Thursday, 21 February 2013

POWER OF THE RING / THE ONE RING


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Power Of The Ring
Format: This release comes with two elements: a cassette tape "Power Of The Ring" with the title track in 2 parts, plus an accompanying DVDr called "The One Ring" with .WAV files of this song and other ring-themed songs. The tape was released by W.A.R. Productions in 2011. The DVDr disc comes with a black and white inlay inside a plastic wallet.
Edition: Limited to 7 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:
Cassette
Side A
01. Power of the Ring (part 1)
Side B
02. Power of the Ring (part 2)

DVDr
01. Lord Of The Rings
02. Wrath Of The Ring
03. Power Of The Ring (part 1)
04. Power Of The Ring (part 2)

Leaving the Castle library by the doors in the west wing, one finds oneself in a dimly lit, wood panelled corridor flanked by portraits of Nazgul's antecedents and various ephemera that includes ad hoc marble busts and dusty suits of armour. The corridor splits in twain after a minute's walk, the left fork heading ultimately to the western ramparts (home of siege canon and boiling pitch), the right fork leading to a stout oak door closed securely with formidable bolts and locks. The brave of heart who would venture inside this room will find but a single wooden table in the middle of the floor, fixed upon which are oiled leather straps and other fastenings. Above the table is positioned an array of speakers, from which music/sound emanates on demand. 

This, dear readers, is the Advance Listening Room, where the works of Hugin are previewed to select 'volunteers', who are plucked from outlying villages by the resident Castle monkey. Visitors to this room are rarely found in a entirely sane mental state again, particularly following prolonged exposure to Bonemachine releases, hence the presence of a small metal chute in the corner of the room through which victims .... errr, sorry, volunteers that is .... can be speedily dispatched to the blessed mercy offered by the soundless depths of the inky-black moat below.

The reason for this brief foray into the internal architecture of the Castle comes as a result of Nazgul's casual stroll down the west corridor only the other day, when it became apparent the monkey was entertaining a guest in this most foreboding of rooms. Pausing briefly at the door to listen to the events unfolding within, Nazgul was interested to discern sprawling, epic ambient sounds reverberating around the chamber, similar in feel and scope to releases such as "Lebensende: Winter" and "Cirith Ungol". Admittedly the screams of the incumbent made it hard to hear some of the quieter passages, or to form a clear opinion whether the music was being fully appreciated, but the sense of shadowy evil and growing malevolence was almost palpable, with wave after wave of unease and dread wafting through the corridor like expensive perfume. After but a moments pause, it became clear that one of Nazgul's recent acquisitions - "Power Of The Ring" - was being aired in all of its glory, and fittingly Middle-Earth it sounded too as it echoed within this ancient stone bastion.

"Power Of The Ring" is a lengthy piece to say the least, spanning both sides of the cassette tape, so the Castle monkey had plenty of time to test out the new sonic system that has been recently installed. And Lo! the sound was good, and fans of Uruk-Hai will surely feast their ears (if such a mixed metaphor is possible) on this offering. Nazgul certainly heard no complaints from the guest of honour, but given the long drawn out scream that faded out to a distant faint splash, the effective airing of complaints was always going to be difficult during a one-way trip to the moat. Recently Nazgul has observed the monkey experimenting with the sound system, in part to find the optimum range at which to broadcast Hugin's music but in part (Nazgul suspects) in pursuit of his ongoing and covert experiments to identify and deploy the hypothetical 'Brown Note') on the unwary. May the Dark Lord protect us all should that experiment come to fruition.

In terms of presentation the artwork on both elements of this release is excellent: the tape portrays the One Ring atop hallowed halls of Tolkien grandeur, whilst the DVDr artwork is similarly atmospheric with its illustration of an Elven warrior. Once again, Hugin's execution when it comes to musical product remains unsurpassed. Wagner's Ring Cycle is deemed to be a milestone in the classical music canon, so perhaps Hugin's ring-themed equivalent as contained on these mp3 files may prove to the the ambient blackened counterpart?! Wagner's effort spanned 16 hours of music across 4 different operas, and whilst requiring significant stamina to get through it's not so different in duration to some of the Uruk Hai multi-disc box-sets that have come our way recently. Hmmmm, Alexander "Wagner" Wieser it is, then.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Nazgul will have to go and make sure that the maintenance orcs are taking care of the business of fishing the body out of the moat - suitably prepared, it should prove to be a most tasty morsel for dinner tonight...

...and for those who've noticed a slight difference in the background to photograph of the tape, a quick explanation: Nazgul's own copy has gone missing!  Last seen on a desk in the library, it has now vanished without trace.  Junior Nazgul is one immediate candidate behind this misdeed, with the rogue monkey the second obvious suspect.  Interrogations will follow shortly...

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