Wednesday, 15 June 2011

STURMKLANG COMPILATION [V/A]




Band: URUK HAI
Title: Sturmklang Compilation
Format: Card-sleeved promotional CD from the Sturmklang label (Austria) with separate glossy inner card detailing track listing. This second card is stamped with the Steinklang Industries company logo on the reverse, next to which is a hand-written edition number. Both the sleeve and inlay are professionally printed in black and white. 2010 release, no catalogue reference.
Edition: 200 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Uruk Hai * ...Does Not Glitter 3.29
02. Orcrist * On The Wings Of Night 5.16
03. Vinterriket * Modranecht 6.34
04. Rauhnacht * Vorweltschweigen 6.45
05. Moonfrost * Ignorance 5.59
06. Death Temple * The Nightmare's Incursion 4.19
07. Golden Dawn * Return To Provenance (pre-master) 4.50
08. Woods Of Infinity * Worship Us (unreleased song from 1999) 8.15
09. Ekove Efrits * Faceless Moments (pre-master) 6.53
10. Natan * Volkskracht 15.01
11. Woodtemple * The Shields Light 7.42

Back in 2010 the Sturmklang label - the (Pagan) Black Metal division of Steinklang Industries - released their first label compilation, advertised by them as "featuring new and unreleased/upcoming tracks of Uruk-Hai, Orcrist, Vinterriket, Rauhnacht, Moonfrost, Death Temple, Golden Dawn, Woods of Infinity, Ekove Efrits, Natan and Woodtemple), free with every purchase of metal stuff from the Sturmklang shop." With only 200 copies identified in the edition (this copy being #83), one imagines that the great majority would have been given out over the first few weeks of this offer being made.

Many of the bands featured are familiar to Honour and Darkness through joint projects with Hugin: Orcrist, of course, have worked with Hugin before through various split demos, on Orcrist's own recent release "Fallen", and indeed have been interviewed in these very pages. Vinterriket is also a past interviewee, and a number of split demos and albums with Uruk Hai grace the library shelves within the castle. Golden Dawn have also recorded with Uruk Hai, this time on the extended "Gil-Galad" demo from 2010 that successfully managed to weave in their more gothic influences. Other bands here are exciting acquisitions to the Sturmklang label, not least the talented Woods of Infinity and one of Nazgul's personal favourites: Woodtemple.

Unusually for a compilation featuring an Uruk Hai song, Hugin's composition is the shortest of all on this disc. It's more normal to find a lengthy Uruk Hai song dominating proceedings, but in this case Hugin's contribution is soundly trounced in the duration stakes by all comers! Still, it's quality not quantity as Mrs Nazgul is wont to say, and in that respect '...Does Not Glitter' is a fine piece of ambient Middle Earth tinkling that hits the nail squarely on the head. Compared to the other offerings on this disc, it must be said that the light airy keyboard washes and ephemeral female vocals are in marked contrast to the blood and thunder approach of what might be called more traditional black metal compositions.

It's an interesting development of Uruk Hai's style over time that whilst early recordings might once have sounded aurally similar to other tracks on this compilation (say, for example, around the time of the "Darkness" demo) the current output of the band is far more evolved since those primordial, raw songs of yore. As Nazgul noted for another recently reviewed compilation featuring this most popular of Hugin's projects, this does make for a rather strange 'fit' when the songs are taken together as a whole. Quite what listeners new to Uruk Hai but used, for example, to the bludgeoning power of Moonfrost or Orcrist would make of '...Does Not Glitter' would be interesting to know. Probably not what they were expecting, would be the short answer....

I'm sure I hardly need to add that '...Does Not Glitter' features as track 8 on Uruk Hai's seminal "Black Blood, White Hand" album, which itself was the subject of a lengthy dual-post between Nazgul and Blog reader Lt back on 27 October 2010. Mention of said album reminds Nazgul that he'd promised to publish some previously unseen publicity photos relating to this release in a future post, so watch this space for something on those lines very soon.

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