Reason for update: Full promotional CDr version of this demo on Odium Records, in different artwork to the final version released by the label in 2003.
If Charles Dickens were alive today and admiring the prodigious musical output of Hugin, one thing that he might have been likely to comment upon is the additional evidence for his theory of evolution as demonstrated in the early releases of Uruk Hai.
Take "Elbentanz" from 2003, for example. When reviewed in this blog back on 3 October 2009 it was shown in all of its glory with the 'old man in the tree' artwork (which could possibly be a representation of Old Man Willow from the Old Forest in Middle Earth, though this isn't certain).
You may also remember we had an update to this post on 02/01/10 where an alternative cover for the release was supplied from W.A.R. to Castle Nazgul, showing a black and white cover with misty forest imagery. That second cover also evolved for use on the 2001 demo "Stahlzeit", identical apart from its colour: "Stahlzeit" using a rather nice blue paper, "Elbentanz" black and white. "Stahlzeit" itself was a odd evolution of Bonemachine songs under the Uruk Hai flag (the post of 3 June 2011 refers to this in more detail).
All of which we've covered before, hence you wondering what the point of Nazgul's current ramblings are. Well, the point is this - Hugin has recently unearthed a rare promotional version of Elbentanz from 2003, which brings together the elements mentioned above. It has the same inlay booklet artwork front and back as "Stahlzeit", although the wording on the rear cover is different as the "Elbentanz" version shows the contact details for Phil Knight's Odium label and the "Stahlzeit" version has the 2 track details of that release.
The rear jewel case inlay is wholly different, however, and shows a clear 'promo' designation in the top left-hand corner against the limitation of 100 copies, and the full track listing on the reverse. This was, one must assume, the intended final full cover artwork for "Elbentanz" but at some point prior to release Odium (presumably) decided to do the colour cover with the wholly different imagery that became the actual version.
This final version also came in a slimline jewel-case as it had no rear jewel-case inlay, but did have a double-sided colour cover. The promo cover is unprinted and remains plain on the inside.
So there, as Dickens would say, we have it. The evolution of the "Stahlzeit" cover into a hybrid, yet undeniably, related "Elbentanz" promotional cover, followed by a major dip into the gene pool and the emergence of a totally different version for final publication. This adaptation to its surroundings marks out the final artwork as the strongest of the species and is, on balance, a nicely crafted cover that gives the end product a unique look.
And here are the three releases in question: