Thursday, 16 June 2016

ELVES & ORCS


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Elves & Orcs
Format: Limited edition CDr released on Hugin's own W.A.R. Productions label (Austria) in 2012, cat ref WAR076.  The disc is sandwiched between two glossy front and rear A5 panels, and there are 2 W.A.R. Productions business cards and 20 photographs inserted in the set.
Edition: 11 hand-numbered copies only

Track Listing:
01. Elbenmacht  15:40  
02. Orc Part 1  30:19  
03. Orc Part 2  28:58  

Now here's a jolly thing!  It ticks most of the boxes for die-hard collectors like you and I, and presents some interesting music and content to boot.  What's not to like?!

It's something of a throw-back to the days of very limited edition releases, and the paucity of 11 copies being released has only added to the mystery and myth about this particular release.  I've never seen one for sale, and imagine that all 11 were earmarked for particular collections when the idea to put this package together sprang into Hugin's ever-fevered imagination.

Whilst none of the songs are ultimately unique to this release (something of a blessing to the collecting community, given the tiny edition number) they derive from interesting places and - in the case of 'Elbenmacht' - did appear here first ahead of a wider release.

Let's quickly sum up the history of the tracks, then.  Slightly confusingly, the Elves song 'Elbenmacht' does not derive from the tape demo of the same name, which was reviewed back in 2009. Instead, it is from the Uruk Hai / Lousberg split CDr which dates from 2013, the year after "Elves & Orcs" was released.

The two-part "Orc" release, on the other hand, was originally a tape-only release on the Hexenreich label from August 2012 - cunningly called "Orc" - which featured re-mixed "Black Blood..." demo tracks.  You may recall from that original Honour and Darkness review both parts of the song were, to quote the label, an "orcish journey through dark worlds where Orcs rule the night!"  

The songs were based on two working tracks for the "Black Blood..." album and Hugin's logic for the reissue was simply that he thought they would sound great as a re-mix two years down the line. And, by George, he's not wrong!


Completing the set are twenty (intentionally) grainy black and white photos of snowy forest scenes, and Hugin himself, and together with the glossy front and back cover panels they make for a strong and impressive package. The pictures bear the date 24 October 2012 on the reverse side, thus helping us date the piece fairly accurately.  A wonderful set of images they are too, really packed with grim vibe and positively oozing atmosphere.

With a limited edition of only 11 copies out there - this one is #1 of the set - it's highly unlikely that any are going to come onto the market any time soon.  So if you do see one, waste no time in picking it up....  

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