Tuesday, 16 February 2010

DIE FESTUNG


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Die Festung
Format: Demo cassette released in 2009 by Wulfrune Worxx (France), catalogue reference WW-U, as part of the Honour & Darkness series. Black and white copied inlay, tape with printed side panels.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 39 copies
Track Listing:

1. Dunkler Herrscher 13.55
2. Eisen Hölle 9.09
3. Belagerung 8.38
4. Der Eisenkerker 2.12
5. Die Grosse Schmiede 27.31

An interesting demo this one, for a number of reasons. Firstly, of course, it falls into that most prestigious of series - the Honour & Darkness series! Alright, so Nazgul doesn't get out much, but he was - and remains - very proud of the honour bestowed on his Blog by Messrs. Hugin & Skogen when the series was launched by Wulfrune Worxx back in November last year.

Secondly, the album is musically interesting as it is (i) wholly instrumental in nature, and (ii) very reminiscent in parts to the sorts of music produced by B-Machina/Bonemachine and, to a lesser degree, WACH. This is most noticable in the electronic sound-samples and oddly mechanised percussion that recur through the tracks, and those readers familiar with Bonemachine's output will know what Nazgul is on about. Intriguingly, those readers who have this demo and like it, but have yet to try out Bonemachine, may find more of interest in that project then they anticipated.

The piece is also interesting as it could loosely be said to be a 'concept' album of sorts, in as far as there is a broadly consistent theme shown in the song titles and through similarity in passages within the music. In terms of the former, the listener is firstly greeted by the title of this demo, "The Fort", before encountering it's 'Dark Ruler' in track 1, proceeding through 'Iron Hell' in track 2, holding up in a 'Siege' in track 3, being a visitor to the 'Iron Dungeons' by track 4, before the final stop on the tour in track 5 - the 'Great Forges'.

Given the nature of the tracks, which blend into one another in some cases rather than having distinct beginnings and endings, you might want to interpret those track times detailed above with a hint of caution - that's Nazgul's best effort in this non-digital format to gauge the playing times!

In this context the mechanical beat of some of the music, the industrial/metallic hybrid nature of the tracks (particularly track 5) starts to make more sense. This is a 'demonstration' tape in the true sense, as it demos (and debuts) the hybrid sound of an Uruk Hai/Bonemachine combination that was a logical progression given the Hugin-connection, but which in turn doesn't necessarily seem to signal a move away from the lush ambient synth of more recent Uruk Hai albums but more indicates the 'art of the possible'.

It's also fair to say that given the different shades within the music it's a release that you do need to give time to in order for the music to seep into the pores, as it were. And speaking of which, Nazgul might just go and give his copy (#10, for the record) just one more spin on the Castle death-deck...

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