Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

HERR - Vondel's Lucifer

For their second album the Anglo Dutch formation, HERR, have embarked upon an ambitious project in producing a musical setting of Vondel's 17th Century play concerning "concerning the fall of angels from heaven and mans from the garden of eden". Based upon a 19th Century translation by Leonard C. van Noppen it is nothing short of epic. The orchestration has largely been composed by Michiel Spapé, with the key roles undertaken by members of HERR along with Holger F. of the now defunct Belborn. They are aided by an impressive supporting cast including Richad Leviathan of Ostara and Dev of While Angels Watch, and Maria Southgate, the young daughter of the HERR vocalist.

Undoubtedly Vondel's Lucifer will be lumbered under the neo-classical banner but what HERR have produced is more akin to an opera. The music is split into three movements, with a prologue composed by HERR that shares an atmosphere with Current 93's Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre with its baroque acoustic guitarwork, and Southgate's diction. The baroqueness carries into each of the movements where the music beautifully supports and embellishes the dramatic spoken word, each strand held together by music that is passionate and stirring, gentle and reflective. Spapé has excelled himself here with this composition using passages and interludes of guitars, flute, cello, trumpets, piano, martial music whilst incorporating a nice folky feel. It's perhaps churlish to single out tracks but to provide a taster of the variety of this epic composition 'First Prince in Some Lower Court' is particularly bombastic and stirring with keen use of snare drumming. There's the windswept atmosphere of 'Lucifer's Dream', with its billowing church organ, the mediaeval folk of 'The Path of Obedience' to the gentle piano setting of 'To Calm This Restless Discontent' with the eloquent childlike voice of the young Maria Southgate. The Choir of Angels, a conglomeration of voices involving Dev and Richard Leviathan, slips into folk territory, and is somewhat reminiscent of Fire + Ice but Vondel's Lucifer is largely a classical piece and one that competes favourably with Current 93's Black Ships Eat The Sky in the post-industrial concept album stakes.

With a running time of 70+ minutes it demands to be heard in its entirety for it to do justice to the effort expended on it by HERR. It's unarguably an ambitious project for a second album, and this is only the first movement. For more information go to