Wednesday, 2 April 2014

UBER DIE NEBELBERGE WEIT...

Band: URUK HAI
Title: Uber Die Nebelberge Weit...
Format: A CDr release in colour covers on the Depressive Illusions label (Ukraine), cat ref cut1216, released in 2013.
Edition: Limited to 33 copies

Track Listing:
01. Nebelberge (Kapital 1 & 2)  15.54
02. Nebelberge (Kapital 3 - 6)  18.57
03. Nebelberge (Kapital 7 & 8)  8.18
04. Covered In Black Fog (Nebelberge Kapital 9)  7.11
05. Nebelberge (Kapital 10)  1.47
06. Durch Folde & Fenmark  15.25

It's a truism to say that for each of us there are specific times in life that resonate more strongly than any other.  It may only take a particular smell, image or experience to bring memories of old flooding back, sometimes painful and sometimes pleasant.  Nazgul, for example, always finds the that the first day in Spring that delivers the sweet smell of blossom and mown grass brings back happy childhood memories of running around in his parent's garden, kicking the decapitated head of a hobbit into a make-shift goal in the pursuit of dreams of football stardom.  Similar childhood memories are evoked by the onset of Autumn, or the first chill airs of Winter.

Equally powerful, and the reason behind this bout of happy reminiscing, is the effect that particular pieces of music can have on one's psyche.  And here's a case in point - the "Uber Die Nebelberge Weit..." album from Uruk Hai.  Literally translating as 'Fog Over The Mountains Far' - let's just call it 'Misty Mountains' - this fine album is said to be a 'long lost recording' from 2004 and successfully brings back every happy memory of the classic Uruk Hai compositions of that time.  

This album positively screams Middle-Earth at you, from the stylish cover artwork (framed with a collage last seen on the very obscure "Land Of The Shadow" split release, also of 2004) to the titles of the songs.  There is so much of the atmosphere of Tolkien's realms on this recording that you can almost hear the swish of Gandalf's cloak and smell the stench of orcs hidden in the mists on mountain passes.

This is a seriously good release, as good as anything of the period that the project recorded.  Well it should be really, as these recordings compile all of Hugin's Misty Mountains-related demo tracks, which were later released in better quality as "Across The Misty Mountains (Far, Far Away...)" on Stuka Sound in 2006.  The overwrought prose about this release from one online shop (which will remain nameless) tells us that "blood freezes in the veins at the sound of clenching steel, a further, more giant battle is fought. The way of the warrior is sealed, created out of flesh and steel, baptized in fire and ice the warlord Uruk-Hai rises with iron force to fight his battle in the land of shadows. Dark Pagan Ambient hymns, mystic and bombastic battle-sounds lead you to deadly moors, rise up high in the sky and chase the dark creatures through enchanted woods. Mighty atmospheres, war-drums, cymbals and fanfares build a symphony like the ride of a Valkyrie. Recorded back in 2004 will tell this album about the long forgotten ode to the magic of the Misty Mountains. Surely a favourite for Lord Of The Rings fanatics!"  Fantastic - 'clenching steel' indeed, both hilarious and painful in equal measure!

If you don't have a copy of this then you really need to head straight off to either the label (Depressive Illusions) or to Hugin himself to purchase one.  However, the one truly strange thing in this happy tale is the limitation placed on the CD: only 33 copies have apparently been released?!  For a recording like this, steeped in elves blood and more heroic than a single-handed assault on Helms Deep, that is a bizarre decision indeed, as it ought to be flying off the shelves to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the project or of this particular genre of music.  The "Across The Misty Mountains" release had an edition of 500 copies by comparison, and Nazgul suspects that the vast majority of those sold pretty well.  Most perplexing, unless the presumption was that anyone interested in this period of the band's history would already own the Stuka Sounds version?

It would also be slightly strange - albeit flying in the face of the advice Nazgul has just proffered - if Depressive Illusions actually had any copies left for sale at this time, really, as you would have to imagine sufficient die-hard fans exist to have snaffled the paltry number of copies up already.  Actually, on the subject of die-hard fans, there were/are two different options available for the purchase of this album from the label: one as the CD by itself, and the other slightly more expensive 'die-hard' option coming with your choice of fabric patch with the Uruk Hai band logo.

If one wanted to be particularly picky there are one or two issues that grate a little, most evident on the final track where the percussion sounds unsuited for the general atmosphere of the song.  But such niggles aside, and allowing for the fact that these were demos after all, Nazgul would unhesitatingly recommend this release to you.  If you can find a copy....


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