Sunday, 17 May 2015

...AND IN THE DARKNESS BIND THEM


Band: URUK HAI
Title: ...And In The Darkness Bind Them
Format: A proposed split CD release with Finnish band Valar, circa 2005. The colour artwork and inlays had all been designed but not released: the split was destined to appear in tape-only format on the AMF label renamed as "Enslaved In Evil Darkness".  An alternative tape version of the split (with different art and content) was also planned, on the Lifeless Productions (USA) label, but this too was unreleased.  
Edition: Neither CD nor tape version released

Proposed Track Listing (CD version):
Uruk Hai
'Enslaved In Evil Darkness'
01. Out Of The Shire
02. Dark (Are The Fires Of Mordor)
03. Underneath The Stars
04. Orc March

Valar
'To Whatever End'
01. Last Shore Falling
02. Deadwood Burning
03. The Wind From The Sea
04. At The Grey Havens

#19 From the Vaults of W.A.R.

This previously unseen body of artwork helps ties together one of the more long-standing mysteries to plague Nazgul over the years spent collecting Hugin's work.  

But first, just to be clear, this post is NOT about the 6CD Uruk Hai box-set of the same name released by Fallen Angels Productions in 2012.  That compilation brought together a group of Ring-related demos from Uruk Hai into a nice box set which Nazgul has still not yet found the time to review that release here on Honour and Darkness, so confusion will doubtless reign as I now merrily reference you from that one as yet unreviewed box-set to a second version on CD that was never released, via a third tape version that is shrouded in mystery!  Oh well, keeps you on your toes I guess...


Anyway, let's get back to the story at hand and put to bed (finally!) the mystery of the tape.  For some time - and Nazgul is talking about 8 or 9 years now - there have been persistent rumours online that a split release between Uruk Hai and Valar that was called "...And In The Darkness Bind Them" existed.  Long and diligent searches in all of the usual haunts failed to turn up a physical copy of this item, although as the search went on it became clear that the references being made were to a 'bootleg' cassette tape release on the American Lifeless Productions label that (i) was supposedly released circa 2006, and (ii) in a limited edition of 100 copies.

I remember chatting to Hugin about this a couple of years ago, and what became clear is that had the Lifeless tape been issued it wouldn't really have been a bootleg at all as its development was well known to Hugin.  What seems to have scuppered it's actual release was the label going out of business (it is presumed) shortly before the tape could be produced.  Hugin also mentioned that there had been plans for Lifeless to release a double-tape version of "Upon The Elysian Fields" too, but their demise put paid to that plan as well.  
However, fear not - Nazgul has actually got the artwork for that proposed release too, and it's existence (courtesy of the extensive W.A.R. archives) will be covered in a future post.  

What is interesting is that on the Uruk Hai side of the Lifeless "...And In The Darkness Bind Them" split (you'll have to squint hard, or just trust me on this) the fourth song is listed as 'Morgoth', which is different to the fourth track on the 'official but unreleased' CD version that Hugin had been planning.   And - if you really want the complete version of events - the actual final release "Enslaved In Evil Darkness" only ever had three songs on the Uruk Hai side anyway, so neither of the fourth songs made it to the official version.

It's time to call this mystery 'solved', and also give some credit back to Lifeless Productions who seem to have been tarnished with insinuations of being a 'bootleg' label when the truth is somewhat different.

All of which leads us back to the actual subject of today's post, namely the unused artwork for the proposed compact disc version of this split release.  An intriguing wooded path photograph makes up the cover art, and the inlays sport a profusion of runic script that you're more than welcome to translate should you be feeling energetic.  Some fine specimens of orcs adorn the covers too, and all in all it would have made for a striking release - more so, in fact, than the rather more subdued black and white artwork that accompanied the actual AMF Productions tape. 


The only physical evidence you'll find for this tape release is the inlay artwork reproduced below.  Nazgul apologies for the small picture, but that's the only copy I can find! 


The fourth song in the Uruk Hai track listing on the proposed CD is 'Orc-March', whose history and derivation was - you may recall - discussed within an earlier From The Vaults of W.A.R. review, namely "...Set Sail Upon The Deep Waters". Indeed, the other 3 songs from this demo were also due to feature on that one; a fairly typical situation in Hugin's ever-complicated discography!



The origin of the title "...And In The Darkness Bind Them" is Tolkien (did you imagine it was anything other?!) and is, of course, the last line in the formula inscribed on the One Ring:

"One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all,
And in the darkness bind them"



It's also the title of a 2009 tribute album to Austrian black metal legends Summoning and in which a cover of 'Farewell' is sung by none other than Hildr Valkyrie, who by way of coincidence has also worked with Hugin on a number of Uruk Hai releases ("United" and "Lothlorien" to name but two) as well as proving vocals on the somewhat more obscure "Little Boy" release from Bonemachine.  

And in such quirks of fate are interesting connections between apparently different bands and releases made.


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