Thursday, 27 August 2009

UPON THE ELYSIAN FIELDS





Band: URUK HAI
Title: Upon The Elysian Fields
Format: 3 versions currently exist of this release, all on CD format. The original 2004 promotional-only demo CDr release was issued by W.A.R. Productions (Austria) in paper sleeve with double CDr set. In 2008 the first reissue came in a box-set from T'an! Kaven!! Ash!!! (Israel), with a revised running order and each track coming on its own 3" CD. In 2009 another reissue was pressed through Valgriind (Russia), cat ref VG020, in slimline DVD case with bonus video track.
Edition: Original demo hand-numbered to only 20 copies. First reissue in hand-numbered edition of 66 copies. Second reissue in unnumbered edition of 50 copies.

Track Listing:

Original promotional-only demo release:
CDr1
01. Return To The Sea Of Flames 23.26
02. God Tears (Oh Rain, Rain, Rain) 25.09
CDr2
03. On An Evening In Autumn 20.04
04. Under The Cold Stars Before The Rising Of The Moon 24.03

First re-issue revised running order to:

3" CD 1: Under The Cold Stars Before The Rising Of The Moon
3" CD 2: God Tears (Oh Rain, Rain, Rain)
3" CD 3: On An Evening In Autumn
3" CD 4: Return To The Sea Of Flames

Second Reissue on Valgriind:

Disc 1
01. Under The Cold Stars Before The Rising Of The Moon
02. On An Evening In Autumn
03. Return To The Sea Of Flames
Disc 2
04. God Tears (Oh Rain, Rain, Rain)
05. Raven's Empire [video clip]

"Give the people what they want..."

Wise words, and far be it from Nazgul to stand in the way of the current poll results! You tell me that you're most interested in Uruk Hai releases, so here are three all in one go (albeit the same release!) for your delight and information.

Quite the epic release, this one. The original demo is now long gone, so my thanks to Alex for turning this one (#10 of the 20) out of the vaults of W.A.R. Productions a few years ago. It has a certain charm in paper sleeve format, and the insert in blue reads "I am searching for an honest label to release the new Uruk-Hai album 'Upon The Elysian Fields' as a limited DoLP with coloured vinyl (blue and white)". Clearly no honest labels received this, as said DoLP is yet to emerge...

The second reissue from The Eastern Front sub-division TKA is in 'fatbox' format with 4 x 3"CD and runic inscription on the inlays. Whilst the format was a bit flimsy compared to some of the other TKA releases (notably the Bonemachine wooden box sets) Nazgul was pleased to see this album receiving another airing, admittedly in a small pressing once again (my copy is #22 of the 66). You might imagine my surprise when not quite one year later another version was released - with the added bonus of the 'Raven's Empire' video, which you can find easily with a Google search if you want a quick peek now - on Valgriind (a division of the Lost Reich Rex label, created for issuing 'experimental music').

Now, you might imagine that Nazgul is going to expound in a lengthy manner on the 4 tracks contained, in varying order and in slightly different lengths and re-mastered versions, on these three releases. Well, you would be wrong. And let Nazgul tell you why - it's almost impossible to put into words the nature of these 4 tracks (which is probably why there is Sweet FA written about the release anywhere online) as the music simply doesn't lend itself to narrative description.

I could tell you that it is ambient in nature, with plenty of wind, wave and shimmering keyboard effects - but you'd probably guessed as much already. I could tell you that each track is over 20 minutes in length, and is akin to a transcendental journey across your own imagination - but you'd probably think old Nazgul had lost the plot and should be pensioned off. I could tell you that the music is hugely uplifting and relaxing, and perfect for chilling out at the end of a long day - but then the sceptics would seize upon this as an excuse to try and turf Uruk Hai out of the Metal Archives (again). Oh dear.

Even the labels themselves struggled a little with it: Valgriind said:

"Travel to the beginning of early European culture through waves of deep sound canvass"
whilst TKA were content to repeat Hugin's own original inlay narrative:
"...Upon The Elysian Fields is an account of the elder days or the First Age of our Pagan past"

Let's just leave it like this - now, push your chair closer so that old uncle Nazgul can whisper this in your ear, quietly like. "This may just be the best non-metal, fantasy ambient album made by Uruk Hai, period". Right, now remember that I said nothing....

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