Wednesday, 20 May 2015

MORGOTH - update

Title: Morgoth
Format: A reissue on CDr by the Depressive Illusions label (Ukraine), cat ref cut1133, released in July 2013.  It comes with colour covers in a DVD-size box.
Edition: 33 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
01. Morgoth  59.15

The gestation of "Morgoth" is one not atypical in the Uruk Hai discography.  First appearing as part of the insanely limited promo-only "Orkstahl" package, it eventually appeared in it's own right as a commercial release courtesy of the Wulfrune Worxx tape pressing of 2009

Now (or rather, in 2013!) it was subject to a reissue on CDr format on the Depressive Illusions label, and resplendent in new artwork.  Thus a promo-only song became a fully fledged release through the intervention of multiple labels - it's business as usual, folks!

Previous Honour and Darkness posts have detailed the role that Morgoth - the 'Black Foe of the World' - had to play in The Silmarillion and Tolkien's other works.  Which then leaves us with potentially the shortest ever post in Honour and Darkness history, for when it comes to a detailed consideration of the music there's ... well, not an awful lot one can add to what's already been written.  

To give you an indication of Nazgul's predicament, let's first refresh our memory about what was previously written about it:

'It's one of those releases that you can play the first few times and thoroughly enjoy, yet not be able to recall much of it when the tape finally clicks off at the end of either side. Equally, and in contradiction to that last statement, it's also the sort of album that would be excellent heard through a pair of quality headphones late at night whilst in a more contemplative mood, with time on your side to analyse and focus upon it properly'

To put that into modern context, Nazgul undertook to revisit this album over the past week on his journey from Castle Nazgul to a favourite hunting ground, a journey time of some 30 minutes or so each way.  On the outward journey it was - quite literally - the sound of silence.  There is so much light ambient nuance for the first half of the piece that in a car - with other background road noise - it is almost impossible to discern anything going on at all.  

The return journey - and thus second half an hour of the music - offers limited musical pyrotechnics too, and it all plays out at a very low ebb.  Even sticking the volume on full blast led to very little of note being detected, particularly over the first half of the piece, and indeed this proved to be a disastrous strategy on one occasion when - straining to hear even a whisper of music above the tyre roar - an unexpected traffic announcement came booming out of the speakers, causing Nazgul to swear and swerve simultaneously.

All things considered, "Morgoth" does put Nazgul in mind of the famous quotation from WWI, in which war itself was described "'as long periods of boredom punctuated by short moments of excitement', which might sound rather damning but really is just a reflection of the quietly ambient nature of the thing.  Not, as it turns out, the best companion on an hour long car journey!

As ever Depressive Illusions have made a good fist of producing an attractive looking package, and the snowy design complements that of its companion piece "Balrog", which Nazgul reviewed in October last year.

'Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.'  Helen Keller

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