Thursday, 26 February 2015

SONGS OF BLISS


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Songs Of Bliss
Format: A cassette tape-only release from 2014 on the Aschefruehling Records label (Germany), no catalogue reference, single-sided colour cover on thick photographic paper.
Edition: Hand numbered to 40 copies only

Track Listing:
01. Days Of Bliss  2.54
02. The Great Battle  3.42
03. Music Of The Ainur  3.41
04. The Wars Of Beleriand  6.17
05. Ring Of Water  3.21

You always feel that Honour and Darkness hits its true purpose in life when something like this pops up in the Uruk Hai discography - a good old fashioned tape EP release, in a hand-numbered limited edition, showcasing tracks from forthcoming releases and adding in the odd nugget for good measure.

Timing wise Nazgul can't immediately remember whether this cassette preceded the CD's from which the majority of tracks are drawn, but the likelihood is it did as that's become rather a tradition in recent years: Hugin whets our appetite using a limited edition tape release ahead of some multi-dimensional sonic attack on CD that follows thereafter.

"Songs Of Bliss" would fit rather neatly into this pattern, so let's cross our fingers and hope for the best!  Other than the instrumental title track which appears unique to this tape, the remaining four songs will be familiar to you as being on compact disc releases of 2014: 'Music Of The Ainur' appears on the split release with Black Jade, "The Sadness Of Fallen Leaves", whilst the remaining three songs are on the epic album "The Fellowship".  They remain splendid songs, and it's always a pleasure to revisit quality music!

These four Uruk Hai songs are interesting as they contain vocals, and orc-like harsh vocals at that, unlike the majority of contemporary Uruk Hai songs that are instrumental tracks.  This in of itself is no bad thing, as it keeps us - the loyal band of followers - on our toes and demonstrates another useful weapon in Hugin's arsenal. And if it's instrumental tunes you want, then the 'Songs Of Bliss' will fill the void with just under three minutes of lush opulence that will have you mellowing out in the midst of all manner of reveries.

The cover artwork is interesting, in as far as it's more in the naturalistic vein of recent Hrefnesholt releases than the more 'typical' Uruk Hai cover of late.  That said, Hugin is never one to typecast himself so who knows what we should expect on the next release....?

All in all, a most excellent release that makes for a handy bite-sized portion of recent Uruk Hai goodness without the need to juggle compact discs to achieve it.  A tasting dish before the next main course, as it were...

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