Friday, 1 May 2015

LEGENDS OF FIRE & DEATH


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Legends Of Fire & Death
Format: A 3" CDr release on the Smell The Stench label (Australia) from 2013, no catalogue reference.  It has two glossy colour inlay panels, front and rear, and the 3 inch disc is held inside within a white paper envelope.
Edition: 20 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
01. A Lonely Place To Die  3:12
02. Breath Of Fire  8:31
03. Elbenlicht  2:26

Another little delight from the ever prolific Uruk Hai project: this 3" CDr was released in 2013 by lovable nutter Leigh Stench (of Smell The Stench renown) as part of a small series of releases in this format, all now long sold out and dispersed around the globe.

"Legends Of Fire & Death" has a running time of under 15 minutes, so if you're in the mood for a quick bit of blackened ambiance in the morning before work then this is the ideal little CD for you.  Convenient, and it does what it says on the tin!

Let's start with shortest song 'Elbenlicht', a sparkling jewel of a piano based melody, illuminating the pathways of Fangorn as it goes.  Not to be confused with the longer 'Elbenlicht' from 4-way split release "Guardians Of The Rings", this is a little gem of a song and - much like a good miniskirt - what it shows in its brevity is its strength.

'A Lonely Place To Die' is also a short track, again a pure instrumental one, and packed with an overbearing sort of maudlin that indeed directs your imagination to thoughts of death and solitude.  If the aim of the game was to depress then it's a job well done here, that's for certain!  Much like the terminally morose tune that was Rezs┼Ĺ Seress' so-called suicide song 'Gloomy Sunday' from 1933, listening to this song is not to be risked if you're feeling down or even remotely out of sorts.  

I'm sure there are all sorts of clever compositional reasons why this tune has the effect that it does, but I fear you'd need a musician or psychologist to explain those to you.  Suffice to say, it's chilling and melancholy, and if you've ever wondered how it might feel to be curled up and alone in a barren corner of the Lonely Mountains waiting for your imminent demise then this song probably gets you as close to that feeling as you'd really ever want to be...

Which leaves us with middle track, 'Breath Of Fire', the longest on the disc by some margin and rather a diverse thing too.  Part ambient, part drone, part Hugin and part something else, it's all rather odd really.  With a title that more than alludes to dragons, and passages of the song that could easily be actual field recordings of - well - the passage of a dragon, it's a track that will leave you scratching your beard and reaching for the play button to hear it all again, just to make sure you didn't miss anything the last time around.

A very nice little release indeed, and another nicely presented and highly limited edition collectible from the esteemed STS label.

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