Wednesday, 26 October 2011

BLACK ORCISH BLOOD


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Black Orcish Blood
Format: Cassette tape on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France), released in 2010, cat ref WW164. This tape comes with a black and white paper cover (signed in this instance by Hugin) and a standard C60 style tape. A CDr pressing of the album appears in the "Gorgoroth" box-set of 2011.
Edition: Tape limited to 66 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Black Orcish Blood 29.37

This demo is one from that particularly productive period from 2010 when albums, demos and all manner of oddments were being released by Hugin with breathtaking regularity. This demo was issued at around the same time as "The Lord of the Rings", "Wrath of the Ring", "Ash Nazg..." and the "Middle Earth Pts. 1 and 2" releases, all coming out on the esteemed Wulfrune Worxx label.

The cover might give a passing nod towards Bathory's "The Return" artwork (and can it really be 27 years since that album was released?!), but the sounds emanating from the two respective releases probably couldn't be more different if they tried.

'Black Orcish Blood' the track presents itself as another long, ambient experience (I use the word 'experience' rather than 'song' intentionally, as this lengthy undertaking is more of an event than a mere song you'd hum along to) in the vein of "The Lord of the Rings" et al. Apart from sporadic percussion in the form of tolling bells and some wind effects, for the most-part this track wafts along on a gentle raft of synthesiser and keyboard effects. It's certainly not an in-your-face musical explosion, rather a more gloomy and foreboding set of sounds that conjure up visions of the forests by night.

Before listening to this and solely from the title Nazgul had formed the impression that this demo might be full of pounding beats and up-beat tempos, akin to the pumping blood of Uruk Hai on their march to war. In fact, the music resembles the introduction to a film in as far as it builds gradually to various crescendos and peaks (in terms of drama rather than volume) and the cover art is particularly apt: standing on the uppermost ramparts of Castle Nazgul on a recent stormy night, watching the clouds scudding past the full moon whilst listening to this demo, gives the piece a real sense of place.

One could be slightly critical of the releases in places - it's hard to consistently maintain concentration for tracks of this duration, and certain passages in the middle sound quite familiar to other Uruk Hai releases - but this is marginal criticism at worst, as the demo has the trademark stamp of Hugin all over it and is an entirely enjoyable listen.

Perhaps not the most outstanding Uruk Hai demo of recent times, but by no means the least impressive, this is an atmospheric listen that will reward the intrepid listener.

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