Thursday, 29 September 2011

DARKNESS (PART III)


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Darkness (Part III)
Format: Formally a tape-only release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France) in 2010, cat ref WW167, although a CDr version does exist that compiles all parts of the "Darkness" series but only within the very limited edition box-set version on WAR Productions. This tape comes with Wulfrune's standard black and white copied inlays.
Edition: 33 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
Side 1
01. Total Darkness
Side 2
02. Total Darkness

Have you ever found that certain albums or songs put you in mind of a particular place or time? Your old uncle Nazgul, for example, can't listen to "Hold Your Fire" by Rush without being drawn into thoughts of winter and the Christmas season (for reasons too arcane to get into here), and just one song from Iron Maiden's "Killers" takes him back to his formative school days and happy recollections of the day that album was originally released back in February 1981.

The point being that "Darkness (Part III)" is one of those albums. The generally cheerless and morbid nature of the sounds on offer (it would be a stretch to call them 'songs' as such) always brings to my mind the scenes from Ridley Scott's film 'Legend' where we are taken into the terrifying underground kitchens of the Lord of Darkness. I suspect this derives from a combination of factors, possibly Nazgul's subconscious linking 'darkness' as the name of the demo with the similarly titled evil protagonist of the film, but more significantly deriving from the dark, disturbing sounds (with attendant intermittent clanks, bumps and infrequent sepulchral vocals) invoking the raw essence of that grisly, subterranean nightmare.

Musically this demo is a world away from the "Spirits (Of Ancient Times)" tape that Nazgul recently reviewed on Honour and Darkness and you'd be hard pressed to guess it was by the same project. The lines between the atmospherics of WACH and B-Machina and the keyboard opulence of a 'typical' Uruk Hai release (if such a thing exists) are pretty blurred on this outing, and it is most certainly the sort of demo that works best late at night as a background soundtrack rather than as a piece you'd casually pop onto the death-deck to hum along to. That said, and with Halloween on just around the corner, why not give it a considered listen wearing headphones and scare yourself witless with all of the devilry going on!

As will be apparent from its title, this is the third part in Hugin's 'Darkness' saga. The original "Darkness" demo tape was a collection of Uruk Hai tracks from 2001 (see review from 10 February 2011) and so whilst its name inspires the series it doesn't really have a close connection with the successive releases. "Darkness (Part II)" was reviewed on the Blog on 16 March 2011 and really got the ball rolling with the inky blackness of despair being analysed and dissected in memorable style by Hugin. There are 2 further parts in the series yet to be reviewed, so with a bit of luck these will be covered on these virtual pages in the near future.

Would this be an obvious purchase for you, the loyal yet discriminating Uruk Hai fan? Well, opinions would doubtless vary immensely over this depending on what end of the spectrum your listening preferences lie. If you are a advocate of the symphonic Middle-Earth approach of recent Uruk Hai (and here we're talking about releases such as "Gil-Galad", "Death Is Just Another Path" et al) then you'd probably wonder what on earth you were listening to on this demo. Conversely, if you enjoy a brooding, atmospheric piece of dark ambience with your morning cornflakes this might very well be right up your street.

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