Tuesday, 7 February 2012

GIL-GALAD (THE ULTIMATE STORY)



Band: URUK HAI
Title: Gil-Galad (The Ultimate Story)
Format: Double 3" CDr pressing on the Smell The Stench label (Australia) in 2011, no catalogue reference. The release comes with 2 colour inlays and 2 white-faced 3" discs. Songs recorded at W.A.R. in Austria between 2002 and 2010.
Edition: Hand-numbered to 15 copies only

Track Listing:
CD1
01. Gil-Galad (re-mastered version) 10.44
02. The Fall Of Gil-Galad (first take collaboration with Golden Dawn) 5.37
CD2
03. Gil-Galad (original version) 10.47
04. Hymn Of Gil-Galad (new track 2010) 3.53
05. Gil-Galad (version 2002) 1.21

Both the ongoing saga of Gil-Galad, and its ongoing recurrence in the Uruk Hai discography, are rapidly becoming the stuff of legend. Originally released in tape form - and reviewed back on 1 May 2010 - the years that followed have seen tracks from the demo appear in a variety of forms on a plethora of releases, including a freebie track on an Infernal War 'zine cover CD; on another 3" release from 2008 (with Moloch); and on split releases with Mhnunrrn and Sieghetnar. All covered in past posts on Honour and Darkness, you too can have great fun typing the name 'Gil-Galad' into the search engine on the blog to see how many matches it produces!

More recently, we seemed to be reaching a crescendo with the tape release of "Gil-Galad: The Whole Story" on Wulfrune Worxx (see post of 5 March 2011) but wait: now we have 'The Ultimate Story' on CDr from renowned STS label to contend with.

Truth be told, the songs on these various releases are entirely enjoyable and so for a fan of the project it's no great hardship to sit and listen to them again, no matter what the release and what the format. Having the Gil-Galad quintology (is there such a word?) on CDr is a definite boon, however, as the tape pressings have all been pretty hard to track down and digital recording should pass the test of time rather better. And hell, you don't actually have to go out and buy every damn version of this release, despite Nazgul cracking the fiery whip in the background.

As an added bonus, along with the same four tracks as "The Whole Story" this 2 x 3"CDr version also has a bonus fifth track of the early 2002 track, which is a real 'rave from the grave' in terms of enjoying visiting that distinctive early keyboard sound that Hugin had back then. It makes a very interesting juxtaposition to listen to this almost spartan early recording against the lush sounds of Uruk Hai some 10 years later - different, and yet...strangely the same.

Of course, the main issue with this Smell The Stench version is the limitation once again: With only 15 copies released, if it's not long sold out and nigh-on impossible to find now then Nazgul would be much surprised. However, for those wanting to dip a toe into the realm of Gil-Galad then this version is most certainly the one to aim for. Hats off too for the quality of the colour printing of the cover on this release - the battle scene on the front cover is something to behold in this format, with many-headed beasts swarming against Elven defences.

The Ultimate version then? Oh yes, most certainly.

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