Saturday, 6 June 2009

SONGS FROM THE WOODS

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Songs From The Woods
Format: 1 track demo cassette tape, released in 2005 through Eclipse Of Live Promulgation (Germany) with no catalogue reference. Colour single-sided inlay, with hand-numbered edition printed on the reverse plain side.
Edition: Limited to only 88 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Songs From The Woods 24.20

Nazgul has recently been in contact with a long-standing member of the Metal Archives web-site - hails to Uglur - who has helpfully been updating said web pages for release details in this humble Blog. In conversation he noted that there had been some resistance in recent times to continue to list some of Hugin's bands in the Archive, on the basis that they were insufficiently 'metal' to either warrant introduction (B-Machina, WACH) or to be maintained (Uruk Hai, Elisabetha). Clearly such a nonsense should be resisted at all costs, and my thanks go out to those who resist such draconian thinking.

Of course, matters do become more blurred when releases of this nature are brought to bear on the argument. There is no way that any right-minded person could consider "Songs From The Woods" to be 'metal' by any accepted definition: it's an ambient keyboard-driven experience underpinned by the sounds of nature (hark: are they Lovecraftian whippoorwills I hear in the background...?) and lush melodies that bring to mind swaying grassy meadows on sunny afternoons, the shady closed-in paths weaving through damp and mysterious forests, or the deep sapphire blue waters of a lake lapping against the shore. The cover illustration for this tape - a classically inspired visage of a young maiden sitting next to a waterfall being serenaded by a young man with a lute - could hardly be less metal if it tried.

But then - many of the keyboard-driven noodling of a certain Count Grishnackh are hardly more metal sounding than this, yet no one seems to query his place in the metal firmament.

Whatever you may wish to call it - and wouldn't the world be a better place without such pigeon-holing and need for precise definitions? Answers on a postcard please... - this is a most relaxing and enjoyable release from Uruk Hai, and one that is ideal for lazy days spent listening to music for the sheer pleasure of it. A handy 24-odd minutes in length means it's long enough to have some substance and depth but not so long that it outstays its welcome at the party.

It also demonstrates the sensible approach that Alex has taken in having a variety of projects to record under depending how the muse has grabbed him. All too many bands try to cram variety into their work under the one umbrella name, and confuse successive legions of fans by changing their musical style on each release. Here, Uruk Hai proudly stand for Middle-Earth ambiance, and long may that continue.

The EoLP tape release I think has now sold-out (of the 88 copies, mine is #28) but the odd one surfaces once in a while on Discogs or eBay, so all is not lost if you've not yet found a copy. As far as I know this is the only release to feature this lengthy track, so it's well worth hunting down for fans of the genre or the band.

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