Friday, 21 May 2010

DRAGON WAR


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Dragon War / Suremise Teine Tee split release
Format: Cassette demo released by Wulfrune Worxx (France) as part of the Split Series in 2010 with Estonian horde Bestia, catalogue reference WW112. Black and white copied inlays.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 66 copies

Track Listing:

Uruk-Hai
1. Smaug's Destiny 10.05
2. Rivendell (unreleased track 2000) 6.27
3. The Fate of Man (first take non Vocal version) 8.46
Bestia
4. Suremise Teine Tee
5. Libahunt
6. Virastus Tousvas Tules
7. Oiglaste Tulek
8. Ronkade Parved
9. Silmis Härmatis

The "Dragon War" split demo comes as a timely reminder to us all about the ambient majesty and splendour that is the Uruk Hai project.

From the 'classic' format of black and white copied inlay wrapped around a C60 tape (courtesy of the retro-style pressing on Wulfrune Worxx) to the nature of the music on offer - which nods heavily in the direction of the band circa 2004 - this is what Nazgul would deem a 'proper old-school' demo both musically and in presentation that deserves your full support and attention. For the record, Nazgul's copy has been kindly dedicated by Alex on the case in gold pen, and is #10 of the 66 copies produced.

Relatively short at only three tracks, there is still much variation in the music on offer here that should delight all fans of this eternally satisfying project. Opener 'Smaug's Destiny' weaves its magic with synthesiser alone and allows the listener to visualise the dragon's lair in Erebor, deep within the Lonely Mountain. This is another Lord of the Rings based track of course, Smaug being one of the last great dragons of Middle-earth, rising to prominence by laying waste to the town of Dale and capturing the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) with all of its treasure. Smaug was already centuries old at the time, this having happened over 200 years before the events of Tolkien's 'The Hobbit', with which this particular dragon is most commonly associated.

The second track 'Rivendell' is recorded on the inlay as an unreleased track from 2000, re-mastered for this release in 2009. That said, musically it is nothing like the typical Hrossharsgrani/Uruk Hai crossover tracks from that 1999-2000 period, and to Nazgul's ears comes across as a much later musical development with its subtle and catchy keyboard refrains. The magic must be in the re-mastering, methinks!? That an unreleased track from 9 years ago can be this good and yet never had seen the light of day before now makes you wonder what else Hugin has hidden away in the W.A.R. Studios over there in darkest Austria....?!

And so to 'The Fate of Man', recorded here in a 'first-take non-vocal version' with guitar provided by Lord Messir (who you may recall is with Latvian horde Dark Domination, covered in the Blog on 21/09/2009 in relation to Hugin's contribution on their EP 'The Reign Of The Fallen One'). Here, Lord Messir's guitar adds an edge to an early version of what proves to be an awesome song when it appeared in its final version on the 2010 "Black Blood, White Hand" digipak release (and which will also be on the forthcoming "Angband (Metal Fortress)" release from Runenstein Records). Still impressive without vocals, this is perhaps one of the most evocative Uruk Hai tracks in recent years and once heard lodges itself in your brain for the duration!

This split release is with Estonian horde Bestia, not a band known to me but described in Metal Archives as 'Epic Black Metal with Brutal Death Metal Influences' and who clearly have been releasing product since 2001. Given the band features one Andres on vocals, and given that the Hexenreich label of Estonia also features Andres as its owner, Nazgul senses a connection....and perhaps an interview for the Blog is due? A band for a little more investigation....

As a final thought, have you noticed the rather awesome cover art on the Uruk Hai side of this demo, featuring a flaming dragon in full flight desolating passing mountain tops. Think how much more awesome this would look in full colour......and watch this space!

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