Saturday, 17 July 2010

SIEGHETNAR / URUK HAI split


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Untitled split album between Sieghetnar (Germany) and Uruk Hai
Format: Professional CD pressing on the Nordsturm Productions label (Germany), cat ref NSP025, released June 2010. Copies come with full colour inlays and with a picture CD held in special white tray.
Edition: Limited to 500 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:

Sieghetnar
1. Schwingungen pulsierender Todesfrequenzen 3.22 ('Oscillation of pulsating death frequencies')
2. In Spektren des imaginären Lichts 6.16 ('In spectrums of the imaginary light')
3. Versunkenheit 7.29 ('Absorption')
Uruk-Hai
4. March To War 12.31
5. Death Is Just Another Path... 8.01
6. Gil-Galad (re-mastered version) 11.03

This is, at time of writing, the latest release from the ambient metal force that is Uruk Hai. As such, you can celebrate the dual facts that (i) the release is in a pretty large edition for this time of split CD (500 copies) and (ii) as a result, you'll almost certainly be able to find one for sale still if you look on-line at the usual sources, or visit Hugin's MySpace page (www/myspace.com/urukhaiofficial). Welcome news indeed for the growing army of Uruk Hai fans clamouring for product!

Continuing something of a trend established over recent years, the Uruk Hai part of this split release contains some tracks that have been previously released on other albums or demos. As some of these other releases have been in very limited edition, or just plain hard to find, this isn't a bad thing for the casual listener. There's always a bit of debate when artists re-release material on successive releases, but in this instance Nazgul thinks it's a positive thing as frankly the level of opportunity for many of Hugin's potential customers to get to hear this material is often limited and - let's be honest - it's hardly the 'grab the cash and get the tills ringing' opportunism that many bands (insert your own particular bug-bear here) adopt in rehashing 'best-of' compilations every few years.

For the record, the derivations of the songs in question are as follows:

'March To War' - currently this is the only place you're going to find this particular track, although it is scheduled to be on the forthcoming split between Uruk Hai and Funeral Fornication, and also is the intended subject of a mega-die-hard-ultimate-limited-edition vinyl release from Hugin, cruelly planned to be limited to just 5 copies! Form an orderly queue....!

'Death Is Just Another Path' - also scheduled for the split release with Funeral Fornication, and the highlight of a bonus disc of the same name if you were one of the early-bird purchasers of "Black Blood, White Hand" from Steinklang Industries (or attended that album's release party earlier this year). This track makes another appearance, this time on the limited edition collection "Angband" released in 2010 on Runenstein Records.

'Gil-Galad' - appears on the "Angband" collection and as a self-titled tape in its own right in the Wulfrune Worxx 'split series' of releases. It is also planned to be one of the three Uruk Hai tracks on the yet-to-be released split with Mhnunrrn. Those with a longer memory will also recall a different track by the same name that appeared on the "Elbentanz" CDr released by Odium Records (hailz, Phil) in 2003.

The common theme linking these three tracks together - and the most probable reason for grouping them together here on the one single release - is their shared inspiration from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings work, and particularly the recent films. All of the songs are sample-rich in dialogue, especially 'March To War' in which a number of scenes from the storming of Helms Deep are interspersed with the music, and all have a epic and momentous drama to them that could - with a promo CD being shot over the desk of a suitably influential movie mogul - lead to a career in movie scores for our Austrian hero. The quality of the music is staggering and, as Nazgul doubtless has said before, it is amazing to compare the multi-layered songs of modern Uruk Hai to those more primitive tracks from the band's early recordings and consider that this is the same one-man project at work. If you harbour any preconceptions about the depth and ability of this band then may Nazgul respectfully suggest that you listen to the tracks on this album and be prepared to be confounded!

Indeed, 'March to War' commences with Saruman's famous speech, "A new power is rising. Its victory is at hand. This night the land will be stained with the blood of Rohan. March to Helm's Deep. Leave none alive. To war!" from The Two Towers, and proceeds through some rousing and magisterial percussion to lead the listener through the battle of Helm's Deep, including on the way Saruman's conversations with Wormtongue about the need for thousands to storm the walls (cue army of 10,000 marching Uruk Hai) and the death of Théoden whilst leading the Riders of Rohan in the battle of the Pelennor Fields.

The inspiration for the song 'Death Is Just Another Path', on the other hand, comes from the conversation between Pippin and Gandalf the Grey, as cited:

Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass... then you see it! Pippin: What, Gandalf? See what?
Gandalf: White shores... and beyond. A far green country, under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: Well, that isn't so bad.
Gandalf: No. No, it isn't.

Essentially, if you are a Lord of the Rings fan and/or a lover of Hugin's Uruk Hai project you will enjoy this release enormously!

A word or three on the other half of this split, Sieghetnar, the one-man project led by Thorkraft. Not being overly familiar with his work, Nazgul has poached some appropriate commentary from other on-line sources here, which to my mind sums up the listening experience very well:

"Whilst still quite new to the scene, Sieghetnar is a musical entity that has managed to strongly establish its own unique and distinctive sound in this short time, combining elements of black metal, ambient and even some funeral doom to create a slow, melancholic and beautifully atmospheric form of music. The guitar tone, though very distorted, is not harsh-sounding like the razor-sharp sound typical of say, Xasthur, but instead a more calming, fuzzier wall of sound that surrounds the music like a dense snowfall, and this constant guitar ambiance lays the foundation for the cold, wintery feel of this album. The guitars are in no way overpowering and are instead quite relaxing and hypnotic, with guitar parts weaving in and out of each other along with keyboards, generating a blur of harmonies."

Thorkraft (pictured below) was kind enough to share some thoughts with Nazgul about the Sieghetnar project and the coming together of this split CD:

Thorkraft
(1) Can you introduce yourself to the readers - where you are based, your name?
Hail! The pseudonym for my works is THORKRAFT. I am the song-writer behind SIEGHETNAR, ASKUROR, TODESRUNE, HARSGATHYR and the owner of NORDSTURM-PRODUCTIONS & TONKUNSTWAFFENLAGER SHOP. I live in North Germany.

(2) Can you tell us a little more about your band Sieghetnar - when the band began, its philosophy and beliefs?

The beginning of the first output began in 2004/2005. I recorded the album "Verfallen & Vernedet" which is atmospheric Black Metal. I tried to put my negative feelings down and also wanted to create a album for listen at evening in bed. So all started. After some listened to the album they wanted it on CD so I have pressed 1000 pieces. The philosophy behind this work is to catch the listener into each album. Each album has its own thematic. Most of the albums are free of vocals so each listener can create his own vision of the story behind each release.

(3) What other bands have you been involved with?

There are some bands which have involved Sieghetnar. But I have had ideas which I never heard by other bands like the songwriting, and others, but I am inspired by BURZUM / XASTHUR and others

(4) How did you first come across Hugin's music?

Oh,this was some years ago when I got the CD Lothlorian from Othal Productions. Some time ago he wrote me an email if I would be interested to release a CD from Uruk-Hai. After I had listened to the work I was very surprised, and made a deal about a split with Sieghetnar.

(5) How have sales been since the 500 CDs were pressed?!

Until now I have sold only a few. But the reason for this is that there will be more promotion and reviews later on and then I think it will sell much better.

(6) Do you have any favourite piece of Hugin's music (from any of his projects)?

I have listened to only a few. But I like the Black Metal/Ambient Songs which are long and with vocals. The bombastic sound I like very much!

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