Thursday, 23 May 2013

ANCIENT MEMORIES

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Ancient Memories
Format: 2 substantial wooden box-sets released in 2013 on the Fallen Angels Productions label (South Korea).  There are two versions of this box-set - one with full colour inlays, one with black and white - containing exactly the same releases but with different artwork between boxes.  Both sets come with 2 professional CDr discs, 4 cassette tapes, a woven Uruk Hai patch, and 10 band logo stickers.  The boxes have labels stuck onto a recess in the box-lid with cover artwork, and on the inside of the lid with the content listing.  The catalogue reference for both sets is FAP033.
Edition: There were only 22 unnumbered sets produced in total: 10 colour sets, and 12 black and white sets

Contents:
CD1. Lothlorien  01:15:50    
CD2. Uruk-Hai (Parts I to VIII)  01:08:55    
Tape 1. The Battle  01:01:00
Tape 2: Black Blood, White Hand  01:22:11        
Tape 3. Lost Songs from Middle Earth  47:46   
Tape 4. In Durin's Halls  57:52 

An eclectic compilation is a fair summary of this recent Fallen Angels Productions release, capturing material from Uruk Hai from the earliest days ("In Durin's Halls", 1999 and later re-mastered) through releases in the mid 2000s up to "Black Blood, White Hand" of 2009.  Not exactly 'ancient memories' then, in the strict sense of the phrase, even allowing for Nazgul's rapidly failing powers of recollection.  Indeed, those of you on the ball with your own collections will doubtless have snaffled up the recently reissued 3"CDr set of "Lothlorien" that came out in 2012, and there have been a few versions of "In Durin's Halls" kicking about in recent years too.  

Nevertheless, what you can't doubt is the quality of the final product released by South Korean label Fallen Angels Productions, which is rapidly becoming one of THE independent labels to watch for high quality packaging of underground releases.  Such sets don't come cheap, mind you, particularly when they contain multiple items and have a wooden box wrapped around them, but I really don't think you could quibble too much with laying down a few shekels to bring these little beauties home.

Nazgul - being the compulsive collector that he is - plumped for both sets to augment his burgeoning collection.  Given the choice between the two, however, the sensible money would almost certainly be on the colour version.  There's absolutely no difference in the musical content, so nothing to choose between the pair there, but the artwork themes are entirely different as the remainder of this post will shortly demonstrate.  

The colour version art is themed around fantasy artwork (very probably based on some classic Middle Earth images), whilst the black and white images are more grainy/gloomy images of landscapes and buildings (though it shares the same colour CDr disc sported in the colour set).  Both work well enough, and if a colour pressing didn't exist I don't think the monochrome artwork would be overly criticised, but place them side by side and it becomes a no-brainer to Nazgul.  Still, horses for courses as they say, and if the black and white images float your boat more then good luck to you!

Many hundreds of words have been written about the individual releases - and in some cases re-re-re releases of the releases! - in the past, and if you are sufficiently motivated to re-read these past reviews then fire up the search box to the right of the Blog and have a little trip down (ancient) memory lane.  Otherwise, sit back with a steaming cup of your toddy of preference and feast your eyes on the contents of these two great compilations.  Who knows, if you are sufficiently moved to want to own one then there could even be a few remaining at the label or with Hugin himself, although Nazgul suspects such a limited edition of copies would have sold out pretty quickly...

Let the artwork begin...!

Colour box-set

Lothlorien
The Uruk-Hai
The Battle
Black Blood, White Hand
Lost Songs From Middle Earth
In Durins Halls

Monochrome box-set

Lothlorien
The Uruk Hai
The Battle
Black Blood, White Hand
Lost Songs From Middle Earth
In Durins Halls

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