Saturday, 25 April 2009

ELBENMACHT

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Elbenmacht
Format: Demo CDr, never officially released by Hugin
Edition: Unreleased - this is the only copy in existence!

Track Listing:
01. Intro 0.42
02. Lebenin 9.26
03. Elbenmacht 0.45
04. The Plague 7.11
05. Uruk Hai (part III) 0.34
06. Long Before I Die 3.35
07. Growth Of A Black Flower 2.49
08. Pagan Spirit 1.37
09. Dragonfire (demo version) 10.06

Something of a fan's dream this one - an Uruk Hai demo CDr that as far as I'm aware was never officially released by Hugin. As such this could be a unique version, or certainly one of a very few pieces actually committed to CD.

As intrepid readers of this Blog you're entitled to an explanation of this momentous event: after all, to those that care it's the equivalent in many ways to suddenly finding yourself in possession of an entirely unknown classic-era Venom album, or - for those of us raised in the era of 8-bit computer games for the ZX Spectrum - discovering the Holy Grail of Ultimate Play The Game releases 'Mire Mare'. Aah yes, the early 1980's ....

Anyway, Nazgul digresses. In conversation with Alex one evening I was pursuing one or two items from the Uruk Hai discography that I had yet to claim as my own. In passing, Alex happened to mention this particular demo, never released, that contained recordings in the period 2002 to 2004. He also casually mentioned that he'd be happy to stick them on a CDr and send them over to me, which he duly did. Now consider: draw a parallel to any other musician that you hold in high esteem suddenly revealing that he has a demo that hasn't seen the light of day before that he's happy to send over to you - Mr Average - just because you're interested in his music. It doesn't really happen often in the real world, I'd venture - do you suppose Lemmy has a few songs as yet unheard to the world that he'd bung on a CDr for even the most fervent fan? I guess it might happen, but I wouldn't bet the house on it. To me, this is yet another example of how Alex treats his supporters and fans - you really couldn't ask for a more supportive guy, or a more pleasant person to know. This embodies the true spirit of music to me, and I feel very privileged to know him and to be writing this Blog today.

Now, some of these tracks may be familiar to you - for example, track 4 'The Plague' appeared in 2006 as a bonus track to the tape version of "A Vikings Tale" whilst 'Dragonfire' subsequently surfaced on on the 2005 "Dragons Of War" release on Padre Adamo's Dragon's Breath label. Equally, 'Growth Of A Black Flower' has appeared as a bonus track on an Uruk Hai release too....although Nazgul can't quite put his finger on the release in question. No excuses, it's a Saturday and Nazgl has found a small supply of Jack Daniels and Coke to work through....

As to the rest, well there are some short works-in-progress on this demo, including 'Uruk Hai (part III)' and the title track 'Elbenmacht' itself. There is naturally a limit to what can be achieved in under a minute of playing time, yet even in such short pieces there is a clear Middle-Earth atmosphere being developed. More concrete is the second track "Lebenin", which is frankly excellent - brilliantly evocative synths creating an ambient soundscape of pure Tolkien-esque majesty.

Cruel as it may be, I'm going to eulogise in silence for the remainder of this CDr....I'm sure in time the demo will find a formal release, and become a part of the official canon of Uruk Hai releases out there. Until such time, Nazgul will listen and reflect on the music within as a tribute to the honour and friendship of a certain Mr Wieser of Linz, Austria...and long may that flourish.

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