Thursday, 22 October 2009

LONG FORGOTTEN TALES


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Long Forgotten Tales
Format: Cassette-tape only release on Werwolf Production (Italy) in 2004, catalogue reference WP016. Black and white xeroxed inlay, with rehearsal tracks recorded between 2002 and 2004.
Edition: Hand-numbered to 50 copies only

Track Listing:

Side A
1. March Of The Uruk-Hai 23.41
2. Galadriel 1.35
3. Black Orc Blood 4.31
Side B
4. Enter Durins Halls 11.53
5. Land Of Fire And Steel 10.17
6. Apokalypse (Ausklang) 0.56

Now this particular release was an effort to track down, let Nazgul tell you! For many years it was one of the few demo tapes that had eluded his clutches, never appearing for sale anywhere across distros and online retailers alike. Given the number of copies pressed (50, of which this copy is #18) it was certainly amongst the lower volume items from the band, although other tapes of a similar or earlier period (notably 'Honour') had turned up more frequently despite being fewer in number.

However, as one of Nazgul's old friends was oft to quote: "seek, and ye shall find". And lo, it came to pass that whilst scouring the trade list of a certain Dutch tape trader early this year there it was, the almost-forgotten "Long Forgotten Tales" tape in all of its glory!

So hails of thanks go to Daan, and here for your delight is said demo release, with a rather excellent cover illustration and a very interesting smattering of tracks.

Some will be familiar to fans and readers of this Blog, for example 'Apocalpse (Ausklang)', which also appears on the re-issue by EoLP of "In Durin's Halls" in 2004. Elements of other tracks - notably opener 'March of the Uruk-Hai' will sound familiar too, as they use melodies and refrains from other Uruk Hai songs of the period, reworking them between demos but retaining that sense of familiarity. 'March of the Uruk Hai' uses passages also heard on Side A of the "Honour" demo, but loses nothing for that! It also finishes with an amazing guitar riff, so 'punk' in nature you'd swear a Discharge song had been overdubbed in the mix, which heralds the march getting underway big-time as drums mirror the beat of many pounding feet, and ominous battle sounds, more guitar and howling vocals bring the song to a conclusion, complete with an epic rumble of thunder!

As you might imagine from the name, 'Galdriel' (the Lady in White, elf-queen of Middle Earth and co-ruler of Lothlorien) is a much gentler song, ushered in on a breath of wind and replete with xylophone melodies which shimmer and hover like a dew-beaded cobweb on a spring morning, no sooner there than gone...

'Black Orc Blood' kicks off with a classic sample, the same one incidentally as from 'Weltenbrand' from Hrossharsgrani's "Ancient Tales" (and no, Nazgul still doesn't know the name of it), promising much vigour and action before the song then turns on its head into something of a slow, measured beat with deep vocal parts. And thus ends Side A.

The two principal songs on the second side are both well over 10 minutes in length apiece, and thus require a patient ear and a decent amount of time set aside to appreciate them in full. Opener 'Enter Durin's Halls' continues the deep, echoing vocal effects of 'Black Orc Blood' and, alongside a background of rippling keyboard touches, does sound like a voice from the dead echoing amongst chasms deep and vast. This then progresses into a ethereal keyboard melody (another one heard on "Honour" in 'Gondolin Falls', but this time punctuated with drums) with the latter part of the track describing aurally the lofty halls deep under the mountains.

'Land Of Fire And Steel' has the sort of brooding opening that raises the hairs on the back of your neck, like a good film score when you know something momentous is shortly to happen. And indeed good things do happen - a tremendous keyboard melody that sweeps and lifts the listener to another realm, punctuated by the faint clashing of swords and the cry of fallen warriors. The remainder of the track again reworks elements of the first side of "Honour", which makes for an interesting comparison with that release.

Plenty to this demo then, and certainly worth the wait. Nazgul wishes you all the very best of luck in finding a copy though...

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