Sunday, 17 August 2014

ABLAZE VOL. 8 [V/A]


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Voice Of Underground Volume 8 [Various Artists]
Format:  Silver pressed CD in card sleeve, released as a sampler disc on Ablaze Magazine (Germany) in 2009, no catalogue reference.  Contains bands from a variety of German and European metal labels including No Colours Records and , as well as self-released tracks (such as Uruk Hai).  
Edition: unknown

Track Listing:
01.  Auf Dem Schwarzen Thron  *  The Fear Deep Inside  
02.  Balest  *  L Surëdl Va Do Ju  
03.  Dodsfall  *  Alt Er Slutt  
04.  Hunting Season  *  Rise Of The Empire  
05.  Ildra  *  Rice Fter Orum  
06.  Inquisition  *  Crepuscular Battle Hymn  
07.  Insane Vesper  *  Thousand Plagues  
08.  Intestine Baalism  *  The Genuine Tone  
09.  Kirchenbrand  *  Koitus Orbita  
10.  Kriegshetzer  *  Kameradschaft  
11.  Mind Asylum  *  Seul Le Silence  
12.  Natrach  *  Where The Howling Winds Reign  
13.  Necrohell  *  In Black Death's Embrace  
14.  Nocturnal Degrade  *  Escape The Light  
15.  Pensées  *  Nocturnes Hel  
16.  Sferslav  *  U Pamyat Bilih Liley  
17.  Sieghetnar  *  Versunkenheit  
18.  Todfeind  *  Fleisch Ist Nicht Fleisch  
19.  Uruk-Hai  *  Death Is Just Another Path  
20.  Vargrimm  *  Namenlos  
21.  Vidar  *  Knecht Des Herrn  
22.  Wacht  *  Güstizia, Per La Vardà  

Another day, another compilation CD featuring Uruk Hai, though one that has a particularly noisy and vicious spread of bands upon it (Uruk Hai's contribution is by some considerable margin the mellowest entry here) should that be your thing.  The song in question is 'Death Is Just Another Path' and will be familiar to one and all given its recurrence in Honour and Darkness over the years as a very limited release in its own right (at the release party for "Black Blood White Hand") and one various other compilations.  Good song, classic Hugin.

So what else can Nazgul tell you?  Well, given the opportunity, let's have a delve into the murky past of Ablaze itself.  

As far as I can gather, the original Ablaze 'zine was a German publication that ran from 1994 to 2003, founded initially because the mainstream Metal magazines boycotted Black Metal.  It folded in 2003, but in 2007 another German language music magazine called A-Blaze (later Ablaze) appeared, which specialises in Black and Pagan Metal and describes itself as "The True Voice of Underground".

As ever with publications of this type, controversy reigned.  The first issue was published in September 1994 and included a cover story about Burzum and interviews with the Norwegian groups Immortal, Satyricon, Mortiis, the Greek band Necromantia and the German bands Ungod, Mayhemic Truth and Bethlehem.  The first editions were only available through mail order until they eventually made the leap to selling at train station kiosks and newsagents - one of the first zines so to do - and thus was no longer exclusively available in the 'Underground'. Accordingly, many accused the magazine of selling-out and betraying the Underground.  Ablaze also became embroiled in various accusations alleging anti-Semitic stereotypes.

The magazine offered - and then re-offered in the post 2007 format - in-depth interviews, especially with bands from the Black and Death Metal genre. Under the subtitle of the 'Metallic Voice of the Underground' the magazine also offered occasional reports on other topics, such as H.P. Lovecraft or the always controversial works of Dr. Ragnar Redbeard (a Victorian author whose works often are most often found on banned lists of publications. "Might is Right - the Survival of the Fittest", is his best known work and a case for Social Darwinism. 

It is not a philosophical treatise in the strict sense, but more of a "manifesto" for racism, sexism, the worship of strength and the virtues of war, such as unbridled rapine, extreme unscrupulousness, joy in risk and contempt of danger.  Rights exists, in essence, only for those strong enough to claim them.  One review read: 'This book stands as the pinnacle of human social experience. There is nothing in this book which will not shock, astound, and stupefy the reader; and what's more, said reader will find himself agreeing (albeit grudgingly) with the vast majority of brutal thought promoted therein. This book will shatter your preconceptions, leaving you speechless; and once you put the book down you will never view the world the same way again. Redbeard makes Nietzsche read like Mary Poppins.'  You have been warned!)

In every issue, also one or more of the current crop of 'underground bands' were interviewed and later editions were accompanied by a CD, usually label samplers from the likes of Osmose Productions, No Colours Records or - later, as in this example - specially compiled CDs.  Indeed, the Ablaze website states "In every issue we have a free CD compilation. Do you want to take part with your band? Then write to us!" so one might reasonably assume this is how Uruk Hai ended up on the roster.  Either that, or someone's been pinching Hugin's music without permission again?!
 
Some controversies were fought mainly on the letters pages, one such following an interview with Rob Darken of Graveland, with anti-Semitic and Nazi remarks being bandied around by all parties. As a direct result of this interview (it is said) Graveland lost their record deal with Lethal Records, later switching to No Colours Records . Another problematic interview was conducted by the magazine with the Austrian band Werwolf, who propounded a philosophy modelled on Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the superman. It took Hagen, lead singer of the group, into metaphorical battle with others in the Austrian Black Metal scene, notably Abigor and Summoning. He described Silenius of Summoning as a "fairy" and gave him the advice to "not to get in his way". The background to such playground behaviour was apparently tied up in the politics of the then Austrian Black Metal Syndicate (ABMS), a murky enterprise and a story for another day, perhaps.

Well, that was a ramble and a half for a single song on an obscure compilation, but all part of the service and hopefully of interest to some of you!  Until next time, as our old friend Martin Walkyier of Skyclad would say, "Horns Ablaze, brothers!" 

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