffi Hertz - Viola
Danny Klupp - Acoustic Guitar
Kerstin Krainer - Violin
Luz Marsen - Drums, Kettledrums
Robert Müller - Clarinet
Andi Nad - Bass
Kathrin Pechlof - Harp
Susanne - Soprano
Christoph v. Zastrow – Flute