Friday, 29 January 2016


Title: Follow The Wind
Format: A plain silver CDr in colour cover housed inside a transparent plastic wallet, released in 2015 on the Smell The Stench label (Australia), no catalogue number.
Edition: Hand-numbered to 22 copies only

Track Listing:
01. Follow The Wind  5.00
Bonus Track
02. Das Raetsel  3.04

"May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks"  
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)

With high winds and storms battering the ramparts of Castle Nazgul in recent days, it seems to be a timely moment indeed to pluck a wind-related CD from the archives for perusal.  And when a label by the name of Smell The Stench unleash a CD called "Follow The Wind" you just know there's going to be trouble ahead!  But let's quickly move past a detour into flatulence related jokes and into the meat and potatoes of this latest Uruk Hai review!

'Twas back in September last when Nazgul did review the full-length release "The Dusk, The Dawn, The Earth, The Sun..." upon which 'Follow The Wind' sits, and Lo!  It was rated as good!  In actual fact, the precise words used were:

"It's worth pointing out that if Hugin did singles then 'Follow The Wind' would be a clear front runner for that accolade, and would have a pretty fair chance of charting somewhere too I would imagine, as it's packed with tasty guitar licks and lovely keyboard melodies and something that sounds like a dulcimer early on in the piece too.  Priceless!"  

The song remains similarly wonderful here, in what is going to be the nearest thing to an Uruk Hai single we're likely to see, I'd wager.  With a limitation of 22 copies, mind you, it's unlikely to dent the charts of even the smallest island nation, but what the hell - it's a nice collectible piece and good on Leigh Stench for putting it out there.

Hidden away on what traditionally would be called the b-side of this disc is a hidden track 'Das Raetsel', or 'The Riddle'.  Initial hopes that it might be a metalized version of Nik Kershaw's 80's classic dashed, what we discover instead is a piece rampant with old-school Uruk Hai keyboard riffs.  You could quite easily imagine some of this music on demos from 14 years ago, which is by no means meant as a criticism as it lends the song a really traditional feel in the overall body of Uruk Hai work.  Dark, brooding and memorable - all good in my book.

Vocals on this bonus song - which snap and snarl in German like a rabid Münsterländer - are credited to Asche, who turns out to be Dan, of Aschefrühling Records.  Well, they certainly make the song boundlessly more evil than without them, though quite what he is terrifying us about I couldn't say.  One imagines it might be something more profound than our recently encountered friend Nik Kershaw, whose 'riddling' lyrics  caused much puzzlement and speculation among listeners as to their meaning; subsequently, and with commendable honesty, Kershaw claims that there is in fact no meaning at all, simply being a "guide vocal" thrown together to fit the music. Kershaw has stated: "In short, 'The Riddle' is nonsense, rubbish, bollocks, the confused ramblings of an 80's popstar."

A small but interesting digression, and thank you for indulging your poor old Uncle Nazgul, who remembers spending whole minutes of his life back in the day wondering what the hell Mr Kershaw was blathering on about.

To finish what is rapidly becoming an even more incoherent ramble than normal, let us both consider and then complement the most excellent cover art for this release. Absolutely outstanding in colouring and composition, a landscape so atmospheric you can't help but wish to go and stand in it. A good job done there, no question.

By the way, there's been a bit of a rush around Castle Nazgul with various other demands and pressures on time , leading to rather a gap since the last post.  Nothing for you to worry about, dear readers, just the peaks and troughs of life and work.  A semi-normal service will hopefully be resumed in the months ahead!

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