Tuesday, 19 October 2010

ORCRIST / URUK HAI split


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Orcrist/Uruk Hai
Format: Split release between Italian Black Metal horde Orcrist and Uruk Hai, issued on two separate tape releases in 2009/2010. In September 2009 W.A.R. Productions released the split with a glossy two-sided colour inlay, and subsequently in 2010 the release was re-issued on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) as part of their Split Series of cassettes, cat ref WW97, with a single sided black and white copied inlay.
Edition: Original W.A.R. release limited to 50 hand-numbered copies. The Wulfrune Worxx re-issue limited to 66 hand-numbered copies.

Track Listing:

Orcrist
1. We Come In War
2. From The Fog-Enshrouded Desolate Lands
3. Winter Might
4. Mother Of Infernal Night
5. Ode To The Wolf´s Torment
6. Breathless
7. The Silence

Uruk-Hai

8. At The End Of The First Age (an Opera about Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains) 29:01

In recent times there has been a growing trend for Uruk Hai tracks to appear on a miscellany of separate releases - by way of recent example, the song 'March To War' seems to be popping up all over the place, on no less than 5 different releases in 2010 alone - but for a specific album to be released twice within 6 months is unusual even by these standards. To make the matter more complicated, the sole Uruk Hai track on this cassette was itself the subject of a release on the Wulfrune Worxx label in November 2009 as part of the Remember CC series of releases. In effect therefore, the same track - albeit a good, meaty song - was released in September 2009 on a split release, re-released in November 2009 as a sole release with different title ('At The End Of The First Age', 44 copies only), and then re-re-released in 2010 in the same split format as the first release. Head still spinning, Nazgul wanders off for a strong drink and a sit down...

Let's deal with the Orcrist side of this split release first: this Italian horde has been around since 2000, and this tape contains an unreleased rehearsal version of their 2009 "We Come In War" album. The lyrics on the tracks are written by Goblin, which is an ironic nom de plume (presumably chosen deliberately?) given that the word 'Orcrist' is Elvish for "goblin-cleaver", being the sword of the splendidly named Thorin Oakenshield in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'. Interestingly Goblin also turns up in Norwegian band Isvind, who have been creating hellish sounds since 1993. As one evocative review online detailed, "Isvind manages to sound genuine and evil, at a time when black metal has become a parody of itself. Considering this band is from Norway and contemporary with legendary Burzum and Mayhem, it is remarkable that the band has pretty much stayed underground, and in a certain way, it comes out in their devastatingly ghoulish yet beautifully haunting riffs." Probably a project worth checking out.

As for the Orcrist music - well, it marks a change of direction for the band with the inclusion of slower, more atmospheric tracks, moving away from the previously machine-gun style black metal attack. A better bed-fellow to the ambient style of Uruk Hai than you might initially imagine.

The Uruk Hai track At 'The End Of The First Age (an Opera about Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains)' was previously reviewed on 06/03/10 in its eponymously titled tape release. As previously noted, the session screams are the work of Pr.Sergiy of Moloch, and as an epic track it certainly ticks the boxes for duration and holding the listener's interest. A triumph of collaborative recording and certainly worth a listen to any fan of this particular project. Take a look back at Nazgul's earlier musings for more specifics.

If you are toying with the idea of searching for one of these releases to own, Nazgul would suggest the original W.A.R release of 50 copies (Nazgul's copy being #2), in part because the colour cover adds an extra element of quality to the overall package and is more pleasing to the eye than the black and white copies of the later re-issue. That said, the extremely limited nature of all three tapes on which this song appears might make it something of a lottery as to which you come across first...

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