Friday, 9 December 2011

GORGOROTH (THE LAND OF DARKNESS)


Band: URUK HAI
Title:
Gorgoroth (The Land Of Darkness)
Format: 6CD box-set released in 2011 by the Tryby label (Poland), cat ref 08/2011. The set comes in hard cardboard box of around 5" square, and contains 6 separate discs with 2010 Uruk Hai demos that were previously tape-only releases. There are 3 postcards within the set, and a bespoke cover sticker on the face of the box.
Edition: Limited to 15 hand-numbered copies

Album Listing:
CD1. Black Orcish Blood
CD2. Ash Nazg...
CD3. The Lord Of The Rings
CD4. Wrath Of The Ring
CD5. Middle Earth Pt.I
CD6. Middle Earth Pt.II

Another year, another Uruk Hai compilation box-set on the Polish Tryby label. Back in January Nazgul had a little bit of a moan at the format of the "War Anthems" wooden box set released on this same label, and whilst some of the criticisms remain for this effort (would it really have been so much more work to house the discs in card replica sleeves of the original artwork rather than clear plastic wallets?) one can only doff one's cap to any label willing to invest money to get Hugin's music out into the wider world.

Not that there are many of these box-sets out there, it has to be said: only 15 hand-numbered examples were made (this is #12) and it would be reasonable to suppose that at this stage they are all sold-out, even at the 40-odd Euro price tag it came with.

What you get here are CD versions of 6 Uruk Hai demos from the 2010 period, all previously tape-only releases on the Wulfrune Worxx label. Despite the order of the discs in the set, the original tapes were issued in a slightly different order by Skogen's label, and (with catalogue reference and edition number in parentheses) were: "Ash Nazg..." (WW160, 77); "Lord Of The Rings" (WW162, 111); "Wrath Of The Ring" (WW163, 111); "Black Orcish Blood" (WW164, 66); "Middle-Earth Part I" (WW173, 66); and "Middle-Earth Part II" (WW174, 66).

All of these bar one have previously been reviewed on Honour and Darkness: the exception is "Middle -Earth Part II (The Outer Lands)", which will be gracing these pages soon. Incidentally, a fact perhaps not well known is that there are two further parts to Hugin's Middle-Earth series - yes, a Part III and a Part IV exist, and currently nestle within the confines of the Castle library awaiting a spin on the death-deck! What price a future "Middle Earth" CD compilation in its own right, one wonders...?

The thing that all of these releases have in common is that they form sprawling epic tracts of music, very much in keeping with this stylistic development undertaken by Uruk Hai as 2010 blossomed. With the exception of the recently reviewed "Nargothrond" and the occasional other release such as "The Barbarian", multi-song Uruk Hai demos were pretty scarce finds during the past 18 months or so. The long ambient adventure was the weapon of choice for Hugin in this period, and this compilation scores a bulls eye for putting them all together in an accessible digital format for those willing to undertake the journey.

A quick word on the title of the set: Gorgoroth (also called the Plateau of Gorgoroth) was a region in the northwestern part of Mordor in Middle-Earth. Gorgoroth, the 'Haunted Plains', stood at the heart of the dark lands of Mordor and was always covered in the volcanic ash of Mount Doom, hence plant growth at all lived there. The plateau was arid with extreme climates and was considered to be uninhabitable. "A desolate land, pocked with craters and fuming pits and riven with many deep crevasses. In the centre of the plain rose the smouldering cone of the volcano Orodruin" according to J.E.A. Tyler. During the War of the Ring, Gorgoroth was the location of mines and forges which supplied Mordor's armies with weapons and armor. The 'Complete Tolkien Companion' volume also tells us that 'Gorgoroth' meant 'Dreadful Horror' in the Sindarin or Grey-elven tongue.

For all of its small presentational flaws this still represents good value for money and is a worthy addition to the Uruk Hai discography for fans of the latter period of the band's prodigious output.

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