Friday, 20 November 2009

ZEITZEICHEN


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Zeitzeichen
Format: Cassette-tape only release through W.A.R. Productions (Austria) in 2009, with black and white xeroxed inlay. Split release with Draumar
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 50 only

Track Listing:

Uruk Hai
1. Die Ruckkehr zu den grunen Feldern 14.10
2. Der Turm 11.02
Draumar
3. Tagesanbruch
4. Heereszug
5. Ruine
6. Blass

Seemingly with a nod of acknowledgement to the 'old school' days of hand-made tape releases and mighty synthesiser passages, "Zeitzeichen" was a blast from the past when released in September 2009 on the W.A.R. Productions label. True to the old days the inlay is a folded xeroxed sheet, hand-numbered in red on the reverse (Nazgul's copy is #3/50).

Musically this is a very strong release, with both tracks being laded with catchy hooks and synth riffs, mixing modern production standards with the very essence of the early days of the band through the harsh vocals on 'Die Ruckkehr zu den grunen Feldern' to the vast bell effect at the beginning of 'Der Turm' ('The Towers').

The opening track is a real masterpiece, and one that you could sit around and listen to all day - a blend of piping (almost triumphal) keyboards, strings, thunderous drums and those harsh semi-whispered vocals. Although over fourteen minutes long it simply flies by in an unfettered mixture of hypnotic melody and innovation. One of the best Uruk Hai songs, period.

Second track 'Der Turm' kicks off with the 'gong' of a mighty bell, followed by a sonorous deep and sombre oboe-esque refrain before a wave of melodious keys and synthesiser washes crash over the listener, with an underpinning theme of the vast bell/gong repeating throughout. Very atmospheric it is too, being both relaxing and strangely uplifting at one and the same time. At around the four minute mark spitefully buzzing guitars come into the mix as the tempo shifts to a more anxious and frenetic sounding pace, with ominous drums and other effects woven into the song, putting images into Nazgul's mind of terror-filled flight from towers of pure evil. There's so much to this song, from the complex percussion near the end to the composition of the musical elements - it's far more complicated than early Uruk Hai tracks, make no mistake, yet for all that it retains the atmosphere and imagery of the early releases.

A great Uruk Hai release - thoroughly modern yet oddly old-fashioned, and all the better for it.

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