Tuesday, 17 March 2015

TALES FROM THE CATACOMBS VOL 1 [V/A]


Band: URUK HAI and ILL
Title: Tales From The Catacombs Vol. 1 [Various Artists]
Format: Free online compilation on Bandcamp from Greek label Black Death Industry, made available on 23 December 2014.
Edition: Unlimited (whilst available for download)

Track Listing:
01. Backyard Ghost  *  First Signs of Infection 06:20    
02. Sonologyst  *  Nephilim 06:40    
03. Gnomula Larvae  *  Diary 09:27    
04. URUK-HAI  *  Ringwraiths 13:13    
05. Cadlag  *  Asbestopluma 07:10    
06. 0  *  Demon 05:36    
07. Ruairi O'Baoighill  *  Black Prayer 06:03    
08. Sound Awakener  *  Dark Ages 04:52    
09. A Bleeding Star  *  Lovecraftian Madness Dwell'd Deep Within the Halls of Cumbria's Cavernous Mountains 06:51    
10. Oneirich  *  Nigrum Mortem 04:05    
11. Mean Flow  *  Empty Tired 04:39    
12. Phantasm Nocturnes  *  The Dance Macabre 03:40    
13. Dr.NoiseM  *  Death Noise Field 03:20    
14. Actarus Aksam  *  Hiuli 06:42    
15. T.R.I.v.M.  *  Hopeless 04:04    
16. ILL  *  Bleak 11:22    
17. Schattenspiel  *  King Pest 04:08    
18. M.Nomized  *  The Ossuary 09:44    
19. Der Domestizierte Mensch  *  Die with a Smile 08:00    
20. DruhaSmrt  *  Twilight Shines From Bones 07:19    
21. Midnightradio11  *  Do They Know It's Ebola Time 04:41    
22. Shotgun Suicide Victim  *  The Program Approaches The Wired 04:28    
23. V M Project  *  Searching for Gods Existence in Quarks 05:57    
24. SiJ  *  Black Wind 04:50    
25. Northwind  *  Underworld 10:47    
26. Bonechurch  *  Upon Plague Winds 07:18    
27. Caveja  *  Sacred Flame Rituals 06:26    
28. Hedge Wizard  *  Huffing Petrichor 04:13    
29. Nix's Eyes  *  Crypts of Torture and Death 04:11    
30. Hope Every Day  *  Funeral 05:53    
31. Meseonas  *  Ghosts of Transylvania 03:00    
32. Sardonic Zendik  *  Ohreule 03:21    
33. Steven Olaf  *  The Sinking Feeling 03:30    
34. Ashtoreth  *  Seance VIII: Channeling Black Bone 06:06    
35. Balrog  *  Across the Misty Mountains of Moria 04:21    
36. Unsung  *  Through the Sorrow 06:20    
37. Muldeponie  *  Awakening of Dragons 04:40    

Another staggeringly vast online compilation for your delight, this time courtesy of Greek label Black Death Industry.  Their Bandcamp page details the fare on offer, which spans the gamut of ambient, black metal, dark ambient, doom, drone and ambient ritual genres.  A little something for everyone, then!

Our principal interest comes from the inclusion at track 4 of Uruk Hai, and at track 16 of the recently resurrected project ILL.

Now ILL we crossed swords with recently with their song 'JOY', and a welcome return to the fold it was to see their name back in Hugin's active projects list.  'Bleak' - the offering here - is also available as a self-titled physical release in it's own right, so whilst you're very welcome to point your browser towards the Greek mainland and listen to this song for yourself courtesy of Black Death, Nazgul is going to hold fire and deal with it in a post of its own in due course.

So instead let us delve into the murky depths of 'Ringwraiths' from Uruk Hai, which has been floating around as a free clip on Facebook for a while now too.  In terms of an actual physical release, however, only a couple of one-off bespoke copies have been floating around so far of this song, one of which is a special box-set version with a dedicated collector in Spain (you know who you are!) and the other (in a different format) lurks in Castle Nazgul.  This is, therefore, the first 'proper' outing for this 13:13 long epic.

And it's not your typical Uruk Hai song, this one.  After some subterranean sounding crashes and bangs, a choir of unhappy souls pipe up a dirge whilst sombre and melancholy musical misery abounds!  None of your tinkling bells and shimmering cascades of keyboards for this outing, as noted in recently reviewed albums!  And quite right too, as a gathering of Ring-Wraiths is a pretty grim affair, let Nazgul tell you from his personal experience.  Well, you only need to revisit Tolkien's description from The Silmarillion to get the idea that getting the nine of us together is hardly likely to lead to an impromptu knees-up:

"Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death"

Truly a case of being as far away from 'Yo dude, where's the kegger?!' as it would be possible to get!

The song continues with an augmentation of male choirs, some cavernous percussion and then deep blasphemous vocals vaguely reminiscent of those of Spanish black metal band Lugburg, sans lisp.  Parping keyboards add a somewhat regal air, and in a nutshell there you have it.

Not necessarily the most easy to remember Uruk Hai song you'll have heard this year, nor one that's easy to hum along to after it's ended, but one possessing a power and darkness nevertheless that fits well with the content of this compilation and demonstrates the variety of music that Hugin is able to generate within this highly regarded project.

Despite all of this wondrous majesty and splendour, however, the real hidden treasure on this compilation is A Bleeding Star for the brilliant title of their contribution: 'Lovecraftian madness dwell'd deep within the halls of Cumbria's cavernous mountains'.  Genius!  Nazgul defies any song with such a title to suck, and indeed this track has an unwholesome atmosphere that's hard to beat.  A Bleeding Star, it is written, is a dark-ambient-Gothic-experimental project created in 2008 wherein its creator - and I quote - "usually only works with his own gathering of ghosts, spectres, spirits & wraiths."  Mad as a hatter, God bless him!  Bring on a collaboration with WACH and world domination will surely follow....

Also of note is Balrog, at track 35, who may yet prove to be the very same band that have a split release with Uruk Hai in the works as I type.

Highly recommended, this compilation, and one to get your juices flowing over.

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