Friday, 9 April 2010

GONE WITH THE WIND



Band: URUK HAI
Title: Gone With The Wind
Format: CDr pressing by Hugin (no catalogue reference, but self-released) with colour inlays and hand-crafted artwork! CDr also came with a price/release list of available Uruk Hai titles to date.
Edition: Only 5 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

1. A New World Is Born (Intro) 5.29
2. In The Beginning.... There Was Fight 7.40
3. Thangorodrim 3.20
4. Then The Gloom Gathered, Darkness Growing 10.07
5. Ringgeister 1.32
6. Kor 2.14
7. ...Of Thingol & Melian 21.03
8. In Battle 1.43
9. Durch Die Schwarze, Dunkle Nacht 2.27
10. Soul 2.15
11. Elvish Dream 1.10
12. Over Dead Sea And Withered Land 1.37
13. Feuerstanz 1.05
14. An Lenore 4.50
15. Dragontales (Outro) 0.42

As the spring sunlight streams in through the library windows and illuminates the darkest recesses of Castle Nazgul, it's proprietor - your host on this humble blog page - cannot feel but a sharp pang of sorrow to remain ensconced within these four walls. For as he types, a release party is underway in the snow-capped Austrian alps, wherein the "Black Blood, White Hand" album is being issued to the world on this very day, along with other goodies, at the new metal-shop opened by Sturmklang Records. If you are reading this, Nazgul can but assume that you too were unable to attend this event to meet your Austrian musical hero. Having said that, if you are reading this and are at the party, then buy the man a drink from your old pal Nazgul...!!

To alleviate such sorrow the prudent course of action seemed to be to grab a release from the library shelves and share it with you - my faithful and honoured readers. Todays offering is an old one, being Uruk Hai rehearsal tracks recorded between 16 October 2000 and 19 November 2000 and set down on CDr with hand-drawn artwork in a limited edition of only 5 copies (this being #1, obtained directly from Hugin) for posterity.

The release is dominated by two tracks in length terms - the 20 minute plus '...Of Thingol & Melian' and the 10 minute plus 'Then The Gloom Gathered, Darkness Growing". The remainder of the songs are either short pieces, expressing particular ideas or riffs, or longer tracks that also appear on demo releases from the project around the same time: a number appear on the "Darkness" demo tape of 2001 including the aforementioned two epics, plus 'Kor', 'Over Dead Sea and Withered Land' and a shortened version (in title, if not duration) of 'An Lenore', which became simply 'Lenore' for the tape version.

Musically it is a mixed bag - there are some fairly strident moments of almost punk-ish guitar (the beginning of 'In The Beginning ... There Was Fight' after the sword is drawn, for example) as well as the odd track of pounding drum ('Soul'), but in the main the ethereal and elegant keyboard melodies, whispered vocals and occasional samples of nature carry the demo into relaxing and enchanting territories. The differences in the work on offer shows the variety of directions that Uruk Hai could have gone down - history shows us how the project eventually turned out, but some of the other influences lingered down the ages and also turned up in other projects (Hrossharsgrani and Hrefnesholt in particular) along the way.

Of course, like the majority of early demos from Uruk Hai this is impossible to find anywhere now. Nazgul is eternally grateful to Hugin for releasing his own copy from the vaults of W.A.R. Productions to find a home in England.

Edit: Alex has just emailed to let Nazgul know that the cover of this release was, in fact, painted by Adelheid Bagar, the girl who also painted the HROSS logo (the one on "Secret Fire" etc..), the HREFNESHOLT logo and the first URUK-HAI logo. Talented lady! She also painted the HREFNESHOLT "Hrefnesvinter" Cover and the "Ancient Tales" Tape cover and T-Shirt!

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