Friday, 3 July 2009

A NIGHT IN THE FOREST




Band: URUK HAI
Title: A Night In The Forest
Format: CD released in 2004 by the Drama Company (Spain) from re-mastered recordings originating in 2003, catalogue reference DAS017. A cassette version was released a year later in 2005 via A.M.F. Productions (Bulgaria), cat ref AMF020, featuring a bonus track recorded in that year.
Edition: CD version believed to be limited to 300 unnumbered copies, tape version unknown

Track Listing:

1. Chapter I: Enter Fangorn 17:27
2. Chapter II: The Spirit Of The Wind 15:00
3. Chapter III: Elevenpath 23:57
4. Chapter IV: A Light Into The Darkness 15:32
Tape-only bonus track
5. Chapter V: Fire

If ever you are troubled, need some time to relax and mull over the complications of life, or just appreciate some quality quiet time in the midst of a hectic day, then Dr Nazgul unhesitatingly prescribes a course of "A Night In The Forest" to you, gentle reader, as a sure-fire cure!

A most excellent and soothing ambient album, taking us - amazingly enough - through a forest-based soundscape enhanced with minimalist passages and rain/wind samples, all interwoven with the most delicate and ethereal keyboard play. You can almost smell the lush greenery of the vegetation underfoot or the bark of enormous trees stretching toward the heavens, and all is tranquil and still.

Such ambiance polarises opinion, of course, and there will be some more attuned to Uruk Hai's heavier output who will find this mellow to the point of torpor. But if that's the case, there's plenty of more raucous music to put on instead, for this album is not for that sort of a mood.

The middle photo above shows a promotional flyer released for this album, on the rear of which is a very cogent piece of prose that Nazgul shall repeat here for your appreciation as (for once) the record company has done justice to the mood:

"Mystic choirs invite the listener on a journey through long forgotten times full of myths and legends.

A concept which allows [you] to flee from the grey everyday life to a better, glorious world full of magic and wonders. Classical melodies combined with the iron rough edges of a stormy night marched on a crusade through the forest of Fangorn. Hugin (Hrossharsgrani / Elisabetha) was there to tell of mystical enchanted forests, of glorious elves whose shades conquer the woods, of gleaming swords in the kingdoms of the north and of the power that finds its true strength within dark battles.

Flowing by the streams of the last two Burzum albums, or Elend, Vinterriket, Dark Sanctuary and Raison D'Etre, Uruk Hai rise up high in the sky and chase the dark creatures through enchanted woods. Mighty soundscapes of harps, cymbals, and fanfares build a symphony like your darkest journey.

'A Night In The Forest' was created to honour the ancient gods, the four winds and the mighty spirit of wood!"

Gosh - Nazgul wishes he'd written that. Well, he just did, but you see what I mean.....

An album that has split opinion dramatically on some websites (one buffoon who shall remain nameless even contrived to give it a 0% score on Metal Archives, which is perhaps the most ridiculous critique ever received for this album), but generally is recognised as a triumph of dark beauty.

Here are some snippets of others opinions on the piece:


"Long, open streams of chords and widely expanded notes upon a carpet of special effects similar to little bells ringing; here’s all you can expect from this work from a ‘technical’ point of view. Although, the atmosphere is really convincing and captivating; you’ll find yourself in the middle of a misty, spiritual forest with the rays of the Sun that penetrate slowly between the deepwood and the tall, secular trees, infinity and loneliness. Very enjoyable, but only for ambient music long-experienced listeners"
_ImNachtUndNebel_

and


"Enter Fangorn in particular is an absolute triumph, and one of the most mystically haunting dark ambient songs I've ever heard. Dark is probably a misnomer in this case, as it sounds wordlessly tragic and serene rather than a frightening night. More like a twilight. Elvenpath is pretty much the same, less tranquil, but more shimmering and mysterious, while The Sprit Of The Wind is even more minimalistic, exchanging rain for wind samples, howling indefinitely while a single note desperately tries to keep its voice from being swallowed by the gale. Some Tibetan sounding bells work their way in, but the wind just keeps coming, which can get tedious at over 23 minutes, yet at the same time can be transcendent beyond words, especially as it segues into A Light Into The Darkness, which returns to the emotionally charged ambiance of the beginning, as a triumph after long desperation and darkness - like Fangorn's victory over Isengard"
Durandal1717

The bonus song on the tape is quite reverb heavy compared to the rest of the music and 'feels' as if it were recorded at a different stage to the rest of the album, but hey - it's a bonus track and again keeps the old school tape scene alive, so who am I to find fault.

I think it's still possible to pick up the CD version of this album with a bit of diligent research online, and should you need a quality auditory experience of this nature then frankly you're wasting your time finishing reading here....go forth and purchase!

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