Tuesday, 11 June 2013

LEGACY OF THE TYRANT

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Legacy Of The Tyrant
Format: There are two pressings of this box-set release, both in similar formats.  The first pressing was from 2011 on the Kadaath Records label (Russia), cat ref Kadaath23, with picture discs.  This was followed by a second pressing on the Ancient Ceremonies/Tryby label (Poland) in 2012 with 3 vinyl style CDr discs and 2 photo inserts.  Both versions are housed in a DVD-sized box with the same colour cover artwork. The Tryby pressing also adds a bonus 3"CDr with one additional song.
Edition: Both versions limited to 20 copies

Track Listing:
Both versions contain the following 3 discs:

CD 1
01. In Durins Halls (demo, 1999, re-mastered 2004)  36.47
Chapter 1: Einleitung
Chapter 2: Kortirion
Chapter 3: Durins Halls
Chapter 4: Uruk-Hai
Chapter 5: Nordhimmelstag
Chapter 6: Moria
Chapter 7: Rusklang
02. Uruk-Hai, Part 2 (unreleased rehearsal track, 2000)  3.57
03. Of Thingol And Melian (demo track, 2000, re-mastered 2004)  21.27
04. Galadriel (demo track, 2002)  1.38
05. Orkisch Blut (demo track, 2004)  6.33
06. Battle-March (demo track, 2000)  1.34

CD 2
01. Die Legende... (demo track, 2004)  14.52
Chapter 1: ...Iron Ilbenwald
Chapter 2: Khazad-Dum
Chapter 3: Lin Licht Geboren Ward
Chapter 4: Nordhimmel
Chapter 5: Die Berge
Chapter 6: Der Ring
02. Waldelben (unreleased rehearsal track, 2000)  1.02
03. Song From The Woods (demo, 2004)  24.34
04. Midgard Warriors (rehearsal demo, 2000/2005)  15.10
05. The Ene (unreleased rehearsal track, 2004)  4.18
06. Midgard Warriors (unreleased different version, 2000)  17.49

CD 3
01. Fangorn (unreleased demo version, 2003)  67.00
Chapter 1: Enter Fangorn
Chapter 2: The Spirit Of Wood
Chapter 3: Elvenpath
Chapter 4: A Light Into The Darkness
02. Wintersunset (unreleased rehearsal track, 2005)  7.39

The Tryby pressing adds:

Bonus 3" CDr
01. Uruk-Hai, Part 8  9.55

The existence of a compilation called "Legacy Of The Tyrant" is now firmly enshrined in Uruk Hai folklore, and has has a number of false dawns over the years.  The original plans were set down circa 2005 by the now defunct Dragon's Breath Records label, established by Padre Adamo (the same chap who recorded Manwe's "First Battle" demo with Hugin), following the release of the Uruk Hai "Dragons Of War" demo. 

They described the proposed format of the release as a three-disc CDr demo compilation that would come in a DVD box with a patch, a poster, a sticker, a signed photo-card and an inlay card.  It was to be limited to 99 copies only and contain more than 220 minutes of rare and unreleased music to capture the history of the first years of Uruk Hai.

When this project came to naught, Hugin mooted an alternative vision some years later of releasing a monstrous 40CD box set compiling all of the Uruk Hai output under this same title.  Such a wallet-withering project would be an awesome release but almost impossible to market in sufficient numbers to make any money on it, so the idea quietly gave way to the veritable swarm of individual Uruk Hai box-set compilations that we've seen pop up on Honour and Darkness ever since.

Kadaath first pressing

All of which leads us nicely to this collection.  The "Legacy Of The Tyrant" box-sets are a really nicely thought out collection of songs, featuring tracks drawn from a variety of albums in that 'classic' period of recorded output from 2002-2005.  There are songs from well known demos (e.g. "A Night In The Forest") and less well known ones,  together with some items to make the collectors mouth go dry - previously unreleased songs!  

The recordings broadly date from 2000, 2003 and 2005.  Some are demo versions of existing songs - so not strictly new in the sense of never being heard before - and falling notably into this category is 'Fangorn' from CD3 and 'Midguard Warriors' from CD2.  Amusingly, most of the online references to this box-set refer to the two tracks on CD2 as Widguard rather than Midguard - clearly something lost in translation during the first internet posting, which has been perpetuated ever since.

Nazgul's two copies of this epic release also share something unique in common - the distinct aroma of real ale and a little damage!  During a spot of blogging in the castle library during a dark and stormy night, an errant elbow led to a flagon of ale being spilled all over the work surface, and wetting a myriad of items including these two demos.  Fortunately the damage is light and only around the edges of the inlays, but a bit of a bugger nevertheless!

Anyway, back to the contents: in terms of the previously available material, it's all top-notch stuff albeit it available on a number of previous releases.  Quite whether the world needs another compilation with the "In Durin's Halls" demo on it is debatable, although I suppose there must be interested customers out there who don't already have it on CD already?  Having the 'Die Legende' track (from the "Nazgul" split with Vinterriket) is rather a nice addition though, and sounds as good now as it did then.  

Likewise, the "Songs From The Woods" from 2004 has received a recent tape reissue in the last few years on Depressive Illusions, but is a welcome (and wonderful) song for this collection.  Add in a previously unreleased demo version of 'Fangorn' from the epic "A Night In The Forest" and you have another of Hugin's early epic masterpieces on tape to deliver some chills up the spine.

The previously unreleased material broadly spans two camps: different versions of previously released pieces, and brand new never-before-heard songs.  Of the latter, the dreamy 'Wintersunset' is perhaps the pick of the bunch with its Enya-like feel and mellowness, but let's be honest any new material is worth its weight in gold and nothing here disappoints: it's ambient Tolkien goodness all the way!

TryBy second pressing, with bonus disc and photo cards

In overall terms, one or other of these collections would happily grace any collection of Hugin's music and - through clever pairing of new with old - offers something new for everyone, even seasoned old hacks like Nazgul.  On that basis alone it's a set well worth hunting down, and of course if you can find the 2nd pressing you'll benefit from the additional 3"CDr too, with its lively 'Uruk Hai Part 8'.

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