Saturday, 16 July 2011

BATTLE OF THE SOUTHERN FLAME



Band: URUK HAI
Title: Battle Of The Southern Flame
Format: Cassette release on the Hosts Of Darkness label , run by Grav of Italian black metal horde Orcrist. A 2010 release, catalogue reference HOD002, with glossy colour double-sided inlay.
Edition: Hand-numbered edition limited to 33 copies

Track Listing:
01. Battle Of The Southern Flame 13.43
02. Piano Suite (Conan soundtrack cover) 5.48

You may distantly recall that on 15 January 2011 Nazgul reviewed the four-way split tape release featuring Errako/Morgvir/Nihiubtrath/Uruk Hai. On this particular split tape Uruk Hai contributed this very 'Battle of the Southern Flame' song. At the time of that earlier review, Nazgul was not over enthusiastic about this particular Uruk Hai recording. Given a few months to revisit and to re-listen to the piece, however, it's fair to say that the original review was a little hard on the song, so here is an excellent opportunity to put the record (tape?) straight.

It's something of an epic song, and kicks off with a segment not unlike an orchestra tuning up. Thereafter, there is all the usual lush Uruk Hai/Hugin orchestration and plenty to enjoy as the vibes of an epic journey into fabled realms wash over you. At the time of the original review Nazgul wondered if he was judging the song unfairly against the other bash-it-and-run contenders, and in retrospect I think this may be part of the problem. This particular Host of Darkness demo tape gives a proper context to the song, complete with one of the very few inlays to show Hugin in person, and on a blustery wet day as it is here at Castle Nazgul this afternoon one can't help but to warm to this song anew.

As a bonus, this short tape features a second song: Hugin's piano vesion of the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack (original film score, not the new version from the remade 2011 film). At nearly 6 minutes in length it's far more than a cheap throwaway cover song, and in fact forms part of a entirely separate 4 song Uruk Hai demo tape "The Barbarian" on Wulfrune Worxx that was released as a tribute to the musician who crafted the Conan score, Basil Poledouris. That's another interesting release that Nazgul will be covering soon on these very pages.

With history now adjusted to give this song a fair trial, it's playing once again here in the vaulted Castle halls as I type as a reminder that even Nazgul doesn't get it right first time, every time. What a strange world we live in, to be sure...

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