Saturday, November 20, 2010

Forgotten Blood

Forgotten Blood was a Portuguese label (based in Penafiel) created during the auspices of 1993’s Samhein. Like the evocative ceremony in which the rituals of it's foundation were held, the evocation of such a sacred day intended to mean that a new epoch, the arduous walk through the darkness, would lead to the fruition of a new cycle of life and creativity while opening doors to other possibilities and perceptions of long forgotten realities.

Founded by Bruno Sousa (B. Ardo - ex-Fé de Sábio), Corinna Ardo (Ku Ku) and Rui Coutinho, it became the mainstay for the recovering of the traditions of Callaecia (North Portugal and present day Galicia), the resurrection of the cults and gods of yore and the promotion of the Catros Civilization and Indo-European identity. This was an idea that had been maturing since 1988, following the path of a radio show dedicated to the kind of music that they would release.

Consequently, the themes, symbols, languages and ambiences of its editions will reflect all this, syncretizing traditional music with industrial experiences and ritualistic ambiances, together with a dialectical dark folk approach, using, whenever possible, traditional instruments.

In order that all this could be possible, a strong friendship and cooperation between all the people involved was common ground, creating a coherent and united collective. This uniqueness was reflected also in their releases, always in limited editions and with handmade artwork and packaging.

Existing until 1998, the label would release only a restricted number of editions and a limited set of projects, not all strictly musical.

The first sacrifice would come out during 1994, in the shape of Zwickau’s cassette "Vincit Omni Veritas", a solo project of B. Ardo (with the help of Ku Ku). This release would be followed by "The Serpent's Law", in 1995 (through the Italian label Psychotic Release), revealing an evolution towards a more organic and natural sound. Afterwards, contacts were made regarding a vinyl edition but, unfortunately, they came to nothing... During 1998, a track by Zwickau was included in the compilation "Lunar Blood Rituals".

Forgotten Blood’s second release, "The Death of the Horseman," would see the light of day during 1995, being the first work by In Articulo Mortis, an alter ego of Lino Villapouca (ex-Fé de Sábio). 1998 found this project’s mentor recording a second effort, entitled "Fire and Ashes", which, however, was never to be released, as the label came to an end during that year.

The third release would be by Wolfskin, Johan Madju/Aernus’ brainchild which, later on, will be connected with the Reaping Host/Reaping Horde label. Having the collaboration of B. Ardo, "The Hidden Fortress" is also released 1995.

1996 saw the release of two more tapes. The first, a compilation that includes several groups related with the label, "Solis Rota", where new compositions by Zwickau, Wolfskin, In Articulo Mortis and Warriors of Nature were to be found, as well as tracks by Listen To Reapers and Forgers, Soluctu Mors, Draukrubna and Silence. The second, a recording by Warriors of Nature (a collective comprising B. Ardo and Johan Madju), entitled "The Roots of Blood", which came out through Forgotten Lair (an offshoot dedicated to more combative and warrior like music). This subsidiary will also release yet another Warriors of Nature’s work, "Serpent Wars of Callaecia", and Zwickau’s "Death's Triumphant Dignity", during 1998.

The label’s last spark of life came out in the form of the cassette "Alborada do Douro – Cantares da Terra Castreja", by Sangre Cavallum, a collective born out of Warriors of Nature’s ashes. This recording saw B. Ardo, Ku Ku, Coutinho and Paul Martins working together. Launched in 1998, it coincided with Blood Axis’ first performances in Portugal (in Sintra and Guimarães). However, and previous to Martins’ collaboration, the band released the semi-official tape “Nação Castrexa".

As for other releases parallel to the label’s input, and not yet mentioned above, Silence (B. Ardo and Ku Ku) contributed to the compilation "Cogito Mori" (by the Portuguese label Putrefactio) and were to contribute to a compilation by Ultra! They also recorded a cassette that, unfortunately, never had an official edition.

Another project involved in Putrefactio’s collection was Solucto Mors (Rui Coutinho’s solo outfit) who also had a release just about to come out but it never did, the same happening with Draukrubna (Ku Ku’s own project).

Another group linked with this label, Kar, which emerged as a parallel project to Warriors of Nature, released a one-off tape, "Words From Slashed Throats".

As mentioned earlier, Forgotten Blood published other stuff, besides musical releases, including the ethnographic newsletter Callaecia, which ended up being a solo issue, and the book by Paulo Vilela “Acto Quebrado", through the Ad Abcessus Temporis branch of the label.

Also, it should be mentioned the participation B. Ardo’s new outfit, Bigorna, in the 2004’s issue compilation of “Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition”, and the creation of a new label, Folcastro, which released, in 2007, Sangre Cavallum’s compilation "Troadouro: Retrospectiva 1997-2007".

Forgotten Blood’s output is very much sought after, but re-releases of its work are not foreseen, at least in a near future.

(Paulo Martins)

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