Thursday, 5 March 2009


Title: Untitled split CDr between Uruk Hai and Arkillery (US).
Format: Self-produced CDr in plastic sleeve, with single-sided colour inlay. Released 2004
Edition: Limited to only 50 hand-numbered pieces

Track Listing:

01. Marching to Winter Battle 3.28
02. And Ravens Were The Sign 4.26
03. The Shield Halls 2.09
Arkillery / Uruk Hai
04. Minas Morgul 4.52
Uruk Hai
05. Midgard Warriors (Chapter II) 20.29
Uruk Hai / Arkillery
06. Isengard 9.22

Back in 2004 two self-produced releases were put together by Uruk Hai and American band Arkillery (featuring Krom). This one was the first, and was untitled. Only 50 were produced (of which this is #30) The second, which will be the subject of a future blog, came in both tape and CDr format and is much easier to find as a result.

Somewhat different from other Uruk Hai releases, in that 2 of the 3 tracks here were co-written by Krom and he brought his more guitar-focused writing style to bear on the music. The three tracks bearing the Uruk Hai name may well look familiar, as they reappear in 2005 on two subsequent releases: on 'Dragons of War' (for "Minas Morgul" and "Isengard"), and on 'War Poems' (for a retitled "Black Mountain River (Midgard Warriors Part II")

And all good stuff it is too - Tolkien influences very much laid bare again, and some excellent music to accompany the titles.

I obtained this CDr directly from Alex, which is about the only place I was ever going to find it, and he was kind enough to make a dedication on the front of the sleeve: "Hail To My Blood Brother, David. Hugin"

Of course, a must-have item for collectors as it's another rare demo from this wonderful band. Luckily though, the Dragon's Breath CD pressings of the two 2005 albums (readers of earlier blogs will recall this was Padre Adamo's label) still surface online despite being in a limited edition of 1000 each, so you've every chance of hearing these tracks.

"Minas Morgul" (literally, the Tower of Black Sorcery in Tolkien's works) is a very Summoning-esque track (it comes as no surprise perhaps to learn that this was also the title of Summoning's second album) - great keyboard melodies, blackened screams for vocals and a general atmosphere of valleys, mountains and mysticism.

"Midgard Warriors" (Midgard being a realm in Norse mythology placed somewhere in the middle of Yggdrasil and is surrounded by an ocean that is impassable. The ocean is inhabited by the great sea serpent Miðgarðsormr, who is so huge that he encircles the world entirely, grasping his own tail) is a brooding, ambient piece with great length and depth to the music. A good one for the headphones on a stormy night!

Final co-written track "Isengard" (in Tolkien's world meaning 'iron fortress', built in the Second Age around the tower of Orthanc. Its location was at the north-western corner of Rohan, guarding the Fords of Isen from enemy incursions) is more in your face, with menacing snarls, brooding electronics and synth background washes, and dischordant percussion.

Likelihood is that you might never find this particular split release for sale unless you're very lucky. However, don't fret - grab yourself some Dragon's Breath released albums and enjoy three very good additions to the Uruk Hai discography.

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