Saturday, 6 November 2010

AFTER THE WAR (ORCISH BATTLE HYMNS PART IV)

Band: URUK HAI
Title: After The Battle (Orcish Battle Hymns Part IV)
Format: Cassette tape release in November 2009 on the Wulfrune Worx label (France) as a part of the Honour & Darkness series, catalogue reference WW-N. The tape comes with a black and white photocopied inlay, and the same single track is recorded on both sides of the tape. The song has also had a recent CDr release, within the 2010 War Anthems box-set.
Edition: Tape version limited to 39 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

01. After The Battle (Orcish Battle Hymns Part IV) 40.29

So being an ardent follower of Honour and Darkness and a fan of all things Hugin, your trivia question for today is as follows: can you name (without looking them up) the preceding three parts of the Orcish Battle Hymns series?

If you answered "Orcish Battle Hymns" from 2000, "Barbarians (Orcish Battle Hymns Part II)" from 2004 and "War Poems (Orcish Battle Hymns Part III)" from 2005 then award yourself a gold star and sit at the front of the class: you are an Uruk Hai trivia god!

If you failed to score full marks, don't despair. Nazgul had to have a quick look back over the Blog to remind himself of the history of this occasional series of releases. However, unlike the preceding releases, all of which featured a number of separate tracks on a demo or full release, Part IV is one long, single song that creates a number of moods throughout its overall length.

Truth be told, although it's a very enjoyable listen it is the sort of album that tends to be rather difficult to describe. It commences with a battle scene at the outset, complete with the sounds of hand-to-hand combat and fallen warriors and underscored with a positively evil guitar riff (almost punk-ish in nature), which sets the tone of the album as a potentially violent and rowdy affair.

But ... after this battle scene a forty minute ambient soundtrack is devised (hence "After The War"), presumably representing the scenes in the immediate aftermath of the conflict and becoming a requiem to the dead and dying. Indeed, one can almost smell the charred orcs and envision the disembodied humans littering the field.

The outset of this lengthy piece of music is largely piano-led, with a spartan and quite melancholy air, before the sound is bolstered somewhat with more keyboard and synth input giving a richness and added timbre to the song. Overall though, this is a literal dirge for the dead, and as such it becomes quite easy to only half listen to whilst pressing on with other activities. Whilst it's not the most instantly memorable pieces of Uruk Hai composition, it is a very regal piece and in the right setting makes for a moody and atmospheric piece of music.

Should you be thinking that the title of this album strikes a familiar chord, it may be that you've remembered the limited edition signed poster also called "After The War", previously covered in Honour and Darkness on 5 May 2010.

Oh - and should you have been curious what the cover of this tape would have looked like in full colour, see the picture below that Nazgul unearthed on-line: rather spectacular, is it not...?




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