Thursday, 14 January 2010

VEREINT DURCH DIE KRAFT URALTER WALDER





Band: URUK HAI
Title: Vereint durch die Kraft uralter Wälder (United Through the Power of Age-Old Forests)
Format: Split 3"CDr between Uruk Hai and Moloch, coming in a special 'ancient sackcloth' package with 4 mini inlay cards, 1 colour postcard featuring both bands, 4 photos of Ukrainian and Austrian forests and mushrooms, and parts from Ukrainian and Austrian forests. Released in 2008 by W.A.R. Productions (Austria)
Edition: Only 50 copies in total, of which the first 5 came with an A4 poster & t-shirt

Track Listing:

Uruk Hai
01. Gil-Galad 11.00
Moloch
02. Auf dem Wege zu den vergessenen Wäldern (On the way to the forgotten forests) 10.45

Nazgul has frequently commented on the quality of packaging that comes out of W.A.R. Productions, and here is another great example of the sort of thing he's on about. A highly unique (and collectable) set of flora and photographs, in what appears to be a jute bag, with a really well designed 3"CDr and inlays. Quality stuff, and not the sort of release you're going to find everyday that's for certain.

The photos above come from copy #4 of the 50, and as such illustrate both the colour poster (Nazgul's has been kept in its container since 2008 and so won't lie flat without a bit of help, and the photo above cuts off the bottom of the poster which bears the album name) and the white t-shirt with the cover design on it. Both excellent collectors items!

German website www. kulturterrorismus.de called the album "A harmonious tribute to Mother Nature" and that's a rather good summary of the collaboration between Moloch and Uruk Hai on this release. They go on to conclude:

"The two one-man projects from Austria (Uruk-Hai) and Ukraine (Moloch), are both anchored in the Black Metal genre, but give themselves musically to more imaginative ambient sounds, which move in the direction of film score and soundtrack. Both bands contribute to the split ...[in] very good harmony with each other and do not "break" the concept.

The use of trumpets, captivating chanting and percussion [by Uruk Hai] guarantees a high recognition value. Moloch the other hand, relies on more darkness and destruction in his piece, and much menace and also grace revealed.
Those who favour varied dark ambient drones should not miss it."

The Uruk Hai track here is very much a light, ambient piece and - as the narrative above suggests - contains both female chanting, soft background male vocals at the outset, and delicate synthesiser passages. The percussion is almost tribal in places, which puts me in mind of some of the Ceremony Of Innocence material that was written around this same period. It could never be really described as a 'metal' track in any way, shape or form and nor, for that matter, could the offering from Moloch.

What you do get for your money are two very well crafted and eminently listenable ambient pieces of music that sit nicely as a small mini-album in their own right.

For those keeping up to speed with the Tolkien references, Gil-Galad was the last of the High Kings of the Noldor-in-Exile in Middle-earth. An Elf of the House of Finarfin, he was named High King of the Noldor-in-Exile in Beleriand after the fall of Gondolin and the death of the previous High King, Turgon.

After the War of Wrath and the end of the First Age, Gil-Galad founded a realm in the coastal region of Lindon along the shores of Belegaer, the Great Sea. At its height, his realm extended eastward as far as the Misty Mountains, though most of the Eldar remained in Lindon and in Elrond's refuge of Rivendell. According to The Fellowship of the Ring, Gil-Galad was the first of the Eldar to mistrust a stranger calling himself Annatar, and forbade him from entering Lindon. His mistrust was well founded, for it was soon learned that Annatar was in fact Sauron. After Sauron forged the One Ring, Gil-Galad was given one of the Three Elven Rings: Vilya, the Ring of Air (and most probably also Narya, the Ring of Fire). Just before Gil-Galad's death, Elrond was given Vilya for safekeeping (and Narya was given to Círdan).

During most of the Second Age, Gil-Galad enjoyed the friendship of the Númenóreans. This proved very useful as during the War of the Elves and Sauron; a great Númenórean force under the command of their king Tar-Minastir helped Gil-galad destroy Sauron's armies. After the Downfall of Númenor and the establishment by the Elendili of the Dúnadan kingdoms in exile, there was peace in Middle-earth. In the Age's closing years, however, Sauron reappeared with a newly formed army and a war against the kingdom of Gondor, closest to his old home of Mordor. Gil-Galad then formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil, High King of the Dúnedain-in-Exile, The armies of Elves and Men, victorious after the Battle of Dagorlad, laid siege to Sauron in Mordor.

At the end of the siege, both Gil-Galad and Elendil aided in the overthrow of Sauron's physical body yet perished themselves in the assault. At the Council of Elrond, Elrond says that only three people survived the final battle with Sauron: Isildur, Círdan, and himself. A record left by Isildur in Minas-Tirith implies that Sauron himself slew Gil-Galad, with the heat of his bare hands.
For those of you of a more poetic bent, Tolkien wrote:

"Gil-Galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
The last whose realm was fair and free
Between the mountains and the sea.
His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen.
The countless stars of heaven's field
Were mirrored in his silver shield.
But long ago he rode away,
And where he dwelleth none can say.
For into darkness fell his star;
In Mordor, where the shadows are."

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