Following a few questions on the subject, Nazgul has decided to compile some 'top ten' lists of his most precious items - those rare and hard to come by releases from Alex's bands - that currently exist in his collection in the library at Castle Nazgul. For the purpose of retaining Nazgul's sanity, he is excluding t-shirts, badges, posters etc from this list and is focusing solely on the music! Feel free to disagree with these lists - Uruk Hai being the fifth (and possibly most anticipated) in the series - as they are purely personal observations based on my experiences since 2001 trying to find this stuff! By necessity this list is out of date as soon as it's written, as other items that Nazgul is yet to track down will eventually overtake some of these entries...
- private pressings (often literally 1 or 2 copies at most) where the item was not offered for general sale - for example "Orkstahl", "Mystic" or "Thousand Lightnings Storm";
- items where a subsequent re-issue has made the tracks available more widely, even where the original pressing is hard to find - for example, "In Durin's Halls", "Of Gleaming Swords in the Land of the North", "Valkyrian Romance" or "Quenta Silmarillion";
- oddities - for example, the mis-titled "Schall Und Rauch" split 7" from 2001, which is labelled as Uruk Hai but actually features a Bonemachine track, rare Uruk Hai tracks on compilation CD's (notably the Depravity CDr), and the almost infamous Forgotten Lands/Uruk Hai split that is hard to find only because of poor distribution from the US rather than being 'rare' per se.
So before we hit the official top-ten, let's consider the 'nearly' items that were on the fringes of inclusion but for one reason or other didn't quite make it. Frankly, most of the discography prior to 2006 is pretty hard to find at the best of times, but heck, we've got to draw a line somewhere
But enough of this, let's proceed to the real arguments and invoke Nazgul's official top 10 Uruk Hai rarities! You may agree, you may disagree, but Nazgul would be delighted to hear from you in any event: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Angband (metal box edition)
A sneak preview for you - how many more of Nazgul's forthcoming surprises will be laid bare by this ambitious post? Nazgul can almost hear the sound of jaws dropping open at the thought of how a 2010 release could possibly be in the top ten list of Uruk Hai collectables. God's teeth man, it's only been out a few months so how can it be so scarce? Well, simply because fledgling label Runenstein Records only released 5 copies of the metal box edition of "Angband" complete with the extra goodies, and they've all been sold. Simple. Can you buy one now? I doubt it, and I doubt too that the owners of the 5 will ever be persuaded to part with their copies either. It has 'future collectable' and 'rare' stamped all over it. There were only 21 numbered copies of the release in total, so with just 16 'standard' versions left to fight over I'd head off to the label sharpish....
The original blog entry for this CD could have been summarised thus: 'best-of compilation CD in edition of 333 copies on respected label suddenly appears from nowhere' shock! It was an extraordinary thing really, given the years of tracking down Alex's material - this CD suddenly appeared in 2009 on the Uruk Hai MySpace page as a part of the Uruk Hai discography, and following further enquiry on the lines of "what's all this about, then?!" this copy came into Nazgul's possession. It remains as improbable as Castle Nazgul winning a 'tourist destination of 2010' award. But where are the rest of them (the CD folks, not the tourists!)? Why is it so unknown, even on the internet, despite apparently existing in a fair number on a 'known' label? Why did it take until 2009 to be recognised in the discography when is was released back in 2005? Was it, in fact, ever officially released? Have you got a copy? Probably the most bizarre Uruk Hai rarity of all.
6. Long Forgotten Tales
Another pressing of 50 copies on the Werwolf label in 2004, another fruitless 3 year hunt on-line trying to find one having missed the boat the first time around! Against all the odds a copy was finally tracked down, in the Netherlands, and the deal was done. Just goes to show that with a little application and perseverance you too can go to the ball, Cinderella. Oh hang on, went off at a tangent there. The fact remains that this little demo is an early gem from Uruk Hai that any fan would be proud to own.
Not the smallest limitation we've encountered on this journey, but by George it's an elusive item. So much so, in fact, that absolutely no one Nazgul knows has a copy. Alex hasn't got one, the nice man at Werwolf hasn't any spare, and most depressingly of all Nazgul hasn't got one. It's the ultimate prize in my book, as it appears to have vanished from the face of the earth.
The tiny photo you see here is from Metal Archives, so I know someone out there has one - so step up and make yourself known!
Now, you might consider that Nazgul is cheating slightly here, as the three tracks on this tape were in fact released on subsequent Uruk Hai releases - two ('Varg Riders' and 'Battle Magic') as bonus tracks on the tape version of the "Barbarians" release, and the third ('In The Green Fields') only recently on the aforementioned "Angband" release. But hell, it's Nazgul's rule to break, and as this is (probably) the only known Uruk Hai release not to be securely held in the castle library, it is by default the ultimate collectable. At least, until another "Blutreich" turns up out of the blue....!