Saturday, 9 May 2009

MELANCHOLIE EINES HERBSTES IN DREI AKTEN

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Melancholie eines Herbstes in drei Akten ('Melancholy of Autumn in three acts')
Format: CDr release (label unspecified, no catalogue reference) and a split album between Svarrogh, Rubixx Project and Uruk Hai. Released in 2004.
Edition: unknown

Track Listing:
Svarrogh:
1. Samota
2. Slunce Moe, Kum Tebe E Moyata Molitva
Uruk Hai
3. Nebelland 3.33
4. Barbarians 4.15
5. Hügel der Tränen 3.16
6. Mit dem Schwerte 4.01
7. Sagenreich 3.00
8. Tyrannentod 10.34
Rubixx Project:
9. So Many Tears (instrumental)
10. Angel & Demons
11. Archetypal (instrumental)
12. Perceiving Subject
13. D.I.V. (dem Irdischen Verfallen)
14. Flowing Tears (instrumental Outro)
Uruk Hai / Arkillery:
15. Minas Morgul (bonus track) 4.50

Something of an anonymous CDr release this one - very little to be found out about it via the Internet (and just who are/were the Rubixx Project anyway??), but from the style of inlay presentation and the addition of the bonus track from the Uruk Hai/Arkillery split release I have more than a suspicion that this might be an uncredited W.A.R. Studios release from the hand of AW himself.....doubtless all will become clear in the fullness of time!

And once again it's one of those releases that proves virtually impossible to find anywhere. I have a vague recollection of finding this online some years ago, and like many such releases in Hugin's vast canon of work I've never seen one for sale anywhere since. Which indeed is a shame for those of you who have not heard the 6 unique Uruk Hai tracks contained within, as there are some really good pieces of music on offer here. One day, when Nazgul compiles the official 'best-of' Uruk Hai 2-disc compilation, there may well be the odd offering from this highly unknown release put forward for consideration!

Opening Uruk Hai track 'Nebelland' (The Land of Mist) is an interesting start - a gust of wind is followed by an industrial rhythm that smacks strongly of a B-Machina introduction. Just when you're reaching for the inlay to make sure you've got the right song playing a trademark synthesizer moment kicks in and by two minutes in you're back in the clutches of some classic haunting melodies, very reminiscent of being alone in a wild and barren place with background wind and ambient chords echoing peacefully in your ears.

'Barbarians' is wholly keyboard driven, but to me comes across as not so much a musical piece but the eerie sound of a lost soul lamenting in the moonlight, a zephyr of air that sounds as much like a spirit as a force of nature. If you've ever been around a burial mound at night, and interpreted the sounds of nature as the souls of the dead trying to communicate with you then you'll know what I mean....

With a gossamer-thin curtain of strumming and the trill of birdsong, we're into the third Uruk Hai track (song 5 on the disc), being 'Hugel der Tranen.' It's a trip into the deep woods on a bright summers day, but the encroaching sound of marching warriors (or, more possibly, running Uruk Hai) seems to dominate the mid-section of the piece, literally breaking the tranquility with militaristic war-drums and 'big' dramatic keyboard flourishes. The track ends with a reversion to the peaceful silence of the trees: the uninvited visitors are gone ... for now....

We are then 'Mit Dem Schwerte' (literally 'With The Sword') which has all the ingredients - steady drum beats, snarled vocals and unobtrusive background keyboards - to suggest the incantation of some (un)holy ritual within a cave or enclosed space: perhaps some powerful spell is being cast to further enhance the weapon of a fearsome creature of war...? Or perhaps Nazgul has been on the strong cheese again - it's a close call....

Two tracks to finish off the Uruk Hai offerings - firstly the short and splendidly ephemeral 'Saganreich' which, with its majestic and positively regal piano and keyboard melodies invokes a romantic lament for a fallen lover or friend. A really beautiful short piece of music, very reminiscent of an Enya song (and I mean that in a good way, folks!) We finish with 'Tyrannentod' - a burst of hand-to-hand combat gets this one going (and we're in there to the death, with all the muffled thumps of weaponry on leather shields and grunts and cries of battling warriors) and before you can cry "Hrossharsgrani sampled battles rule" sombre and melancholic keyboards and slow, measured drumbeats take over, and lead you slowly throughout the rest of the song, punctuated at 8 minutes by a heavy downpour and later an ominous rumble of thunder.

Really, really good stuff this - and such a shame it's tucked away on a pretty obscure compilation. Final track 'Minas Morgul' will be familiar to you if you've read my previous review of the split demo with Arkillery, although the ending to this song (with spoken English narrative) is a new addition I believe.

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