Thursday, 22 December 2011


Title: Middle-Earth (Part II): The Outer Lands
Format: Cassette release on the Wulfrune Worxx label (France), cat ref WW174. The standard black and white photocopied inlays accompany this release. A later CDr pressing of this demo is available in the "Gorgoroth" box-set (2011).
Edition: Hand-numbered edition of 66 copies

Track Listing:
01. Middle-Earth - The Outer Lands 33.40

And so the festive season looms in the wings and even Castle Nazgul is not immune from brightly coloured tinsels being draped around the portcullis, or severed heads decorating the turrets. It's a hectic time of year with little spare time for frivolities, so let's get down to a little seasonal fare with Uruk Hai and some mince-pies to warm the cockles on a cold winters afternoon.

This tape is the second in the "Middle-Earth" series, of which there are currently (at the time of writing) four parts in total. You may also recall that Nazgul was fairly ambivalent about "Part I" when it was reviewed on 24 November this year, noting that whilst it was far from offensive it didn't set the pulse racing in a way that other recent Uruk Hai outings had done.

Happily, this demo is rather different. Given time to sink in over repeated listens, this is a demo of multiple parts: yes, there is the orchestrated synthesiser and drum signatures that boom and waver around the Misty Mountains like a call to arms, all very mysterious and harmonious at one and the same time. But there's also some unexpected touches to this demo, not least the soothing and actually rather good piano touches that appear after 17 minutes or so, and again at around the 21 minute mark.

It's all rather reminiscent of the piano pieces from Hugin's "Differences" demo (see post of 25 September 2010) and not only does it demonstrate once again that Hugin knows his way around a keyboard, it also shows an ear for melody and subtleties that are so often missing from other bands in this genre.

In short, "Part II" is a very welcome addition (and boost) to the series and - along with it's mysterious misty wooded cover - adds greatly to the story thus far. High hopes, therefore, rest on Parts III and IV...

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