Wednesday, 9 January 2013

SMELL THE STENCH FROM A BATTLEFIELD WITHOUT HONOR

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Smell The Stench From A Battlefield Without Honor
Format: Box-set release on 24 August 2012 on the Fallen Angels Productions label (South Korea), cat ref Fap022. The box is card, with a sticker on the cover, and contains 4 CDr discs in a special case along with 3 cassette tapes. The set is completed by 6 colour inlay cards and a woven Uruk Hai patch.
Edition: 25 hand-numbered copies

Contents:
CD1 - Elves and Man / The Barbarian 37:35 
CD2 - Gil-Galad / Nargothrond 01:10:00
CD3 - Return to the Green Fields / March to War 39:07
CD4 - Battle of the Southern Flame / Dagor Dagorath 32:23

Tape 1 - Side A: Long Before the Creation of the Sun & Moon / Side B: Northern Lights Part II 45:21
Tape 2 - Side A: Orc Funeral / Side B: unmixed edit 41.59
Tape 3 - Side A: Orc 59:17 


Another month, another box-set! Whilst that sounds a tad blasé, you'll know from the 2012 annual round-up that there has been an avalanche of box-sets spewing forth from Mount Doom this year, mostly - but not exclusively - relating to Uruk Hai. But when it comes to best titles of the year, this release may take some beating....!

The surfeit of expansively packaged box-sets presents both challenges and opportunities to the average fan. It is undoubtedly a golden opportunity to lay hands on some rare material that was restricted to limited numbers originally is not to be overlooked, as it's patently true to say that may of the early demos are essentially impossible to find and will drive you insane trying to do so (take it from a dark lord who knows...). On the other hand, there is the inevitable challenge of finding the necessary loot to purchase the box-set which - inevitably perhaps in this case - comes at quite a price. 
 
Orc Funeral
Long Before The Creation / Northern Lights Part II
Orc (Parts 1 and 2)
Look on the bright side though: from a value for money perspective you're getting a total of 8 3"CDr releases on a more convenient 5" disc size, plus 5 more demos across 3 tapes. As a 13 demo compilation release it starts to look like a fair prospect to pay in the range of £40-60 when the individual items would easily be £5+ apiece. Comparing this to the wider world, it's interesting that both Motorhead and Elvis Costello have apparent been the subjects of corporate greed at the hands of Universal Records, who have recently issued box-sets of the artist's material at an eye-watering £275 and £250 apiece respectively. On the basis of such astronomical pricing, this box-set seems the epitome of restrained fan-friendly merchandising!

What we have here in essence therefore is an über-collection of recent Uruk Hai releases, all but one of which have previously been reviewed on these pages. The CD's compile the 3"CD releases released by both the Tryby and Smell The Stench labels in 2012, whilst the tape selections add four further demos, including the yet to be reviewed "Orc" release (which Nazgul will cover in a specific post sometime soon). The one odd factor in all of this overwhelming goodness is that "Northern Lights Part II" was originally a tape-only release, and appears here in tape format again: It would perhaps have been a welcome incentive for those who don't buy tapes to view this set as a way to get their sticky mitts on a copy of this demo in CD format. That said, the 3 songs in question are available on other CD releases so unless you are a fanatical collector maybe this is be a moot point?

Insert cards show dark, melancholy scenes...
Despite looking a little too much like a box of chocolates (a pink box with a brown ribbon - with a title like "Smell The Stench From A Battlefield Without Honor" - really?!) Fallen Angel Productions have made a good job of this release, with some suitably battlefield-y artwork on the picture cards, and excellent inlays for each of the tapes and for the CD box. And as alluded to in the previous post of 6 September 2012, this is the same artwork as used on the cover of Hugin Munin's "A Thousand Spears For A Thousand Gods" release. 

Anyway, take a look at the photos accompanying this post and see what you think of the overall packaging. The woven patch is also rather nice to have, and despite the complexity of the design it translates well into this format. So the next time you're at Download or the Wakken Open Air festivals see how many of your mud-covered compatriots have this Uruk Hai patch sewn onto their denims, next to their Venom back-patch. If you spot anyone so attired, odds are you've just bumped into Hugin...



As a sharp-eyed, attractive and intelligent reader of this fine Blog you'll have spotted the reference to Smell The Stench in the title, which might naturally lead to to assume that the Australian label of the same name has some involvement here. Well, this particular set actually originates in South Korea rather than from Australia although Nazgul understands that there was (and maybe still is?) a plan for a slightly different version of this release to emerge on Leigh Stench's label at some point, although nothing has apparently been confirmed one way or another. Time, as they say, will tell.

The original ribbon-tied packaging...
The Castle's resident monkey informs me that an anagram of the words 'smell the stench battlefield' produces the rather apt phrase, "hell-bent, tactless filth", on which dubious note Nazgul shall take his leave...

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